Sunday, January 31, 2010

al-Qaeda is attracting ever more recruits across a growing arc of terror

The tenth group of Saudis to be flown back from Guantanamo Bay, no less than five of the original 14 who passed through the programme absconded to neighbouring Yemen to re-embrace terrorism. To the embarrassment of their mentors, and the dismay of Washington, one Batch 10 member, Said al-Shihri, has since re-surfaced as no less than deputy leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the movement’s new Yemen-based branch. The group opened up the latest frontier in the war on terror last month, when it claimed to have groomed the so-called Detroit “Underpants Bomber”, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Such “relapses” show how, more than eight years since 9-11, al-Qaeda has confounded its doomsayers with both its resilience and its ever-spreading presence.