Friday, May 23, 2008

al-Qa'ida are losing

Tim Blair reports some "good news for everybody":

Deaths from terrorist attacks globally dropped by 40 per cent last year as al-Qa’ida and its affiliates suffered a drastic collapse in popular support throughout the Muslim world, a Canadian study claims ...

“Historically, most terrorist campaigns have failed, and the Islamists’ slumping popular support in the Muslim world is now a huge liability for the al-Qa’ida network,” Professor [Andrew] Mack [director of the Human Security Research Report project] said ...

While Professor Mack acknowledged terrorist attacks had increased recently in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said they were offset by decreases “just about everywhere else in the world except Algeria”...

"We argue that the war on terror has had a lot of tactical successes," Professor Mack told The Australian last night.

"Counter-terrorism is just so much more effective now than it was before 2001. There's better co-operation, better intelligence and the terrorists' financial networks have been disrupted.

"The minuscule level of support these guys have now in the Muslim world has caused increasing numbers of Muslims to side with their governments against the militants. We saw that most dramatically with the Sunni awakening against al-Qa'ida in Iraq."

That said, this news leaves no grounds for complacency.  The virulence of the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (which Scott Powell picks to become the next Islamic theocracy), the similar pressures simmering below the surface in Turkey, the continued financial and ideological support for Wahhabism by Saudi Arabia, the sponsorship of terrorism by the theocracy of Iran ...  the Hydra of Islamic totalitarianism has not yet been slain, and won't be as long as the 'war against a tactic' fails to recognise who the real enemy is.

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