Meanwhile, al-Qaeda is operating with apparent impunity in Libya, such that a key suspect in the Benghazi jihad massacre of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues is roaming free, with authorities too afraid to antagonize al-Qaeda elements by arresting him. A Libyan political analyst, Khaled al-Marmimi, noted that “investigators are afraid to keep probing the case because they are concerned extremists will kidnap them at any moment.”
In Kenya, al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab is using converts from Christianity to Islam to launch jihad attacks against churches.
And is al-Qaeda now incapable of attacking us here? Well, last week it was revealed during the trial of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, the Bangladeshi Muslim accused of plotting a jihad attack against the Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan, that he was an avid follower of the late al-Qaeda imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who was connected to so many recent jihad plots and attacks on American soil, including Major Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood jihad mass murder and the attempted airplane jihad mass murder of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas underwear bomber.
Was Nafis a member of al-Qaeda, or just a fan? It hardly matters; the fact that he eagerly imbibed al-Awlaki’s rage, hate, and bloodlust shows that the al-Qaeda ideology retains its appeal for at least some Muslims – indeed, one would be too many, but there are unfortunately many more than one.
All this does not in the least indicate that al-Qaeda is close to being completely “de-capacitated” and dismantled. Obama’s insistence that it is stems from his need to show that his foreign policy is working, but this is a strategy that could quite literally blow up in his face at any moment. Al-Qaeda is not down and not out, and anxious to prove it; whether American officials will be able to head them off will depend in large part on how seriously they take the commander-in-chief’s intimations that the end is near, the strife nearly over, the battle almost done.
Remember how the war was not against Islam, as both Bush and Obama have repeatedly insisted since 2001, but against al-Qaeda, as Obama has characterized it in increasingly narrow terms? Soon, apparently, the U.S. won’t even be fighting that. The problem is that al-Qaeda will keep on fighting us.