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Category Archives: Al Qaeda Operations

Indictment of US Citizen Who Trained with al Nusrah and Returned to Attack

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Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 5:42 PM

A grand jury in Ohio has indicted Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, a recently-naturalized US citizen and resident of Columbus, with two material support counts (and one false statement count) based on allegations that he traveled to Syria to fight, that he received military-style training from al Nusrah, and that he came back to the United States . . .
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How Did Abid Naseer Come to be Convicted in a U.S. Court?

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Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 4:00 PM

On March 4 2015, Pakistani national Abid Naseer was convicted in a Brooklyn Federal Court of supporting terrorism and conspiring with al-Qaeda to bomb a shopping mall in the United Kingdom in 2009. The case received a fair bit of press attention, including this story in the New York Times. Naseer’s trial in Brooklyn had some . . .
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New Abbottabad Documents Released in Trial of Abid Naseer

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Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 12:56 PM

In the trial of Abid Naseer, the U.S. Department of Justice released a trove of new files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound during the May 2011 raid by U.S. Navy Seals that ended in his death. Seventeen of the documents were released in 2012. Those previously released documents painted a picture of a bin . . .
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Welcome to Brooklyn: 2 AQ members who attacked US forces abroad brought to US for civilian trial

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 12:27 PM

An interesting development in the ongoing debate regarding the optimal disposition for captured al Qaeda members: The Justice Department has just announced that two al Qaeda members (both citizens of Yemen) were captured in Saudi Arabia (and have now been “lawfully expelled” to the United States to face a civilian criminal trial in the Eastern . . .
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Misunderstanding Terrorism: Charlie Hebdo Didn’t Provoke the Killers

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Monday, January 12, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Some commentators who have condemned the Charlie Hebdo killings have, in the same breath, criticized the publication for being unnecessarily provocative. Last Wednesday over at the New York Times, Ross Douthat countered the “unnecessary” half of this characterization, writing: “If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then . . .
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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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