Missing The Terrorists For The Osama

Marc Lynch worries that the new Af-Pak strategy places too much emphasis on Al Quada Central and not enough on the broader network of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations:

For Bruce Hoffmann and other "Centralists," al Qaeda Central continues to play an extremely important role in guiding, shaping, arming, and directing the seemingly inchoate network of jihadists. They point to evidence of contacts between the perpetrators of well-known cases and AQC affiliated people in Pakistan or elsewhere. They point to the deluge of AQ propaganda still pouring out of al-Sahab and other jihadist media outlets. On the other side, Marc Sageman and other "bunch of guys" analysts see the threat as primarily one of a very loosely affiliated network of like-minded individuals and organizations who neither need nor want direction from AQC. If AQC was needed as a spark to light the fire, it is no longer needed to keep the fires burning or new fires from breaking out when local conditions come together.

Lynch fears that our current strategy "could end up strengthening the strategic threat of violent extremism even if it weakens al Qaeda Central."