Al Qaeda responds to Fareed, Peter Bergen and CNN
A prominent al Qaeda leader, Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, disputes Fareed Zakaria's and Peter Bergen's views of Middle East revolutions.
March 31st, 2011
10:45 AM ET

Al Qaeda responds to Fareed, Peter Bergen and CNN

Editor's note: Peter Bergen is the director of the national security studies program at the New America Foundation in Washington, a fellow at New York University's Center on Law and Security and CNN's national security analyst. He is the author of the new book, "The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda."

By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst

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….

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."

In an essay titled "The Tsunami of Change," Awlaki makes the uncontroversial point that the regimes based on fear are ending in the Arab world because of the revolutions and protests from Egypt to Bahrain. But he goes on to assert that, contrary to commentators such as CNN's Fareed Zakaria, who has said "the Arab revolts of 2011 represent a total repudiation of al Qaeda's founding ideology," rather the world should "know very well that the opposite is the case."

Awlaki then turns to this author, writing, "for a so-called 'terrorism expert' such as Peter Bergen, it is interesting to see how even he doesn't get it right this time. For him to think that because a Taliban-style regime is not going to take over following the revolutions, is a too short-term way of viewing the unfolding events." In other words: Just you wait. Taliban-type theocracies will be coming to the Middle East as the revolutions there unfold further....

I'm not a betting man, but if I were I'd place very long odds on al Qaeda or allied groups having a significant role in any of these countries' futures.

Read the rest of Peter's article over at CNN Opinions.

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Topics: Taliban • Terrorism • Yemen

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    I doubt, if the Al Qaeda would be able to set up a Taliban-style regime in other countries other than Afghanistan. The Taliban-phenomena was circumstantial – insurgency against the Russian invaders. Its ruling pattern worked well in the rural and tribal regions of Afghanistan. The istrength of the Taliban waned, when the U.S. took actions against the Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks. Ever since then the Al Qaeda hasn't been able to strike back on this same scale. Nevertheless they are still around to sow discord and terrorise the general public.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  2. Onesmallvoice

    Today,Al Qaeda has all it can do just to survive. Ussama bin Laden is most probably dead from the nephritis that he suffered from back in 2001. We need to just ignore the right-wing thugs in Washington as they continue to try to use Al Qaeda to scare us into supporting their obscene wars and sinister plot to gain control of the Middle East.

    March 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  3. Ian

    What i'd like to say to Anwar al-Awlaki "if he every gets out of his life of hiding while his hearing is still working!"
    People who think like you belong in the dark ages & will be remembered for the suffering you’ve instigated and nothing else, unless you take the bravest of steps to change your ways.
    All populations of the world are the same, if given the same opportunities in education, religious freedom & an infrastructure that serves it people while also been more capable of upholding the rule of law.

    With the passing of time things change as they have always done, some things get worse but most get better, “Think on the quality of that bottled water you drink” will still have people of good will & those that shock us all.
    Build upon what other parts of the world have achieved from skills first learned in your region, help build a Democracy Mk2 and show that it can be done even better than the one we have…

    For those that don't believe in democracy at all. Our infrastructures are not perfect but they are many years advanced from most troubled countries. Our political & legal systems are very far from perfect, but they usually protect us from the most unpleasant traits of our recent history. We no longer tolerate the burning of those accused of been witches or have ax wielding warring tribes or clans!

    That's not to say our populations are free from those that would probably still do these things if they could have their way, But in a more civilised societies freedom to murder without punishment is a step to far, even for those like the Neanderthal, stubborn dim sculled Pastor Jones.

    In other systems leaders get into power, claim be of goodwill & they say they put their people first. but engage in endless propaganda against other nations, while they bathe in their riches of corruption "Check out which leaders own the luxury yachts"

    For those who make use of labelling "Them & Us" I'd like to see evidence to support those claims that people from one group in any part of the world would behave differently than those in our own parts of the world if given the same opportunities in education, religious freedom & an infrastructure that serves it people while also been more capable of upholding the rule of law. I for one have travelled enough to know that there are people of goodwill & people who think mostly on themselves no mater were we go.

    April 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  4. Dhonabel

    Unimaginable pain that this couple must be going thrugoh. My thoughts and prayers are with you both. Your beautiful boy was just too good for this world.I had something similar happen to me in my 2nd pregnancy and they sent me home 3 times but my husband and I just kept going back. On our 4th visit we point blank refused to leave until we saw a Consultant. We asked and asked to be induced at 37+ and the entire staff at the hospital were very unhelpful and reluctant. I knew for a fact that upon being born at that stage my daughter would be perfectly fine.After fighting and fighting they finally and quite aggressively induced me. When they broke my waters they realised that my daughter had poo'd inside her waters some days ago and more than likely inhaled Meconium which can prove fatal. They rushed me into theatre and my daughter spent a week in the Neo-Natal unit.If in doubt then refuse to walk away. Even before your baby is born you as a Mum know best. Fortunately we were lucky.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:28 am | Reply
  5. Hugh Vias

    we should always be updated with current events specially in this very fast paced modern society.^.

    Talk to you later
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    May 1, 2013 at 1:07 am | Reply

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