How will the events in Egypt and Tunisia affect al-Qaida? This piece by CNN’s Paul Cruickshank is easily the best analysis so far on the matter. Although the headline expresses the optimism found elsewhere, the body of the article clearly shows that experts are divided on how al-Qaida will emerge from the ashes of Tahrir Square. Basically there are two schools of thought on the matter: the “fewer grievances” school and the “more opportunities” school – represented in Cruickshank’s piece by Osama Rushdi and Noman Benothman respectively. The former argues that democratization will stem new recruitment to al-Qaida by removing a key grievance and undermining the message that only violence can bring change. The latter argues that the unrest provides jihadis with new operational opportunities and encourages spoiler activism. Personally I lean toward the “more opportunities” school. I agree that the recent events are bad for al-Qaida in the long run, but I see the short and medium term effects as much less predictable.