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Category Archives: Al Qaeda Operations

New America Says Guantanamo Recidivism Rate Isn’t as High as Intelligence Community Claims

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Friday, May 10, 2013 at 7:15 AM

The New America Foundation has released a fact sheet listing the identities of Guantanamo Bay detainees who are “confirmed to be or suspected of engaging in militant activities against either U.S. or non-U.S. targets” after their release or relocation from the prison. New America’s numbers suggest that the recidivism rate may actually be a fair bit lower than . . .
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A Quick Guide to the Lawfare Debate Over a New AUMF

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 2:33 AM

As Andrew Rosenthal noted in yesterday’s New York Times, things seem to be heating up in Congress with respect to whether–and to what extent–the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) needs to be updated, repealed, and/or replaced. To that end, the Senate Armed Services Committee has now scheduled a hearing on the same . . .
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Harold Koh’s Speech at the Oxford Union

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Earlier today, former State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh gave a talk at the Oxford Union, entitled “How to End the Forever War?”  His remarks begin as follows: Thank you, Mr. President and Members of the Union, for inviting me here to speak. I am honored to return to this University, where I first came 38 . . .
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Your Weekend Just Got Better

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Friday, March 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Courtesy of The Onion, America’s Finest News Source: Ayman Al-Zawahiri Delivers TEDTalk On Changing Face Of Terrorism ATLANTA—Addressing attendees gathered for this week’s TEDxEvolution Conference, al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri delivered an informative and engrossing TEDTalk on the state of worldwide terrorism, entitled “Terror At A Crossroads: Instilling Fear In The 21st-Century Infidel.” “We find ourselves in . . .
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A New Al Qaeda Prosecution in New York

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun (aka Spin Ghul) is in custody in Brooklyn, facing an array of federal court charges stemming from alleged al Qaeda activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria between 2001 and 2003 (including joining and training with al Qaeda in 2001, attempting to kill American military personnel in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2003, . . .
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After the AUMF, II: Daskal and Vladeck Reply

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Monday, March 18, 2013 at 7:16 PM

We appreciate Jack’s quick and comprehensive clarification of his views—and of what the CGWW proposal we critiqued last night seeks to achieve. Like Jack, we want to start by emphasizing the many areas of agreement between us and CGWW in order to help illuminate the key points of disagreement. (We’ve also had the benefit of . . .
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After the AUMF: A Response to Chesney, Goldsmith, Waxman, and Wittes

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Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 10:31 PM

In the very first days after the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush Administration asked Congress for broad statutory authorization to use military force to “deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States”—that is to say, for statutory authorization of what that Administration called a “Global War . . .
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Comments on and Link to the Sulaiman Abu Ghaith Indictment

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Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Further to my last post on the capture and prosecution of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, I now want to share a few thoughts on the prosecution side of things. The indictment has been unsealed, and is now available here.  It appears to be the 13th superseding indictment in the long-running case that began in 1998 after . . .
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A Statutory Framework for Next-Generation Threats

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Monday, February 25, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Several years ago, in a prescient op-ed in the Washington Post, our colleague John Bellinger argued that the September 2001 AUMF was an increasingly poor fit for the evolving threats facing the United States.  It is a theme to which many of us have returned in the intervening years, as unfolding trends and events have exacerbated . . .
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Need to Dodge a Drone? Here are 22 Al Qaeda Tips

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Friday, February 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Yesterday, the AP released an English translation of what appears to be a 2011 Al Qaeda tip sheet.  (AP journalists evidently found the document in Timbuktu.)  Its author, AQAP senior commander Abdullah bin Mohammed, catalogs twenty-two handy methods by which Al Qaeda fighters can avoid unwanted drone-watching and drone-whacking. Some of his guidance amounts to . . .
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Other Lawfare Matters in the State of the Union

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:03 PM

In the President’s State of the Union Address, President Obama spent a fair amount of time on foreign policy and Lawfare-related matters. In addition to announcing his cybersecurity executive order, he discussed draw-down plans for Afghanistan, how to deal with the threat of Al Qaeda in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, his plan to increase . . .
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Does the White Paper Take a New Approach to the Geography of Conflict?

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Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Amid the flurry of writing about the White Paper’s approach to “imminence” – an important conversation, to be sure – little attention has been paid to a paragraph in the White Paper that seems to establish new parameters for the geographic scope of the U.S. conflict with al Qaeda (AQ). The White Paper states that . . .
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What’s Really Wrong With the Targeted Killing White Paper

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 6:44 PM

There’s certainly a lot to say about the DOJ white paper on targeted killings, much of which has been said already (and well) by others (see Raff’s “Headlines and Commentary” post for links).  At the risk of being unintentionally repetitive, I offer below the fold my own (exasperated) reactions to last night’s release–and to the . . .
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AQIM and the Idea of a “Threat to the Homeland” Test

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM

As is now familiar to everyone, rather difficult questions arise when we discuss the scope of the AUMF, the current scope of “al Qaeda,” the meaning of “associated forces,” and the circumstances under which the president may have inherent authority to use force in national self-defense against extra-AUMF threats.  Under those general headings, today’s Pentagon press briefing included some . . .
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A Guide to Legal Issues Raised by the Expanding Conflict in Mali

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Friday, January 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

What is the United States actually doing so far, and what else reportedly is on the table? 1. So far we have agreed to provide airlift support to the French, on their dime.  That is, France is going to pay the United States some $20 million in exchange for the services of C-17s (and possibly . . .
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Readings: Daniel Bethlehem on Principles Governing Self-Defense Against Non-State Actors

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Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Former UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Legal Adviser Daniel Bethlehem has just published an important piece in the latest issue of the American Journal of International Law. The article, entitled “Self-Defense Against an Imminent or Actual Armed Attack by Nonstate Actors,” identifies a current gap between scholarship on jus ad bellum (JAB) issues and the . . .
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Gregory Johnsen on Yemen and AQAP

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Friday, November 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM

The other day, my Brookings colleague Daniel Byman held an event entitled “Yemen and the Future of a Resurgent Al Qaeda.” One of the two panelists was Gregory Johnsen, the author of the recently-released book, The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia. I have been impressed by Johnsen’s work for some time; . . .
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John McLaughlin on Morphing Terrorist Threats

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Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:15 AM

John McLaughlin, who was Deputy Director of the CIA from 2000-2004, has a nice essay in FP on how the patterns of terrorism we face today differ from the ones that prevailed in the years after 9/11.  Many of his points – the move away from traditional forms of authoritarianism in many Islamic countries, the . . .
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President Obama on the Jon Stewart Show

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Friday, October 19, 2012 at 8:40 AM

The President had this to say about issues of interest to readers of the blog: Obama: There are some things that we haven’t gotten done.  I still want to close Guantanamo.  We haven’t been able to get that through Congress.  One thing we have got to do is put a legal architecture in place and we need congressional help . . .
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Beyond the Battlefield, Beyond al Qaeda: The Destabilizing Legal Architecture of Counterterrorism

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 11:42 PM

I’m happy to report that I’ve recently completed drafting an article that has been much on my mind for the past few years.  Beyond the Battlefield, Beyond al Qaeda: The Destabilizing Legal Architecture of Counterterrorism (Michigan Law Review, forthcoming 2013) is now posted to SSRN.  In it, I argue that (i) there is a widespread . . .
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