Monday, April 30, 2012

Al-Qaeda Threat Fractured, Not Gone

The Foundry - A recent assessment by senior U.S. intelligence officials shows that while the current threat associated to al-Qaeda central—i.e., Ayman al-Zawahiri and his immediate acolytes—has significantly diminished, the threat nonetheless remains.

Richard Cardillo, an official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, argues that a high-impact terrorist event emanating from al-Qaeda central is “unlikely in the next year.”

While it is true that al-Qaeda central and its radical ideologies, as represented by Osama bin Laden and manifest in the tragic events of September 11, has been fractured, in many ways this phenomenon has led to the diffusion of such ideologies.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and other regional proponents of Islamism have been the natural outgrowth resulting from the constant pressure levied on al-Qaeda central and the regions in which it previously operated with relative impunity.

While U.S. counterterrorism efforts have no doubt hampered the ability of al-Qaeda central or its regional affiliates from launching a sophisticated attack against the U.S., it is important for both the U.S. counterterrorism community as well as the public at large to resist the temptation to rest on their laurels.