President Barack Obama’s campaign continues to claim that it has “decimated” al Qaeda, the world’s most notorious terror group, despite increasing evidence the group is expanding and despite an al Qaeda attack that left four Americans, including an ambassador, dead.
On Monday, team Obama hailed what they claim is the president’s successful eradication of al Qaeda.
“Obama’s national security record—ending the Iraq war, decimating al Qaeda, restoring our standing abroad,” stated a message sent from the Obama campaign’s official Twitter account.
Senior Obama administration officials have made similar statements in the weeks since militants associated with al Qaeda murdered U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the consulate in Benghazi.
However, al Qaeda is on the rise across the Middle East and North Africa, according to numerous intelligence reports and foreign policy experts, several of whom warned the Obama campaign against prematurely declaring victory over the terror group.
Recently, an AP report published in the Navy Times drew attention to the ongoing reconstitution of al Qaeda in Iraq in the aftermath of America’s total withdrawal from that country in the end of 2011.
“Al Qaeda is, unfortunately, alive and well in the Maghreb, Yemen, and elsewhere, as the administration will probably admit after the election,” said Elliott Abrams, who served in President George W. Bush’s national security council. ”The claim that the organization was rendered toothless after [Osama bin Laden] was killed is simply not accurate, and every terrorism specialist in our government knows that.”
“It’s a mistake to assert that al Qaeda is decimated,” said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Though al Qaeda’s network has been “damaged in recent years,” the group has successfully gained a foothold in multiple locales across the Middle East, Schanzer said. “We cut off the head of the network with the death of bin Laden, but it has come back as a hydra.”