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Critical Threats Project

The Critical Threats Project is an AEI initiative dedicated to tracking and analyzing key and emerging national security threats to the United States in order to inform the policy debate. Directed by resident scholar Frederick W. Kagan, the project primarily focuses on the threats posed by Iran and al Qaeda and associated movements in Pakistan and the Gulf of Aden. Visit The Critical Threats Project and Iran Tracker sites or engage here for more:  

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7-second takeaway

The deal with Iran fails to verifiably eliminate Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. Or more succinctly, in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s words: “In Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.”

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A military personnel looks at a damaged vehicle during a tour for journalists at the scene of an al Qaeda attack on the Defence Ministry in Sanaa December 19, 2013.

7-second takeaway

The recent crisis in Syria has driven the growth of al-Qaeda groups in that country; in Iraq, al-Qaeda has killed dozens at a time in coordinated car bombings.

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Residents gather at the site of a car bomb attack in the Hurriya District in Baghdad, Iraq, July 29, 2013. Seventeen car bombs exploded in Iraq, killing at least 55 people in predominantly Shi'ite areas in some of the deadliest violence since Sunni insurgents including al Qaeda stepped up attacks this year.

7-second takeaway

Understanding which groups contribute to the al Qaeda network and how they operate within that network will better enable American policymakers and decision makers to develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat al Qaeda. Absent that understanding, the US will continue to engage in a tactical battle that promises only occasional battleground victories, but no real prospect of winning the war.

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General Dempsey, Secretary of Defense Hagel, and Secretary of State Kerry testify on Syria before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 4, 2013.

7-second takeaway

Reasonable people can disagree about the extent to which President Obama’s proposed “limited strike” will secure American interests, but not about whether the interests are real or vital.

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IRGC Quds Force Commander MG Qassem Suleimani addresses a martyrs ceremony, Pishva, Iran, September 2, 2013.

7-second takeaway

The dearth of coverage of one the Islamic Republic’s most powerful and revered security officials discussing critical and timely events is highly unusual.

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7-second takeaway

If trends of corruption and insubordination continue to accelerate in the Yemeni military, they could risk knocking out a vital pillar of U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

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Residents carry posters with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as they take part in a parade in support of the Somalia conference in London, along the streets of Somalia's capital Mogadishu May 7, 2013.

7-second takeaway

The Somali federal government’s sovereignty over the territory recognized as Somalia is far from complete

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Wali-ur-Rehman’s death is a serious blow to the enemy and will have a significant impact on the Pakistani Taliban’s leadership.

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7-second takeaway

All is not well in the City of Lights, as Pakistan’s major metropolis, Karachi, is known.

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7-second takeaway

Analyzing the patterns and nuances of the IRGC’s public statements provides critical insight into the way some of Iran’s decision-makers are thinking about their security challenges and their own strategies.

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