The numbers don’t lie. Al Qaeda, its affiliates, and its allies still kill and wound thousands of people worldwide each year—on a scale that is on par with, if not greater than, years past. But even this only tells part of the story. Al Qaeda’s ideology remains potent. And the organization itself is becoming stronger in some countries, not weaker.
In the wake of this year’s September 11 attack in Benghazi, consider Libya. A report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) released in August that was prepared by the research division of the Library of Congress (LOC) under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office outlines al Qaeda’s strategy for building up its network in post-Qaddafi Libya.
While some administration officials and outside analysts argue that al Qaeda’s senior leadership in Pakistan (AQSL) has been entirely marginalized, the authors of “Al Qaeda in Libya” find otherwise. AQSL “issued strategic guidance to followers in Libya and elsewhere to take advantage of the Libyan rebellion,” the report reads.