Ahmed Rashid, London Sunday Telegraph, January 1:
Osama bin Laden has not been driven underground or lost touch with his followers. Al-Qaeda is using the internet extensively to communicate with its supporters and to further its aim of creating new bases from which to organise terrorist attacks.
Suggestions that it may have morphed into some kind of “ideological” or “inspirational” organisation that merely encourages copycat groups of young Muslims to emulate its greatest “achievements”, are contradicted by its leadership’s steady stream of instructions to followers”¦
If any single individual is responsible for the continuing expansion of al-Qaeda, it is President Bush. America’s failed policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan, its failure to rebuild either Iraq or Afghanistan after invading them, and its support for Israel’s roles in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories, have created unprecedented anger in the Muslim world.
In Somalia America is compounding its disastrous support for the warlords by backing Ethiopia in driving out of Mogadishu the Islamists who took over.
Today, the danger of a civilisational war – between Shia and Sunni within the Islamic world, and between the West and the Islamic world – grows ever closer.…