Al Qaeda and Associated Movements (AQAM)

In this section, the Critical Threats Project details the ideological foundations [Basics] and the region-by-region outlook [Theaters of Jihad] of al Qaeda and Associated Movements (AQAM), which refers to the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden and other, potentially operationally disconnected, violent Islamist groups.

See the country pages for further information on al Qaeda affiliates such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Shabaab.


Testimony: Missing the Target - Why the U.S. Has Not Defeated al Qaeda

By Frederick W. Kagan, April 8, 2014

The problem of al Qaeda cannot be separated from the other crises of our age, nor can it be quarantined or rendered harmless through targeted therapies that ignore the larger problems.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb: Leaders and their Networks

By Andreas Hagen, March 27, 2014

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.

A New Definition for al Qaeda

What is al-Qaeda? And who cares? Confusion about how to define the terrorist group is rife. Was al-Qaeda involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead? The Obama administration says no.

Al Qaeda Renewed: It is Decentralized and Dangerous

By Katherine Zimmerman, National Review, December 26, 2013

The broad network of al-Qaeda affiliates now threatens the United States from safe havens across the Middle East and North Africa. But it is far from the same beast that attacked the U.S. in 2001: It has evolved and adapted, and is much more resilient than before.

Testimony: AQAP's Role in the al Qaeda Network

By Katherine Zimmerman, September 18, 2013

AQAP’s prominence in the al Qaeda network should not be interpreted to mean that AQAP has risen to replace the core group in Pakistan or that it is directing the network in some way. It must be interpreted within the broader context of the al Qaeda network. 

The al Qaeda Network: A New Framework for Defining the Enemy

By Katherine Zimmerman, September 10, 2013

This groundbreaking report describes the state of the al Qaeda network today, drawing on detailed and granular analysis not only of the core al Qaeda group, but also of the affiliates and the associates that have taken root around the world.

Video: Al Qaeda's Critical Threat

By Katherine Zimmerman, AEIdeas, August 6, 2013

The recent al Qaeda threat is real, though little is known about the exact target of the attack, or where it will occur. A number of factors indicate that the attack initially expected on August 4 may have been planned for August 7. 

Al Qaeda Threat to American Interests

By Katherine Zimmerman, August 5, 2013

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula may be in the final stages of preparing an attack on American interests in the Middle East and North Africa region on August 7, 2013.  A number of factors suggest that the attack widely expected for Sunday, August 4, may, in fact, be planned for Wednesday, August 7.

The al Qaeda Network Responds to Egypt

By Robin Richards, July 23, 2013

The fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt elicited reactions from the al Qaeda network.

Testimony: The Continued Expansion of Al Qaeda Affiliates and their Capabilities

By Frederick W. Kagan, July 18, 2013

The war against al Qaeda is not going well. Current trends point to continued expansion of al Qaeda affiliates and their capabilities, and it is difficult to see how current or proposed American and international policies are likely to contain that expansion, let alone reduce it to 2009 levels or below. Americans must seriously consider the possibility that we are, in fact, starting to lose the war against al Qaeda.