Al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri urges ‘lone-wolf’ attacks on US

The leader of al-Qaeda has issued a message marking the 12th anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

In the audio message, Ayman al-Zawahiri talks of the need for small-scale attacks – and even a boycott – to damage the US economy.

The message may be seen as a sign of diminishing ambitions and a more realistic assessment of what al-Qaeda’s central organisation can achieve.

Zawahiri’s message also praised the bombings in Boston in April.

His message begins with a familiar claim that his organisation has the upper hand.

He says that the US has fled Iraq and Afghanistan in “defeat”.

He goes on to emphasise the importance of so-called “lone-wolf”, or small-scale attacks as part of al-Qaeda’s strategy.

Such attacks, he argues, will have an economic impact above all.

“We must bleed America economically by provoking it, so that it continues its massive expenditures on security. America’s weak spot is its economy, which began to totter from the drain of its military and security expenditure,” he says.

‘Dispersed strikes’

Zawahiri advocates “continuing the drain of military and security expenditures so that we keep America in a state of tension and anticipation, [wondering] when and where the next blow will come”.

“Keeping America in a state of tension and anticipation does not cost us anything but [organising] dispersed strikes here and there. In other words, just as we defeated it in a war of nerves in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan, we must afflict it with a similar war in its own home.

“These dispersed strikes can be carried out by one brother, or a small number of brothers.”

The emphasis on smaller-scale strikes may well be seen as an acknowledgement of a diminishing ability of al-Qaeda’s central leadership to plan and carry out major, organised attacks of the type it managed in the past.

That shift is evident in Zawahiri calling on supporters to begin an economic boycott.

“We must explain to them that every dollar’s worth of goods that we buy from America and her allies amounts to a bullet or shrapnel that kills a Muslim in Palestine or Afghanistan.”


BBC has the full article

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