On May 17, UPI editor-at-large Arnaud de Borchrave wrote a story titled “The Broken Back Syndrome.”
Referring to repeated claims from authorities in the U.S. and Pakistan that al-Qaida’s “back has been broken” by the capture of certain key leaders in the organization, de Borchgrave wrote that such claims show “a dangerous lack of understanding of what happened to al-Qaida after the battle of Tora Bora 3 1/2 years ago.”
Far from having its back broken, de Borchgrave wrote, “[A]l-Qaida has morphed into a global movement that is part politico-religious, part ideological and part spiritual.” He wrote, “[T]here is evidence of a worldwide jihadi phenomenon” that stretches from Mindanao in the Philippines, to various parts of Africa and to the Middle East.
De Borchgrave wrote that the intelligence branch of United States European Command (EUCOM), which is responsbile for U.S. forces in 91 countries covering Europe, most of Africa, Russia, parts of Asia and the Middle East, and most of the Atlantic Ocean, does not agree that al-Qaida’s back has been broken. He concludes that when Osama bin Laden is captured, U.S. and other Western countries are likely to make the mistaken judgment that their problem with al-Qaida terrorism has been solved.
On May 20, UPI reported on a Canadian intelligence report that appeared to back up the notion that terrorists were finding safe haven in Africa.