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Strategic Horizons: Al-Qaida’s Resurgence, Like Its Demise, Is Greatly Exaggerated

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013

In 1897, Mark Twain famously advised the New York Journal that its report of his death was an exaggeration. Recent years have seen a number of reports of al-Qaida's death. These too have been exaggerations but, unfortunately, dangerous rather than witty ones.

Claims of al-Qaida's demise began in July 2011 when then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the defeat of al-Qaida is "within reach." In a May 2013 speech at the National Defense University in Washington, President Barack Obama said, "The core of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the path to defeat." In an August address at Camp Pendleton Marine Base, Obama repeated this, but reminded his audience that the threat had shifted to al-Qaida "affiliates and like-minded extremists." ...

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