Al Qaeda, which means 'the base’ or ‘the stronghold’, is the most famous Islamic terrorist group of all time.
Lead by the Osama Bin Laden, their brutal and savage attacks on the innocent reached a crescendo with the 9/11 attack on the twin World Trade Centre towers. Things have been downhill from then.
The Americans, bumbling at times, savagely effective at other moments, have decimated the heart of the original Al Qaeda - the Afghan-based leadership who learnt their fighting in the war against the Soviets.
Using the whole-scale invasion of two countries, unending military pursuit, aggressive economic and political restrictions, torture, illegal detention, illegal renditions and drones Al Qaeda leaders and fighters by the hundreds have been hunted down and killed or forced to abandon their strongholds and live on the run.
But al Qaeda as an organisation has survived.
When Osama Bin Laden was killed, only the truly naive actually thought that meant the end of Al Qaeda. They were not a private firm run by one man. They are a joint stock company. The CEO was dead. The board appointed a new CEO - Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Image: This July 27, 2011 image from a web posting by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, provided by IntelCenter, shows al-Qaida'a new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.