Saturday, August 20, 2011

DTN News - INTELLIGENCE REPORTS: Annual Report On Terrorism Says Al-Qaeda Remained Preeminent Threat To U.S.

Defense War News Updates: DTN News - INTELLIGENCE REPORTS: Annual Report On Terrorism Says Al-Qaeda Remained Preeminent Threat To U.S.
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - August 20, 2011: The United States' annual report on terrorism says Al-Qaeda remained the preeminent terrorist threat to the United States in 2010.

Strategic assessment of the National Counter-terrorism Center, which prepared the "Country Reports on Terrorism 2010," is that though the terrorist network's core in Pakistan has become weaker, it retained the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks.

Cooperation between Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan- and Pakistan-based militants was critical to the threat the group posed, says the report released by the State Department on Thursday.

In addition, the danger posed by Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT) and increased resource-sharing between Al-Qaeda and its Pakistan-based allies and associates such as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Haqqani Network meant the aggregate threat in South Asia remained high.

The report points out that the Al-Qaeda affiliates have grown stronger. While Al-Qaeda senior leadership continued to call for strikes on the U.S. homeland and to arrange plots targeted at Europe, the diversity of these efforts demonstrated the fusion of interests and the sharing of capabilities among Al-Qaeda groups with different geographical focuses.

TTP provided support to U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad, who sought to carry out a car bombing in Times Square in May. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continued to demonstrate its growing ambitions and a strong desire to carry out attacks outside of its region. The group followed up its December 25, 2009 attempt to destroy an airliner bound for Detroit with an October 2010 effort to blow up several U.S.-bound airplanes by shipping bombs that were intended to detonate while in the planes' cargo holds.

Information about potential Al-qaeda plots in Europe prompted several European countries to raise their terror alerts toward the end of the year.

Similarly, al-Shabaab in East Africa, some of whose senior leaders have declared adherence to the Al-Qaeda brand of violent extremism, gained strength in 2010. Al-Shabaab's widening scope of operations, safe haven in Somalia, and ability to attract Western militants, made it a continuing threat to U.S. interests in the region.

In addition to operations, Al-Qaeda affiliates have taken on a greater share of the propaganda work. In a troubling trend, English-speaking militants increasingly connected to each other through online venues like militant discussion forums and video-sharing platforms, which encouraged both violent behavior and individual action. Many participants in online communities have real-world relationships with extremists who bolster their radicalism and mobilize them toward violent action.

Five Pakistani Americans contacted by a Taliban recruiter through YouTube encouraged one another to travel to Pakistan to train for warfare against the United States; they remained in Pakistani custody at year's end. Several Somali Americans decided to go overseas to fight with al-Shabaab - a decision that was likely shaped by a combination of online propaganda, face-to-face recruitment, and supportive real-world peer networks.

Not all of AQ's formal affiliates and informal allies presented as grave a threat to U.S. interests in 2010. No group has made a bigger name for itself in the kidnapping for ransom business than Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which relies on ransom payments to sustain and develop itself in the harsh Saharan environment.

The apparent blow suffered by Al-Qaeda had no significant effect on other terrorist groups with deep roots in the Middle East, as both Hamas and Hizballah continued to play destabilizing roles in the region.

The Congressionally mandated report, which provides an assessment of trends and events in international terrorism that transpired from January 1 to December 31 2010, says more than 11,500 terrorist attacks occurred in 72 countries during the period, resulting in more than 13,200 deaths.

Although the number of attacks rose by almost 5 percent from the previous year, the number of deaths declined for a third consecutive year, dropping 12 percent from 2009. For the second consecutive year, the largest number of reported attacks occurred in South Asia and the Near East, with more than 75 percent of the world's attacks and deaths occurring in these regions.

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*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News



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