[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list