REMEMBER, THE WAR ON TERROR IS OVER – At least that's what a high administration official was quoted as telling reporters several weeks ago. Well, not so fast, Obamans. There seems to be a bit of bother.
CNN's excellent Barbara Starr is reporting that the "war is over" message hasn't reached those wonderful guys in Yemen:
The Yemeni branch of al Qaeda now has "a whole outfit designated to target the U.S. homeland," according to a source closely working with U.S. intelligence agencies and the military.
In addition, the U.S. now believes Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is working on "several types of bombs" that could get past airport x-ray screening machines.
The bomb technology is aimed at targeting the U.S., according to the source.
Although the group has not yet succeeded in any of their bomb plots against the U.S., there are several bomb makers and a group of would-be suicide bombers inside the group, which operates out of rudimentary training camps in southern Yemen.
"What I think is concerning to myself and other people is that it seems the talent of the organization is getting better, that is, they are much more capable of carrying out attacks. So when something fails like the Christmas Day plot in 2009 or again the cartridge plot in 2010, the organization is able to adapt, and the next time they come back, they present a better and more lethal threat. I think that's what has a lot of people in U.S. and Saudi intelligence quite concerned," says analyst Gregory Johnsen, a Near East Studies scholar.
CNN has previously reported that AQAP master bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri has been involved in training both bombmakers and suicide bombers. The source added that al-Asiri is now not making all the components himself. This gives the group the extra security and advantage of having multiple manufacturing capability if al Asiri were to be killed.
COMMENT: We do ourselves a disservice if we believe that Al Qaeda is "beaten," or consists of a bunch of rag-tag losers. Over the years they've demonstrated an ability to wreak havoc, and I fear they could pull off another 9-11 attack, either as one concentrated event, or a series of events around the U.S. on one day.
It's also clear that Al Qaeda continues with one obsession they've always had – an obsession with airliners. Sooner or later, the law of averages will have to be with them, with the potential of doing enormous damage to the international airline system.
The war on terror is not over.
May 11, 2012