Al Qaeda

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Foreign Policy Essay

Don’t (Completely) Blame America for Baghdadi

Editor’s Note: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the brutal leader of the world’s most brutal terrorist group, is an enigma to many Westerners. Unlike Osama bin Laden, Baghdadi does not grant long interviews to Western journalists. So when the group suddenly grabbed Western attention, rumors and false reports abounded. William McCants, the director of the Brookings Project on U.S.

Foreign Policy Essay

Should the United States Negotiate with Terrorists?

Editor’s Note: No one wants to give terrorists even a shred of legitimacy through negotiations, but even hardline counterterrorist countries like Israel have at times recognized the need to cut a deal with their enemies. This issue has come up again and again for the United States, particularly as it searches for allies in Syria: Some of the most effective forces against the Assad regime and the Islamic State are those of the Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), an al-Qaida affiliate.

Al-Qaeda

He's back: Al-Qaida's Leader Resurfaces in a Video Message

After an unprecedented 11 months of silence, Ayman al-Zawahri, the emir of al-Qaida, this week issued a video message proclaiming his loyalty to the new head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. The almost 10-minute long message dramatically reaffirms the alliance between al-Qaida and the Taliban, a setback for efforts to bring the Taliban into a political process.

Al-Qaeda

Where in the world is al-Qaida's leader?

The emir of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, has not made any public statements since September 2014. His now 11-month long absence is unprecedented. Next month will be a key test for Zawahri: the anniversary of 9/11—a milestone he has spoken out on for years.

Al-Zawahri was chosen by Osama bin Laden to be his successor. A veteran of 35 years of terrorist plotting, the Egyptian has legitimacy and experience. But he has a lot of other baggage too. He is a poor speaker, prone to ideological fights, and lacks bin Laden's charisma.

Terrorism Trials & Investigations

Can ISIL Supporters Be Prosecuted for Providing Material Support to AQI?

DOJ sent out a notice earlier today involving yet another ISIL-related material support case, this one involving a California man who had hoped to get to Syria in order to join ISIL (United States v. Dundach). He has pled guilty to one false-statement charge, and one charge of material support to ISIL in violation of 18 USC 2339B.

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