ANALYSIS-Qaeda survives pressure, salvages some credibility

Tue Jan 5, 2010 3:57pm GMT

* Regional hubs give al Qaeda global reach

* Attacks show al Qaeda menace is evolving

* Danger of West overreacting, some experts say

By William Maclean, Security Correspondent

LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda has stormed back to menacing prominence in the West with an attempted mass attack, shoring up tottering credibility among admirers impatient for another spectacular strike like Sept 11.

Almost five years after its last mass killing in the West, the failed Christmas Day downing of a U.S. airliner over Detroit shows the group to be resilient, innovative and able to persuade young militants to kill themselves in an anti-Western campaign.

Hatched by al Qaeda followers in Yemen, the attack also demonstrates the threat to the West of the globally-scattered hubs Osama bin Laden has fostered as he has come under more pressure in his redoubts on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Experts draw a similar conclusion from a Jan. 1 attack in Denmark involving a Somali: armed with an axe and suspected of links with al Qaeda, the man broke into the home of a Danish cartoonist whose drawings of the Prophet Mohammad had caused Muslim outrage. The Somali was shot and wounded by police.   Continued...

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