Experts agree that the release of a new tape by Al Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahri indicates that Al Qaeda feels threatened and is on its heels after Obama's resounding victory. President-elect Obama's diverse background, along with his pledge to reverse many of the policies and approaches of the Bush administration on issues such as detentions at Guantanamo, torture and the war in Iraq has served to dramatically improve America's image, especially in the Muslim world.
Counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke explained, "Most of all, by returning to American values the world admires, Obama sets al Qaeda back enormously in the battle of ideas, the ideological struggle which determines whether al Qaeda will continue to have significant support in the Islamic world." Having thrived on the decline in America's world image, the impact of Obama's victory provides a direct challenge to Al Qaeda's negative depiction of the United States. Additionally, Obama's emphasis on shifting US attention from Iraq to Afghanistan represents a direct physical threat to Al Qaeda's leadership. America's improved global image and the new administration's focus on Afghanistan threatens Al Qaeda and has led to what experts see as a confused, racist, and off-kilter response reflective of an organization on the defensive.