Al Qaeda has not been defeated

Seth Jones:
A year after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, most policy makers and pundits believe al Qaeda is near collapse. "Another nail in the coffin," one senior U.S. official told me after the death of an al Qaeda operative in Pakistan last month from a U.S. drone strike. In testimony before the Senate in February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the core al Qaeda is likely becoming of "symbolic importance."
This conclusion is presumptuous. As the administration looks eastward—a strategy that incorporates China's rise—underestimating al Qaeda would be a dangerous mistake. With a handful of regimes teetering from the Arab Spring, al Qaeda is pushing into the vacuum and riding a resurgent wave as its affiliates engage in a violent campaign of attacks across the Middle East and North Africa.
Take a look around the Arab world.
In Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has increased control in such provinces as Shabwah and Abyan, as the central government in Sana faces a leadership crisis and multiple insurgencies. From this sanctuary, al Qaeda continues to plot attacks against the U.S. homeland, according to U.S. government assessments, ranging from plans for bombs hidden in cameras and printer cartridges to ones surgically implanted in humans and animals.
Across the Gulf of Aden in Somalia, militants of the al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab bombarded the city of Baidoa in April, trying to expand their foothold in southern portions of the country. With a growing number of American citizens from cities like Minneapolis and Phoenix traveling to—and from—Somalia to fight alongside al Shabaab, there is an increasing likelihood that radicalized operatives could perpetrate an attack in the United States. A report last year by the House Committee on Homeland Security found that al Shabaab had recruited at least 40 Somali-Americans from immigrant communities in the U.S.
Another trend pointing to al Qaeda's resurgence is the size of its global network. Since Sept. 11, 2001, it has expanded the number of affiliated groups. Along with Somalia's al Shabaab, they now include al Qaeda in Iraq—which is increasing its foothold in Baghdad, Diyala and Saladin provinces. Also active are al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and, in North Africa, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The leaders of these affiliates have sworn bayat, or loyalty, to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and provided him with funding, global influence, and a cadre of trained fighters. None of these organizations existed a decade ago.
 Al Qaeda has also established relationships with a growing number of allied groups such as the Pakistani Taliban, Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba and Nigeria's Boko Haram. While these are not formal members of al Qaeda, a loose arrangement allows them to cooperate with al Qaeda for specific operations or training when their interests converge. And several of them—the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba—have been actively recruiting in the U.S....
There is more.

Al Qaeda has become an alliance of Islamic religious bigots who want to murder anyone who does not agree with their weird religious views.  It is an alliance that appears to be growing even if many of the original leaders of al Qaeda have been killed.  The groups still engage in mass murder for Allah attacks on Christians and Muslims who do not agree with them.   In Yemen they are a real threat to the central government's control of certain regions.  They are able mass their forces and take and hold cities and whole regions.  The same can be said for the groups affiliate in Somalia.  I think the Afghan Taliban are still closely affiliated with al Qaeda.

Besides the mass murder for Allah strategies of these groups, the other strategy is to create and exploit chaos.  There are opportunities for this strategy in the changes taking place in the Middle East, where new leaders are embracing the cruel and unusual punishment of Shari'a Law.  It is more than passing strange that many in the media do not see the evils of Shari'a as a problem, even though they would be victims of its implementation.


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