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

  • Supreme Leader stresses self-reliance and scientific advancement; Judiciary Head warns against sedition; President Rouhani nominates minister of science; Parliament speaker reiterates Iran's support to Iraqi prime minister

Pakistan Security Brief

  • India, Pakistan continue cross-border firing; PAF kills 30 militants, including TTP commander, in North Waziristan; Militant rockets kill two in Datta Khel, North Waziristan; Pakistani military airstrikes target areas in Bara, Khyber; Tribesmen fleeing Bara and Tirah for Peshawar; IED injures three in attack on polio team in Bajaur; Bomb squad defuses bomb in Peshawar; Iran, Pakistan to cooperate on intelligence sharing; Afghan minister alleges Taliban receives support in Pakistan; PAT ends sit-in in Islamabad, PTI to continue protesting.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: Al Houthi gunmen kill AQAP member in al Bayda; AQAP judge calls for Sunnis to fight al Houthis; al Houthi militants storm government building in Sana’a; AQAP militants detonate IED in Shabwah. Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack Jubbaland and AMISOM forces in Lower Jubba region; Somali security forces arrest dozens of suspected militants in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants publicly execute man accused of rape in Lower Shabelle region.