Situation Update

Recent Publications

  • The al Houthi siege on Sana’a on September 21 sets a dangerous precedent that could lead to the repartition of Yemen. The al Houthis, whether intentionally or not, have set Yemen on a path that puts the existence of an essential U.S. counterterrorism partner on the table.
  • Eight U.S. strikes targeted the Khorasan group west of Aleppo in Syria on September 22. The Pentagon confirmed that the Khorasan group, which is tied to al Qaeda, was “planning imminent attacks” against targets that included the U.S. homeland. The al Qaeda threat growing in Syria is now realized.
  • The Islamic State is a threat to the United States of America, and that is the primary reason we must defeat it. The United States has capabilities that no other state or group in the world has, and that is why we must lead this effort.
  • The Islamic State is a clear and present danger to the security of the U.S. We must therefore pursue an iterative approach that tests basic assumptions, develops our understanding, and builds partnerships with willing parties on the ground, especially the Sunni Arabs in Iraq.

Featured Topics

Islamic State Threat Grows in South Asia at Pakistani Taliban's Expense

Several senior members of the Pakistani Taliban declared on October 10 that they were defecting and proclaiming allegiance to the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The move was remarkable because it implied a renunciation of allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

U.S. Strategy Against Islamic State Is Too Much Air, Not Enough Boots

After 50 days of obvious failure, it's time to consider an approach that might work against ISIS: Get American special forces on the ground with the Sunni Arabs themselves. The only other alternative is to resign ourselves to living with an Al Qaeda state and army.

Maps and Graphics

  • Multiple crises throughout the world—in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and now Israel—have pulled attention from growing violence in East Africa. Al Qaeda’s group in Somalia, al Shabaab, now has an operational reach that covers all of the Horn of Africa.

  • Degrading al Qaeda leadership is central to American counterterrorism strategy, but the leaders today are not the same as they were in 2001. Al Qaeda leaders are no longer necessarily connected by formal networks and many operate outside of any formal affiliation to the al Qaeda network.

Daily News Brief

Iran News Round Up

  • IRGC Deputy Commander echoes the Supreme Leader’s assertion that the US created ISIL; Deputy Foreign Minister highlights regime’s regional influence; Foreign Minister Zarif, EU Foreign Policy Chief Ashton, and Secretary of State Kerry hold trilateral talks in Vienna

Pakistan Security Brief

  • Jundullah pledges allegiance to IS; AQIS announces death of two fighters in U.S. raid; Indian army firing kills Pakistani soldier near Muzaffarabad; Prime Minister Sharif to talk to Kashmiri leaders before Indian government; TTP Jamatul Ahrar threatens Chinese economic interests in new magazine issue; IED derails train in Mastung, Balochistan; Russian Defense Minister signs military cooperation agreement with Pakistan; Military targeting all militants without discrimination, says army chief; Afghanistan will not allow India-Pakistan proxy war, says Former Afghan President; Pakistani national security advisor censured by senate for controversial statements; PAT chief returns to Pakistan with “new strategy;” Government not to create hurdles in PTI rally, says Interior Minister; 9,300 more families displaced from Khyber Agency; Finance Minister’s lobbying at IMF reportedly paved way for loan tranche’s release.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: AQAP renews pledge of allegiance to al Qaeda leader and Mullah Omar; AQAP vows more attacks on al Houthis; militants kill one soldier at military checkpoint in Ma’rib. Horn of Africa: Somali Federal Parliament to hold voting session next week on the motion of no confidence in prime minister; unidentified assailants attack power plant in Kenya’s North Eastern Province.