Please find below the most recent in-depth analysis pieces from CriticalThreats.org.
Yemeni efforts since 2011 have reduced AQAP’s control, but the escalating conflict with the al Houthis threatens to divert key resources away from the counter-terrorism fight once again.
After many feints and false starts, the Pakistani military finally launched a long-awaited military operation in the main al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan on Sunday, June 15. Although necessary, the operation alone is not sufficient in defeating al Qaeda and its allies in the region.
The Pakistani military on June 15 declared that it had launched a “comprehensive” operation against militant safe havens in North Waziristan Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The long-awaited offensive comes one week after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) audaciously attacked the international airport in Karachi.
Now is not the time to re-litigate either the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 or the decision to withdraw from it in 2011. The crisis is urgent, and it would be useful to focus on a path ahead rather than indulge in recriminations. All paths are now fraught with difficulties, including the path we recommend. But the alternatives of permitting a victory for al Qaeda and/or strengthening Iran would be disastrous.
We face a simple choice: We can either rejoin our demoralized Iraqi partners in the fight against ISIS or we can watch as this al Qaeda franchise solidifies its control over several million Iraqis and Syrians, completes its plundering of military bases and continues to build up, train and equip an honest-to-goodness military.
The Obama administration frequently touts the progress it has made in neutering al Qaeda’s senior leadership in Pakistan — but that is only true using a narrow definition and outdated information.
Conventional warfare is in our future as much as it is in our past. The only question is: will we be ready?
Current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates throughout the Muslim-majority world. While there are many reasons for this failure, three key issues stand out.
The military commander in Afghanistan, General Joe Dunford, has said that he needs 10,000 US troops to accomplish the missions the president has said he wants to accomplish after this year. That number is probably half of what is actually required, by our estimates, but enough to keep options open for the next president.
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.