Arab politicians must be concerned with what is happening now, regarding the increased activity of al-Qaeda in Yemen.
This activity is indicative of a new policy adopted by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the natural successor to Osama Bin Laden in the leadership of the organization.
Al-Zawahiri’s new vision aims to achieve 3 main objectives in the near future:
1. Transfer the jihadist movement from “external” states such as Afghanistan and Pakistan to “internal” states such as Egypt, the Arabian Gulf and Yemen.
2. Begin the organization’s transition from an established jihadist movement primarily focusing on “individual jihad”, to an entity that promotes political advocacy for the organization’s activities and ideas.
3. Try to invest in the momentum of the Arab Spring revolutions and transform the mobilization of the street from peaceful demonstrations and protests into a financial and physical commitment to jihad, in an organized fashion under the command of al-Qaeda or factions loyal to it.
Perhaps the greatest evidence of this is the recent activities and influential operations carried out by some supporters of al-Qaeda in the region of Abyan in Yemen, and also on the Egyptian-Palestinian border near Egypt’s Sinai region.
One can only understand this kind of behavior, and the subsequent statements issued, as an attempt to plant the roots and foundations of the organization, and to create an audience loyal to al-Qaeda in these areas.
It seems clear that Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s new philosophy is that as long as there is funding, al-Qaeda’s jihadist activities will not be limited to Afghanistan only, because the “greatest threat” as al-Zawahiri puts it, “lies in the Arab world and its regimes that must be overthrown”.
The crisis for the moderate minds in the Arab world is that we are facing the phenomenon of a violent organization such as al-Qaeda trying to ride on the back of a peaceful revolution such as the Arab Spring.
This crisis will complicate any real progress in the Arab Spring revolutions, and their paths may be hijacked towards senseless violence that could transform them into chaos.
Hence the real proponents of the Arab Spring revolutions must be aware of these new hijacking attempts, primarily led by the violence coming from Afghanistan.