How Real Is The Al-Qaida Threat?15:24
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Algerian Islamic extremist Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in a video claiming responsibility in the name of al-Qaida for the hostage-taking earlier this month at a remote gas plant in Algeria. (Screenshot)
Algerian Islamic extremist Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in a video claiming responsibility in the name of al-Qaida for the hostage-taking earlier this month at a remote gas plant in Algeria. (Screenshot)

The recent hostage crisis at that refinery in Algeria sparked a new debate over the strength of the terrorist group al-Qaida.

The U.S. certainly seems to think the threat level is high because it's preparing to establish a new drone base in North Africa to monitor al-Qaida and other Islamist extremist groups, according to the New York Times.

But critics say the threat from al-Qaida is being oversold.

Jason Burke, south Asia correspondent for The Guardian, says the killing of Osama bin Laden and other senior leaders in drone strikes have weakened the organization.

Guest:

This segment aired on January 30, 2013.

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