Published in the Jerusalem Report, June 24, 2014
In the spring of 2011, all was not well for Al-Qaida and the global jihad movement it had spawned.
On May 11, a US special operations team had killed Osama bin Laden in his safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The elimination of the charismatic leader of Al-Qaida coincided with dramatic upheavals in the Middle East that did not initially seem to play into the hands of the terror organization.
On the face of it, the dramatic series of protests in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt, which called for greater liberties, should have come as good news to Al-Qaida. After all, the jihadist group had long called for Arab dictators to be deposed and replaced by “genuine” Muslims.
But the incipient “Arab Spring” put a large dent in Al-Qaida’s strategy since the group preached that only violence could bring about the desired change. The mostly bloodless nature of those uprisings caught it ideologically off guard. On top of that, calls for greater freedom from the Arab street did not exactly correspond with Al-Qaida’s blueprint for an Islamic upheaval in the region.
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