At the Jamestown Foundation Global Terrorism Analysis site they document the desperate discussion going on in the Jihadi forums, with different groups floating different excuses and speculation on why he’s not been seen or heard from the past year and a half.
I’ve documented the dissolution, schisms,Â and infighting of the various Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-aligned (AQAM) groups in several articles here the past six months. They range from the schisms in the Pakistan and Afghanistan Taliban groups, the war against the Arabs and Uzbeks earlier this year in Pakistan, the splits among the various groups in Iraq with every group trying to establish their own separate power-base.
They continue with the assassinations between groups, (most recently Hekmatyar’s friends and allies), the flagging recruiting, the disparate messages, new Jihads called against Islamic countries, the confusion of tactics (e.g. avoiding killing of civilians and purposefully targeting civilians, the modes fluctuate every two weeks,) and on, and on. It should be obvious to everyone that the central leadership and strategic direction is gone.
In several recent Jihad video productions you see folks saying they’ve talked to him, or like Baby Dadullah have received letters from him, but honestly a letter’s easy to fake. You’ve seen three separate AQAM pop up in recent weeks all stating they are leading, but in reality they are separate gangs now, vying for power even with one another. Rumors have it that some are turning other leader’s followers in to increase their own personal power within the false Jihad. So the jihadis are really following a ghost, a Daijal, and the ones who really know the truth aren’t saying anything for fear that they would lose power.
No true leader of Bin Laden’s purported caliber would allow this to go on if they still cared, or were able to communicate to prevent it. So he’s either dead, captured, or deserted — pick one.
One last note to any of the good guys who might be reading this: AQAM recruiting is flagging, but if there is going to be a push look for it over the next month. School’s out and they will gather what they can, through force, finding the mentally defective, or through bribery. Those recruits will be showing up in Afghanistan any time now.