Source: Oren Dorell / USA Today
The continued closure of 20 U.S. embassies across the Middle East and parts of Africa amid increased al-Qaeda activity in the region is the latest example showing that U.S. counterterrorism strategy has failed to adapt to the terrorists’ spread, analysts say.
Despite the decimation of al-Qaeda’s core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, “Al-Qaeda has been able to morph over the past decade as a function of U.S. strategy countering it,” says Hassan Mneimneh, an analyst at the German Marshall Fund.
“It moved from a centralized organization to a series of local-actor organizations and (now) it’s trying to reassert itself as a network of local-actor organizations that are trying to connect to each other.”
U.S. forces have killed dozens of al-Qaeda’s top deputies, and Navy SEALs killed its former chief Osama bin Laden, prompting President Obama on the campaign trail last year to declare that al-Qaeda is “back on its heels” and no longer much of a threat.
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