Washington: Yemeni-American cleric Anwar-al-Awlaki, who is a top propagandist for al Qaeda, broke his silence on the uprisings in Middle East and claimed that Islamist groups are elated by these revolts.
Awlaki wrote in a new issue of the English-language al Qaeda magazine ‘Inspire’ where he addressed the revolutions and titled it `The Tsunami of Change`.
He offers a sweeping refutation of international perception that revolutions in the Arab world, fuelled by young secular, democratic movements, will be a setback for extremist groups.
“The outcome doesn’t have to be an Islamic government for us to consider what is occurring to be a step in the right direction,” Awlaki writes.
“Whatever the outcome is, our mujahideen brothers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the rest of the Muslim world will get a chance to breathe again after three decades of suffocation,” he added.
Awlaki proceeds with targeted rebuttals, singling out quotes from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.
In response to Bergen’s belief that al Qaeda is viewing the events with glee and despair, Awlaki said that Islamist extremists had gleefully watched the success of protest movements against governments they had long despised.
"The mujahideen around the world are going through a moment of elation and I wonder whether the West is aware of the upsurge of mujahideen activity,” Awlaki wrote.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, Awlaki believes revolution that could produce the most benefits for extremists is happening in Yemen.
He said that limited reach of Yemen’s central government has already made the country fertile ground for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) growth. Any further unravelling could give the group freer rein.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in no uncertain terms that their primary concern with Yemen’s uprising is the vacuum it may create for groups like AQAP to gain power.
In its response, Awlaki wrote that US has reason to be concerned about potential AQAP gains. The group has twice targeted American soil in as many years. But until now, AQAP has been largely quiet since protests began in Yemen.