Current US policy on the Syrian civil war is creating an al-Qaeda haven in southern Syria and driving Sunnis into al-Qaeda’s waiting arms. The Trump administration needs to understand a fundamental truth: We cannot defeat the Islamic State or al-Qaeda or the global jihadist movement on our own. We need Sunnis to do it.
The US has paralyzed itself by fixating on the short-range target of the “War on Terror” instead of recognizing that the violence in the Middle East is part of a larger struggle for regional power.
President Trump’s decision to end aid to moderate rebels sells out the very Syrians the United States should be supporting
American and Western officials are poised to gloat over the recapture of Mosul and Raqqa from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). But this latest in a string of nominal victories against Islamist terrorists will prove as hollow and ephemeral as all the others. Warnings that al Qaeda will rise in Syria and a new generation of ISIS will emerge in Iraq have already begun.
The global Salafi-jihadi movement was and remains more than just al Qaeda—or ISIS. It consists of individuals worldwide, some of whom have organized, who seek to destroy current Muslim societies and resurrect in their place a true Islamic society through the use of armed force.
The United States is losing the war on terror because it has misdefined the enemy. The Trump administration is continuing and accelerating the flawed strategy of the Obama administration, which defined the enemy too narrowly. An effective strategy should not focus on retaking Mosul and Raqqa and killing ISIS and al Qaeda leaders plotting attacks against the United States.
Al Qaeda expert Katherine Zimmerman discusses the continued threat posed by al Qaeda, and its efforts to once again take leadership of the global jihadist movement.
US strategy is setting the stage for al Qaeda to lead the Salafi-jihadi movement again when that movement is the strongest it has ever been globally.
The idea that Canada would apologize to a man who showed no remorse for killing an American and remains committed to jihad, much less pay him a reported $10.5 million in “damages,” is simply ludicrous.
AQAP’s absence from the headlines is deliberate, not a sign that the group is weak. Instead, AQAP is more deeply embedded with the local population and will require more than a counterterrorism strategy to defeat.