Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘drones’

Nationalist Insurgencies and the al-Qaeda Narrative

Francisco Martin Rayo

By Francisco Martin-Rayo

The Obama administration’s heavy-handed approach to drone strikes in Yemen has blurred the distinction between terrorist and innocent civilian.  As administration officials continue to identify nearly all military-aged males in strike zones as possible combatants, media outlets have inadvertently drawn attention to another major misstep in the administration’s counter-terrorism strategy: its refusal to differentiate between local insurgencies with nationalist goals and groups focused on global terrorism.

Islamic nationalist movements over the last 20 years have found it beneficial to pledge allegiance to the broader al-Qaeda movement, which has provided them with access to a well defined financing network and to highly experienced operatives who are able to train their fighters.  General Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, highlighted this pattern recently, arguing that al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are sharing funds and training on how to use bombs.  Unfortunately, American policymakers today fail to differentiate between nationalist movements and global terrorist groups.  This lack of nuance is likely to lead to increased U.S. military involvement in domestic conflicts and enhanced cooperation between armed Islamic groups with previously disparate agendas. Read more

Bookmark and Share

Do U.S. drone strikes on al-Qaida make us safer?

Sean M. Lynn-Jones

Sean M. Lynn-Jones

By Sean M. Lynn-Jones

On June 4, a missile fired from a pilotless U.S. drone reportedly killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, said to be al-Qaida’s second-in-command, in a remote region of Pakistan. Just over a year earlier, U.S. special forces stormed Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, and shot him dead. In September 2011, a U.S. drone attack in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American radical Islamic cleric who had become an al-Qaida regional commander. Numerous other al-Qaida leaders have been killed in U.S. attacks in recent years. The Obama administration has made such decapitation attacks a central element in the U.S. struggle against al-Qaida and similar militant organizations. Read more

Bookmark and Share