Terror Trends Bulletin

Al Qaeda back in the crosshairs–and with good reason

by Christopher W. Holton

There is growing evidence that, not only did Barack Obama allow the Islamic State caliphate to become established and metastasize on his watch, but he also looked the other way while Al Qaeda became resurgent.

Sean Durns over at the Washington Examiner has an article that summarizes how Al Qaeda has spread in recent years…

Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the worst terrorist attack in United States history, never really left. Instead, while news media coverage inordinately focused on the Islamic State, al Qaeda re-tooled and re-established itself for a new age.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of al Qaida’s death were greatly exaggerated. Anticipatory obituaries appeared after the death of al Qaida founder Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. Then-President Barack Obama, for instance, said on Sept. 10, 2011 that al Qaeda was “on a path to defeat.” Similarly, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in July 2011 that the U.S. was “within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda.”

But as terror analysts Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Bridget Moreng pointed out in an April 2015 op-ed, “The Islamic State’s offensive through Iraq and Syria last year has dominated the headlines, but the jihadist group that has won the most territory in the Arab world over the past six months is Al Qaeda.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/al-qaeda-is-back/article/2613929

As a result, not only has Donald Trump inherited the Islamic State caliphate, he has also inherited an Al Qaeda that is rebounding.

As Trump promised in his campaign, he is taking the war to the enemy. U.S. Special Operations Forces carried out a raid on an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a raid that has been the subject of much partisan bickering.

The Leftist news media is predictably celebrating the raid as “botched,” which is typical of their ignorance of military operations. They have evidently grown used to drone strikes which kept national command authority’s image squeaky clean, but also failed to achieve much of anything, given the growth of both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To put it mildly, the media is overeager to see the new administration fail and will report everything as a failure.

Nevertheless, the raid reportedly killed two senior AQAP Jihadists, Sultan al-Dhahab and Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab. It was sufficiently successful to prompt the leader of AQAP, Qasim Al-Raymi, to issue a call for revenge against the U.S.

The media is also all-too eager to buy into the enemy propaganda that the U.S. raid killed civilian women and children. There is no evidence either way and there is sufficient precedent for women and even children to act as combatants for Jihadist organizations, so if they were killed, they are simply casualties of war.

Bill Roggio at Long War Journal has a good report on the renewed campaign against Al Qaeda…

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2017/02/us-military-says-aqap-leaders-killed-in-raid.php