Counterterrorism
Strategy Initiative

Archives: Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative Articles and Op-Eds

Five Myths About Osama Bin Laden

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
May 6, 2011 |

Few individuals in recent history have exerted greater influence on world events than Osama bin Laden — and even fewer have elicited as much mythology. From the origins of the al-Qaeda terrorist network to the devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, to the manhunt that came to an end with such drama last Sunday, bin Laden's life has been shrouded in mysteries and misconceptions that will far outlive him.

1. The CIA created Osama bin Laden.

The Crossroads

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
May 4, 2011 |

The death of Osama bin Laden will raise the inevitable question: What are we still doing in Afghanistan? The answer, of course, is that the mission in Afghanistan is about something bigger and more ambitious than eliminating Al Qaeda's leaders—most of whom, in any event, are probably living in Pakistan, as bin Laden was when the United States finally tracked him down. No, the mission in Afghanistan isn't about killing Al Qaeda members.

Tim Hetherington: Talented Photographer, True Gentleman

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
April 21, 2011 |

The first words that were used to describe Tim by almost anybody who knew him were "humble" and "modest."

Yet, Tim was a guy who had great talents. He took highly artistic photos and had released a photography book "Infidel," which consists of his portraits of American soldiers fighting in the Afghan War.

He was also someone who would go out in the field and take the grittiest pictures of combat.

'Three Cups of Tea' Author Threatened with Lawsuit for Defamation

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
April 19, 2011 |

The best-selling author of "Three Cups of Tea" and another book that cast light on the need to educate girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan may face a legal battle and a review from the book's publisher amid allegations that key stories in the books are false.

Greg Mortenson shot to worldwide fame with the book "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time," which describes his getting lost in an effort to climb K2, the world's second-highest peak, being rescued by Pakistanis in the village of Korphe and vowing to return there to build a school for local girls.

'Three Cups of Tea': Served with a Grain of Salt?

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
April 18, 2011 |

Greg Mortenson, the high-profile advocate of girls' education in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been forced to defend his best-selling book "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations ... One School at a Time," against charges that key stories in it are false.

Mortenson shot to international fame with the book, which describes his getting lost in an effort to climb K2, the world's second-highest peak, being rescued by Pakistani villagers in the village of Korphe and vowing to return there to build a school for local girls.

Libya: Is the West Playing into al-Qaeda's Hands?

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2011 |

As the fortunes of Colonel Gaddafi's forces and the Libyan rebels continue to see-saw, many commentators are calling for the West to arm the opposition forces. Yet the disclosure on Tuesday that US intelligence agencies have picked up "flickers" of an al-Qaeda presence among the rebels has set off a fierce debate within the Obama administration – and the wider coalition – about whether giving them weapons may inadvertently help the enemies of the West.

Al Qaeda Responds to Peter Bergen and CNN

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2011 |

In late February I posted a piece on CNN.com titled "Al Qaeda the loser in Arab revolutions" making the point that Osama bin Laden must be watching the events in the Middle East unfold with a mixture of glee and despair.

Glee, because overthrowing the dictatorships and monarchies of the Middle East has long been his central goal. Despair, because none of the Arab revolutions has anything to do with him.

The Enemies of Our Enemy

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Joseph Felter, Hoover Institution
March 30, 2011 |

In September 2007, U.S. soldiers raided a desert encampment outside the town of Sinjar in northwest Iraq, looking for insurgents. Amid the tents, they made a remarkable discovery: a trove of personnel files -- more than 700 in all -- detailing the origins of the foreign fighters al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had brought into the country to fight against coalition forces.

Why Libya 2011 Is Not Iraq 2003

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
March 21, 2011 |

A critique of the U.S. involvement in the military intervention in Libya that will no doubt be common in coming days is that the Obama administration is making a large error by embarking on a war with a third Muslim country, as if reversing Moammar Gadhafi's momentum against the rebels will be a rerun of the debacle of the war against Saddam Hussein.

A further element of this view is that -- whatever the outcome of the Libyan intervention -- the United States' standing in the Islamic world will once again be severely damaged by an attack on a Muslim nation.

Why Afghanistan Is Far from Hopeless

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
March 18, 2011 |

In winter, a noxious fog sometimes descends on Kabul that is so acrid, you can actually taste it. It's a toxic brew of fumes from traffic jams and thousands of charcoal fires, and it's a testament to the fact that in the decade since the fall of the Taliban, Kabul's population has gone up sixfold, from 500,000 to about 3 million.

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