Bad Times for al Qaeda
There is another problem caused by al Qaeda that festered recently. One of the tropes used to promote Middle East peace is that an agreement would mean a decrease in the support for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. I have always doubted that, because al Qaeda's main motivation is its own religious bigotry. A couple of days ago Zawahiri produced another message in which he opposed a cease fire agreement between Hamas and Israel. That Hamas would be the primary beneficiary of such an agreement phased him not at all. He wants no Middle East peace agreement. He wants the conquest of Israel. The Israelis are not likely to ever agree to that.
This has not been a good time for al Qaeda and its top leadership. First, one of the founders of the No. 1 terror group in the world has come out with a stunning attack on the al Qaeda's current top leaders, accusing them of being immoral, corrupt and on the payroll of Arab intelligence services.
Second, geographers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) believe they have narrowed down the possible hiding place of the organization's mastermind, Osama bin Laden, to three buildings in Pakistan.
Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, better known by his pseudonym of Dr. Fadl, has accused both bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, of hijacking the cause and derailing the original ideology he helped establish almost two decades ago.
Does this unexpected turn of events herald the beginning of a major shift in the world of Takfiri Islamists? Perhaps. In any case it is bound to have repercussions on many of those sitting on the fence of radical Islamism, teetering between falling prey to those calling for terrorist acts and those advocating that the killing of innocents is un-Islamic and goes counter to everything that the Koran and Islam stand for.
As for bin Laden and his entourage, they may have bigger problems than bad public relations. Using standard geographic tools, the kind used to locate endangered species and criminals on the lam, a group of researchers at UCLA claim they have narrowed bin Laden's hiding place to three possible buildings in the northwestern Pakistani city of Parachinar.
Before releasing the information to the public, Thomas W. Gillespie, the group's head researcher, a biogeographer from UCLA was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying he and his students first contacted the FBI with their findings. The FBI refused to comment on the report, stating they never talk about "an active investigation."
Sharif, or Dr. Fadl, who was nabbed in Yemen shortly after the Sept.11, 2001, attacks and extradited to Egypt, is serving time in Cairo's infamous Tora Prison for his part in trying to instigate a revolt in Egypt in the 1990s. He launched his surprise assault on his former comrades in arms from his cell, in a newly released book he wrote behind bars.
In his book, Sharif condemns what he called the murder of innocent victims, saying it went contrary to Islam. He goes on to accuse the two top leaders of al Qaeda of being responsible for "every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Sharif questions in his book the rationale behind the al Qaeda attacks on the United States, asking how could it benefit the cause of Islam to destroy "one of your enemy's buildings and he destroys one of your countries?