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Category Archives: Al Qaeda Operations

Senator Menendez’s Draft ISIL AUMF

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Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Last Thursday, Bloomberg View’s Josh Rogin had a piece on a draft ISIL authorization put forth by Senator Bob Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Based on Rogin’s report, it seems Menendez’s legislation was offered as an alternative to a bill authored by Senator Rand Paul. But as Rogin notes, of the pair, . . .
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ICC Prosecutor Advances Examination of U.S. Detention Policies in Afghanistan

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Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 9:11 AM

As Professors Ryan Goodman and David Bosco have both noted in excellent posts at Just Security and Foreign Policy, respectively, over the past seven years, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor has quietly but persistently advanced a “preliminary examination” of the conflict in Afghanistan.  Although it has been clear that the United States was one . . .
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The Legal Consequences of Islamic State + Al Qaeda Cooperation, and Implications for AUMF Reform

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Friday, November 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Deb Riechman at AP is reporting: Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press. . . .
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Ben’s Sweeping Endorsement of the Just Security AUMF Principles

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM

In his post this morning, Ben identifies what he calls “flaws” with three of the six principles for a use-of-force authorization for ISIL that were introduced yesterday by a group of legal experts (that includes me). Although Ben has done us the courtesy of critiquing the Principles, it appears he didn’t actually read them all . . .
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Look Who Else Has Drones: ISIS and Al Nusra

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Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Since the introduction of drone technology to the battlefield, countless academics, policymakers, and military planners have pondered a disturbing question: what happens when other countries or non-state actors have access to them? In Syria, we may be starting to see the effects that the dissemination of drone technology will mean for the future of war. In . . .
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The Fox-DOJ Subpoena Fight: A Summary in Documents

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Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 10:03 PM

In July 2009, Mike Levine, a reporter for Fox News, broke a story about federal prosecutors secretly filing terrorism charges against a group of Somali-Americans in Minneapolis who were recruited to join Al Qaeda-linked groups in Somalia. Levine’s story was based on confidential information leaked to him by various unidentified government officials. In January 2011, . . .
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Fourth Circuit Affirms Refusal to Vacate Sentence in United States v. Abu Ali

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM

In an unpublished per curiam opinion, Chief Judge Traxler and Judges Wilkinson and Motz of the Fourth Circuit today dismissed Ahmed Omar Abu Ali’s bid to overturn the district court’s 2012 order denying relief on his 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate his sentence. Some background: Abu Ali—a U.S. citizen born in Texas and . . .
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Dropping “Khorasan” for “al Qaeda”

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Friday, October 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

There has been much talk about the “Khorasan Group” over the past several weeks, including occasional sharp questions regarding its nature and provenance. On that subject, Dina Temple Raston has a good piece on NPR this evening, underscoring the fundamental point that “Khorasan” is a term of convenience describing no more and no less than . . .
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Panetta Slams White House on Iraq Withdrawal

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Friday, October 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM

A big Monday-morning quarterback question since ISIL began overrunning parts of Iraq as Iraqi military forces collapsed has been whether the United States should have kept in place a significant residual force, rather than withdrawing altogether after the U.S. combat mission there ended in late 2011.  A significant part of this larger strategic question has . . .
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A Less Generous Take on Greenwald’s Latest

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Jack is very generous to Glenn Greenwald in his post earlier today, in which he notes areas where he agrees with what he terms Greenwald’s “skeptical takedown of the factual basis for the attacks on the Khorasan Group (KG) in Syria, and the American Press’s complicity, based on anonymous USG sources, in spreading war-mongering exaggerations about . . .
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On Glenn Greenwald’s Skepticism on Threat Claims About the Khorasan Group

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Glenn Greenwald has a skeptical takedown of the factual basis for the attacks on the Khorasan Group (KG) in Syria, and the American Press’s complicity, based on anonymous USG sources, in spreading war-mongering exaggerations about KG’s imminent threat to the American public.  Greenwald concludes: So after spending weeks promoting ISIS as Worse Than Al Qaeda™, they unveiled . . .
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Islamic State Reconciling with Jabhat al-Nusra, and Strengthening President’s 2001 AUMF Argument

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Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

The Guardian reports that USG bombing of Jabhat al-Nusra, the al Qaeda group (or AQ-affiliated group) in Syria that has been at odds with the Islamic State for a year or so: Air strikes continued to target Islamic State (Isis) positions near the Kurdish town of Kobani and hubs across north-east Syria on Sunday, as . . .
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Jason Leopold on the Samir Khan Case

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Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Over at VICE News, reporter Jason Leopold has this very interesting story about the FBI investigation of Samir Khan, the AQAP propagandist and editor of Inspire magazine, who was killed in the strike against Anwar Al-Awlaqi. Khan, like Al-Awlaqi, was a U.S. citizen, though the government maintains that he was not the target of the strike that . . .
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Ongoing “Covert” Training of Syrian Rebels: But Is It Still Covert . . . , And, If So, Why?

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Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:45 AM

[Cross-Posted at Just Security]  Last week Congress approved, and the President signed, legislation that authorizes the Secretary of Defense (see section 149) to “provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals,” for three specified purposes, including “defending the Syrian people from . . .
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Draft U.N. Security Council Resolution on Foreign Terrorist Fighters

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Monday, September 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Recently circulated by the United States in New York, in conjunction with the larger campaign against ISIS: a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution aiming to reduce the rising threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs)—or, as the resolution defines them, “individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality . . .
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We are (or Will Soon Be) at War With the Islamic State

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Friday, September 12, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Secretary of State Kerry said yesterday: We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation [against the Islamic State], and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation.  I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy . . . . Though the Secretary was not thinking in legal terms, it is worth noting that his statement is . . .
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ISIL as al Qaeda: Three Reactions

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Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 1:52 AM

Like Bobby, Wells, and Ben, I, too, was surprised to discover that the Obama Administration’s legal theory (for the moment) appears to be that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) can be targeted under the 2001 AUMF despite its very public split from al Qaeda. That said, I think all three of my friends miss the animating premise of the . . .
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Relevant Excerpts from President Obama’s West Point Speech

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Not a lot in President Obama’s West Point speech that is new on Lawfare-related matters. Here are key excerpts. On broad counterterrorism strategy: First, let me repeat a principle I put forward at the outset of my presidency: The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when . . .
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The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014

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Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

In early February 2009, Richard Holbrooke, the newly named Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, took me aside at the State Department to tell me he was getting panicky messages from Pakistan’s generals about President Obama’s decision to appoint me chairman of a special review of American policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. Richard said the . . .
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On the Connections Between the AUMF and Section 702

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 1:30 PM

I was asked to give testimony today before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on two topics that may seem largely unconnected: the vitality and adequacy of the AUMF for the conflict the United States is currently fighting and the NSA surveillance programs that have, of late, dominated news headlines. Rather than simply posting my testimony, I . . .
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