"Al Qaeda has become a useful label for any group that essentially pursues local aims"

Some wonder if bin Laden’s views have been politely ignored.

London-based Saudi dissident Saad al-Faqih told Reuters the offshoots shared common methods and strategy, but “there is not one organization. There are independent structures here and there in terms of military and operational tactics”.

Others suggest a fundamental localism is at work.

“The global jihadist genie has not been put entirely back in the bottle, but militancy is returning to its roots in local-level campaigns driven by local factors,” said Stephen Tankel, an assistant professor at American University and non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“You no longer have one driving focus behind al Qaeda after the death of bin Laden,” a leading Western counter-terrorism official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “The overall threat is marginally less.”.

“Instead there’s a lot more chaos and more militant capability linked to regional politics and crises.”