Al-Qaida alive and dangerous
The terror group founded by Osama bin Laden has proved to be more resilient than this country's leaders had hoped.
Nineteen United States embassies across Africa and the Middle East have reopened for business after a series of terrorist threats, but so, too, is the al-Qaida terrorist group once described by top officials as on its death bed still very much alive.
Despite that hopeful rhetoric, claims of al-Qaida's near demise, made most prominently by President Obama, have proved disappointingly premature.
It was perhaps just a little too much to expect that the killing of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., would signal the death knell of this dangerous organization. But Obama and CIA Director John Brennan repeatedly said as much during and after the 2012 presidential campaign.
"Al-Qaida is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead," Obama boasted at the Democratic National Convention.
Brennan was even more unequivocal in a speech he gave at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
"For the first time since this fight began, we can look ahead and envision a world in which al-Qaida core is no longer relevant," he said.
Note the use of the word "core"; it's a reference to the continuing danger posed by al-Qaida affiliates, like the one in the Arabian peninsula. They remain an active danger. But the recent row over the embassy closings, not to mention the turmoil in Iraq and Syria, reveal that the al-Qaida body once headed by bin Laden continues in operation under new leaders who are working closely with al-Qaida affiliates.
The question is what to do about it, and closing embassies is not the preferred solution. Indeed, it's a symbol of U.S. weakness that only invites more brazen action. Osama bin Laden certainly is dead, but the group he founded to wage jihad remains an ever-present danger.