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

  • Senior IRGC Commander speaks on sidelines of memorial ceremony; Quds Force Commander says US strategy against ISIL will “fail”; IRGC Ground Forces Deputy Commander says IRGC plays an advisory role in Iraq Syria; Iran unveils new radar systems; Senior officials meet with Lebanese defense minister; Senior nuclear negotiator briefs parliament on P5+1 talks, announcing US has accepted 4,000 operational centrifuges

Pakistan Security Brief

  • One Pakistani civilian injured in continued firing along working boundary; Pakistan urges UN to defuse border tensions; Resolution of Kashmir issue important for lasting peace, says Gen. Raheel Sharif; JuD chief accuses India, U.S. of targeting Islamists in Pakistan; TTP denies defection to IS claims; Pakistan Ulema Council condemns IS; Former Army Commander Doctor calls on army officials, soldiers to join TTP; TTP Jamaatul Ahrar releases first English magazine; 37 militants killed and 50 surrendered in first three days of Operation Khyber I; Eight militants and one soldier killed in the Aka Khel area of Bara sub-district, Khyber Agency; Six militants killed in the Khyber agency; Lashkar-e-Islam commanders surrender in Shalobar, Khyber; Security forces arrest 40 suspects in Charbagh sub-district, Swat; Shawal Valley next target of North Waziristan operation; Security forces warn tribesmen of aiding militants and give 36 hours to militants to surrender in Khyber; IED kills two Frontier Corps personnel and injures two others in Salarzai sub-district, Bajaur Agency; Cross-border attack kills 3 FC men in Bajaur Agency; Security forces arrest five militants in Bakarabad area of Jamrud sub-district, Khyber Agency; militants kidnap frontier corps member in Aka Khel, Bara sub-district, Khyber Agency; Mamond Qaumi anti-Taliban militia rally in support of Pakistan military in Tani area, Mamond sub-district, Bajaur Agency; Iranian cross-border firing kills one FC personnel, Foreign Office lodges protest; PML-N to resume talks with PAT but not PTI; PAT chief announces 10 point welfare agenda at Lahore rally; Blasphemy case against Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) leadership registered; ISPR director emphasizes commitment to fight terrorism in China visit.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: AQAP militants attack al Houthi gunmen in al Bayda; al Houthi gunmen capture city in Ibb; Ansar al Sharia militants retake city in Ibb; al Houthi militants storm the governor of Sana’a’s home in Sana’a. Horn of Africa: AMISOM forces kill five suspected al Shabaab militants near Ethiopian border in Kenya; suspected al Shabaab militants behead civilian in Lower Shabelle region; armed militias attack AMISOM forces in Hiraan region; unidentified gunman assassinates security officer in Mudug region.