[QODLink]
Inside Story
Al-Qaeda's role in the Arab world
How will the pro-democracy protests sweeping across the region affect al-Qaeda's influence in the Middle East?
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2011 11:05 GMT

As the ripple effects of revolutionary change continue to be felt throughout much of the Arab world, al-Qaeda has been conspicuously silent.

The group, which has for years denounced autocratic Arab leaders as puppets of the West, appears to have watched from a distance, as events continue to unfold - from Tunisia, to Egypt, following the ouster of presidents Zinel Abedine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.

Osama Bin Laden has not uttered a single word about the changes sweeping the region. And when Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's number two, spoke recently, he reiterated the group's known stance.

Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, says those protesting against him are led by al-Qaeda. He claims an Islamic state has been established in the eastern provinces of his country. 

Is al-Qaeda a factor in the Arab revolts of 2011, or is its specter simply a tool used to forestall the march of history? Are they a player or a spectator? And how will change in the Arab world impact al-Qaeda's influence in the region?

Inside Story, with presenter Ghida Fakhry, discusses with Robert Grenier, the former director of the counter-terrorism unit of the CIA; Kamal Helbawy, the founder of the Muslim Association of Britain; and Phil Rees, a terrorism expert and author of Dining With Terrorists: Meetings With the World's Most Wanted Militants.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.