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Category Archives: Al Qaeda

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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Lawfare on the Hill

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Monday, April 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Two hearings this week to take note of: Tomorrow, Tuesday April 8th at 2pm: The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade will hold a hearing on “Is al-Qaeda Winning? Grading the Administration’s Counterterrorism Policy.” Ben will be testifying on the future of the AUMF and 702. Thursday, April 10th at 9am: The House Judiciary Committee will . . .
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Director Brennan on al Qaeda’s Associated Forces and Jabhat al-Nusrah

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM

In an interview conducted yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations, CIA Director John Brennan had an interesting exchange with Audrey Kurth Cronin on the subject of al Qaeda’s organizational scope.  Kronin asked: So my question is, we tend to use a shorthand with respect to al-Qaida, calling every group that has a Salafist agenda . . .
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Bipartisan Group of Senators Push for Congressional Vote Before Extending Afghanistan Troop Presence

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Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 3:40 PM

That is the title of this press release by Senator Jeff Merkley, announcing a resolution “calling for Congress to have a role in approving any further United States military involvement in Afghanistan after the current mission ends on December 31, 2014.”  The Resolution is sponsored by Merkley (D-OR), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Joe Manchin . . .
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Al Qaeda Statement Breaking with ISIS

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Monday, February 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Courtesy of Aaron Zelin and his indispensable Jihadology blog, here is the latest dust-up in the Al Qaeda family: “On the Relationship of Qā’idat al-Jihād and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām.”  

Bruce Riedel on the Mumbai Attacks, Five Years Later

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Friday, November 29, 2013 at 9:38 AM

My Brookings colleague Bruce Riedel has an essay up on the Brookings web site entitled, “Five Years On, Mumbai Terror Masterminds Still at Large.” It opens: Five years ago, the city of Mumbai was attacked by Pakistani terrorists in the most important terror attack since 9/11. The 10 terrorists’ tactics have been copied by others . . .
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The More You Attempt Capture Operations, the Less Feasible They Become

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Friday, November 1, 2013 at 5:16 PM

A coda to Bobby’s post below asking about the legal views underlying US operations in Somalia over the past three weeks.  Three weeks ago, SEALs attempted a capture operation against a target on the coast of Somalia.  The SEAL team withdrew without capturing its target, on account of risks to noncombatants, it was reported.  Three . . .
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Back to Lethal Force in Somalia: What If Anything Does the Drone Strike on Ibrahim Ali Signify?

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Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

When U.S. Navy SEALs attempted the capture of an al Shabab figure in Somalia earlier this month, contemporaneous with the successful capture of an al Qaeda target in Libya, it generated a considerable amount of coverage and discussion, including speculation about what this might signify regarding the administration’s position on the use of lethal force . . .
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The Attempt to Capture Ikrima Probably Does Not Signify a Shift Regarding the Scope of the AUMF

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Monday, October 7, 2013 at 1:00 PM

As information continues to emerge  regarding the Baraawe raid, it is becoming increasingly clear that the operation was of a piece with, rather than a departure from, existing US policy.  According to NPR’s Gregory Warner, Kenyan government officials have said that the raid targeted Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, a Kenyan citizen of Somali descent better known . . .
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Ending the End-of-War Timeline

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Monday, October 7, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Nine or so months ago, following  President Obama’s inaugural address assertion that a “decade of war is now ending,” which came on the heels of Jeh Johnson’s speech about the end of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, Lawfare started the “End-of-War” Timeline.  We felt pretty firmly, as I wrote at the time, that “War is not ending; it is continuing, . . .
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