Al Qaeda has been on the run and in deterioration, unable to launch a spectacular attack like that of September 11 for quite some time now. With the death of Osama bin Laden, this demise will continue—and perhaps be expedited. Still, the threat of jihadist terrorism remains, namely in the short-term, and the American counter-terrorism community would be well-advised to maintain its vigilance in the coming months. The immediate reaction of Al Qaeda and its sympathizers to bin Laden’s death is sure to be one of shock and dismay, but it’s only a matter of time before those emotions give way to anger. And the irate have a tendency to lash out.
Al Qaeda was depreciating before bin Laden’s death. For nearly a decade, U.S. military operations have had its senior leadership in disarray. As drone strikes escalated under the Obama administration, the core of the Al Qaeda seemed to be more concerned about surviving the night than seizing the day. This, in part, explains why the organization was never able to re-group after September 11 to launch another major attack against the U.S. Even when Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, were able to release messages, they increasingly fell flat.
Tags: ayman al zawahiri, counter terrorism, disarray, seizing the day, spectacular attack, sympathizers