WOTR Contributors Testify Before Congress on Al Qaeda

February 7, 2014

This week, two WOTR contributors testified about al Qaeda before the House Armed Services Committee.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross:

Not only is the expansion of al-Qaeda’s recognized affiliates clear, but also a large number of new organizations have cropped up in the Middle East and North Africa that profess an allegiance to al-Qaeda’s ideology, salafi jihadism, yet claim they are organizationally independent from its network.  These claims cannot necessarily be taken at face value. Indeed, two central questions that analysts of jihadist militancy debate today are: (1) to what extent are these new jihadist groups connected to the al-Qaeda network, and (3) to what extent is al-Qaeda’s senior leadership (AQSL) able to set priorities and strategy for its affiliates, and thus either control or influence their activities? Uncertainties surrounding both questions somewhat complicated the U.S.’s policy response.

Read the rest of Daveed’s testimony here.

Christopher Swift:

[A] new generation  of terrorist and insurgent leaders is emerging from bin Laden’s shadow. Some of these groups are survivors, with the remnants of al-Qaeda’s Iraqi franchise finding new inspiration  in the Syrian Civil War. Others are upstarts, with previously unknown syndicates in Egypt, Libya, and Mali infiltrating and colonizing ungoverned spaces. The result is a constellation of complex, dynamic, and constantly evolving threats—threats that compel us to re-examine  our assumptions, recalibrate our strategy, and ultimately revise the legal frameworks  authorizing the use of military force. Three questions shape this inquiry. How does al-Qaeda influence local insurgents? How do these insurgents contribute to al-Qaeda’s global jihad? And most significantly, how can we distinguish one adversary from the next?

Read the rest of Christopher’s testimony here.


Image: USMC, Sgt. GP Ingersol