Analysis

Please find below the most recent in-depth analysis pieces from CriticalThreats.org.

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.

Obama Flirts with Losing the "Must Win" War

Washington is full of leaks that the Obama administration is planning to end America's military presence in Afghanistan in 2016. And Congress has already slashed U.S. financial assistance to the fifth-poorest country in the world.

Putin's Olympic Gamble
By Katherine Earle, January 22, 2014

In Russian President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s address, he promised to keep up the fight against terrorists in Russia’s North Caucasus until “their complete destruction.” With the Sochi Winter Olympics less than a month away, however, it is becoming increasingly evident that Putin has bitten off more than he can chew.

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.

A Good Year for al Qaeda in Pakistan
By Reza Jan, December 19, 2013

Al Qaeda’s network and associates in Pakistan got a free pass in 2013. For 2014, we dismiss it as a group of has-beens at our own peril.

Drone Kills Taliban Leader Hakimullah Mehsud: Ramifications for Pakistan, the Taliban and the U.S.
By Reza Jan, November 4, 2013

Hakimullah Mehsud's death will have important impacts on the TTP, Pakistan’s deadliest terrorist group, as well as on the Pakistani state’s approach to dealing with its militancy problem.

Testimony: An Unarguable Fact - American Security is Tied to Afghanistan and Pakistan
By Frederick W. Kagan, October 29, 2013

A strategic partnership with Afghanistan, underwritten with aid and with troops, along with continued engagement with Pakistan, is the only hope for securing American interests and the safety of Americans in this region.

Al Qaeda's African Surge Threatens the U.S.

On Tuesday, after a four-day siege by terrorists who murdered at least 67 people, the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, still appeared not to have been secured by government forces.

We are Losing Fight Against al Shabaab

The Obama administration counts Somalia as a success story, but the rising death toll from al Shabaab’s bloody attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall is a tragic reminder that U.S. strategy against al Qaeda, claims of success notwithstanding, is not working. 

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.