Two weeks ago, al Qaeda-linked jihadists attacked the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso and murdered 28 people, including an American missionary. It was the work of al Qaeda’s Algerian franchise, one of the world's deadliest jihadist groups, albeit one less known to Westerners. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is led by the one-eyed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a charismatic terrorist who has evaded death and capture numerous times and in the process transformed AQIM into a major threat across West Africa. It's time we paid more attention to Belmokhtar and his jihadist gang—as well as to the troubled country that produced them.Read more
Secretary of State John Kerry believes that al Qaeda’s “top leadership” has been “neutralize[d]” as “an effective force.” He made the claim while discussing the administration’s strategy, or lack thereof, for combating the Islamic State (ISIS), which is al Qaeda’s jihadist rival. Kerry believes that the U.S. and its allies can finish off ISIS quicker than al Qaeda. There’s just one problem: It is not true that al Qaeda or its top leaders have been “neutralize[d].”Read more
One of the most durable arguments for not responding as forcefully as possible to al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and jihadi groups in general is that they do not pose an “existential” threat to America. Indeed, this lies at the core of the Obama administration’s strategy for the Middle East. As the president toldRead more
Former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke said Sunday that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a much greater threat to the United States than al Qaeda ever was.Read more
To paraphrase Lincoln, if we could first know where Iran is and whither Iran is tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. To evaluate the Iran deal, we need, to the degree possible, to understand the Iranian regime, its nature and its history, its past and present behavior.
The bad news is that the Obama administration doesn’t want us to have all the information available to judge that regime and its behavior. The good news is that Congress can insist the information be provided.Read more
On Monday, the Pentagon announced that Ali Ani al Harzi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Mosul, Iraq. For those who have followed the public reporting on the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attack closely, al Harzi’s name will ring a bell. He was one of the first suspects to be publicly identified by name. Eli Lake, then of The Daily Beast, got the scoop in October 2012.Read more
The Obama administration once pointed to Yemen as the proof that the application of what it calls “smart power” works.Read more
That was Henry Kissinger’s famous sally about the war between Iran and Iraq, back in the 80s. Now, the big rivals in that part of the world are not actually nations, in the conventional sense. They are, rather, movements with aspirations to more than just physical territory. They are out to conquer the the Muslim world.Read more
This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.Read more
Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson basically warned against going to the Mall of America today, after threats of a terror attack by al Shabaab. " I would say that, if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they have got to be particularly careful," said Johnson.
He made the comments this morning on CNN:Read more
In remarks at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Obama warned that one can't profile a terrorist, or predict who will become one. It's not determined by people or any particular faith, the president said.Read more
In response to the Islamic State’s horrific burning of a pilot, the Jordanian government has released from prison one of the most influential al Qaeda-allied ideologues in the world. Sound strange? It is.Read more
CNN’s Barbara Starr reports that the U.S. military and intelligence community thinks that one member of the so-called Taliban Five “has attempted to return to militant activity from his current location in Qatar.” Officials aren’t saying which one of the five Taliban leaders, who were held at Guantanamo before being transferred to Qatar last year, has fallen under suspicion. But the U.S. has been monitoring their communications and one of the five has “reached out” to other jihadists.Read more
Lt. General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, blasted the Obama administration’s approach to the War on Terror in a hard-hitting speech to a meeting of intelligence professionals. “The dangers to the U.S. do not arise from the arrogance of American power, but from unpreparedness or an excessive unwillingness to fight when fighting is necessary,” Flynn said, in an unsparing critique first reported by the Daily Beast.Read more
Obama: 'No Challenge – No Challenge – Poses a Greater Threat to Future Generations Than Climate Change'
President Obama will talk about ISIS in tonight's State of the Union Address. He'll talk about Iran. And he'll talk about North Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. (He won't mention "al Qaeda.")
But what's the biggest threat to "future generations"? Climate change, according to Obama.
"[N]o challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," Obama will say, according to the prepared text of the president's speech.Read more
The jihadists responsible for the most successful terrorist attack in France in decades hunted down cartoonists. They did not target a significant historical landmark, such as the Eiffel Tower, or any well-known French politicians. They did not seek to maximize civilian casualties in a suicide bombing, a trademark of previous attacks. Instead, they methodically killed Stéphane Charbonnier, the editorial director of Charlie Hebdo, and other members of the French magazine’s staff. This was deliberate.Read more
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with frequent contributor Thomas Joscelyn on Al Qaeda's role in the Paris masscare of Charlie Hebdo journalists.Read more
The terrorist attacks in Paris were nightmarish in many ways, but perhaps the most worrisome news to come out of the Charlie Hebdo affair is that followers of a “pure” al Qaeda affiliate – al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula – and of ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – worked together.Read more
House Homeland Security Committee chair Mike McCaul said on CBS that he expects to "see more and more" of the Paris style attacks take place around the world:Read more
We don’t expect much. It’s been nearly six years. We’re long past the point of hoping that Barack Obama will adopt policies that deserve our grudging approval, if not enthusiastic endorsement, particularly on foreign policy and national security.
But we do expect something.Read more
On Sunday, December 7, a U.S. military medical aircraft landed in South America, to deliver six jihadists from the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay to Uruguay. For more than a dozen years, these six men had been held as dangerous enemies of the United States. Suddenly, Uruguay treated them as refugees, even victims, and the Obama administration didn’t object.Read more
President Obama issued this statement after the death of photojournalist Luke Somers, who was held hostage in Yemen by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was killed in a rescue attempt.Read more
The Justice Department has released a new, superseding indictment in the government’s case against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the only suspect held by the U.S. in connection with the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.Read more
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