Dr Lars Berger discusses the implications of al-Qaeda establishing a franchise in India
Al-Qaeda on the Indian Subcontinent is novel for the top-down way it has been created, in contrast to the previous method of merging, absorbing and rebranding established independent groups.
In light of the Islamic State's advance in Iraq and Syria, Dr Berger discusses the future of al-Qaeda.
Dr Berger's article entitled "Al-Zawahiri hopes an Indian franchise will revive al-Qaeda", comments on the recent change in behaviour of al-Qaeda in response to IS's advancement in Iraq and Syria.
Al-Qadea leader, Ayman al-Zawahri released a 55-minute video announcing a new al-Qaeda franchise: al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. What this means for the future of al-Qaeda and the people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh remains unclear. What is obvious, is that this is a clear attempt to save the reputation of the once-mighty organisation’s beleaguered head.
"Zawahiri has had a shaky tenure at the al-Qaeda helm", and at the time of Osma Bin Laden's death counterterrorism efforts by the West has taken it's toll. The al-Qaeda he inherited was weak and fragmented.
In the western world al-Qaeda has never regained the capacity needed to orchestrate a major '9/11 type' attack.
Dr Berger highlights that Zawahiri has been the subject of scepticism amongst former affiliates over the mismatch between his undeniable skill as a public figure and his rather disastrous track record as the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad."
In an attempt to overcome these problems he has tried to maintain al-Qaeda's profile and also accelerate its expansion as this new franchise demonstrates. "The formation of al-Qaeda on the Indian Subcontinent shows how confident in this model (or dependent on it) al-Qaeda’s leadership has become."