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WP: U.S. officials believe al-Qaeda on brink of collapse


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/al-qaeda-could-collapse-us-officials-say/2011/07/21/gIQAFu2pbI_story.html?hpid=z2

Great news. Time to throw them on to the scrap heap of history. Credit will go to both post 9/11 Presidents, the intel community and our troops

U.S. officials believe al-Qaeda on brink of collapse

By Greg Miller, Tuesday, July 26, 10:01 PM

U.S. counterterrorism officials are increasingly convinced that the killing of Osama bin Laden and the toll of seven years of CIA drone strikes have pushed al*Qaeda to the brink of collapse.

The assessment reflects a widespread view at the CIA and other agencies that a relatively small number of additional blows could effectively extinguish the Pakistan-based organization that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — an outcome that was seen as a distant prospect for much of the past decade.

U.S. officials said that al-Qaeda might yet rally and that even its demise would not end the terrorist threat, which is increasingly driven by radicalized individuals as well as aggressive affiliates. Indeed, officials said that al*Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen is now seen as a greater counterterrorism challenge than the organization’s traditional base.

President Obama has steadily expanded the clandestine U.S. campaign against that Yemen group, most recently by approving the construction of a secret Persian Gulf airstrip for armed CIA drones. But recent setbacks, including a botched U.S. military airstrike on American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, underscore the difficulties that remain.

Nevertheless, the top U.S. national security officials now allude to a potential finish line in the fight against al-Qaeda, a notion they played down before bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in a May 2 raid in Pakistan.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta declared during a recent visit to Afghanistan that “we’re within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaeda.” The comment was dismissed by skeptics as an attempt to energize troops while defending the administration’s decision to wind down a decade-old war.

But senior U.S. officials from the CIA, the National Counterterrorism Center and other agencies have expressed similar views in classified intelligence reports and closed-door briefings on Capitol Hill, officials said.

“There is a swagger within the community right now for good reason,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the Senate intelligence committee.

“Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is nowhere near defeat,” Chambliss said, referring to the Yemen-based affiliate. “But when it comes to al-Qaeda [core leadership in Pakistan], we have made the kind of strides that we need to make to be in a position of thinking we can win.”

Even those who winced at Panetta’s word choice agree with his broader observation. “I’m not sure I would have chosen ‘strategic defeat,’ ” said a senior U.S. counterterrorism official, who cautioned that even if al-Qaeda is dismantled, its militant ideology has spread and will remain a long-term threat.

“But if you mean that we have rendered them largely incapable of catastrophic attacks against the homeland, then I think Panetta is exactly right,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. “We are within reach of rendering them to that point.”

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President Obama has steadily expanded the clandestine U.S. campaign against that Yemen group, most recently by approving the construction of a secret Persian Gulf airstrip for armed CIA drones.

*raises hand*

Um... it doesn't seem to be much of a secret.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/al-qaeda-could-collapse-us-officials-say/2011/07/21/gIQAFu2pbI_story.html?hpid=z2

Great news. Time to throw them on to the scrap heap of history. Credit will go to both post 9/11 Presidents, the intel community and our troops

I love to hear that we believe that we have decimated them to this point but I dread reading articles like this because no matter how fine a paste we mash them into all it takes is one guy to slip through a crack and I always think articles like this are locker room material for them.

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I suppose it depends on how ya define AQ

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/07/taliban_suicide_bomb_29.php

The Mullah Dadullah Front is a wing of the Taliban in the south that has adopted al Qaeda's tactics and ideology, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in December 2010. The Mullah Dadullah Front is led by Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee who has since been promoted as the Taliban's top military commander and co-leader of the Taliban's Quetta Shura.

The Taliban have killed two other senior power brokers in the Afghan south this month. On July 12, the Taliban claimed to have assassinated Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president's brother. Ahmed Wali was gunned down in his office. Officials originally dismissed claims that Ahmed Wali was killed by the Taliban but later found evidence that linked his death to the group.

On July 17, a suicide assault team killed Jan Mohammad Khan, the former governor of Uruzgan province who had become one of Karzai's top advisers, and Mohammad Hashim Watanwal, a parliamentarian from Uruzgan, in an attack on Khan's compound in Kabul.

The Taliban have successfully executed other high-profile assassinations in Kandahar in the recent past. Since the spring of 2010, the list of those killed in the Taliban's assassination campaign in Kandahar includes the provincial chief of police, the deputy governor of Kandahar, the district chief for Arghandab, and the deputy mayor of Kandahar City.

In the Afghan north, the Taliban have also targeted senior military, police, and government officials, assassinating four senior leaders in the region over the past nine months. In October 2010, a Taliban suicide bomber killed Kunduz Governor Muhammad Omar as he worshiped in a mosque in Takhar province. Omar had been vocal in his opposition to the Taliban, and had consistently warned of the spread of the Taliban and allied terror groups in the Afghan north. In March 2011, a suicide bomber killed General Abdul Rahman Sayedkhili, the provincial chief of police for Kunduz. And in May, a suicide bomber killed General Dawood Dawood, the top commander for the Afghan National Police in the north; and Mawlawi Shah Jahan, the chief of police for Takhar province. Major General Markus Kneip, Regional Commander North for the International Security Assistance Force, and the governor of Takhar were also wounded in the attack.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/07/taliban_suicide_bomb_29.php#ixzz1TJnNRwNl

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Obama has done a great job vs. terrorists in his 2 1/2 years. Great news.

I also nominate the guy who created the drone... what an incredible weapon... harrasses the enemy at every opportunity and keeps our troops out of harms way.

Yeah, I'll give Obama his just dues on the foreign policy front. I think that's what people will remember him most fondly for once he leaves office.

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