An al-Qaeda surge? DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 25 (UPI) --
Al-Qaeda may have launched attacks in Pakistan and Yemen as a diversion against broader plans in Europe or the United States, an analyst says.
"Al-Qaeda may be starting its own surge," writes Theodore Karasik, a scholar at Dubai's Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, in Thursday's Lebanese Daily Star. Contrary to some reports that al-Qaeda may be in decline, Karasik says the group has gained momentum and may exploit opportunities to interrupt government functions in developing states and search out new theaters for battle.
He points to the suicide bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad Saturday and an English-language broadcast by al-Qaeda No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Aug. 23 as evidence of an uptick in activity from the group.
The Marriott attack, striking at the heart of the Pakistani capital, was a sign al-Qaeda had succeeded in part by fracturing the delicate and emerging government of Islamabad, he said. Meanwhile, twin suicide bombings at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen Sept. 17 and an August declaration of "holy war" in Mauritania point to an increased threat from militants.
Statements on militant Web sites are also on the rise, as several al-Qaeda sites broadcast claims highlighting the ability to bankrupt America by exploiting the economics of oil. Further messages say the group wants to "egg on" the U.S. presidential contenders, making an "October surprise" by al-Qaeda a possibility.