Is the Arab Spring good or bad for terrorism?

In foreign ministries and intelligence agencies on either side of the Atlantic, counter-terrorism officials are asking themselves the same question over and over: is the so-called Arab Spring good or bad for terrorism?

Six months down the line, it is a mixed picture.

The collapse of unpopular, undemocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt has certainly removed a major grievance, although neither country is finding the path to democracy trouble-free.

But the slow-motion agony of Yemen, Libya, Syria, and to some extent Bahrain, as protesters vent their anger with their rulers, raises the spectre of long-term violence.

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