Home > Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > Analysis: Al-Qaida’s ‘Doomsday’ Revenge?

Analysis: Al-Qaida’s ‘Doomsday’ Revenge?

“It is a truism that the vice of revenge has motivated humans since the dawn of history. The August 6 downing of a NATO helicopter in Afghanistan killing 30 American troops is perhaps the latest demonstration of a Taliban proxy retaliation to avenge the spectacular loss of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida’s legendary founder. The casualties included 22 Navy SEALs from Team Six, the secretive unit behind the daring raid that killed the leader on May 2 in Pakistan.

While it is premature to reach any definitive conclusion on the rationale for the Taliban’s deadliest attack, the frightening prospect is the new al-Qaida will seek to retaliate directly against the US in a big way with weapons of mass destruction. During the Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, DC in April 2010, US President Barack Obama expressed his concerns about a ‘doomsday’ scenario. He warned that al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations ‘are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and would have no compunction at using them.’

Now, four months after the Abbottabad operation and the death of the notorious mastermind of 9/11, the lingering question that still remains is al-Qaida’s worst revenge yet to come? Two reasons account for this likely eventuality. First is the persistent motivation of deep hatred towards the US and its friends and allies. For instance, in February 1998, bin Laden pronounced a fatwah (religious ruling) that Muslims should kill Americans, including civilians, anywhere in the world they could be found, and in the following May, he stated in a declaration titled ‘The Nuclear Bomb of Islam,’ that it is the duty of Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to attack the ‘enemies of God.’

Second is the network’s unending effort to obtain an unconventional capability. Bin Laden’s operatives have relentlessly searched for such weapons and the materials to build them. The lure of engaging in a successful WMD operation as a worthy follow-up to 9/11 still persists as a ‘divine force.’ The sights are definitely on something big. For example, in 2003, New York officials were alerted to a possible hydrogen cyanide gas attack by al-Qaida operatives on the New York subway system.

It didn’t materialize, supposedly called off by Ayman Zawahiri, at the time al-Qaida’s second in command, for ‘something better.'” Read more.

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