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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid