Al Qaeda-led or -inspired terrorist attacks in Europe, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have all declined, but Al Qaeda still has significant capacity to launch attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and perhaps India. It also has a growing presence in Algeria and Yemen, and it has used the latter two countries and Pakistan as staging grounds for successful regional, but not international, attacks.
Does this signal a change in Al Qaeda's strategy from a global one to a regional one, or is it that their ability to carry out global plots has been effectively diminished by constant pressure from the U.S. and our allies? Or has there been, as the Director of National Intelligence's 2009 annual threat assessment says, "notable progress in Muslim opinion turning against terrorist groups like Al Qaeda" and consequently, Al Qaeda today is "less capable and effective than it was a year ago"?
-- Corine Hegland, NationalJournal.com