August 4, 2013
Widespread U.S. embassy closures and travel alerts prompted by al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen show how the group has proved stubbornly resilient despite more than two years of American strikes against its leaders.
The State Department Sunday extended some embassy closures for the rest of the workweek, citing a need to “exercise caution” and take “appropriate steps” to protect American diplomats, local employees and visitors. Officials said the move wasn’t an indication that the U.S. had any new intelligence about the suspected plot or plots.
The high level of concern from U.S. officials underscores what many in the intelligence world have long warned. While al Qaeda’s central leadership may be weakened, the rest of the group has morphed into smaller entities and dispersed, which has made the threat harder to predict and track. This process was accelerated by the turmoil of the Arab Spring.