For Al-Qaeda affiliates around the world, holding westerners hostage and threatening to kill them if their governments don't pay for their release is big business. In fact, kidnapping is a massive windfall for terrorist organizations in general.
The discussions quietly occurring in the corridors of the White House, CIA, Pentagon, and in other capitals throughout the world certainly point to grave concern on the part of policy and decision makers about the possibility of a worst-case scenario becoming reality.
In spite of all the resources devoted to fighting Somalia-based Al Shabaab in recent years, the group has grown stronger, and continues to cross the region's borders with impunity. The same is true with Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
While Tunisia has been spared the large-scale human rights abuses and chaotic turmoil of the other post-Arab Spring states, a growing al Qaeda presence threatens to destabilize the country and undermine the democratic aspirations that fueled the Jasmine Revolution.
As Morocco's strategic partner, the U.S. must ensure that its dollars, military support, and political support generate momentum for human rights. Moroccan authorities shouldn't be allowed to presume that their relationship with the U.S. is a blank check.
For months, if not years, people in France and abroad have been trying to prove that Marine Le Pen has not changed as much as she would have us believe. Now, in a mere 20 seconds, she herself has torn away the veil and shot herself in the foot.
The Osama bin Laden of Northern Nigeria, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, has apparently been deposed by members of his own terrorist group, Boko Haram, as prelude to peace negotiations with the government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
What does this mean for us? Well, it's both good and bad. It's good because the extreme ideology of the group likely contributed to its downfall in Mali. It's bad because calls for pragmatism -- which would moderate its more severe violence -- may fall short.