Al Qaida

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  • Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden in Jamkha, Afghanistan, May 1, 1998, photo by Balkis Press/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Question of Succession in Al-Qaida

    Two months after the death of al Qaida leader Aymin al-Zawahiri, experts continue to debate potential contenders for his replacement while waiting for al-Qaeda to make an announcement. A dark horse contender with long ties to Osama bin Laden could upend predictions and threaten to revive one of history's most lethal terrorist groups.

    Sep 29, 2022

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard near the site where Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. strike over the weekend, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 2, 2022, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    After the al-Zawahiri Strike, the U.S. May Lack Capabilities in Afghanistan

    The U.S. drone strike that killed al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan took out one of the last remaining key figures behind the 9/11 terror attacks. But it also highlighted how little the United States got out of its 2020 bargain with the Taliban, and raised questions about the U.S. ability to adequately monitor the developing threat from this quarter going forward.

    Aug 3, 2022

Explore Al Qaida

  • Silhouette of soldiers against sunset

    Commentary

    Embassy Closings and the al Qaeda Threat

    Many people, including President Obama, have talked about al Qaeda's imminent defeat. But right now, all signs indicate that the group founded by Osama bin Laden is far from dead, says Seth G. Jones.

    Aug 5, 2013

  • Iraqi Army Commandos hone skills

    Testimony

    Re-Examining the Al Qa'ida Threat to the United States

    The United States needs to adopt an increasingly nuanced — but long-term — approach to countering the al Qa'ida movement, says Seth Jones. U.S. policymakers should view the al Qa'ida threat as a decades-long struggle like the Cold War.

    Jul 29, 2013

  • U.S. Army soldier pulls security as coalition forces search Ala Say Valley, Afghanistan

    Commentary

    The War on Terror Must End — but Not Yet

    While unending war is clearly bad for a republic and dangerous to U.S. security, the trickier task is defining the conditions that, when met, tell us that the war against al Qaeda is over, writes Paul Miller.

    May 31, 2013

  • An MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft

    Commentary

    Drones Are Useful, but Not the Solution or the Problem

    The effectiveness of our attacks, particularly by drones, has already decimated the al Qaeda hierarchy, writes Harold Brown. That achievement, together with the negative effect on Muslim publics of drone attacks, suggests that the rate of their usage could be moderated.

    May 16, 2013

  • Timbuktu residents rally against control by Islamist group Ansar al-Din

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda Is Weak and Bungling—but Still Dangerous

    The swift march into Mali by a band of Islamist thugs demonstrates an efficient, opportunistic filling of a security vacuum more than an increase in jihadist power or influence, writes Andy Liepman.

    Feb 26, 2013

  • A businesswoman types on a laptop computer

    Report

    U.S. Muslims Are Powerful Force in Online Battle Against al Qaeda

    Al Qaeda has long used the internet to attract recruits but with minimal success in the U.S., however, as most American Muslims hold no sympathy for al Qaeda and are actually an effective counterforce to online jihadist efforts.

    Feb 4, 2013

  • Touareg rebels in Mali hoist a flag

    Q&A

    The al Qaeda Threat in North Africa

    Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.

    Jan 24, 2013

  • Commentary

    Al Qaeda Threat to U.S. Embassy in Yemen Raises Questions

    As in most war zones and high threat environments, one of the dangers to guard against is complacency...people become accustomed to a certain level of danger and assume that they have everything under control, when in fact they may have not fully thought through the problems posed by an enemy that is continually innovating, writes William Young.

    Jan 4, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Considering Al-Qa'ida's Innovation Doctrine: From Strategic Texts to "Innovation in Practice"

    Understanding how terrorist groups innovate and adapt is key for anticipating future shifts in terrorist threats.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari says he has intelligence that members of al Qaeda are crossing from Iraq into Syria to carry out attacks, July 5, 2012

    Blog

    Another Problem in Syria: al Qaeda

    Beyond chemical weapons, another concern in the Syrian conflict is the rise in prominence of al Qaeda-affiliated fighters amid the opposition forces. There is a growing need to conduct a covert campaign against al Qaeda and other extremist groups gaining a presence in the country.

    Dec 12, 2012

  • Iraqi Army soldiers practice prior to an urban operations live-fire exercise at Camp Taji in December 2010

    Commentary

    Difficult Questions on Today's Terrorist Threat

    Much like the struggle against the Soviet Union and Communism during the Cold War, it appears increasingly likely that the struggle against radical Islamic groups will last several decades, writes Seth G. Jones.

    Oct 22, 2012

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    New Challenges to U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts: An Assessment of the Current Terrorist Threat: Addendum

    Document submitted on August 24, 2012 as an addendum to testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 11, 2012.

    Aug 27, 2012

  • Drone recovery demonstration

    Commentary

    Drone Strikes Keep Pressure on al-Qaida

    Recently declassified correspondence seized in the bin Laden raid shows that the relentless pressure from the drone campaign on al-Qaida in Pakistan led bin Laden to advise al-Qaida operatives to leave Pakistan's Tribal Areas as no longer safe, writes Patrick B. Johnston.

    Aug 22, 2012

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover during clashes with the Syrian Army in the Salaheddine neighbourhood of central Aleppo, August 7, 2012

    Commentary

    Fiasco in the Levant

    The United States' ability to shape future events in Syria will only be as great as the support it gives the rebels in their fight to topple Assad, writes James Dobbins.

    Aug 9, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Understanding and Influencing Public Support for Insurgency and Terrorism

    Public support for al-Qa'ida's transnational jihadist movement, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey, and the Maoist insurgency in Nepal is examined using a conceptual model that draws on social science and social movement theory.

    Jul 31, 2012

  • Syrian rebel fighters pose for a picture in Hama, Syria, July 20, 2012

    Commentary

    Al Qaeda's War for Syria

    Assuming Assad's regime eventually collapses, a robust al Qaeda presence will undermine transition efforts and pose a major threat to regional stability, writes Seth Jones.

    Jul 27, 2012

  • Testimony

    New Challenges to U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts

    The United States confronts a more diverse terrorist threat in 2012 than it has in the past. Al Qaeda has exploited the turmoil created by the Arab uprisings to make tactical advances and open new fronts. In addition, several incidents in the past year suggest a resurgence of Iranian-sponsored terrorism.

    Jul 11, 2012

  • A man on a computer in a dark room

    Commentary

    Getting the Threat Right

    Would-be jihadist warriors are angry, eager for adventure, out to assuage personal humiliation and demonstrate their manhood. Many appear to be motivated by personal crises—terrorism does not attract the well adjusted, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jun 15, 2012

  • Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam hold an image of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during an anti-American rally in Quetta May 2, 2012

    Commentary

    Is the War on Terror Over? Not Yet.

    Over time, al Qaeda could just fade away. Always resilient, it may morph to survive. Developments on any of several fronts might even enable it to rise again. In a long contest, surprises must be expected, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 2, 2012

  • Multimedia

    Multimedia

    Seth Jones Discusses President Obama's Afghanistan Address

    Seth Jones, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation, and Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress discuss implications of the President Obama's address after a surprise visit to Afghanistan with PBS NewsHour's Gwen Ifill.

    May 1, 2012