UN report: Al-Qaeda down but not out
08 August 2013, 12:53
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.