Is Al Qaeda "in ruins" or "far from defeated"? On the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, it's impossible to say. That's because for every article hailing the end of the terrorist network, there's another saying Al Qaeda is as deadly as ever. So as a service on the one-year mark, we offer a guide to the "decline," or, err, the "resurgence," or, um, de-surgence of the post-bin Laden Al Qaeda. We've placed these reports on a spectrum from Reassured Ruination to Calamitous Comeback.
Pop the champaign! In the world of these journalists and terror experts, America's chief foe is dying, if not completely dead. "A year after bin Laden slain, Al-Qaeda 'in ruins'" reads the headline of the AFP's report from Michel Moutot. Moutot surveys a handful of experts who say the network is practically finished. "The death of their figurehead and US drone attacks in the Pakistani highlands have disrupted Al-Qaeda's core guerrilla organisation, now reduced to a few dozen militants battling for their own survival, experts say." In that same vein, terror experts tell The Los Angeles Times' Ken Dilanian Al Qaeda is "essentially gone" and CNN's Fareed Zakaria hedged even less declaring "Al Qaeda Is Over." The take away in these articles is that killing bin Laden delivered a death blow to recruitment efforts by Al Qaeda and subsequent drone strikes have narrowed the ranks to the terror network beyond repair. But wait, not everyone agrees!