The evolving threat matrix from unconventional and terrorist actors has been a concern to many governments and their security apparatus. Even as the Al-Qaeda threat has been diminished with the sustained decade plus long War on Terrorism (WoT), the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), the spread of Islamic radicalization in new parts of Africa and Asia, and continued radicalization in non-Muslim countries now presents an additional challenge. The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC published a report by Peter Bergen, Emily Schneider, David Sterman, Bailey Cahall and Tim Maurer to outline these jihadi terrorism and other unconventional threats. Not surprisingly, the Bipartisan Policy Center goes by the view that the (West’s) struggle against terrorism is far from over and has in fact has entered a new and dangerous phase.
“While the core al-Qaeda group that struck the United States on 9/11 has been decimated in recent years, its affiliates and associated groups have diffused throughout the greater Middle East. They now have a presence in 16 countries, more countries than they did half a decade ago. Al-Shabaab’s 2013 attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and the 2012 attack by local militants on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, demonstrate that even relatively weak terrorist organizations can pull off deadly attacks against local targets.
The civil wars in Syria and Iraq (in reality, a regional civil war) and increasing sectarianism across the region have reinvigorated jihadist movements, while the demise of democratic Islamism in Egypt risks creating an Islamist insurgency in a country important to U.S. interests. It is not clear, however, that the diffusion of al-Qaeda-like groups and roiling instability in the Arab world will translate into terrorist attacks against the United States itself, although attacks against American interests overseas will surely remain quite likely.”