The Associated Press provides additional details on bin Laden’s role in al Qaeda, based on the intelligence haul from the dead terror chief’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan:
U.S. counterterrorism officials have debated how big a role bin Laden and core al-Qaida leaders were playing in the attacks launched by affiliated terror groups, particularly al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen, and al-Shabab in Somalia.
Information gathered in the compound, officials said, strengthened beliefs that bin Laden was a lot more involved in directing al-Qaida personnel and operations than sometimes thought over the last decade. And it suggests bin Laden was “giving strategic direction” to al-Qaida affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, the defense official said.
To address a point in the AP article above that will certainly be missed by casual readers: note that the US intel officials are now describing Shabaab as one of several of al Qaeda’s “affiliated terror groups.”
Longtime readers of The Long War Journal will know that we have been describing Shabaab as such since late 2008. Unfortunately, some pundits dismiss the idea of Shabaab alliance with al Qaeda (as well as the existence of al Qaeda in East Africa, which, by the way, is explicitly referenced in the recent trove of Gitmo documents). Don’t expect any sort of retraction, however. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that no one holds the analysts and pundits to account for their poor analysis and punditry.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.