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Al-Qaeda remains in existence, and are likely to retaliate to avenge bin Laden’s death. Some estimate that there are very few al-Qaeda fighters in the southwest region and the numbers are in the low hundreds nationwide.
After raiding bin Laden compound, the intelligence gathered 10 hard drives and 100 storage devices that could unmask al-Qaida leaders, global networks and planned attacks.
Industry analysts predict that al-Qaida will process transactions of assets and cash. Which means banks will have to make sure that their surveillance and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) systems are functioning properly to detect unusual financial movements. Although terror networks have been funded on small budgets -they will need to raise money.
“Capturing that al-Qaida information will cause distrust among insurgent leaders and fighters, while bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. force will have a “tremendous” impact financially and psychologically on the Afghanistan battlefield this year,” says Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, recent commander of the southwest region.
According to the Asia Times Online, an al-Qaeda insider of the dangerous region North Waziristan -the militants are scrambling to retaliate. It has been confirmed that Shura Majlis, will head the terror group until a successor is chosen. Meetings have been conducted in the town of Mir Ali to develop strategies and revenge against Pakistan to dissipate ceasefire agreements.
The bin Laden, al-Qaida strategy chose to attack “near enemy” – Muslim governments and the “far enemy” – the United States and Western governments that back the Muslim governments. Will the next successor continue bin Laden purpose or choose to attack near or far enemies?
The al-Qaida top five front-runners that could lead:
Ayman al Zawahir co-founded al-Qaida with bin Laden in 1990. He serves as deputy and the public face of al-Qaida. Zawahir is an Egyptian Islamic Jihad that has been a major role in attacks against the west. Al-Qaida’s top Egyptian leaders are loyal to Zawahir.
Saif al Adel is a top military strategist –he is al-Qaida’s version of the military chief of staff and a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Al Adel has been responsible for strategically planning all the terror attacks. Al Adel remains below the radar.
Abu Yahya al Libi is a Libyan Islamic Fighter and a military commander in Afghanistan. He was famous for being captured by the U.S. military in 2003 and escaping in 2005 from Bagram Prison in Afghanistan. He was notorious for mocking the U.S. in propaganda tapes.
Sa’ad Bin Laden the younger brother of Osama may have been groomed to take control of al-Qaida in event Osama is captured or killed. He is the operational commander and was involved in the 2003 bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Ilyas Kashmiri a dangerous and experienced Pakistani terror commander of the Lashkar al Zil, al-Qaida’s paramilitary Shadow Army. He has executed suicide attacks on the U.S, Afghan, and Pakistani installations in South Asia. Kashmiri terrorist network is located in South and Center Asia.
Bin Laden death brings relief across the world regardless who succeeds him. “Hitler was not replaced.”
(Sources: The Long War Journal online, Asia Times Online, Stars and Strips.)