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Generation Jihad - Ep. 120 — Yes, al Qaeda is still a threat


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FDD's Long War Journal

Nov 29, 2023
In a slight detour from our Israel coverage, Bill and Caleb are joined by counterterrorism expert *Sara Harmouch* to discuss her recent article that sounds like it was written for Long War Journal but was actually written for War on the Rocks , called "Al-Qaeda: A Defeated Threat? Think Again."

They debunk the latest example of President Biden's insistence that al Qaeda no longer has a presence in Afghanistan and discuss how U.S. rejection of intelligence is neither new nor at odds with its dangerous habit of disconnecting dots pertaining not least of all to al Qaeda.

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Al-Qaeda: A Defeated Threat? Think Again.
Sara Harmouch
November 22, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan marked the closure of America’s longest war against the very adversary that started it. “Remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said al-Qaeda would not be there. I said it wouldn’t be there,” declared Biden, resonating with a nation eager to turn a new page. However, reality clashed with this confidence on Aug. 15 when a 17-year-old tied to al-Qaeda was arrested in Philadelphia on charges related to weapons of mass destruction. Americans must now confront a question many thought the nation had left behind: Is al-Qaeda really defeated or has the threat merely evolved? 

President Biden may have announced the end of the Afghan war, but al-Qaeda has not. As of June 2023, U.N. reports indicate that the group’s activities are intensifying not just in Afghanistan, but globally as well. The group’s sustained ties with the Taliban and their leaders’ strategic return to Afghanistan are an advancement — not a decline. While top al-Qaeda figures are also calling for renewed jihad in Sudan, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is simultaneously targeting nations like Morocco with new propaganda campaigns. Additionally, al-Qaeda’s threats against Sweden and Denmark aren’t mere talk. In the wake of Quran burnings, the group has declared, “[w]e’re still here and open for business.” The escalating Israel-Hamas conflict further fuels al-Qaeda’s resurgence, leveraging the Palestinian cause to rally support, reinvigorating its base, and staging a comeback. These developments not only reaffirm al-Qaeda’s adaptability and determination but clearly underscore that any claims of al-Qaeda’s defeat are, at this point, premature.


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  • 2 weeks later...
Dec 8, 2023

Bill is joined by Stu Velasco and Zach Popp of The Boardwalk Podcast ( https://linktr.ee/theboardwalk ) (also hosted by Kyle Reynolds who couldn't make it, shoutout Kyle Reynolds) to discuss the trials and tribulations of their time in service to the U.S. during the long war.

About the guests ---------------- Stu, Zach, and Kyle met in 2016 while working in the Kandahar Intelligence Fusion Cell (KIFC) at TAAC-S. Stu was the Uruzgan Provincial Analyst, Zach the Kandahar Provincial Analyst, and Kyle the Political-Military (Green and White) Analyst. They created The Boardwalk Podcast in May 2021. Support their show here ( https://linktr.ee/theboardwalk ) — and check out their recent episode with Bill here ( https://open.spotify.com/episode/7q2U... ).

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