Al-Qaeda now ‘incapable of 9/11-scale attack’

GSPC Area of Operations & Pan-Sahel Initiative...

GSPC Area of Operations & Pan-Sahel Initiative nations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washington – Al-Qaeda‘s core organisation is likely incapable of carrying out another mass-casualty attack on the scale of 11 September 2001, US intelligence and counterterrorism officials said on Friday.
US government experts also believe that the likelihood of an attack using chemical, biological, atomic or radiological weapons over the next year was not high, said Robert Cardillo, deputy director of US National Intelligence.
Cardillo and other US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described these assessments on a conference call with journalists billed as an opportunity for government experts to voice their assessments of al-Qaeda’s potency a year after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a US commando raid.
Cardillo said the al-Qaeda “core” organisation that bin Laden created has suffered strategic setbacks due to the outbreak of “Arab Spring” protests and rebellions in Islamic countries, which have not spread great sympathy for al-Qaeda’s hardline and violent brand of Islam.

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Suicide bomber kills more than 50 in Iraq

By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
January 14, 2012 — Updated 1824 GMT (0224 HKT)
Iraqi security forces inpsect the scene of a suicide bombing that killed more than 50 people Saturday near Basra.
Iraqi security forces inpsect the scene of a suicide bombing that killed more than 50 people Saturday near Basra.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Iraqi president and U.S. Embassy condemn the attack
  • The incident is the deadliest attack on Shiites since U.S. completed withdrawal
  • The death toll has climbed to at least 53 killed, ministry says
  • The bomber struck at a police checkpoint outside the city of Basra, officials say

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) — A suicide bomber disguised as a policeman targeted Shiite pilgrims Saturday outside the southern Iraqi city of Basra, killing at least 53 people and wounding 137, the Interior Ministry said.

The blast was the single deadliest attack on the Shiite community since the U.S. military completed its troops withdrawal from Iraq. A January 5 suicide attack on Shiite pilgrims west of the southern city of Nasiriya killed 44.

Saturday’s bomber struck a police checkpoint near a Shiite mosque where many of the pilgrims were headed to mark a revered holy day, the end of a 40-day mourning period known as Arbaeen, Interior Ministry officials said.

President Jalal Talabani called on security forces to beef up their efforts in protecting the war-torn country.

“In a new attempt to incite sectarian sedition and drive the country to the brink of civil war and to terrorize the people , the terrorist forces have committed a series of heinous crimes that have targeted Imam Hussain pilgrims,” Talabani said.

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Saudi to US: Give us Predator drones to use in Yemen

RQ-1A Predator

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Saudi to US: Give us Predator drones to use in Yemen By Guest September 6, 2011 at 12:23 AM This is a guest post by Paul Mutter. U.S.-Saudi military cooperation in Yemen (which I reported on for The Arabist a few months ago) have not been without controversy. While the U.S. conducts it own drone strikes in Yemen against suspected al Qaeda targets and provides extensive funding, intelligence and training to government forces, it also provides satellite imagery to the Saudis, who conduct airstrikes and ground offensives against suspected al Qaeda targets and anti-government Shia militias. Continue reading