Anwar al-Awlaki dead: what it means for US, Yemen - CSMonitor.com
Many keep asking what the death of Anwar al-Awlaki did for the war of terror. Call his followers what you like, they were AQ lite, they are and to some extent where perhaps the terrorist's of the little man. While Bin Laden, and the AQ traditionalists would plan these elaborate long term attacks, using large amounts of funds, well established and trained operatives, many want a be terrorists had been left out. Many tried to get to Afghanistan to train, and gain the approval of Bin Laden's planners. Many where turned back, if for no other reason than operational security, Bin Laden's people could not be sure who was a plant, and who was a real follower.
On the other hand Anwar al-Awlaki, would just tell people to go out and attack, he actually was a religious leader in his own right, something Bin Laden, could only partially claim. He issued very broad fatwa's, to his followers, many who would only hear of or from him on web sites. His game plan also was something every want a be jehad-est, could accomplish. His main order or fatwa was classic.
Use anything you have to mount jehad against the oppressors. if all you have is a tape recorder, then tape gun fire and bombs going off, and play it in a movie theater or some other place where it will cause panic. If all you have is a bb gun then use it, use anything available to you.
The main AQ had as a part of their fatwa an instruction, that a plan could only proceed if it had a 75% chance of success. This required a lot of planning and pre surveillance to accomplish this level of success. Which also gave security types a longer and better chance of discovering the plans. Awliki's AQ lite had no such requirement. Hence, anyone could attack with very little planning or surveillance, making them harder to catch during the time up to the attack. On the other side, these AQ lite terrorists had very little if any training in operational security, or even how to make bombs, or fire guns. This made it easier for security types to infiltrate AQ lite.
But the trade off was in the favor of the AQ lite, virtually anyone could be a one man cell, like the Ft Hood attack, actually both of them, the one that happen and the one that was stopped. Each attacker, could almost cause as much fear as a real attacker from AQ of Bin Laden, so it seemed that they would be as effective in many ways as a "real terrorist".
On the security side, if keep the money flowing into the homeland security, so on we go. It is still to be seen if someone will be able to pick up the mantel of AQ lite, but for now it seems to have dampened the lone wolf attackers a bit.