Analysis

Evolving Al-Qaeda More Dangerous Than Ever
Members of Liwa Hamzah, an al-Qaeda-affiliated brigade in Syria, hold flags of Jabhat al-Nusra as they take part in a rally in the center of the city to announce their formation on February 25, 2013. (ZAC BAILLIE/AFP/Getty Images)
August 12, 2013
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| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
Al-Qaeda has successfully evolved into a franchise organization under the overall leadership of Ayman al-Zawahiri, making the terrorist organization even more dangerous and more difficult to track. Since the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, al-Qaeda has decentralized its hierarchical cell structure and improved financing methods, attack approaches and communication techniques to counter new intelligence efforts. The group is responsible for four times as many terrorist attacks today as it was before the Sept.11, 2001, attacks. Al-Qaeda is still aiming to establish an Islamic caliphate, and is establishing training camps around the world toward that end.
Last week the U.S. State Department issued a global travel alert, saying intelligence suggested that al-Qaeda was planning attacks on U.S. targets through Aug. 31. Interpol issued a global “Orange Notice” on Aug. 3, warning of a “major [al-Qaeda] threat to global security” after a rash of jailbreaks across nine countries “led to the escape of hundreds of terrorists and other criminals.” Meanwhile, the United States closed more than 20 diplomatic missions in North Africa and the Middle East to protect American envoys overseas.
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