Al-Awlaki's Reach

The man we were debating only recently was the inspiration for the knifing of a member of parliament in Britain. John Burns on the terror suspect's allegedly growing threat to innocent Western lives:

Increasingly, Mr. Awlaki is being depicted by Western intelligence officials as a threat on the scale of Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Mr. Awlaki was the only militant leader singled out this week in the first public speech ever made by a head of Britain’s MI6. Sir John Sawers, the current MI6 chief, described “reading, every day, intelligence reports describing the plotting of terrorists who are bent on maiming and murdering people in this country,” and cited Mr. Awlaki and Yemen as increasingly dangerous. “From his remote base in Yemen,” he said, Mr. Awlaki “broadcasts propaganda and terrorist instruction in fluent English, over the Internet.”

Mr. Gohel, the terrorism analyst, said the importance of Mr. Awlaki and the Yemen-based Qaeda group he leads rested on the fact that they operate independently from the leadership of the main branch of Al Qaeda, with their own membership, cell structure and finances.

“I’ve been saying for the past year that al-Awlaki is the most dangerous ideologue in the world,” Mr. Gohel said. “Unlike bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, he doesn’t need subtitles on his videos to indoctrinate and influence young people in the West.” Because he was born and raised in the United States, and lived for two years in Britain, Mr. Awlaki “understands the Western mindset he has a better grip than bin Laden and Zawahiri when it comes to plotting terrorist attacks,” he said.

In his Internet harangues, Mr. Awlaki thrives in showing off his familiarity with Western culture, citing from Dickens and Shakespeare, among others. “Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie and as British as afternoon tea,” he said in one of his addresses this year.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Just In