CAIRO – Al Qaeda’s operating environment today is vastly different from the one in which it launched its most notorious operation, the 9/11 terror attacks. Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s founder and charismatic leader, was killed by United States Navy Seals in Pakistan in May. Three brutal Middle East dictatorships were removed this year – two by unarmed civil-resistance tactics and one by a NATO-assisted armed rebellion. Drone attacks have eliminated many of Al Qaeda’s most experienced commanders, including, most recently, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.
Has militant jihadism failed, placing Al Qaeda’s survival in doubt?