Scott Shane in The New York Times:
Washington: When Al Qaeda’s online propaganda arm sought to rally supporters this week after the killing of Osama bin Laden, it did not hint that the network had a major terrorist plot in the works. Instead, it proposed do-it-yourself terrorism, urging militants around the world to come up with their own attacks, however modest.
“We say to every mujahid Muslim, if there is an opportunity, do not waste it,” said the statement Monday from Al Fajr Media Center, the terror network’s online voice. “Do not consult anyone about killing Americans or destroying their economy.”
The message praised Bin Laden for his “long-term planning and vision,” but proposed exactly the opposite: “We also incite you to carry out acts of individual terrorism with significant results, which only require basic preparation.”
The message implicitly acknowledged that the demise of Al Qaeda’s founder leaves its core in a weakened position. Even before Bin Laden’s death, the rise of affiliates, notably Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, had shifted attention and energy away from the parent organization in Pakistan.
Now, with a handful of flawed or little-known candidates ready to succeed Bin Laden, but no one with his status and charisma, the future of the network’s old hub is uncertain. Some American intelligence analysts believe that the fact that more than 10 days have passed without the announcement of a successor could be a sign of a power struggle. More: