Washington: The information seized from Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan has revealed that he was concerned about the al Qaeda’s long-term viability, the White House said on Wednesday.
“Information seized from that compound reveals bin Laden’s concerns about al Qaeda’s long-term viability,” John Brennan, assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism, said in his speech at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
“He called for more large-scale attacks against America, but encountered resistance from his followers and he went for years without seeing any spectacular attacks. He saw his senior leaders being taken down, one by one, and worried about the ability to replace them effectively,” he said in his speech.
Bin Laden, according to a White House fact sheet, clearly saw that al Qaeda is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds. Bin Laden knew that he had failed to portray America as being at war with Islam. He knew that al Qaeda’s murder of so many innocent civilians, most of them Muslims, had deeply and perhaps permanently tarnished al Qaeda’s image in the world, the factsheet said.
“With the death of Osama bin Laden, we have struck our biggest blow against al Qaeda yet. We have taken out al Qaeda’s founder, an operational commander who continued to direct his followers to attack the United States and, perhaps most significantly, al Qaeda’s symbolic figure who has inspired so many others to violence,” Brennan said.
He said that the organisation is now left with Ayman al-Zawahiri, an aging doctor who lacks bin Laden’s charisma and perhaps the loyalty and respect of many in al Qaeda.
“Indeed, the fact that it took so many weeks for al Qaeda to settle on Zawahiri as its new leader suggests possible divisions and disarray at the highest levels,” he said in his speech.
Brennan said there has been progress made in the war against terrorism.
“Make no mistake, al Qaeda is in its decline. This is by no means meant to suggest that the serious threat from al Qaeda has passed; not at all. Zawahiri may attempt to demonstrate his leadership, and al Qaeda may try to show its relevance, through new attacks. Lone individuals may seek to avenge bin Laden’s death. More innocent people may tragically lose their lives,” he said.
“Nor would the destruction of its leadership mean the destruction of the al Qaeda network. AQAP remains the most operationally active affiliate in the network and poses a direct threat to the United States. From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al-Shabaab continues to call for strikes against the United States.”
“As a result, we cannot and we will not let down our guard. We will continue to pummel al Qaeda and its ilk, and we will remain vigilant at home,” the White House official said. Zeenews