Situation Update

Recent Publications

  • 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.
  • 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.

Featured Topics

Islamic State Threat Grows in South Asia at Pakistani Taliban's Expense

Several senior members of the Pakistani Taliban declared on October 10 that they were defecting and proclaiming allegiance to the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. The move was remarkable because it implied a renunciation of allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

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.

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

  • IRGC Commander attributes Yemeni revolution to Islamic Republic values; Senior military advisor to the Supreme Leader reiterates assertion that ISIL is a tool used by the US and its allies; Basij Commander hopes volunteer forces (Basijis) will reach 30 million by 2015; Three Iranian border guards killed in Sistan va Baluchistan; President Rouhani’s nominee for Minister of Science Research and Technology receives vote of confidence

Pakistan Security Brief

  • Drone strike kills six militants in North Waziristan Agency; Pakistani military airstrikes kill 20 Haqqani, Gul Bahadur militants in North Waziristan; Militants kill solider in Jamrud sub-district, Khyber Agency; Four polio workers killed, three injured in Quetta; IED kills one, injures five in Karachi; Report claims al Qaeda, TTP’s Ansarul Aseer, behind Karachi jailbreak attempt; Pakistani and Indian prime ministers attend SAARC summit in Nepal; Afghanistan not to be used for proxy wars, says Afghan President; Pakistan capable of securing nuclear stockpiles, claims Pentagon.

Gulf of Aden Security Review

  • Yemen: Al Houthis seize tribal leader’s house in Sana’a; AQAP attacks military in Shabwah; tribesmen blow up oil pipeline in Ma’rib. Horn of Africa: U.S. Department of State warns of terror threats in Djibouti; AMISOM and Somali security forces arrest suspected al Shabaab militants in Hiiraan region and Mogadishu.