An intense debate has broken out among western law enforcement officials, intelligence agencies and academics about who or what today constitutes al-Qaeda. It is an important debate because AQ – the network and the ideology – remains a potent force and still one of the greatest threats to global stability.
The US intelligence chief James Clapper said last month that 7,000 foreign fighters have joined AQ affiliates and other groups in Syria to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime. AQ now officially recognises branches of its network in seven new regions in Africa and the Middle East, while major European cities have become AQ recruiting centres for disaffected Muslim youth. Read more