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By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
Topic - Thomas Joscelyn
The State Department named a key leader of a Lebanon-based militant group with ties to al Qaeda factions in Syria as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" on Tuesday, shedding fresh light on evidence that Islamic extremists operating in Syria may be eager to expand their operations regionally.
Should Syrian President Bashar Assad's government come apart chaotically — a possible ramification of U.S. military strikes — the risk is high that al Qaeda-linked groups among Syria's opposition forces could gain access to the nation's lethal chemical weapons stocks, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee warned Tuesday.
Al Qaeda-linked groups operating alongside Syria's rebels are growing stronger, analysts told Congress on Tuesday, countering recent claims by the Obama administration and some senior lawmakers that extremists are playing only a marginal role in the civil war.
The recent wave of anti-West demonstrations across the Muslim world and the attack that killed four Americans in Libya have triggered mounting concern among analysts and U.S. officials that al Qaeda is exploiting the chaos that has followed the Arab Spring's overthrow of secular dictatorships aligned with the United States.
The latest edition of al Qaeda's online, English-language magazine includes an article offering an Islamic justification for extremists to steal from non-Muslims to finance their activities. Analysts say this shows that the U.S. and its allies are succeeding in drying up sources of terrorist funding.
"As the name implies, al Qaeda is trying to hide the extent of its influence over this group as well as over other allied groups," Mr. Joscelyn said. "This makes it difficult to assess the full scope of al Qaeda's operations inside Afghanistan today."
Documents seized from Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the May 2011 raid revealed that the terrorist group was actively relocating operatives from northern Pakistan back into Afghanistan, said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.