This can be looked at two ways:
Al-Qaeda is reaching out from its base in Pakistan to turn militant Islamist groups in the Middle East and Africa into franchises charged with intensifying attacks on western targets, according to European officials and terrorism specialists.You can take the view that this presents a new danger, or that it shows al Qaeda's weakness after being ground down in Afghanistan. Of course, the "new danger" angle is being played up. But don't ties between organizations make it easier to identify and unravel networks as we take them down, one by one? The problem is, Al Qaeda Weakened and Looking for Allies is a headline the mainstream media would like to avoid.
One thing I'm reminded of at this point: Ties between these terrorist organizations would involve communications and presumably financial transactions, both of which represent a vulnerability for the terrorists. So maybe now would be a good time to thank the NYT again for exposing the SWIFT program and making the job that much harder.