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Strategy Initiative

Archives: Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative Policy Papers

The 80 Percent Solution

  • By Thomas F. Lynch III
February 2, 2012

With the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the United States and Western governments scored a major but still underappreciated victory in the nearly decade-and-a-half-old war against al-Qaeda. Bin Laden’s death did not eliminate all of the features of al-Qaeda that make it dangerous as a factor in terrorism internationally. Its role in assisting regional jihadist groups in strikes against local governments and by inspiring “lone wolf” would-be martyrs in acts of violence will remain with us for many years.  Yet the manner in which U.S.

Moving Toward Transition

  • By Christian Dennys and the Peace Training and Research Organization
October 7, 2011

The New America Foundation (NAF) and Peace Training and Research Organisation (PTRO) have released the findings from a joint public opinion survey in southern Afghanistan.

The Battle for Pakistan

  • By Munir Ahmad
September 27, 2011

The United States has continually argued that the Taliban insurgence in Afghanistan is helped by their support network across the border in Pakistan. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwest Pakistan have become a de facto operational theater of the Afghan war. The Taliban’s leadership in Pakistan is known as the Quetta Shura, named after the capital city of Balochistan in which it is believed to reside.

Pakistan and the United States

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Mike Mazarr, National War College
September 1, 2011

Pakistan, and Pakistani-American relations, confront their worst crises in recent memory. A host of interlocking challenges -- grounded in a deteriorating economy -- call into question Pakistan's ability to "muddle through" as it has in the past, and the next two or three years pose a crucial test for the country's efforts to arrest continuing socioeconomic decline.

Redefining the Islamic State

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • New America Foundation
August 18, 2011

Despite dramatic security improvements since 2006, terrorism is still rampant in Iraq. According to statistics compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), between January 2008 and the end of 2010, morethan 300 people were killed every month in 200 acts of terrorism—each figure higher than in any other country in the world. These facts might strike many people as counterintuitive, because Iraq no longer receives the attention it once did from global media.

The Militant Pipeline

  • By Paul Cruickshank
July 6, 2011

A decade after 9/11, despite growing concerns over Yemen, Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and swaths of the country’s northwest arguably remain al Qaeda ’s main safe haven, and the area from which it can hatch its most dangerous plots against the West.[i] Al Qaeda’s presence in these areas has long threatened international security.

Countering the New Orthodoxy

  • By
  • Douglas Ollivant,
  • New America Foundation
June 28, 2011

Success, it is said, has a thousand fathers. Now four years removed from the advent of the 2007 Baghdad “Surge,”[i] the situation in Iraq, while not perfect, has dramatically improved. Violence is down significantly, despite continuing acts of terror against the Iraqi people by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and some Iranian surrogate forces.[ii]  Admittedly, the formation of the new Iraqi government following the 2010 election has been less-than-efficiently executed.

Countering Domestic Radicalization

  • By
  • Brian Fishman,
  • Andrew Lebovich,
  • New America Foundation
June 23, 2011

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, but since the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks the United States and the United Kingdom have significantly altered their counterterrorism programs or created new programs, laws, and institutions to cope with changing understandings of the threat posed by individuals living in the West attracted to al-Qaeda’s cause.

The Battle for Afghanistan: Negotiations with the Taliban

  • By Thomas Ruttig
May 23, 2011

The debate about “reconciliation” between Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government started moving again in 2010. What remains unclear is whether a process of reconciliation has already commenced and meaningful contacts with the insurgents have been established. Substantive talks, however, are clearly not yet underway.


  • By Stephen Tankel
April 27, 2011

Lashkar-e-Taiba (the Army of the Pure or LeT) is one of Pakistan’s oldest and most powerful jihadi groups. Yet despite its long and bloody history, LeT only began generating significant attention outside South Asia after launching a multi-target attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008.

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