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Al Qaeda's New Face

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

From Syria to West Africa, its outposts are increasingly the lifeblood of the organization.

A soldier with the Somali National Army (SNA) walks along a road near Deyniile, Somalia, during a joint AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) operation to seize and liberate territory from the al-Qaeda affiliated extremist group al-Shabaab. (AP)

A soldier with the Somali National Army (SNA) walks along a road near Deyniile, Somalia, during a joint AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) operation to seize and liberate territory from the al-Qaeda affiliated extremist group al-Shabaab. (AP)

We’ve been waging war against al-Qaeda for more than a decade. Wherever we engage, either on the ground or through the air, American forces, we have had good success.

But it’s like a water baloon, squeeze hard here, and al-Qaeda bulges out in a completely new place.

This hour, On Point: We know we’re not going to occupy large swaths of the Middle East and Africa. So, what’s the best strategy for containing and killing the terrorists?

-Wade Goodwyn

Guests

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, correspondent for the Guardian, who wrote this exclusive on al Qaeda in Syria. He also reported for the PBS Frontline epsiode, “Al Qaeda in Yemen.”

Ofebia Quist-Arcton, Africa correspondent for NPR. She recently reported on the Islamist movement in Mali.

Seth Jones, senior political scientist and associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation. He wrote this article: Think Again: Al Qaeda. His new book is “Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa’ida after 9/11.”

Daniel Byman, professor in the Security Studies Program of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He’s also the Director of Research and Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He wrote this analysis paper: Breaking the bonds between al-Qa’ida and its affiliate organizations.

From The Reading List

Wall Street Journal “The United States and its allies should consider opening a second front in the Syrian war. In addition to helping end Bashar Assad’s rule, there is a growing need to conduct a covert campaign against al Qaeda and other extremist groups gaining a presence in the country.”

Daily Beast “Like the rest of the world, the terror organization was surprised by the revolutions that toppled dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Its ideology of violence and jihad initially was challenged by the largely nonviolent revolutionary movements that swept across North Africa and the Middle East. But al Qaeda is adaptive, and it has exploited the chaos and turmoil of revolutionary change to create bases and new strongholds from one end of the Arab world to the other.”

CNN “While the killings of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda operatives have weakened the terror network, the rise of groups affiliated al Qaeda in the Middle East and Africa presents a serious threat to U.S. security, the State Department’s annual terrorism report warns.”

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