Los Angeles Times Columnists

Al-Qaida returns to its roots

Al-Qaida returns to its roots

Last year, in the heat of his campaign, President Barack Obama boasted that he had put al-Qaida "on the path to defeat." This year, with 19 U.S. consulates and embassies closed and the State Department issuing vague warnings against travel anywhere in the world, al-Qaida suddenly seems resurgent — and as frightening as ever.

So which is it: defeated or resurgent? Neither, really.

Al-Qaida hasn't gone away, but it has changed — in a way that makes it less dangerous for Americans at home but more dangerous for Americans who live in the Middle East and Africa.

Once it was global, but today's al-Qaida has gone local.

This month's threat against Western...