News / USA

    Al-Qaida 'Decimated,' says US Counterterrorism Chief

    John Brennan exits a daily news briefing at the White House, May 2, 2011
    John Brennan exits a daily news briefing at the White House, May 2, 2011

    The Obama administration has laid out a new national counterterrorism strategy.  In a speech Wednesday, the administration’s top counterterrorism advisor outlined a plan of beefing up cooperation with other countries to keep pressure on what he says is a seriously weakened al-Qaida terror organization.  

    Al-Qaida in decline

    Speaking at The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, counterterrorism advisor John Brennan said increased pressure on al-Qaida has paid off.  He said the United States and partners like Pakistan and Yemen have greatly weakened al-Qaida, strangling its finances and decimating its leadership ranks, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of a U.S. raiding party.

    "Taken together, the progress I’ve described allows us - for the first time - to envision the demise of al-Qaida’s core leadership in the coming years.  It will take time, but make no mistake - al-Qaida is in its decline.  This is by no means meant to suggest that the serious threat from al-Qaida has passed; not at all," he said.

    Brennan said al-Qaida might still try to mount revenge attacks for bin Laden’s death.  He said that with the weakening of the South Asian-based al-Qaida parent organization, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula still poses a significant threat.

    Brennan, a former CIA officer, said the so-called "Arab Spring" democracy movements have undermined al-Qaida’s ideology and its ability to attract new recruits.

    "This, obviously, is also the first counterterrorism strategy to reflect the extraordinary political changes that are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.  It’s true that these changes may bring new challenges and uncertainty in the short-term, as we are seeing in Yemen.  It also is true that terrorist organizations, and nations that support them, will seek to capitalize on the instability that change can sometimes bring," he said.

    New strategy


    The newly released strategy document that Brennan outlined in his speech cites four core principles for U.S. counterterrorism efforts:  adhering to American core values, building resilience to recover from a successful attack, building counterterrorism partnerships with other nations, and using the proper tools and capabilities in attacking terrorists.  It adds that the United States has security partnerships with countries that do not share American values or even regional and global security views, but only a mutual desire to defeat al-Qaida.  Nevertheless, it adds, counterterrorism partnerships allow the United States to demonstrate values of human rights and responsible governance.

    Partnership with Pakistan


    Brennan said different threats require different responses in different places.  He said that as frustrating as the partnership with Pakistan has sometimes been, it nevertheless is critical to success against al-Qaida.  And Brennan added that the United States will keep applying the pressure against al-Qaida, as necessary.

    "In some places, such as the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will deliver precise and overwhelming force against al-Qaida," he said. "Whenever possible, our efforts around the world will be in close coordination with our partners.  And when necessary, as the president has said repeatedly, if we have information about the whereabouts of al-Qaida, we will do what is required to protect the United States - as we did with bin Laden."

    Brennan said that to his knowledge Pakistan’s leaders were unaware that the world’s most wanted terrorist was hiding in a compound not far from Pakistan’s academy for educating military officers.  But he added that would not be surprising because bin Laden and his associates were extraordinarily careful.

    "That’s not to say that there weren’t elements in the Pakistani broad establishment that were knowledgeable, that provided assistance," he said. "But looking at that situation, bin Laden and the people at that compound practiced absolutely phenomenal OPSEC [i.e., operational security].  He was there for six years.  To our knowledge, he never left that compound once he got there."

    Brennan said material seized in bin Laden’s compound shows the terrorist chief was worried about al-Qaida’s long-term viability, with calls for more large-scale attacks against the United States running into resistance from his followers.  

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora