On the third anniversary of the attacks which led US President George W. Bush to declare war on terrorists, experts have given him top marks for protecting the United States, but determined that global efforts need much improvement. While analysts applauded Mr Bush's decision to wage war against Afghanistan's Taleban rulers and the al-Qaeda terrorists they gave sanctuary to, the attacking of Iraq won scathing condemnation. Singapore-based researcher Rohan Gunaratna, the author of Inside al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, determined the Iraq war had unleashed a tide of terror that posed a greater global threat than before the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington. 'The threat of terrorism would have been greatly reduced, but as a result of the US invasion of Iraq, new terrorist groups have emerged and several existing ones that were weakened have become stronger,' said Dr Gunaratna, head of terrorism research at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies. Most worrying, he believed, was terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's militant group, which is the most active in Iraq and has a network across 10 European countries. 'The Iraqi environment has made Muslims worldwide angry and this has been translated into support for extremist terrorist groups,' Dr Gunaratna said. 'It has also prompted radical youth to plan and prepare attacks, such as the Madrid train attacks earlier this year and an operation that was discovered in London recently.' By contrast, al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden, who claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks and still tops America's list of most-wanted fugitives, was seen as an inspiration to extremists rather than a threat. If captured or killed, groups like al-Qaeda would continue to regenerate and grow. Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, described al-Qaeda as a 'multi-headed hydra ' which had a great capacity for self-generation through recruiting militants. But although there was good global intelligence co-operation to counter the threats, ridding the world of terrorism would take much time and effort. 'This is a perpetual war that is going to take decades to significantly degrade to the extent that it no longer poses a threat to national security and economic well-being,' he said. American analysts applauded Mr Bush's domestic moves to shore up his country's defences. These have included the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, tightening border and immigration checks and shaking up intelligence-gathering organisations. Steve Emerson, terrorism commentator for the NBC television network, said that because there had been no further attacks on US soil since 2001, he rated Mr Bush's efforts an 'A'. Internationally, though, there were still problems because the US had little control of the situation beyond its shores. Western nations had to recognise and neutralise organisations and institutions which funded and supported terrorists, he said. 'The war has to be fought on multiple levels in political, military and economic battles. Ultimately, if we're going to fight this on a short time frame, we're never going to win - there's always going to be an inexhaustible supply of terrorists.'