We recently ran a post titled Islamic Extremism Is Nothing if Not Protean. “Whack the mole of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda will pop up,” we remarked. That was based on the concept of one or the other. But what if, instead of one replacing the other, as the Islamic State seemed to do with Al Qaeda, a new organism formed which was a consolidation of the two?
In the latest Foreign Affairs counterterrorism expert Bruce Hoffman writes:
Only five years ago, al Qaeda’s downfall appeared … imminent. Its founder and leader was dead. A succession of key lieutenants had been eliminated. And the region was transformed by the Arab Spring. Civil protest, it seemed, had achieved what terrorism had manifestly failed to deliver — and Al Qaeda was the biggest loser.