Al Qaeda responds to CNN

In late February I posted a piece on CNN.com titled "Al Qaeda the loser in Arab revolutions" making the point that Osama bin Laden must be watching the events in the Middle East unfold with a mixture of glee and despair. Glee, because overthrowing the dictatorships and monarchies of the Middle East has long been ...

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

In late February I posted a piece on CNN.com titled "Al Qaeda the loser in Arab revolutions" making the point that Osama bin Laden must be watching the events in the Middle East unfold with a mixture of glee and despair.

Glee, because overthrowing the dictatorships and monarchies of the Middle East has long been his central goal. Despair, because none of the Arab revolutions has anything to do with him.

Additionally, I pointed out that whatever the outcome of these revolts they will not be to al Qaeda's satisfaction because almost no one in the streets of Cairo, Egypt, Benghazi, Libya, or San'a, Yemen, is clamoring for the imposition of a Taliban-style theocracy, al Qaeda's desired end state in the Middle East.

In late February I posted a piece on CNN.com titled "Al Qaeda the loser in Arab revolutions" making the point that Osama bin Laden must be watching the events in the Middle East unfold with a mixture of glee and despair.

Glee, because overthrowing the dictatorships and monarchies of the Middle East has long been his central goal. Despair, because none of the Arab revolutions has anything to do with him.

Additionally, I pointed out that whatever the outcome of these revolts they will not be to al Qaeda’s satisfaction because almost no one in the streets of Cairo, Egypt, Benghazi, Libya, or San’a, Yemen, is clamoring for the imposition of a Taliban-style theocracy, al Qaeda’s desired end state in the Middle East.

Rather, the protesters want accountable governments that don’t abuse their population, elections and the rule of law — just like pretty much everyone else, except members of al Qaeda who regard the Taliban as the closest thing to an ideal government that has existed in the modern era and acknowledge the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, to be the "Commander of the Faithful."

The assertion that al Qaeda is a marginal player in the current events in the Middle East has provoked a furious response from the Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is playing a leadership role in "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."

To read the rest of this article, visit CNN.com, where this was originally published.

Peter Bergen, the editor of the AfPak Channel, is the Director of the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation, a senior fellow at New York University’s Center on Law and Security, and the author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al Qaeda. He is a national security analyst for CNN.

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