Every year, the U.S. Department of State evaluates the threat posed by global terrorism and issues a Congressionally mandated report. This report, Country Reports on Terrorism, identifies trends and events in international terrorism that occurred in calendar year 2012 and breaks down global terrorist activity by region and country.
According to the 2012 report, the al-Qaida core in Pakistan, under the direction of Osama bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been significantly degraded. This is largely a result of continuing world-wide efforts against the organization.
Nonetheless, the al-Qaida core still has the ability to inspire, plot, and launch regional and transnational attacks from its safe haven in Western Pakistan, despite its leadership losses..
We must build the capabilities of our partners and counter the ideology that continues to incite terrorist violence around the world.
Two of al-Qaida's most dangerous affiliates in the Middle East and North Africa have suffered significant set-backs. In Yemen, Yemeni forces have had success pushing al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) out of its southern strongholds over the last year that AQAP has seized and occupied since 2011. And in the Horn of Africa, Somali National Forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia – with strong financial support and training from the United States and Western partners – expelled al-Shabaab from major cities in southern Somalia..
Thus, notes the report, we are increasingly facing a more decentralized and geographically dispersed terrorist threat.
Defeating a terrorist network requires us to work with our international partners to disrupt criminal and terrorist financial networks, strengthen rule of law institutions while respecting human rights, address recruitment, and eliminate the safe havens that protect and facilitate this activity.
In the long term, we must build the capabilities of our partners and counter the ideology that continues to incite terrorist violence around the world.