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Posts tagged ‘Al Qaeda’

Al Awlaki killing: Another Obama counter-terrorism success

Richard A. Clarke

Richard A. Clarke

The successful strike on Al Awlaki today is yet another success in Obama’s greatly expanded counter-terrorism offensive and his use of armed UAVs as the center of that campaign. The death of the American citizen cleric is notable, too, because of the legal implications. The President, in effect, ordered the execution of an American citizen overseas, one who may not have been indicted in a US court (although he probably could have been). The legal point here is that the American citizen had joined a foreign army engaged in hostilities with the US and thus became a target for US military and intelligence activity just as if some citizen had joined the Wehrmacht in World War II. Read more

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The United States vs Al Qaeda: Who’s winning?

The Power Problem: Part of a series of views on lessons learned in the exercise of American power in the decade since 9/11.

Stephen M. Walt

Stephen M. Walt

By Stephen Walt

Who won the war between the United States and Al Qaeda?  Which side is better off today?

My answer would be: neither.  In fact, both sides are worse off than they were before that fateful day.   Although the United States is certain to outlast Al Qaeda and its various affiliates, the response to 9/11 combined both intelligent reactions and some self-inflicted wounds.  Fortunately for us, Al Qaeda made many mistakes of its own and is a declining force in world affairs. Read more

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9/11: Not just About Us

The Power Problem: Part of a series of views on lessons learned in the exercise of American power in the decade since 9/11.

Graham Allison

Graham Allison

By Graham Allison

Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that killed 3,000 people, innocents from more than 90 countries, is an appropriate occasion to reflect on an unhappy truth:  Al Qaeda has been, and remains, at war with civilized peoples everywhere in the world.  As Americans reflect on that fateful day, we should be clear that 9/11 is “not just about us.”

By any metric, 9/11 was the most catastrophic attack in Al Qaeda’s two-decades history.  It was not its first, however, nor its last.  Since 1992—when Al Qaeda targeted American troops in Aden, Yemen in a hotel bombing that ended up killing 2 Australians—Al Qaeda has killed 5,000 people worldwide.  A chart published by the Economist in May provides a summary of Al Qaeda attacks and casualties that span four continents. Read more

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Can al-Qaeda pull off another large-scale attack in the US?

The Power Problem: Part of a series of views on lessons learned in the exercise of American power in the decade since 9/11.

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Reflecting on the tenth anniversary of 9/11:

There has been a run of good news on the counterterrorism front.  The recent flurry of action against al-Qaeda appears to be part and parcel of the Osama Bin Laden raid – the exploitation of actionable leads and locational data mined in the haul of documents and thumb drives. Al-Qaeda is taking some serious hits.  Its future as a global terrorist movement is in doubt.

I am concerned, however, by the significance ascribed to the next-generation leaders captured or killed in Pakistan. The intelligence community knows its stuff, and has enjoyed ringing successes, but the mystery is this: where does senior al-Qaeda core member Sayf al-Adl come into the picture?  He was named as Bin Laden’s temporary replacement.  Now, he apparently isn’t listed on the organizational chart. Read more

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The power of the Shamal

By Richard A. Clarke

By Richard Clarke

Having wandered recently among the orange-red dunes of the Arabian desert, my mind is filled with analogies about shifting sands, blurred vision, and the stark clarity that can come when the winds settle down.  The winds on this peninsula and in the nearby Sahara are still blowing, the new dunes still being formed, but we can say some things about the shape of the Arab world that will emerge.

Unless the United States and its Arab allies are unusually diligent, skilled, and lucky, the new configuration will be less supportive of US interests, at least in the short term. That is not a judgment about what we should have done or should do now, nor is it meant to be a justification for the regimes that are being swept from power. It is meant only to be an analytical conclusion. Read more

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