The balance of power between ISIS and al-Qaeda has changed, which are suffering heavy losses in their leaders. Last Minute AFRICA, France, Netherlands headlines and events

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The threat posed by Islamist terrorist organizations in the US and many other Western countries has been overshadowed by threats from other extremist groups. It has been observed that some of these groups have shed more blood in recent years.

However, despite the rise in terrorist threats from white supremacists and far-right extremists, counterterrorism authorities are working to ensure that threats from terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda are not ignored.

“Yes, jihadism is still the main threat in the Netherlands at the moment,” Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Dylan Jeschilgoz-Zegerius said in response to a question from VOA during his official visit to Washington in late November.

“Now you see the threat. You see the ideology,” Yesilgöz-Zegerius said.

ISIS and al-Qaeda leaders targeted

One of the reasons for this collapse is that both ISIS and al-Qaeda will suffer serious losses in 2022.

“It was a year of sacrifice,” Edmund Fitton-Brown, a former United Nations counterterrorism officer, told VOA.

While the possibility of an ISIS resurgence is worrisome, the organization suffered serious losses when its leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, blew himself up during a nighttime US special forces operation.

Eight months later, ISIS lost Abu al-Hassan, Abu Ibrahim’s successor, in a raid by Free Syrian Army rebels.

In the period between the deaths of two ISIS leaders, the United States maintained pressure through operations with partners such as the Syrian Democratic Forces and allies such as Turkey. Thus, in 2022, at least 10 key IS leaders were either killed or captured.

It is noted that America has already broken through the line of defense of ISIS. The authorities, in their statement to the Voice of America, recorded that they have information about the new leader of the organization, who uses the pseudonym Abu Al Hussein Al Hussein Al Qureshi.

It is predicted that if the United States seizes power over Abu al-Hussein al-Hussein al-Qureshi, the consequences for the jihadist world will be severe.

“That means they’re in serious trouble,” says former counterterrorism officer Fitton-Brown.

Comparing “It’s like you’re pulling a string, the loops unravel one by one and they can’t stop it,” Fitton-Brown said, “At what stage does an organization become so weak that people don’t want to identify with it in any way, because his failure is obvious? asks a question.

Attack on al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda also suffered heavy losses in August when its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed at his residence in the Afghan capital of Kabul in a US drone attack.

US President Joe Biden said of al-Zawahiri’s death: “Justice has been served. No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, to America, we will find you and kill you.” ”

Since then, the leadership of al-Qaeda has remained silent. The failure of al-Zawahiri’s successor to leave Iran is believed to have thwarted the organization’s plans to change leadership.

The fears of Western countries about terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan have not yet materialized. Senior US counterterrorism experts note that ISIS’ branch in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan, is severely weakened, as is al-Qaeda, and therefore unable to realize its ambitions to strike against the West.

Instead, the threat of jihadist terror is shifting to other regions.

Efforts to counter the terrorist threat emanating from Africa

Avril Haynes, director of the US National Intelligence Agency, told a forum in California earlier this month that al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen is the most dangerous terrorist organization capable of attacking the West.

In addition to this most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the organization’s branch in Somalia, known as al-Shabaab, also provides financial support to the main leadership of al-Qaeda. The organization has long had a desire to attack American and Western targets in Africa and beyond.

“I can say that the number one organization that worries us the most is Al-Shabaab in East Africa,” said Chidi Blyden, Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, who attended a virtual briefing with the Advocacy Writers Group in Washington this month. .

“We are cooperating with the Somalis to destroy Al-Shabaab’s intent and ability to harm our partners in the region, to launch attacks outside of their current position,” Blyden said.

Earlier this year, the United States decided to deploy up to 500 US troops to Somalia to counter al-Shabaab. This decision was welcomed by the new government of Somalia.

However, al-Qaeda and ISIS branches in the Sahel region of Africa have made some progress.

“We are concerned about a group of extremist organizations in the Sahel region,” Blyden said.

Last year, some countries, such as France, began withdrawing their counterterrorism forces from the region.

Some experts fear that new problems will arise as a result.

“The likelihood of an al-Qaeda-linked group launching an international terrorist attack continues to grow as regional chapters grow stronger and counterterrorism efforts dim,” Katherine Zimmerman of the American Institute think tank told VOA. entrepreneurship.

“Even with America’s intelligence capabilities, and the number of these capabilities is large, the risk that such an attack can be carried out is high,” Zimmerman said, explaining this by shifting counterterrorism resources as the global terrorist threat changes. form.

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