- Written by Dr. Bruce Hoffman, prepared exclusively for SITE
- Articles & Analysis
- Created: June 1, 2009
Is al-Qaeda on the run or on the march? This question has overshadowed the discourse on terrorism and counterterrorism since the war on terrorism began eight years ago. Last year, it crystallized in a pointed debate over whether the most salient terrorist threat we face is primarily “bottom-up”——that is, from self-selected, self-radicalized “bunches of guys” loosely grouped in entirely independent cells——or if it continues to be posed from the “top down”——by existing, identifiable terrorist organizations actively exploiting the radicalization process for new recruits to whom training, guidance, and direction is then provided.