UN report: Al-Qaeda down but not out

2013-08-08 12:00
Ayman al Zawahri. (File, AP)

Ayman al Zawahri. (File, AP)

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United Nations - Osama Bin Laden's successor as the leader of al-Qaeda has struggled to unite its various factions, a UN report said on Wednesday, but the group remains an evolving threat.

The report, delivered to the UN Security Council by a group of experts, said al-Qaeda's Egyptian leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri had failed to rebuild the group's core leadership in Pakistan.

But it said various groups affiliated with al-Qaeda are still adapting their tactics and seeking new targets, while retaining the ability to conduct deadly strikes.

And, while the French-led military operation in Mali and an African Union campaign in Somalia have pushed back al-Qaeda militants, the Syrian civil war has seen hundreds of foreign volunteers join the cause there.

"Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are more diverse and differentiated than before, united only by a loose ideology and a commitment to terrorist violence," the report said.

"A fragmented and weakened al-Qaeda has not been extinguished," it said, adding: "the reality of al-Qaeda's diminished capabilities and limited appeal does not mean that the threat of al-Qaeda attacks has passed."

"Individuals and cells associated with al-Qaeda and its affiliates continue to innovate with regard to targets, tactics and technology."

The UN report tallies with claims made by US officials, including President Barack Obama, that so-called "core al-Qaeda" has been weakened since Bin Laden's death in May 2011, while its regional wings continue to fight.

But it also flies in the face of reports on Wednesday that a security alert declared for US missions in the Middle East was triggered when Zawahiri contacted al-Qaeda's regional commanders and ordered an attack.

Read more on:    un  |  al-qaeda  |  ayman al-zawahiri  |  barack obama

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