Situation Update

Recent Publications

  • 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.
  • President Obama strategy’s against the Islamic State is based on what the U.S. is doing in Yemen, combining targeted airstrikes with support for a local partner, a counterterrorism strategy which Obama claims has been successful and has made the U.S. safer. Unfortunately, those claims are not accurate.

Featured Topics

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.

Sana'a Under Siege: Yemen's Uncertain Future

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.

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 commander stresses importance of economic resistance; Armed Forces General Staff Commander reiterates Supreme Leader’s call for “cyber operations”; Deputy foreign minister says Kobani crisis should not lead to foreign “meddling”; MP discusses recent parliament vote of no confidence for President Rouhani’s Science Research and Technology minister nominee

Pakistan Security Brief

  • Arabs, a Sudanese, and a Yemeni among those killed in U.S. drone attack; PAF airstrikes kill 20 militants in Khyber; Three TTP militants killed in Karachi; Blast narrowly misses Frontier Corps convoy; Canadian police arrest Pakistani national allegedly posing terrorist threat; Pakistan hands over 29 Afghan nationals to Afghan officials; Pakistan Army’s deployment in Islamabad extended; PTI resignations not yet accepted, says National Assembly Speaker; Military offensive displaces 3,488 registered families in Khyber Agency; 38,000 refugees from North Waziristan return home from Afghanistan.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: Al Houthis issue ultimatum to President Hadi; AQAP gunmen kill security personnel in Lahij and Abyan; protesters organize an all-women demonstration against al Houthi occupation in Ibb; protestors support the Southern Movement in Aden Horn of Africa: Suspected al Shabaab militants detonate car bomb in Mogadishu; al Shabaab releases posthumous audio discussion on Martyrdom from deceased leader Ahmed Abdi Godane; U.S. Department of State warns of al Shabaab attack in Burundi