Al Qaeda's Not Dead Yet

Anwar al-Awlaki. DENNIS BRACK

The death of Anwar al-Awlaki is a significant reversal for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula but far from a fatal blow. Awlaki's greatest asset was his ability to communicate to both English- and Arabic-speaking audiences the message of the global jihad. His sermons inspired many to "join the caravan" of Islamic extremism both in the West and Arabia. His death will remove a major propaganda figure and a rising star in Al Qaeda's world. Awlaki has always been an elusive figure. As a preacher in mosques in the U.S., he had repeated contacts with three of the 19 hijackers before 9/11, but the FBI did not link him to the attack. For all his influence, Awlaki was not the commander or deputy commander of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Those roles are held by others who have been fighting for years in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is falling apart, and a broken Yemen benefits Awlaki's allies. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's key players are still at large and very dangerous.