Spree of Jailbreaks Stirs Fear of New Al Qaeda Threat
In less than a week, more than 2,000 prisoners, many of them Islamic militants trained by Al Qaeda, have been broken out of detention in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan in spectacularly violent raids.
The spree of suicide bombings and rocket fire that has liberated a potential army of extremists has raised concern among some that the breakouts were synchronized by an ascendant faction of the terrorist network.
But counter-terrorism experts attribute the seemingly coordinated prison breaks more to the similarity of local security failures in the countries involved than to any rebirth of the command-and-control structure of Al Qaeda that was disrupted by the killing two years ago of Osama bin Laden.
“I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but as a member of the commentariat I’m fully aware of the Rule of Three,” tweeted Daniel Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He referred to the stance among analysts that three similar occurrences constitute an indicative “trend.”
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