President Barack Obama outlined on May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University, his administration's counterterrorism strategy, which include three areas: "targeted action against terrorists; effective partnerships; and diplomatic engagement and assistance." He discussed legal and moral concerns, and congressional oversight regarding the use of lethal targeted drone attacks and terrorist detention centers, and signed a policy directive to guide future operations.
Attorney General Eric Holder sent this letter on May 22, 2013, to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, addressing accountability, transparency, and legality of U.S. counterterrorism operations. He discloses previously classified information regarding the deaths of four U.S. citizens involved in terrorist groups, who were "outside the area of active hostilities" and were targeted by lethal drone attacks. This letter came before President Obama's speech at the National Defense University and his Presidential Policy Directive, which outline the administration's policies regarding counterterrorism operations, including drones and terrorist detention camps. See also the Department of Justice Memo: Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa'ida or An Associated Force.
In President Obama's upcoming counterterrorism speech, Robert Chesney and Matthew Waxman explain that the president should focus on three areas that his administration has not followed through in a serious way: closing Guantanamo, working with Congress to put forceful counterterrorism actions on sound legal footing, and making targeted killing more transparent.
Stewart Patrick and Alexandra Kerr make recommendations to improve the counterterrorism efforts of the United States and its allies, in conjunction with CFR's Global Governance Report Card, published by the International Institutions and Global Governance program.
According to Ed Husain, "the answers to countering the appeal of radicalism among some Muslims in the West rests in more, not less, debating of religion, pluralist politics and integrating immigrants."
U.S.-EU cooperation against terrorism has led to a new dynamic in U.S.-EU relations by fostering dialogue on law enforcement and homeland security issues previously reserved for bilateral discussions. Nevertheless, some challenges persist in fostering closer U.S.-EU cooperation in these fields. Among the most prominent are data privacy and data protection concerns.
"While it was not the first country where the United States used drones, [Pakistan] became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war."
As the French-led military forces retake northern Mali, [AQIM emir Abdelmalek] Droukdel's eight month old letter should resonate as an ominous warning as it points to a long-term strategic plan to outlive the intervention and sets the stage for a potentially successful return. Clearly, under Droukdel's leadership, AQIM has no intention of relinquishing northern Mali.
Authors: Mark Mazzetti, Charlie Savage, and Scott Shane
This account of what led to the [Anwar al-]Awlaki strike, based on interviews with three dozen current and former legal and counterterrorism officials and outside experts, fills in new details of the legal, intelligence and military challenges faced by the Obama administration in what proved to be a landmark episode in American history and law.
Speaker: Hina Rabbani Khar Presider: David E. Sanger
Hina Rabbani Khar, the minister for foreign affairs for Pakistan discusses the implications of U.S. and NATO troop reduction and withdrawal from Afghanistan, U.S.-Pakistan relations, and details surrounding the U.S. operation that killed Osama Bin Laden.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »