Al Qaeda: Not Dead Yet
Rumors of Al Qaeda’s death are greatly exaggerated, says Bruce Hoffmann, a RAND scholar of the Al Qaeda movement, responding implicitly to an argument made by Lawrence Wright and Peter Bergen that Al Qaeda has lost some serious strategic assets — like popular support.
Hoffmann takes issue with the idea of using “ruthless killings of its fellow Muslims as evidence of Al Qaeda’s imminent decline,” pointing out that such seemingly counterproductive brutality has a long history with terrorist movements.
After all, the IRA killed a lot of Irishmen; Palestinian terrorists have killed way more Palestinians than Israelis, and the Algerian FLN killed and tortured more Algerians than did the French occupiers.
When “we are lulled into complacency” against Al Qaeda, it’ll strike. Is he saying the Wright/Bergen contentions could lead to such complacency?
The “highest priority” of the next administration “must be to refocus our attention on Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he says. Peter Bergen, come on down.