In Part I of Getting to Know al-Qaeda we all became familiarized with the faces of the original al-Qaeda group under bin Laden, Zawahari, and the remaining leadership.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the same terrorist organization that once had the capability to kill 2,977 innocent civilians on U.S. soil by hijacking four passenger jets would find itself hard pressed today to blow up a McDonald’s in Islamabad. The leadership is dwindling, recruitment is faltering, and the face of al-Qaeda itself, Usama bin Laden, was shot in the face by U.S. special operators in his bedroom.
Due to the relentless pressure against al-Qaeda throughout the Afghan and Pakistani border regions by the CIA and its drone campaign, the top AQ commanders couldn’t even get together for their annual Fantasy Football Draft without one of them becoming intimately familiarized with the inner workings of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile.
Because of the continuous pounding against them, UBL and his commanders could not lead much less coordinate any operations throughout other areas of the world. That is where the off-shoots come in.