On various occasions in these columns I have commented on the convergence of the following factors:
- The so-called "Arab Spring" has not resulted in the spread of freedom and democracy in the Arab world, but to the spread of fanaticism, violence and turmoil.
- Al Qaida, so often declared to be on the way to extinction, especially after the death of Osama bin-Laden, is alive and well and spreading rapidly throughout the Middle East, the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.
- The new political and social realities are more conducive to the growth of Muslim fundamentalism, anti-Western phobia and anti-Semitism than the previous situation.
All of this is coming together in the first month of the new year. The spread of al-Qaida-influenced insurgency and terrorism has resulted in an emergency in Algeria, until now immune from the general movement of events; and the necessity of French military intervention in Mali to prevent the overthrow of the government in that country.