- CNTV English - CCTV News

No foothold for extremists amid Arab world turmoil: UN official

03-04-2011 14:27 BJT

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Terrorist networks such as al-Qaida are far from being able to exploit the unrest across the Middle East, a UN official has told Xinhua.

At the onset of popular uprisings that have spread like wildfire across the Arab world, many feared that Islamic extremists would try to fill the void left by fallen governments or push for the overthrow of wobbly rulers in a bid to grab power.

With all eyes now on Libya, the only terror group to step up has been the Algerian organization known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The organization said it was ready to support the protestors who are now calling for an end to the reign of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

But the group is too weak to offer any real support, and Libyans may not be particularly welcoming toward its members, said Richard Barrett, coordinator of the UN al-Qaida/Taliban Monitoring Team.

"I don't think they've got much of a foothold in Libya," he said.

Al-Qaida's senior leadership, moreover, was also slow in its response to events in Cairo that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, he noted.

One reason behind terrorists' seeming inability to take advantage of the region's unrest is the immense pressure the United States and its global allies have put on extremists over the last decade since the 9/11 attacks almost 10 years ago, he said.

"It's harder for them (militants) to project their image and project their message now," Barrett said.

Some of the tapes that al-Qaida used to get out its message arrive long after the events discussed in the recordings, which indicates their opportunities to communicate are much more restricted than before, he said.

Still, the group's leaders are likely to follow events closely, he said.

Of particular concern, however, is what happens next in the region, Barrett said.

Egypt has the army running things now, but it remains unknown what will happen in countries such as Libya, where no viable political institution could fill in the power vacuum if Gaddafi is deposed. The same problem also exists in Yemen, Barrett said.

"The most vulnerable countries (to terrorist influence) are the ones that don't have any alternatives of any sort, no development of civil society, no development of political institutions and so on," Barrett said.

One potential bright spot, however, is that if more democratic reforms take hold in the region, that could poke a hole in terrorists' ideology, which thrives on the sense of powerlessness felt by many people in the Arab world, he said.

"If you took that away, clearly (extremists) would have less fertile soil to plant seeds of ideology," he said.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program