Days after America flexed its military muscles in two African countries — Libya and Somalia — against terrorists,US President Barack Obama has said that the risk of terrorism is going to continue for some time,even as top al Qaeda leadership has been decimated in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Asserting that Abu Anas al-Libi,an alleged top al Qaeda kingpin snatched in a US commando raid in Libya,would be brought to justice,Obama said America needs to engage in a “war of ideas in the region” and engage with Muslim countries and try to isolate radical elements.
“We know that Mr al-Libi planned and helped to execute a plot that killed hundreds of people,a whole lot of Americans. And we have strong evidence of that. He will be brought to justice,” Obama said at a White House news conference on Tuesday.
US commandos on Saturday seized Libi off the streets of Tripoli as he was parking his car and took him to a warship,where he is being interrogated under military detention.
Reflecting upon the shift in terrorism around the world,he said the US has successfully decimated core al Qaeda that had been operating primarily between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“But you now have these regional groups,some of which are explicitly tied to al-Qaeda or that ideology,some of which are more localised. Few of them have the ability to project beyond their borders,but they can do a lot of damage inside their borders,” he said.
“Africa is one of the places where,because in some cases,lack of capacity on the part of the governments,in some cases because it is easier for folks to hide out in vast terrains that are sparsely populated,that you’re seeing some of these groups gather. And we’re going to have to continue to go after them,” he said.
Obama said there is a difference “between the US going after terrorists who are plotting against the US” and his country being involved in wars.”The risks of terrorism and terrorist networks are going to continue for some time to come. We’ve got to have a long-term plan that is not just military-based,” he said.
“We’ve got to think about economic development because although there’s not a direct correlation between terrorism and the economy,there is no doubt that if you’ve got a lot of unemployed,uneducated young men in societies,that there is a greater likelihood that terrorist recruits are available,” he said.
At the same time,Obama asserted that the US will “go after” terrorist wherever there are active plots and networks.