Al-Qaeda

Hamid Mir

In the years since Sept. 11, 2001, understanding the Al Qaeda organization—its strategy, ideology and leadership structure—has become a major preoccupation of both scholars and security specialists. Policymakers and legal scholars have debated what legal tools and tactics we should and should not use to defeat the organization. And as the long war that began on 9/11 drags on, defining which precise individuals and groups constitute the group and its allies remains one of the most crucial questions national-security lawyers have to address.

Latest in Al-Qaeda

Foreign Policy Essay

Threat Analysis and Multilateral Counterterrorism

Editor’s Note: The United Nations can play an important role in counterterrorism, but it often fails to deliver. Much of the UN’s effort is channeled through the 1267 Committee, which designates terrorist groups and coordinates financial restrictions against them. Barak Mendelsohn, a professor at Haverford College and author of the forthcoming book “The al-Qaeda Franchise: The Expansion of al-Qaeda and Its Consequences,” dissects the 1267 Committee, describing its limits and explaining why it has underperformed.

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The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast: Gregory Johnsen Answers "What is a Houthi?"

On this week’s Lawfare Podcast, Gregory Johnsen outlines the current state-of-play in Yemen. Johnsen, who is a writer-at-large for Buzzfeed News, a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, and an all-things-Yemen-expert, walks Ben through the byzantine power politics in Sanaa that led to the conflict now engulfing Yemen and he explains why the war shouldn’t be viewed as just another Sunni-Shia fight.

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.

Homeland Security

CIA Releases Declassified Documents Related to 9/11

The Central Intelligence Agency has released five newly declassified documents. The release states that each document related to a 2005 Office of Inspector General (OIG) report examing the Agency's accountability regarding the previous findings and conclusions from an inquiry into intelligence community activities before and after the attacks of September 11th.

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