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 touts IRGC Quds Force Commander Soleimani’s strategies in Iraq and Syria; Iraq’s ambassador to US says Soleimani’s “presence in Iraq is natural”; Deputy foreign minister highlights ineffective US strategies; President Rouhani reacts to parliament’s vote of no confidence for Science Research and Technology nominee; Senior advisor to the Supreme Leader reinforces nuclear red lines

Pakistan Security Brief

  • Drone strike kills seven, including Haqqani commander, in South Waziristan; Security forces kill 21 militants in Bara, Khyber; FC personnel seize huge cache of arms, ammunition near Quetta; Firing kills one Rangers personnel in Karachi; IED detonates in Quetta; Pakistani civilian killed in Indian firing; Army chief to discuss U.S. drone program during visit to U.S.; Interior Minister praises ISI; Peshawar main target of terrorists says police report; Iranian, Pakistani officials discuss Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: National Security Bureau captures AQAP leaders in Sana’a and Hadramawt; head of Security for Sana’a announces plans to absorb al Houthi militants into regular police force; al Houthi militants gained control of territory in Ibb; AQAP militants attack al Houthi gunmen in al Bayda. Horn of Africa: Somali National Army forces ambush al Shabaab militants in Hiraan region; AMISOM and Somali National Army forces seize territory from al Shabaab in Galgudud; AMISOM forces clash with al Shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region; Somali pirates release seven Indian sailors held captive for four years.