Last week, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri gave a thought provoking talk at TED (sorry, no video yet) about the changing face of global terrorism. In the talk titled “Terror At A Crossroads,” al-Zawahiri discussed how terrorists can remain relevant in an increasingly globalized world. It isn’t hard to see the problem—especially in the United States. When any kid can grab a gun with a pile of high capacity magazines and kill 26 people in five minutes, you have to ask: what is happening to the al-Qaeda brand?
There is also a more fundamental, ontological question: how can the group terrorize if terror becomes the status quo? With daily drone strikes, how are well-planned and executed al-Qaeda attacks going to rise above the background noise of murder and mayhem that is daily life thanks to America’s domestic and international policies? These are all important questions that al-Zawahiri is grappling with.
According to an article in The Onion, al-Zawahiri told the captivated TED audience, “We find ourselves in an ever-evolving, globally connected community that is confronted with numerous societal and economic obstacles every day. The question is, and it’s a difficult one, how can we, as terrorist cells, overcome these roadblocks while staying true to our vision? How do we adapt?”
I for one am glad that the terror community is taking these questions seriously. And I’m not the only one; after the talk, the TED audience gave al-Zawahiri a standing ovation.
Last year on this day, many people were confused about my article on the word Seagullible. So I feel the need to ask you a question, “What is the date?!”