Despite international action, Al-Qaida ‘fit and well,’ ready to strike, UN report warns
Despite international action to contain Al-Qaida, the terrorist network retains its financial support and remains a deadly threat, according to a United Nations report released today.
“Al-Qaida is ‘fit and well’ and poised to strike again at its leisure,” says a UN expert panel report, which was previewed at a press briefing earlier this month. “Members of Al-Qaida and their associates are deployed in many countries across the world and, given the opportunity, they will have no compunction in killing as many people as they can from those nations that do not conform to their religious and ideological beliefs and which they perceive as their enemies.”
Despite having lost its physical base and sanctuary in Afghanistan, Al-Qaida has operational links with militant Islamic groups in Europe, North America, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and remains able to recruit new members and plan and launch future terrorist attacks. “The terrorist organization’s diffuse leadership, loose structure and absence of centralized command and control make it hard to detect or eradicate,” the report warns.
One problem in stemming the activities of Al-Qaida is a lack of coordinated action, according to the experts, who note that only a few of those individuals detained, sought and identified by States are included on the UN’s consolidated list of those under sanctions. Instead, nations are using their own lists “unevenly,” seriously diminishing the effectiveness of responses. The experts call for making “much greater use” of the UN list.
On the financial front, the report finds that despite initial successes in freezing some $112 million in Al-Qaida assets, the network continues to have access to “considerable financial and other economic resources.” The report recommends increased intelligence and information sharing among States to address the problem. It also urges greater efforts to track down and close down businesses supporting Al-Qaida and to better regulate alternative banking systems.
Members of Al-Qaida and the Taliban “continue to move undetected across international boundaries,” the report says, urging stricter border control procedures.
In order for the arms embargo to be effective, the experts recommend steps that States can take to disrupt the illegal sales and supplies of arms and ammunition to Al-Qaida and its associates.
The report was produced by a Monitoring Group set up by the Security Council to track the implementation of measures – a freezing of assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo – against Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, and associated individuals and entities.
The report was reviewed by the Security Council today during a closed-door meeting. In a statement to reporters following the session, Council President Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria said the members recalled the importance of the sanctions against Usama Bin Laden, Al Qaida, the Taliban and associated individuals and entities in the fight against international terrorism. All States were urged to provide reports to the committee monitoring those sanctions.
"The members of the Council also reiterated the importance of cooperation by all States with the Counter-Terrorism Committee," the President said, referring to the panel set up in the wake of the 11 September attacks against the United States. He added that nations must also work with other sanctions committees.