The Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, says Iraq has become a magnet for international terrorist activity and provides an ideal training ground for terrorists to enhance their skills.
In a report on long-term global trends released Thursday, the CIA says political Islam will have a significant impact in the next 15 years, rallying disparate ethnic and national groups and possibly creating an authority that transcends national boundaries.
It says al-Qaida will likely be superseded by other Islamic extremist groups that merge with local separatist movements.
The CIA says the prospect of a biological or nuclear weapons attack remains the greatest danger facing the United States.
Analysts also say globalization will be the dominant force in the next 15 years and will generate enormous economic, cultural and political changes across the planet.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP, Reuters.