International Terrorism and Al Qaeda: Still Threatening

Has the west got the measure of Al Qaeda? The list of attacks attributed to it continues to grow, Mombasa and Bali having just been added. But what about the battle for Muslim hearts and minds, has that war even begun?

The World Today
6 minute READ

Rohan Gunaratna

Author of Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, Hurst, 2002

Al Qaeda remains a serious, immediate and direct threat. Although its physical infrastructure has suffered worldwide, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the network’s intention to strike at the heart of its enemies has not diminished. It retains sufficient capability to plan and execute operations directly and through associate groups.

The hardening of military and diplomatic targets has shifted the terrorist threat to soft targets on both land and sea. With more security around US sites, the new threat is to the governments, populations and economic centres of allies and friends. Since it is impossible to prevent the bombing of public places, civilians and infrastructure will remain the most vulnerable.

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