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Al-Qaeda and the Arab Spring

Recent months have witnessed upheaval in the Arab world, which has led to changes in governmental order. One by one, the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have fallen. Syria and Yemen are seeing increasing anarchy, accompanied by cries to topple their fragile regimes, and anti-government protests are escalating in other countries. Opposition movements from all corners of the ideological spectrum are rearing their heads. The media have dubbed this wave of protest the “Arab Spring”; in the Arab media, its consequences for the actions and the future of Al-Qaeda are being discussed.

For its part, Al-Qaeda has avowedly tried to ride this wave of protest and stand alongside the demonstrators against the regimes of the Middle East. Jihadist Web forums associated with Al-Qaeda have seen much lively discussion of how the organization should respond to the wave of protest. At the same time, it seems that these protests and the revolutions following in their wake are placing Al- Qaeda in an awkward position since it appears – perhaps correctly – that Al- Qaeda has not been the impetus behind them.

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