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Al-Qaeda’s Centre of Gravity: A Discussion with NYPD Intel Chief

30/01/2012

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.