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 cleric condemns recent wave of acid attacks; President Rouhani calls for thorough investigation of attacks on women; Law Enforcement commander denies reports of border clashes with Pakistani forces; Deputy foreign minister says Iran “welcomes” sincere collaboration with neighbors to combat terrorism

Pakistan Security Brief

  • English-language al Qaeda magazine reveals plot against international oil shipments; Militant commander, two civilians, three soldiers killed in clashes in Khyber Agency; Police thwart bomb plot in Khyber Agency; Suicide bombing targeting JUI-F leader kills 2, injures 22 in Quetta; Over 30,000 people have fled Khyber to date; Iran, Pakistan, trade border fire; PTI chief expects large crowds at Gujrat rally; Indian airports on high-alert following terrorist threat; India asks UK to ban Kashmir solidarity march in London; Pakistani government refuses to hire lobbyists in Washington.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: Abdul Malik al Houthi addresses Yemeni public; Ansar al Sharia describes anti-Houthi propaganda campaign; Protestors demonstrate against al Houthi militants in Ibb; al Tihami gunmen fight with al Houthi militants in al Hudaydah. Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack Somali National Army forces in Lower Shabelle Region; Jubbaland security forces seize village from al Shabaab in Lower Jubba region; unidentified gunmen assassinate former Kenyan official in Kenya’s Eastern Province.