Top Al Qaida leader captured

11.21.02

The United States says it has captured a top Al Qaida member.

Al-Qaida leader Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the network’s chief of operations in the Persian Gulf, has been captured, senior U.S. government officials said Thursday.

Al-Nashiri, a suspected mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in October 2000, was captured in an undisclosed foreign country earlier this month and is in U.S. custody, officials said. He is the highest-ranking al-Qaida operative captured since the CIA, FBI and Pakistani authorities captured bin Laden’s operations chief, Abu Zubaydah, in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in March.

So now my question is, so what? I mean, do you really think that these guys don’t have someone else waiting in the wings to take his place? What could this possibly do, except give a long-awaited promotion to the junior operations chief?

The U.S. won’t resort to torture, and this guy would probably prefer to die than talk anyway. So the likelihood of garnering any valuable intelligence from this arrest is slim to none. And, of course, the possibility of reprisal attacks against the U.S. just increased tenfold.

Not that I’m saying he shouldn’t have been captured, mind you. Obviously, this guy ought to be punished for the horrible things he has done. But anyone who thinks that it means the beginning of the end for Al Qaida is being extremely naive.

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