Al Qaeda

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 »

What’s in the Khorasan name?

Featured image “The Khorasan Group.” It sounds like a consulting firm, or maybe an orgiastic cult. Actually, though, it’s the name applied to a terrorist outfit the Obama administration targeted for bombing in Syria earlier this week in attacks separate from those aimed at ISIS. But what kind of terrorist organization is the Khorasan Group and where does the name come from? According to the reports I’ve read, the Khorasan Group is »

Obama’s “Yemen model” is failing in Yemen

Featured image In his address to the nation about countering ISIS, President Obama said that the will model for his strategy will be the one we have employed in Yemen against al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP). That strategy consists of relying on the Yemeni government to combat AQAP on the ground and pitching in with targeted air strikes to degrade that terrorists’ leadership. On its face, the applicability of the »

Obama’s legal justification for asserting the power to attack ISIS: ironic and weak

Featured image President Obama initially justified air strikes against ISIS on the legal theory that, as commander-in-chief, he has a responsibility to protect U.S. citizens and facilities. However, as Eli Lake points out, Obama’s battle against ISIS quickly expanded into an effort to protect Iraqi infrastructure. And now it has expanded into an effort (how serious we don’t know) to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. By what legal theory does Obama justify this »

No bright line separates ISIS and al Qaeda

Featured image A source from deep within the intelligence world has commented on my post about Walter Russell Mead’s article concerning ISIS. Mead’s thesis is that ISIS is more radical, better organized, and better financed than al-Qaeda. And now that it controls some of the most strategic territory at the heart of the Middle East, ISIS poses a greater threat to the United States than any of its jihadist predecessors. My source »

Is Obama too sanguine about al Qaeda’s threat to the homeland?

Featured image Amidst all the straw men President Obama grappled with during his mushy commencement speech at West Point were a few serious points. One of them was this: [T]he need for a new strategy reflects the fact that today’s principal threat no longer comes from a centralized Al Qaida leadership. Instead, it comes from decentralized Al Qaida affiliates and extremists, many with agendas focused in countries where they operate. And this »

Hillary Clinton, Boko Haram, and Obama’s most dangerous lie

Featured image Hillary Clinton, we now know, strongly opposed placing Boko Haram on the State Department’s official list of foreign terrorist organizations. According to Josh Rogin, the Justice Department (including the FBI), the CIA, and more than a dozen senators and congressmen wanted Boko Haram designated a foreign terrorist organization, but Clinton successfully resisted. Boko Haram wasn’t so designated until late this year, after Clinton had left Foggy Bottom. Now that Boko »

Is al Qaeda planning a chemical attack on the west?

Featured image At yesterday’s AEI conference on al Qaeda, terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University said that there has been a spate of arrests of terrorists who possess nerve gas. The arrests have occurred mainly in Turkey and Israel. Hoffman infers from the arrests that al Qaeda may be planning a chemical attack on the West. Such an attack would most likely occur in Europe, but the United States could be »

Obama’s most dangerous lie

Featured image Rank-ordering the lies of President Obama is a daunting task. But high on any sound list, though absent from most actual ones, is Obama’s claim that al Qaeda has been “decimated” and is “on the path to defeat.” This claim was ripped to shreds yesterday at an AEI conference called “Getting it right: A better strategy to defeat al Qaeda.” You can watch that event here and I encourage you »

U.S. strikes in Yemen after al Qaeda’s day out

Featured image In a post called “Al Qaeda’s day out,” I criticized the Obama administration for backing away from drone strikes against that outfit in the terrorist hotbed of Yemen. Therefore, it is only fair that I give the administration credit for launching an aggressive drone strike campaign over the weekend in Yemen against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In one drone strike the U.S. targeted AQAP’s top bomb maker, »

Al Qaeda’s departure from Iran — what does it mean?

Featured image The Washington Post reports that senior al Qaeda officials long sheltered by Iran have exited that country in the past year or two. These al Qaeda officials migrated to Iran when, following 9/11, the U.S. began taking out the organization’s top leaders. The departing officials include Thirwat Shihata who was the deputy of Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s current leader, when he ran Egyptian Islamic Jihad; Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, accused in the »

Jeh Johnson gets a few things right

Featured image Jeh Johnson, who recently became Homeland Security Secretary, has delivered his first policy address. He devoted part of his speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Center, to pushing for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The fact that the implementation of immigration reform legislation would, in no small measure, be in the hands of a left-liberal partisan like Johnson provides additional reason, if any were needed, »

Obama ties military’s hands by reading al Qaeda out of Benghazi

Featured image Katherine Zimmerman of AEI, whose work we have highlighted before, wrote an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post about the need to formulate a reasonable definition of al Qaeda. The whole column is worth reading, but I was struck most by her explanation of why the military won’t take action against the perpetrators of the Benghazi attack: Here’s the problem: According to recently declassified testimony of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of »

Of jayvee terrorists. . . and presidents [UPDATED]

Featured image In his recent interview with The New Yorker, President Obama referred to today’s al-Qaeda fighters as the “jayvee” team. Obama stated: The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. It’s not surprising that Obama takes this position. As Steve Bucci of the Heritage Foundation reminds us, before Benghazi, Obama claimed that »

Syria, the New Afghanistan

Featured image Once upon a time it was Afghanistan where would-be jihadis went to receive training in terror tactics, so that they could return to their home countries and wreak havoc. Now, the Telegraph says, the jihadi destination of choice is Syria: “Al-Qaeda training British and European ‘jihadists’ in Syria to set up terror cells at home.” British people fighting in Syria are being trained as “jihadists” and then encouraged to return »

New York Times disconnects the Benghazi dots

Featured image David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times is trying to salvage some credibility in the aftermath of the refutation, including by the Washington Post, of his revisionist account of the attack in Benghazi. As Tom Joscelyn shows, Kirkpatrick does not succeed. In his initial piece, Kirkpatrick ruled out any meaningful involvement in the attack by ex-Guantanamo detainee Sufian Ben Qumu, who has longstanding ties to al Qaeda and is currently »