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No one is fighting AQAP today. US administration officials insist that the US maintains the capability to disrupt AQAP threats to the homeland and American interests. Yet the last reported US airstrike in Yemen was two months ago, perhaps a sign of the lack of actionable intelligence from the country.
The United States began withdrawing its remaining personnel from Yemen Saturday, citing deteriorating security conditions. The move diminishes America’s intelligence footprint in Yemen and abandons the country to AQAP, the Iranian-backed al Houthis, and, now, the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).
If radicalism and the theological basis of Islamist terrorism is to be addressed, it’s important to discuss the specifics of interpretation and the disputes and debates within the body of Islamic law. Simply condemning the whole body of Islamic law misses the point of the problem and is counterproductive.
The global fight to defeat Islamist terrorism: Q&A with House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul
The recent jihadist attacks in Paris, Sydney, and Ottawa remind us that the West is not immune to the threat of radical Islam. Violence that is inspired and even sponsored by al Qaeda and ISIS will continue to spread beyond the Middle East, spurred in part by the competition for leadership of the global jihad. How will the United States confront the surging threat from Islamist extremism and ensure the safety of the American people?
With the relative decline of the Islamic world relative to its Western (and Eastern) counterparts, there is no shortage of desire to seize upon real or imagined grievance in order to cast responsibility for one’s own failing upon others. How unfortunate it is then that Obama bolsters a false perception which only gives an excuse to–rather than force real introspection about–violence within Islam.