Al Qaeda

Osama’s Bins Laden with Juicy Correspondence

May 8, 2012 by

A year after Osama bin Laden met up with the pointy end of Seal Team Six, it’s fascinating to hear that he was worried about the proliferation of terrorism. In a series of declassified “battlefield documents” published last week by the unambiguously named Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, we gain some insights into what the ex-Most Wanted Man was pondering as he paced around his Abottabad compound. The 17 documents represent a fraction of the intelligence haul that was gathered from the Pakistani hide-out following the raid.

The Obama Administration Defends the use of Armed Drones

May 3, 2012 by

Set against the backdrop of events marking the one year anniversary of the killing of Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin-Laden, the Obama administration has for the first time formally acknowledged its use of drone missile strikes that have proven effective in decimating Al-Qaeda’s ranks as well as killing other high value targets in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington on April 30th, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, affirmed, “the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones.”

Isolation and Hegemony: A New Approach for American Foreign Policy

April 23, 2012 by

In modern foreign policy the United States faces a complicated irony: in a bid to ensure national security and maintain global primacy the U.S. spends a large quantity of blood and treasure on interventionist policies that may actually compromise national security and the future of American hegemony. The culmination of these exercises in grandiose foreign policy has been the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, at the combined cost of between three and four trillion dollars.

What Syria is Teaching the West

April 22, 2012 by

It should come as little surprise to anyone that the fragile cease-fire in Syria has failed and is evidence that - contrary to what many pundits contend - the tide continues to be on Mr. Assad’s side, given the time that has passed, the fractured nature of the opposition, and the bungled manner in which the West has addressed the subject. As Syria demonstrates, with each passing month the Arab Awakening evolves in new and unexpected ways.

The U.S. & The Afghan Train Wreck

April 16, 2012 by

The recent decision by the Taliban and one of its allies to withdraw from peace talks with Washington underlines the train wreck the U.S. is headed for in Afghanistan. Indeed, for an administration touted as sophisticated and intelligent, virtually every decision the White House has made vis-à-vis Afghanistan has been a disaster.

The Logic of Unintended Consequences: The ‘Mess in Mali’

April 11, 2012 by

The intentional misreading of UN security council resolution 1973 resulted in NATO’s predictably violent Operation Odyssey in Libya last year. Not only did the action cost many thousands of lives and untold destruction, it also paved the way for perpetual conflict - not only in Libya but throughout North Africa.

Boomerang

April 1, 2012 by

Toulouse, Europe’s aerospace hub in the southwest of France, has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. A twenty-three-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, Mohamed Merah, went on a shooting spree last month, killing seven people and terrorizing a million residents for ten days before a police sniper’s bullet ended his life. Among his victims were three unarmed soldiers, a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school.

Polling Shows Little Support for Syrian Intervention

March 20, 2012 by

Despite strenuous efforts by prominent neo-conservatives and other hawks, a war-weary U.S. public is clearly very leery of any armed intervention in what many experts believe is rapidly becoming a civil war in Syria, according to recent polls. In a survey released last week, the Pew Research Center found that only 25 percent of respondents said they believed the U.S. has a “responsibility to do something” about the year-old violence in Syria.

American Terrorists Abroad and Due Process

March 20, 2012 by

Imagine you are an American citizen overseas dedicated to recruiting terrorists, planning terrorist acts aimed at the United States, and publicly calling for jihad against America. This was the life of Anwar-al-Awlaki, an American terrorist overseas. To the Obama Administration, Anwar al-Awlaki was an illegal enemy combatant that was due no judicial hearing before the CIA targeted and killed him in Yemen in September 2011.

More Bad News on the Afghan Front

March 13, 2012 by

While U.S. officials insisted their counterinsurgency strategy is still working, Sunday’s pre-dawn massacre by a U.S. staff sergeant of 16 people, including nine children, in their homes in Kandahar province has dealt yet another body blow to Washington’s hopes to sustain a significant military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

Iran, Israel and the U.S.: The Slide To War

February 23, 2012 by

Wars are fought because some people decide it is in their interests to fight them. World War I was not started over the Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination, nor was it triggered by the alliance system. An “incident” may set the stage for war, but no one keeps shooting unless they think it’s a good idea. The Great War started because the countries involved decided they would profit by it, delusional as that conclusion was.

International Efforts to Counter Al-Shabaab

February 21, 2012 by

Since the al-Shabaab (The Youth) took control of most of south and central Somalia in 2007, no Somali force or coalition of forces has developed the capacity to counter the al-Qaeda affiliated organization. Militias under the control of Somali warlords were largely a spent force before al-Shabaab seized much of Somalia. The international community has trained a significant number of Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, but they have not yet achieved the numbers, tenacity and ability on their own to challenge al-Shabaab.

Now Is Not the Time for Intervention In Syria

February 20, 2012 by

As pressure mounts on foreign powers to consider intervening militarily in Syria, analogies are being drawn between what NATO accomplished in Libya and whether something comparable may be possible in Syria. Military intervention would perhaps make the West feel better — knowing that it attempted to do something concrete to end the bloodshed — but it is unlikely to be successful for several reasons.

Boko Haram Brings Nigeria to the Brink of Collapse

February 5, 2012 by

The people committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad, or Boko Haram as they are infamously known to the international community, has escalated its war on the Nigerian government in recent months with devastating effects. In January alone, the terror group’s attacks have already claimed over 250 lives, more than half of all deaths inflicted by their attacks in all of 2011.

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