The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
WRM in the WSJ: Al Qaeda Still a Threat to US

WRM has an op-ed in the WSJ on how al-Qaeda remains a serious threat to the US even after its failures in Iraq and the death of bin Laden:

At this stage, the terrain favors America’s enemies. In places like the wide swath of Africa’s Sahel region, and in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, it is difficult to establish strong states that can keep the extremists in check. The free-floating nature of the new jihadist movement also poses problems: At any given moment, from Afghanistan to Mauritania, dozens of groups are competing for funds and followers, moving swiftly in response to perceived opportunities.

Yet this is war: One side makes a move, the other counters it, and so it goes until one side finds a strategy that the other cannot overcome—or until the exhausted combatants accept a compromise peace. In the first phase of the war, al Qaeda tried to lead the world’s Muslims on a grand jihad. In the second phase the U.S. and its allies (including Muslim religious and civic leaders around the world) dealt effectively with that threat. Now al Qaeda has developed a way to remain relevant even without the broad support it once hoped for.

The fourth stage of war, one hopes, will see the U.S. and its allies once again push al Qaeda and its allies to the margins, relegating them permanently to the nuisance fringe. At present al Qaeda appears to have only a limited capacity to attack the U.S. and its principal European allies. But that could change quickly if the terrorists succeed in establishing havens in North Africa. This war isn’t over, and the danger isn’t past.

Read the whole thing here.

Published on March 5, 2013 2:43 pm