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News Analysis: Is world safer a year after bin Laden' s death?

By Matthew Rusling (Xinhua)

15:30, May 01, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Xinhua) -- A year after the death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, al Qaida' s core leadership has scattered and its back is broken, but some of the movement' s offshoots remain deadly, U.S. experts said.

This week marks the first anniversary of the U.S. raid on al-Qaeda' s Pakistan compound, in which bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. Navy Seals.

Even then, al Qaida was on the ropes after years of being hunted by the United States and its allies around the world. Several of the group' s leaders had been killed and planners were being eyed too closely to mount any serious operations, let alone one as massive as the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

A year later, the group remains in disarray, and has not found a leader to match the larger-than-life bin Laden' s charisma and vision. All told, that is the least of its problems.

"We have been saying for years that operationally they are basically irrelevant," said Scott Stewart, analyst at global intelligence company Stratfor.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, White House top Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan said the United States has "degraded the organization significantly over the past decade and over the past several years in particular as we' ve taken off the battlefield the founding leader".

"We' re determined to destroy that organization," he said. "But that' s going to continue to require us to maintain this pressure on al-Qaeda, whether it be in Pakistan, Afghanistan as well as in Yemen."

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