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 leads prayers during funeral procession for former Assembly of Experts chairman; IRGC Deputy Commander touts Iran’s rising global influence; Foreign ministry reiterates Iran’s support for Lebanon; Artesh Navy Commander meets with Chinese defense minister

Pakistan Security Brief

  • One Pakistani civilian killed in continued Indo-Pak cross-border firing; Indian forces allegedly constructing illegal bunkers near working boundary; National Assembly adopts resolution condemning Indian ceasefire violations; Indian Prime Minister visits Siachen glacier; Military clashes with militant, 18 people killed in Tirah Valley, Khyber; Pakistani security forces kill six militants in Bara sub-district, Khyber; Two FC men killed in militant attack in Bara sub-district, Khyber; Lashkar-e-Islam militants claim killing nine security personnel in Khyber; Rocket attack kills one in Datta Khel, North Waziristan; Roadside IED kills two, injures 14 in Quetta; Gunmen kill eight Hazara community members in Quetta; UK Money laundering charges against MQM chief dropped.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: Ansar al Sharia forms alliance with tribes in Ibb; Al Houthi militants search American Embassy delivery in Sana’a; AQAP militants clash with al Houthi gunmen in al Bayda; Southern Movement protestors demonstrate in Abyan. Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab releases video of a confession by a French spy involved in operations against al Shabaab in 2013; Kenyan security forces reportedly arrest al Shabaab official in Kenya’s Eastern Province; unidentified gunmen attack village elder in Lower Shabelle region.