Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Big Catch

Attention terrorists...Looking for a senior-level job in the world's top terrorist organization? Al Qaida apparently has an opening for a new operations director, following today's capture of Abu Farraj al-Libbi in Pakistan.

Al-Libbi, believed to be the #3 man in Al-Qaida was arrested in northern Pakistan after a shootout with security forces. The Libyan-born al-Libbi is a long-time associate of Osama bin Laden; he apparently took over the operations post in 2003, after the capture of his predecessor, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM).

Counter-terrorism officers hope that al-Libbi can lead them to bin Laden, but the captured Al Qaida planner may also yield important information about the group's organization, disposition and operational planning. The capture of KSM of provided similar information two years ago, and dealt a major blow to Al-Qaida.

By any definition, the arrest of al-Libbi is a very big catch, indeed. It may not lead to a quick capture of bin Laden, but it will drive the terrorist leader further underground, disrupt communications, and derail operational planning, at least for a while. Additionally, it may prove easy for us to get al-Libbi to talk. His choice? Make a deal with the Americans, or remain in Pakistani custody. The Paks would like to "talk" with al-Libbi about his role in the atttempted assassination of their President, Perverz Musharaff. And, since those conversations sometimes involve rubber hoses, al-Libbi may perfer to cast his lot with us.

1 comment:

Alan said...

I've read that there is significant disagreement on the actual importance and/or rank of al-Libbi within the AQ organization. Various European intel agencies seem to think he is a relatively minor player and seemed surprised by the hype over his capture coming from US and Pakistani government circles. Such disparate assessments of this guy seem strange.

My question is: How good is EU-based intel these days? Has a closer proximity to the ME (and tapping into their substantial populations of ME immigrants) given them an edge in foreign intel collection, or have they become so complacent, bureaucratic, and pro-Arab that their analysis is not as dependable?