UN Report: Al Qaeda Down, But Not Out

Osama Bin Laden's successor as the leader of Al-Qaeda has struggled to unite its various factions, a UN report said 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.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.



Al Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)