Citing “imminent threats,” the U.S. is closing its embassy and two consulates in Saudi Arabia. It seems as if the next wave of Al Qaeda supporters is rising out of the ashes of Afghanistan and Iraq; more diffuse, less powerful, but still alive, still kicking.
Experts say that the latest attacks in Riyadh and Casablanca, which took the lives of more than 70 people, bear the Al Qaeda imprint. This reinforces the claim that the war in Iraq boosted the organization’s stature and appeal, making it easier for Al Qaeda to recruit angry young Muslims. Others disagree, saying that the war in Iraq weakened terrorist organizations by sending a signal that state-sponsored backing of terror would no longer be tolerated. Al Qaeda and the new war on terror.
Matthew Levitt, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Dr. Kevin O’Brien, senior policy analyst at the European arm of RAND
Scott MacLeod, TIME magazine’s Middle East bureau chief in Riyadh
Sebastian Usher, BBC’s Arab affairs editor, in Casablanca.