Al Qaeda

From the bin Laden files (2)

Featured image The current issue of the Weekly Standard highlights the release of the bin Laden files that were so jealousy guarded by the Obama administration. Editor in chief Steve Hayes has long called for the release of the documents. He now reports “The big reveal: The story of how 470,000 documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound finally got into the open.” What was the Obama administration hiding? The related editorial explores »

From the bin Laden files

Featured image The Obama administration suppressed the release of the trove of al Qaeda documents seized in the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbotabad lair. It released a grand total of 571 documents and sat on the rest. Why so shy? Today the Trump administration released hundreds of thousands of the documents as well as images and computer files recovered in the raid. Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio provide an »

How Trump inadvertently helps al Qaeda in Syria

Featured image I’ve discussed how President Trump’s collaboration with Russia in Syria is helping Iran. Marc Thiessen shows that it is also inadvertently aiding al Qaeda. Thiessen cites the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project (CTP). They find that “current U.S. strategy empowers al-Qaeda, which has an army in Syria, is preparing to replace ISIS,. . . [and] is more dangerous than ISIS.” How so? »

Will Team Trump air Obama’s Iran secrets?

Featured image For years, Republicans and conservatives have charged that President Obama has shielded embarrassing intelligence and other information regarding Iran in order to limit opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and Obama’s conciliatory approach to Tehran. The charge seems well-founded. After all, it took Sens. Tom Cotton and Rep. Mike Pompeo to discover secret side agreements attached to the nuclear deal. Eli Lake suggests that the Trump administration may well stop »

The Taliban: al Qaeda’s ally; Hillary’s peace partner

Featured image I believe it’s widely known, though also widely forgotten, that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton orchestrated “peace talks” with the Taliban. Clinton discussed her role in some detail in her book, Hard Choices. Robert Potts at the American Thinker provided a good summary of Clinton’s involvement, as described by her, in this article. Clinton’s goals were to “shatter the alliance between the Taliban and al Qaeda, end the insurgency, and »

ISIS and al Qaeda — same sport, same level, different strategies

Featured image President Obama famously characterized ISIS as al Qaeda’s jayvee. This bit of idiocy will long be remembered, to the detriment of Obama’s legacy. But how should we compare ISIS and al Qaeda? A year ago, if I recall correctly, conventional wisdom had it that ISIS was preoccupied with securing and expanding its regional caliphate (sort of like Stalin’s “socialism in one country”), whereas al Qaeda was more internationally focused (Trotsky »

Bin Laden had the book on Obama

Featured image Being on bin Laden’s bookshelf has become, in a way, the modern version of being on Richard Nixon’s enemies list. Bob Woodward gets a special award. He gained both distinctions, if that’s the right word. Politico contacted some of the authors in question for comment. Warning: Greg Palast’s response is nausea-inducing. What should we make of the bookshelf? Above all, it confirms that bin Laden was obsessed with the United »

Bin Laden’s Correspondence

Featured image Today the Director of National Intelligence declassified and posted on the DNI web site 103 documents that were recovered during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound, along with a variety of other materials. Among those other items is a list of 39 books in English that were found at the compound. Let’s start with the books. While there are some legitimate works of history, the list is heavy »

Tide turns against Assad in Syria

Featured image The Assad regime has suffered a series of setbacks in its fight against rebel forces to the point that its ability to retain power appears to be in jeopardy, the Washington Post reports. Walter Russell Mead concurs. Both the Post and Mead cite Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria. He says “we may be seeing signs of the beginning of the end.” The most important signs are on »

Baathists “pervade” ISIS; weren’t they supposed to be secularists?

Featured image According to the Washington Post, former members of Iraq’s Baathist army play a “pervasive role” in ISIS. This is true, says the Post’s Liz Sly, not only in Iraq but also in Syria. ISIS evolved from al Qaeda in Iraq. It was well known that Baathists played an important role in that outfit. Sly says that the former Baathist officers became even more prominent when ISIS rose from the ashes »

Someone misled us on AQ’s demise

Featured image The Wall Street Journal carries an important column by Steve Hayes and Tom Joscelyn on the status of al Qaeda. The column is “How America was misled on al Qaeda’s demise.” The column is behind the Journal’s subscription paywall but accessible here via Google. One of the central themes of President Obama’s campaign for reelection in 2012 rested on the proposition that he had essentially defeated al Qaeda. By one »

ISIS on the march in Iraq; al Qaeda on the march in Yemen

Featured image This week, President Obama proclaimed that ISIS is on the defensive and that its morale is low. He cited no evidence, but if indeed ISIS’s morale had flagged, it will receive a pick-me-up from the capture by ISIS forces of an Iraqi town just a few miles away from a military base where hundreds of U.S. advisers are stationed. The town is called al-Baghdadi. The U.S. base lies only five »

U.S. offers reward on ex-gitmo poet

Featured image The United States government has put al Qaeda’s Ibrahim al-Rubaish on a global terrorist list and offered a $5 million reward for information on his whereabouts. Once we knew his whereabouts — Guantanamo Bay detention center. But in 2006, the U.S. released Rubaish to Saudi Arabia where he was to be “rehabilitated.” At the time, Rubaysh was a poster child for the terrorist detainee-sympathizing, anti-Gitmo crew. Marc Falkoff, a lawyer »

Dianne Feinstein and her one-sided, self-serving report on enhanced interrogations

Featured image The big news today will be the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s interrogation policy during the Bush years, which has finally been made public. The mainstream media will see to it that the story dominates the headlines. It already dominates the Washington Post’s main page. I expect we’ll have lots to say about the report, whose contents have been leaked over the past months. For now, I’ll link »

Obama’s syrian proxies routed

Featured image The Free Syrian Army and Harakat Hazm were formed with the intention of fighting the Assad regime. President Obama hoped to convert them into forces that could help degrade ISIS. But over the weekend, both groups found themselves in combat against neither Assad nor ISIS. Instead, they fought Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. It did not go well. Both groups were routed. Many fighters surrendered. Many more scattered. »

The Khorasan Group — it’s legit

Featured image Last night I wrote about the “Khorasan Group” — the name used to describe operatives sent by al Qaeda to Syria for the purpose of plotting attacks against the West. In discussing the unusual name attached to these operatives, I quoted two experts on terrorism who speculated in the Washington Post that the name was supplied by Washington. Based on this reporting, I concluded: Perhaps further investigation will reveal that »

Does Obama have congressional authority to bomb ISIS?

Featured image Yesterday at the Heritage Foundation, a distinguished panel considered whether the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in 2001 authorizes President Obama to bomb ISIS. Steve Bradbury, a terrific lawyer who headed up the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during President George W. Bush’s second term, argued that the AUMF confers this authority. Robert Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas and »