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.
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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.
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.
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.
The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism--From al Qa'ida to ISIS
By Michael Morell
Twelve/The Hachette Group (2015)
Reviewed by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Ayman al-Zawahiri is having a bad day.
A few days ago, Paul McCleary at Foreign Policy reported on U.S. airstrikes against al Shabaab, undertaken in defense of AMISOM forces. McCleary asked, “Is there a new U.S. airstrike policy in East Africa?” My question is, “Is there a new legal theory supporting U.S.
“As has become obvious, the Obama administration’s response to the Syrian crisis is an abject failure.”