Al-Qaeda’s Centre of Gravity: A Discussion with NYPD Intel Chief
On Thursday 26 January, the New York Police Department’s Head of Intelligence Analysis, Mitch Silber, presented the findings of his latest book at an ICSR seminar. InThe Al-Qaeda Factor: Plots Against the West, Silber analyses sixteen of the biggest jihadist plots against Western countries in order to determine the precise role, if any, played by the central al-Qaeda organisation.
His findings include the following:
- Al-Qaeda Core’s actual role in plots against the West has been overstated, though their importance as an external inspiration endures
- Much more of the “action of the conspiracies” has taken place in the West, by Westerners, independent of Al-Qaeda.
- Al-Qaeda has not actively recruited in the West; rather the plots are underpinned by a “bottom-up” process, driven by individuals in the West who radicalise and then take the initiative to go overseas for training or to get into the fight.
- Al-Qaeda has been opportunistic, taking advantage of the Westerners who have shown up on its doorstep to utilise them in plots against the West.
- Post Bin-Laden, given the combination of Westerners who continue to radicalise/mobilise plus the rise of other important nodes in al Qaeda’s worldwide network of allies and affiliates, the threat from al Qaeda type terrorism has not ended.
For a full audio of the presentation, please click here.
To download a copy Mr. Silber’s Powerpoint presentation, please click here.
For more information on the book, please click here.