Counterterrorism
Strategy Initiative

Archives: Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative Articles and Op-Eds

'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.

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.

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.

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.

King Risks Alienating Ally in Fight Against Homegrown Terror

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • Andrew Lebovich,
  • New America Foundation
March 9, 2011 |

Last month, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the threat of terrorism to the United States is at its "most heightened" since the September 11, 2001, attacks -- a threat that she asserted has taken on a new and disquieting form because of the growing emphasis by Islamist terrorist groups on recruiting Americans.

Al Qaeda the Loser in Arab Revolutions

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
February 24, 2011 |

Osama bin Laden must be sitting in his comfortably appointed hideaway somewhere in northwest Pakistan 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.

Talking Terrorism

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
February 22, 2011 |

American counter-terrorism officials are increasingly, and rightly, concerned about Americans joining groups like Al Qaeda. According to a Congressional Research Service report, between Sept. 11, 2001, and May 2009, authorities made arrests in 21 jihadi-related terrorism plots involving people radicalized in the United States. Between May 2009 and November 2010 there were 22 such plots, resulting in two attacks, including the 2009 one at Ft. Hood, Texas. Considering the numbers, it is unsurprising and appropriate that Rep. Peter T.

Talking Terrorism

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
February 22, 2011 |

American counter-terrorism officials are increasingly, and rightly, concerned about Americans joining groups like Al Qaeda. According to a Congressional Research Service report, between Sept. 11, 2001, and May 2009, authorities made arrests in 21 jihadi-related terrorism plots involving people radicalized in the United States. Between May 2009 and November 2010 there were 22 such plots, resulting in two attacks, including the 2009 one at Ft. Hood, Texas. Considering the numbers, it is unsurprising and appropriate that Rep. Peter T.

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