Articles

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2008 TLS review

We were all frightened by the destruction caused on 9/11. Yet most of us, regardless of political orientation, assumed that there would be people in the intelligence services or in academia who possessed detailed knowledge about the jihadists. It might take time, and we might disagree on the methods, but the experts would eventually bring the perpetrators to justice. How wrong we were. Of course, the CIA knew the basics about al-Qaeda, such as the location of the Afghan training camps and the approximate whereabouts of the top leadership. But as Osama bin Laden slipped out of Tora Bora one foggy morning in early December 2001, al-Qaeda left the realm of tactical intelligence and became the complex organization-cum-movement which, six years later, we are still struggling to understand. For a few years, the commanders of the so-called War on Terror enjoyed the benefit of the doubt. After all, we did not know what they knew. However, it has become increasingly clear how little was known about al-Qaeda back in 2001, and how long it will take for us thoroughly to understand the dynamics of global jihadism.

The hunt is going poorly. It’s now more than six years since the 9/11 attacks, yet al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden remains at large. Some reading this may think: But what’s the proof that he is still alive? Plenty. Since 9/11 bin Laden has released a slew of video-and audiotapes many of which discuss current events. In two such tapes released in March 2008 bin Laden accused Pope Benedict XVI of aiding a “new Crusade” against Muslims and promised there would be a “severe” reaction for the 2006 Danish newspaper cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad.’ In the other tape he said the suffering of the Palestinians was amplified when Arab leaders supported an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference hosted by the US government in Annapolis, Maryland last November.’

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 TLS review of the OBL I Know

From a historical perspective, this ignorance about the enemy makes the war on terror unique. Rarely have so many resources been deployed on the basis of such a vague understanding about who the enemy is and how it functions.

An extraordinary rendition may be defined as the extrajudicial transfer of an individual to a country where there is reasonable probability he will be tortured. In our research we have counted 67 known cases of extraordinary rendition by the United States since 1995. While the details are often incomplete, they help paint a more complete picture of this secretive and controversial Central Intelligence Agency program.

Thursday, Mar 20, 2008 Al Qaeda and Torture

Three years after the attacks, the murderers were sentenced to life without parole. Instead of becoming martyrs, they will languish in obscurity in a high-security American prison until they die. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome for the victims’ families or the American public.

Thursday, Mar 20, 2008 I was Kidnapped by the CIA

The abduction and “extraordinary rendition” of Abu Omar was a remarkable tale of CIA overreach that could represent the beginning of a global legal backlash against the war on terror.

Pakistan is in many ways the central front of the war on terror. US officials say that both the Taliban and al Qaeda are headquartered there. Al Qaeda directed the 2005 attacks on London’s transportation system which killed 52 commuters from Pakistan. The unsuccessful 2006 plot to bring down ten American airliners with liquid explosives in the United Kingdom was hatched in Pakistan, and the alleged terrorists who planned to attack an American air force base in Germany last year trained in Pakistan

Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 Who Killed Benazir?

The last time I saw Benazir Bhutto was over dinner at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., three weeks before her October return to Pakistan. She was in enormously good spirits, almost effervescent. The years in the political wilderness looked like they were coming to an end. But, at one point, the conversation took a more serious turn as she began discussing the mysterious death of General Zia, the dictator who had hanged her father in 1979.

Saturday, Dec 29, 2007 Al Qaeda and Assassinations

The Pakistani government says that a Pakistan-based Taliban commander with links to al Qaeda is behind the Bhutto assassination. This would not be the first time that groups affiliated with al Qaeda have mounted, or attempted, assassinations against important political figures around the Muslim world.

Friday, Dec 28, 2007 On the Road: Pakistan

We are at JFK airport on the way to Pakistan to report on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto who I first met in 1989 when she was Prime Minister. I was then a young associate producer for ABC News 20/20 and we interviewed her for a story on the legal status of women in Pakistan. She was beautiful and intelligent and had the air of someone who is rarely contradicted.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, November, 20, 2017 Understanding Proxy Violence in the Arab World and Beyond: Fordham, NYC

Wednesday, December, 06, 2017 Making Sense in a World of Trouble, Leidos, Reston, VA

Wednesday, December, 13, 2017 CENTCOM conference, Baghdad, Iraq

Wednesday, January, 24, 2018 Jaipur Literary Festival, Diggi Palace Jaipur, India

Monday, February, 19, 2018 2018 Global SOF Symposium, Tampa, Florida

Monday, April, 09, 2018 Future of War conference, ASU and New America, Reagan Building, DC

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