Have you ever smashed a plate full of "Jell-O" only to find that there are little bits of it all over the place? This is a lot like what is happening with terrorism today, call it the "Jell-O Effect." Globalization has created a brand new type of terrorism that was made extremely evident on September 11, 2012, the day of the Benghazi attack.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration is failing to understand one of the most basic concepts in the field of International Relations, that is Globalization. Globalization refers to the fact that societies are more open today in terms of technology, markets, and societies. These changes that we are seeing worldwide were brought about primarily by neo-liberal economic reforms that occurred during the Clinton Administration.
Globalization is neither good nor bad, it just is. Many good things have occurred because of Globalization. Do you like Facebook or Twitter? You can thank globalization for that. Although the grim reality is that many of the benefits we enjoy as a result of this concept are also enjoyed by criminals worldwide, and Al-Qaeda is no exception.
During his National Security speech, President Obama stated that there would be a change in United States foreign policy in regards to the War on Terror. President Obama made it explicit that the United States has gutted the core of Al-Qaeda and that Al-Qaeda's affiliates do not have the capability or resources to wage another 9/11 style attack on United States soil. In Obama's defense he is right, yet this does not mean that we are not still threatened by terrorism abroad.
President Obama is absolutely correct when he states that the core leadership of Al Qaeda is gone, no one is going to dispute that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Yet as we see, terrorism is still around and Al-Qaeda has not backed down. Lets go back to the "Jell-O" again, once you smash a plate of "Jell-O" it is very hard to pick up the pieces let alone to no where they are. This "Jell-O" effect is precisely what is happening with Al-Qaeda.
One of Al-Qaeda's most active branches is Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), this branch is extremely active within West Africa and is composed of multiple affiliates within the region. These affiliates include Ansar al-Shariah the organization that claimed responsibility for the Benghazi attacks.
In addition to this, AQIM includes the affiliate Ansar al-Din. Ansar al-Din is the terrorist organization that was responsible for the insurgency within Mali that took control of nearly two-thirds of the country. The overall goal that Ansar al-Din was seeking to acchieve was the establishment of an independent Islamic state known as Azawad, subject to shariah law. AQIM has also been responsible for attacks within Algeria and is believed to have ties with Nigerian based terror group Boko Haram.
One of the downsides of Globalization is that it allows for extremely porous borders, which is what has allowed AQIM to flourish. While it is true that AQIM is only one of the Al-Qaeda subsets, it has been the most active. Al-Qaeda also has a presence within the Arabian peninsula and there is worry of them acquiring chemical weapons within Syria. If the Obama administration wishes to truly combat terrorism, it must adopt a foreign policy that understands Globalization and respond to it in kind.