Terrorism

Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 41

Countering Terrorism

Author: Charles E. Berger

Charles Berger argues that the United States should fund the establishment of a permanent terrorist rehabilitation institution in Yemen, providing a critical counterterrorism partner with a needed strategic capability to counter al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and forming the cornerstone of a strengthened intelligence-sharing relationship.

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Op-Ed

In Bad Faith

Author: Daniel S. Markey
ForeignPolicy.com

The faltering of Pakistan's peace talks with its homegrown terrorists over the weekend offers Islamabad a chance to draw a clear line of defense around Pakistan's constitutional order, writes Daniel Markey.

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Testimony

Al Qaeda's Expansion in Egypt

Author: Steven A. Cook

In his testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Steven A. Cook addresses the current state of Egypt, the situation in the Sinai Peninsula, its potential to affect American national security interests, and what the United States can do to help the Egyptians meet the challenges they confront.

See more in Egypt; Counterterrorism; Homeland Security

Op-Ed

Evolution, Not Revolution, at the FBI

Author: Charles E. Berger
National Interest Online

Charles Berger writes that the FBI has always been a national security agency that uses both its law enforcement and intelligence authorities as means to counter the most significant threats to the United States, despite claims to the contrary.

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Op-Ed

They Who Must Not Be Named

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

The annual worldwide threat briefings of the intelligence community began with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's briefing to the U.S. Senate, during which he discussed the top threats facing the United States in 2014. In his article, Micah Zenko discusses the one thing that will remain shrouded from the American public—exactly who the United States is at war with.

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Must Read

National Interest: Can Egypt Handle Ansar Bayt al Maqdis?

Author: David Barnett

"The Egyptian government blamed its bitter political rivals, the Muslim Brotherhood, for the Mansoura attack, despite ABM's claim of responsibility…. With significant support for their actions against the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian government may not even care if ABM takes credit. With crowds calling for the Muslim Brotherhood's 'execution' after Friday's attack, to some respect it makes sense politically for the government to blame supporters of fallen Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, who continue to partake in efforts to delegitimize the new regime. This is why Cairo, which believes it is in an existential battle, declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization shortly after the Mansoura bombing."

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Must Read

NYT: The Franchising of Al Qaeda

Author: Ben Hubbard

"As the power of the central leadership created by Osama bin Laden has declined, the vanguard of violent jihad has been taken up by an array of groups in a dozen countries across Africa and the Middle East, attacking Western interests in Algeria and Libya, training bombers in Yemen, seizing territory in Syria and Iraq, and gunning down shoppers in Kenya."

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Must Read

European Council on Foreign Relations: Syria's Uprising Within an Uprising

Author: Rania Abouzeid

"The armed Syrian opposition, in all of its disparate glory, has long talked of a revolution after its revolution to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a period when scores would be settled between various anti-Assad groups…. Elements of all of these various fault lines had become frontlines during isolated bouts of rebel infighting over the past year or more, but the decision by so many different groups to take on ISIS at the same time, and in so many locations, was surprising. What was also surprising was how quickly ISIS was initially routed from some areas."

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Must Read

BuzzFeed: 60 Words and a War Without End: The Untold Story of the Most Dangerous Sentence in U.S. History

Author: Gregory Johnsen

"Written in the frenzied, emotional days after 9/11, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was intended to give President Bush the ability to retaliate against whoever orchestrated the attacks. But more than 12 years later, this sentence remains the primary legal justification for nearly every covert operation around the world. Here's how it came to be, and what it's since come to mean."

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Primary Sources

U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: "Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi Libya"

This report about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi was released on January 15, 2014. It discusses how the attack could have been prevented and according to the New York Times, it is "the first public examination of a breakdown in communications between the State Department and the C.I.A. during the weeks leading up to the deadly episode at the diplomatic compound." The Accountability Review Board released an unclassified report on the embassy attacks in December 2012.

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Ask CFR Experts

What is the best way forward in fighting terrorism on the Horn of Africa?

Asked by George Macharia, from University of Nairobi

Terrorism in the Horn of Africa is a complex problem that requires a "full spectrum" solution. The first step in any counterterrorism campaign is developing an understanding of the terrorists' motivations and goals. In the Horn of Africa, the chief terrorist threat emanates from al-Shabab fighters attempting to violently overthrow the Somali government and impose fundamentalist Islamic law. The group and its affiliates are also attempting to sow unrest in neighboring countries like Kenya.

Read full answer

See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Terrorism