International Counter-Terrorism Group Addresses Ever-Changing al-Qaeda Threat

The Warsaw Process Counterterrorism and Illicit Finance working group convened in Marrakech, Morocco, on March 4-5, with the goal of working out a solution to counter the potential threat posed by al-Qaeda and its affiliates, in preparations for the ministerial-level meeting to be held in Washington this year.

Al-Qaeda, overshadowed by ISIS over the past several years, took advantage of this situation to strengthen and expand its abilities to operate, adapt to using new technologies, and exploit conflicts and vulnerabilities in different parts of the world, e.g. the wars in Yemen and Syria, says a statement from the working group.

Threats Posed by al-Qaeda

Despite losing its main leader in 2011, al-Qaeda adapted to the changes in the worlds political situation and exerted its ideological influence. Its affiliates still pose a threat to the entire African continent and there is a possibility for al-Qaeda to engage in a relationship with ISIS, according to the statement. Al-Qaeda also operates in Asia and the Middle East.

Al-Qaedas tactics and methods may also evolve. It could exert more attacks outside of conflict zones, utilize more low-cost technology, and develop “more effective use of the internet” as well as “a sophisticated network of communication tools,” threatening global security and stability, the statement says.

Tactics to Counter al-Qaeda

“Addressing the ever-changing al-Qaeda threat requires a multidimensional comprehensive approach, which addresses the root causes of terrorism,” says the statement.

The working group, led by The United States, Poland, Morocco, and Kenya, composed of 55 participants representing Eastern and Western Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the European Union, United Nations, and Arab League, devised a set of tactics to collectively counter al-Qaeda threats, and in the long run “degrade the al-Qaeda network and prevent radicalization and recruitment,” the statement says.

Among the tactics suggested are sanctions on individuals and entities designated by the United Nations and diplomatic efforts to engage third countries, particularly “in and around conflict zones, under governed space, and areas with established al-Qaeda affiliates.” Improvement of aviation security to prevent al-Qaeda from attacking commercial aviation, sealing borders to prevent transfer of “material, funds, and personnel by al-Qaeda, and the use of advanced screening technologies to prevent al-Qaeda members from traveling were also recommended measures.

Participants also agreed that individuals who committed terrorism-related offenses and are affiliated with al-Qaeda should be prosecuted and convicted through law enforcement. The dangerous and destructive al-Qaeda propaganda and ideology should be discredited and exposed through forums, the internet, or in-person, in order to discourage vulnerable members of communities from being deceived and recruited by al-Qaeda.

Measures also need to be adopted to cut terrorism financing that often occurs through problematic non-governmental or charitable organizations.

Participants should also engage with third countries through diplomatic efforts to promote all recommended measures in these countries and help them to “build capacity of law enforcement, prosecutorial, judicial, intelligence, border security, military, engaged in countering al-Qaeda.”

The Warsaw Process is a joint initiative of countries from around the world under the joint leadership of the United States and Poland, aimed at bringing security to the Middle East and promoting the regions development. The participants of the founding meeting held in Warsaw in February 2019, created seven working groups, each focused on a different aspect of issues including countering terrorism, maritime and aviation security, cybersecurity, energy security, refugees, human rights, and missile non-proliferation.

terrorist Suspect Osama bin Laden
terrorist Suspect Osama bin Laden
Saudi-born Osama bin Laden is seen aiming a weapon in this undated photo from Al-Jazeera TV. (Photo by Al-Jazeera/Getty Images)

What Are al-Qaedas Origins?

Al-Qaeda was designated as a terrorist organization by the Department of State in 1999 and became well-known after the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. However, the close relationship between terrorism and communism is not commonly known.

The Epoch Times special editorial series “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World explores this relationship in detail and the analysis below is based on this series.

Al-Qaeda founders Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam were both influenced by the ideology of Sayyid Qutb, also known as Qutbism. The 9/11 Commission Report (pdf) also describes Azzam as a “disciple of Qutb.” Bin Laden adopted and expanded the ideology of Qutbism.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri giving a speech at an undisclosed location. (AFP/Getty Images)

Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was the second in command of al-Qaeda, was influenced by Qutbs teachings since his youth and was a disciple of Qutb. He “regarded Qutbs thought as being the spark that ignited the fire of jihadi extremism,” The Epoch Times series says. Zawahiri was bin Ladens mentor, and since the assassination of bin-Laden in 2011, has been the leader of al-Qaeda.

Qutbism is the pursuit of violence to destroy the rotten old society or “jahiliya,” calling upon jihadis to lay down their lives for an ideology that will supposedly usher in human liberation, wrote Andrew McGregor from The Jamestown Foundation. Qutb regarded all societies governed by secular laws or abiding to secular ethics as “old societies.” Not only Western societies, but even some Muslim societies were considered by Qutb to be “old societies.”

Qutb studied socialism and became a member of the Communist Party in his youth, and his ideas were steeped in the rhetoric of Marxism-Leninism. Qutb was actually a Communist International liaison for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Communist Party of Egypt, according to Robert R. Reilly, a senior fellow at the U.S. Foreign Policy Committee.

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