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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid