Should we still fear al Qaeda?

The attack in January on a gas facility in Algeria by an al Qaeda-linked group that resulted in at least 37 dead hostages has sparked an outpouring of dire warnings from leading Western politicians.

British Prime Minister David Cameron described a “large and existential threat” emanating from North Africa. Tony Blair, his predecessor as prime minister, agreed saying, “David Cameron is right to warn that this is a battle for our values and way of life which will take years, even decades.”

Hang on chaps! Before we all get our knickers in a tremendous twist: How exactly does an attack on an undefended gas facility in the remotest depths of the Algerian desert become an “existential threat” to our “way of life”?

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