Al-Qaeda and Global Terror

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 16 April 2019

Ahmad al-Shara (Abu Muhammad al-Jolani) [image source]

Several years ago, Al-Qaeda made a strategic decision to refrain from foreign terrorist operations, refocusing away from these global spectaculars towards integrating more closely into local conflicts. The 2014 rampage across Iraq and Syria by Al-Qaeda’s rebellious former Iraqi branch, the Islamic State (ISIS), provided both the opportunity and additional incentive for a long-mediated rebranding effort. However, there have recently been signs of a shift back towards external terror operations, just as ISIS undergoes a setback and Al-Qaeda has a chance to reassert its dominance over the jihadi scene.

Take the case of Samiun Rahman, a British citizen of Bangladeshi heritage, who is being tried in India for terrorism-related offences. Rahman’s case resurfaced thanks to The Sunday Times. Rahman, 28, grew up in a council flat near Gray’s Inn Road in Bloomsbury, central London.

Rahman was, The Sunday Times says, radicalised in 2010 while in prison for non-terrorism-related offences. Upon release, Rahman became a cab-driver, the job he held up to the moment he departed for Syria in late 2013, joining Al-Qaeda’s then-declared branch in the country, Jabhat al-Nusra. At the present, Al-Nusra is known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and has ostensibly severed its command relationship with Al-Qaeda “central” (AQC).

Read the rest at European Eye on Radicalisation

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