Al-Qaeda Still Threatens Europe: How the U.S. Can—and Should—Help

The threat to Europe from Al-Qaeda is ongoing. The fact that Al-Qaeda has not struck with the frequency of ISIS is a tactical rather than strategic shift, and does not reflect a diminution in the danger posed. The U.S. and Europe have a broad range of shared values that are threatened by Al-Qaeda, and defeating the group should remain a top counter-terrorism priority for both. In order to safeguard collective security, the U.S. must build more capacity abroad—while taking military action where necessary—in areas of strategic priority to weaken Al- Qaeda and to ensure that the terror group is not able to present itself as a viable form of alternative governance. The U.S. must also capture Al-Qaeda fighters in order to discover future plans, while focusing on shutting down its fundraising operations. The U.S. should encourage European governments to maintain surveillance on suspected Al- Qaeda operatives and to pay particular attention to defending those accused of Islamic “blasphemy,” whom Al-Qaeda has already identified as future targets. A preemptive response is needed. Al-Qaeda is planning further bloodshed and it is vital that the West take the fight to the group immediately. Defeating Al-Qaeda should remain a top counter-terrorism priority both for the United States and Europe.

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