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Ambassador: 'Preeminent Security Threat to the United States Continues to Be from al-Qa'ida'

10:11 AM, Feb 4, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The U.S. ambassador to Djibouti, Geeta Pasi, says that "The preeminent security threat to the United States continues to be from al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents around the world." Pasi made the remarks at the 2014 Gulf of Aden Regional Counterterrorism Forum in Djibouti, according to a transcript released by the State Department.

"The preeminent security threat to the United States continues to be from al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents around the world. As we work to counter this threat over the long term, the United States is committed to helping build partner nation capabilities and to working with our partners to counter the murderous ideology that continues to incite indiscriminate violence around the world. Defeating a terrorist network requires us to work together to disrupt criminal and terrorist financial networks, strengthen rule of law institutions while respecting human rights, address recruitment, and eliminate the safe havens that protect and facilitate this activity. We need to take on violent extremist ideology and diminish its appeal," says Pasi.

But Pasi tries to reconcile this with claims from the Obama administration that al Qaeda is on the run:

Through the actions of the United States and others, many senior al-Qai’da leaders have been removed from the battlefield or are facing trial. The ability of AQ’s senior leadership to direct the activities and attacks of its affiliates has diminished, as its leaders focus their energies on evading capture. At the same time, AQ affiliates in this region and elsewhere have grown more independent, have become increasingly active, and are increasingly setting their own goals and specifying their own targets.

As avenues previously open to these and other violent extremist organizations for receiving and sending funds have become more difficult to access, several groups have engaged in kidnapping for ransom and other criminal activities, and thus have also increased their financial independence. Though AQ affiliates still seek to attack targets abroad, they seem more inclined to focus on smaller scale attacks closer to their home base.

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