Al Qaeda

The bitter fruit of Obama’s Syrian fecklessness

Featured image The only thing unraveling faster than Syria is President Obama’s Syria policy. There is, of course, a relationship between the two downward spirals. This morning comes word that eleven of the biggest armed factions among the Syrian rebels have repudiated the Western-backed opposition to the Assad regime and formed an alliance dedicated to establishing an Islamic state. Jabhat al-Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate, is the lead signatory to this new »

Kenya massacre highlights the mistaken focus of Obama’s anti-terror policy

Featured image Earlier this month, I argued that the U.S. is not really winning the war against al Qaeda. Although we have mainly succeeded against al Qaeda groups in Pakistan, at least for the time being, I noted that al Qaeda, having fundamentally shifted its approach, has become a global network. As such, it is arguably stronger today than it was in 2001. Events this weekend, highlighted here by Max Boot, tend »

Al Qaeda in Iraq is resurgent

Featured image Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) was a decorated intelligence officer for the U.S. Army. She performed that role in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Lewis is the author of a new ISW report called “Al Qaeda in Iraq is Resurgent.” It’s always nice when a report gets to the point in the title, even if the point isn’t nice. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) reached its »

Why Assad is no bulwark against al Qaeda

Featured image One of the strongest-sounding arguments against intervening in Syria is the fear that, by “degrading” Assad’s power, we will increase the odds that jihadist, al Qaeda affiliated rebels will come to power. It was this fear that caused me to suggest last year that a stalemate between Assad and the rebels might be the best outcome. Only after the tide of the civil war seemed to turn in favor of »

The “un-vetted” Syrian opposition

Featured image During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on Syria this week, Sen. Corker referred several times to the “vetted opposition” to Bashar al-Assad. Corker had in mind, I gather, the Free Syrian Army which is deemed by Secretary of State Kerry, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and others to be an effective, non-extremist, and not wholly corrupt rebel fighting force. How seriously should we take the vetting of the Free Syrian »

The Terror Alert: Even the Media Are Starting to Get It

Featured image We’ve noted here before the possibility that Al Qaeda’s current “chatter” is disinformation, or a deliberate manipulation of our current terror protocols.  Whatever happened to, “If we do ‘X,’ the terrorists win”?  Well, we’re cowering around the world right now. The National Journal‘s security correspondent Sara Sorcher takes note of this today, in “Al Qaeda’s Won This Round–So Far“: Not only is it very unusual that a senior, Pakistan-based Qaida »

Obama Epic Fail on Foreign Policy Revisited

Featured image Last week I put up a brief post on how the current terror warning that has seen the U.S. close most of its embassies in the Middle East–based on “chatter”–is peculiar, if not worse.  Every watcher of The Sopranos or The Wire knows that the bad guys are not dumb, and know that we’ll be listening to any conventional communication, which is why I suggested this whole thing might well »

Obama Foreign Policy=Epic Fail

Featured image Never mind the Snowden defection to the Soviet Union Russia (which really is an old-style defection, with a decent interval to fool the American media); how about Obama’s obviously risible claim that “Al Qaeda is on the run.”  Yeah, because one way you keep terrorists on the run is to . . . close 21 embassies.  Riiiighht. This warning is supposedly based on increased “chatter.”  I expect this is true. »

Will Somebody Tell Al-Qaida That the Era of Terrorism Is Over?

Featured image So Obama thinks the problem of terrorism has receded to pre-9/11 levels and we can call the whole thing off.  Won’t be long now before the New York Times re-runs the Larry Johnson article from July 2001, “The Declining Terrorist Threat,” which confidently proclaimed: Americans are bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism. They seem to believe that terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States and that it is becoming »

Obama signals retreat in the fight against terrorism

Featured image President Obama delivered an address today at the National Defense University called “The Future of our Fight Against Terrorism.” Actually, part of the speech was about the past, including much self-congratulation and some shots at President Bush. This part of the speech is revisionist rubbish. As Max Boot explains: Obama said, for example, that after he came into office, “we unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked »

The Chechen, jihadlist, al Qaeda connection

Featured image AEI’s lead Russia scholar, Leon Aron, has this, in part, to say: Islamic radicals have been very active in Chechnya since the early 2000s, when the Chechen independence movement truly radicalized into a fundamentalist movement. Since then, there have been several large attacks in Russia, such as the Beslan school siege in 2004 and the Nord Ost theater attack in 2002. Several Chechens were sent to Guantanamo. . . . »

The terrorists appear to be Islamic extremists

Featured image NRO has a good compilation of information about the two brothers suspected (for very good reason) of setting off the explosives in Boston. As Scott noted, they apparently are of Chechen origin. And apparently they are Muslims. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now dead, is quoted in a photo essay as saying that he doesn’t drink or smoke anymore because “God said no alcohol.” He also complained that “there are no values anymore,” »

Al Qaeda Offers Bounty on American Ambassador [UPDATE: Obama--Benghazi Was "Just Some Sloppiness"]

Featured image Well, why not? They’re one for one so far. Maybe someone will claim the bounty by organizing a group movie review. The AP reports: Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen has offered to pay tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa or an American soldier in the country. An audio produced by the group’s media arm, the al-Malahem Foundation, and posted on militant websites Saturday »

Terminating the war on terror — an idea whose time hasn’t come

Featured image Fareed Zakaria argues that it’s “time to terminate the war on terror.” Zakaria doesn’t make clear precisely what, as a practical matter, he has in mind. But it looks like he wants he wants the U.S. to deem our efforts at protection from terrorism something other than an armed conflict and to phase out of modify the government’s emergency powers. Zakaria cites a recent speech in which outgoing Pentagon General »

Al Qaeda — resurgent in Iraq and emergent in Syria, thanks in no small part to President Obama

Featured image The Washington Post reports on the reemergence of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). According to Bruce Reidel, a former CIA counterterrorism expert now with the Brookings Institution, “what we’re now seeing is al Qaeda in Iraq’s revival, not only as a movement in that country but as a regional movement.” Reidel notes that from its base in the Sunni provinces west of Baghdad, AQI is building networks in Syria and »

It may happen in October, but it won’t be a surprise

Featured image Eli Lake reports on White House deliberations over retaliation for the killing of Amb. Christopher Stevens and other Americans in Benghazi. U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly have compiled a list of suspects in the assault. According to some intelligence officials, there is enough detail to take military action to kill or capture ten of the operatives tied to the planning of the attack. The administration supposedly is considering whether to pursue »

Fools and knaves, part 6

Featured image The Obama administration is peddling a new line regarding its inability to hold the old line on the Benghazi murders: the bad dope came from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who got everything wrong in the days following the attack. DNI spokesman Shawn Turner issued a statement reported by Reuters in the traditional Friday news dump in which scandals go to die. According to the statement: “[W]e revised »