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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
War on al-Qaeda: One year on
British marines in Afghanistan
Al-Qaeda quickly lost its Afghan base

As the anniversary of 11 September approaches, assessments are being drawn up as to how the so-called 'War on Terror' is progressing.

So far, it's a mixed report.

The good news is that there has been no repeat of the devastating attacks on New York and Washington.

The bad news for the West is that al-Qaeda and its supporters are still out there, armed and angry.

Embarrassingly for US President George Bush, neither Osama Bin Laden nor almost any other senior al-Qaeda leaders have been caught. To date, the biggest catch for the US has been Abu Zubaydah, al-Qaeda's suspected operations chief, who was captured in a shootout in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad in March.

Washington has yet to reveal where he is being held but sources close to al-Qaeda say he is highly unlikely to be giving his interrogators any vital information.

So let's take a look at where progress has been made and where it's lacking.

Military

On the military front, al-Qaeda has suffered a massive blow.

Within three months of 11 September, the organisation had effectively lost its Afghan base.

Pockets still exist and there are signs that both al-Qaeda and the Taleban are now regrouping to make small, isolated attacks on Afghan and US forces.

The war on al-Qaeda and its affiliates will never be won until its root causes are resolved

But the training camps which operated so openly, and through which thousands of impressionable young Muslims passed, have been destroyed.

From now on they must operate in secret, without the support or knowledge of any host government.

Of course the downside to this is that it is now harder to know where al-Qaeda are.

The US estimates they have operatives in more than 60 countries. Western intelligence believes that it is not a question of whether they will strike again, but when.

Financial

The US Treasury has issued a swift rebuttal of the notion that it is losing the battle to choke off terrorist financing.

It points out that together with other countries, it has frozen more than $112m in 'terrorist-related assets'.

Osama Bin Laden
The fate of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is still uncertain
It says that over 160 countries have blocking orders in force and that hundreds of bank accounts worth more than $70m have been blocked outside the US.

But a leaked UN report has warned that al-Qaeda's finances are in good shape and that the early successes in choking off its funding have tailed off.

A chilling reminder of the task at hand is that it's estimated the attacks of 11 September cost just $500,000 to organise and execute.

Political

This has been a mixed success for Washington. In the immediate aftermath of last year's attacks, almost the entire world's governments voiced their support for Washington.

Even Libya's Colonel Gaddafi expressed his sympathy, and only Iraq's Saddam Hussein gloated publicly.

Faced with the wrath of a wounded America, Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen rushed to cooperate with Washington, sharing data on suspects and monitoring bank accounts.

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay
There has been opposition to US treatment of Taleban suspects
The attacks have also prompted new US friendships with Russia and Pakistan.

But one year on, the world is already showing signs of growing weary with Washington's War on Terror.

Around 600 detainees are locked up at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, denied access to lawyers or families.

Many are believed to be innocent and pressure is growing for the US to try them or free them.

In the UK and in Europe terror trials are collapsing for insufficient evidence, and western intelligence admits it still knows too little about al-Qaeda's whereabouts and activities.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of all this is that the US shows few signs of addressing the grievances behind Muslim extremist anger.

The Palestinians remain without a free country to call their own, Iraq is still under sanctions and is probably about to be attacked, again.

The Kashmir dispute remains unsolved. The war on al-Qaeda and its affiliates will never be won until its root causes are resolved.


Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

30 Aug 02 | Americas
07 Nov 01 | Business
25 Apr 02 | Business
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