Terrorism: December 16, 2002


The CIA says it has killed or captured a third of the al Qaeda leadership, and has over 3,000 al Qaeda members (or suspected members) are locked up in some one hundred countries. While international cooperation in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders has not been perfect, it is much more effective than it was before September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda's war on non-Moslems continues and the organization is still lethal. Suicide bombers are still available and countries with Moslem populations continue to provide cover, support and new recruits, even if the local government is strongly anti-al Qaeda. No nation openly supports al Qaeda, so members must spend a lot of time avoiding capture. The remaining al Qaeda organization is not large, with perhaps a few hundred full time leaders and specialists, a few thousand active members in cells of up to a dozen men each, and hundreds of thousands of people willing to assist when asked. Using history as a guide, al Qaeda members will continue to plan and make attacks until the organization is largely wiped out (not likely) or until a decade or two passes and a new generation concludes that the al Qaeda approach doesn't work.


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