Strides made against Al-Qaida but network still poses danger, UN experts report

Strides made against Al-Qaida but network still poses danger, UN experts report

Michael Chandler
Countries have collectively made strides in reducing the operational capability of the Al-Qaida network, which has suffered significant disruptions to its infrastructure, according to the latest report by a United Nations Security Council expert panel.

Under a resolution adopted in January by the Council to tighten measures against Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, and associated individuals and entities, countries have made greater efforts in identifying and breaking up cells, arresting members of Al-Qaida and their associates, as well as disrupting its finances or tracing transactions supporting the network, the report says.

However, "due to its decentralized, loose and relatively simple command and control system and inherent flexibility, [Al-Qaida] continues to pose a substantial threat, globally, to peace and security," warns the report, which was produced by a Monitoring Group set up by the Council to track the implementation of such measures as a freezing of assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo.

The Group recommends that the Council quickly issue its list of individuals and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida and the Taliban in a revised format, and that updated versions of the roster be sent to all UN Member States as soon as possible.

Among other measures, the panel suggests that countries set up appropriate regulatory authorities to oversee charities and non-governmental organizations. The panel also advised the Council to consider all individuals designated on the list as Al-Qaida terrorists or suspected terrorists so that Member States can detain, prosecute or extradite them to countries where they are wanted. Countries should also be encouraged to become party to international treaties dealing with plastic explosives and terrorist bombings.

Speaking at a press briefing at UN Headquarters, the panel’s Chairman, Michael Chandler, told journalists that the key to international cooperation was the UN Consolidated List, which was meant to be a full catalogue of persons and entities comprising or associated with Al-Qaida. But the list continued to reflect a small subset of those persons who had been identified as members or known to different countries as perhaps being linked in some way, he said.

Mr. Chandler also stressed that without broad information sharing, police investigative cooperation and the application of international system-wide financial controls, Al-Qaida will continue to be able to resist, recruit and rearm. "Al-Qaida is an insidious movement and no countries or group of countries can handle this problem alone," he stressed.