Yesterday’s New York Times “Week in Review” featured an article about the growing dispute between experts on the nature of the terrorist threat. One of the central figures in this debate is Bruce Hoffman, professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, senior fellow at the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Center at West Point, and the author of Inside Terrorism.
Hoffman argues that al Qaeda is “alive, well, resurgent and more dangerous than it has been in several years.” Hoffman counters an argument put forth by Marc Sageman, who contends that “the main threat no longer comes from the organization called Al Qaeda but from the bottom up—from radicalized individuals and groups who meet and plot in their neighborhoods and on the Internet.”
However, Hoffman points to empirical evidence that al Qaeda has reestablished itself along the Afghan-Pakistani border and is directing international operations. Moreover, its successes in Iraq has bolstered the organization’s appeal to jihadists. Thus, to turn attention away from al Qaeda would be a risky strategy that would severely set back efforts to combat terrorism.
To read more on Hoffman’s assessment of al Qaeda and how it has continues to have an impact in Iraq and elsewhere, we have provided an excerpt from Inside Terrorism.
* The article also mentions Abu Mus’ab al-Suri, the Syrian-born militant theorist who has called for a leaderless jihad. His life and ideas are the subject of Brynjar Lia’s Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of Al Qaeda Strategist Abu Mus’ab al-Suri.