State of the War against Al Qaeda
Thomas Joscelyn looks at where we stand in the war against al Qaeda, its affiliates, and related jihadist groups.
- Duration 9:44
- Date Aug 16, 2012
Thomas Joscelyn looks at where we stand in the war against al Qaeda, its affiliates, and related jihadist groups.
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We want to bring Tom Jocelyn and he is feet.
Editor -- -- journal he is probably the country's leading expert on terrorists and al-Qaeda.
We wanted to ask him not just about what's going on in Syria and references to al-Qaeda is now showing up in Syria.
But really where is al-Qaeda.
Would the administration has said that al-Qaeda -- on the ropes.
But even last week we saw that there are reports that al-Qaeda is now in Syria some to believe and feel that they.
Syria and the success of the -- rebel forces is in part because they've been joined by our prior to joining me out again as Tom Jocelyn.
He's a senior editor of the left or right of the longhorns are under way good night Soledad -- okay Iran war journal and is that the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
People have said in the administration that al-Qaeda is shored up that we got them I'm not sound they Obama -- you know I'll Bobby Osama Keller -- you -- now.
-- I think it's really premature to say that al-Qaeda is there it's on the path to defeat.
When they say that what they're talking about is a Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan has been weakened because -- -- -- been killed and other senior al-Qaeda leaders being killed.
However we don't really know how deep Al -- benches in Pakistan I think I've been reviewing al-Qaeda propaganda and you can -- there are dozens of other senior leaders left.
At least and the idea that we've killed the you know ten or whatever -- lessons 2009 that's it I think is sort of foolish to say to write them off al-Qaeda has a presence in Afghanistan country well a lot people say has a very substance presence Afghanistan.
And what we see is that -- presence throughout the world really cool throughout the Middle East is actually expanding archives affiliates are growing.
And they are connected the al-Qaeda core they're not separate from it.
You -- in Yemen al-Qaeda dream peninsula is forming -- 2009 the same month that President Obama is inaugurated.
That's become the leading al-Qaeda -- in terms of attacks -- against the US homeland.
-- you'll throughout Africa northern Africa -- has expanding in -- they control large portion of northern Mali.
In Somalia they control large swaths of territory -- -- you -- Qaeda groups popping up in the Sinai he -- of kind of groups in the Gaza the West Bank.
And now you seem in Syria and what with having it's hearing now is a direct consequence of American forces leading.
Because by drawing down all America's combat troops in Iraq we left no forces in place to try and continue your fight al-Qaeda in Iraq.
What's happened now is a kind Iraq has basically free -- to move into Syria because it operated for years along the Syrian Iraqi.
Border right there -- into our rock from Sarah predator in a new brand Syrian regime actually sponsor that the series and the stuff aside urging actually sponsored.
Al-Qaeda is flow of suicide bombers into Iraq.
In eastern part of the country.
And what's happened now -- because -- army troops on the ground we don't like any intelligence or al-Qaeda in Iraq's doing.
We can't fight al-Qaeda in Iraq and we can't it actually hinders our ability support the good rebels who -- targeting aside -- Sheen.
Because what you see from the Obama -- officials is they -- support any of them preserve freed American arms and end up and in the.
Okay thank -- I -- ago out of the Syrian rebels were getting in -- were just getting destroyed I mean it was just hopeless right -- making no no gains.
Against these sides against the Syrian army memo -- in the last two or three months you've seen enormous gains -- -- -- the suicide bomber.
Who killed the defense chief he'll -- intelligence chief.
A mouse see all these reports that al-Qaeda is there they're doing.
Truck bombs suicide bombs IED's -- with a really good at.
Where has that out how to come from and who's funding them.
Well you know it's it's it's tricky tricky business to -- out -- that it was funny in the -- that we have is that because the rebellion is sort of commingled.
It's tough to say where al-Qaeda begins in the other rebels and demeanor -- -- front which has won the al-Qaeda groups in Syria has claimed to be fighting along the Syrian free army.
They've actually made videos and clean and they're they're helping Syrian free army you know a -- -- forces.
That's the type of commingling that would that we -- to -- -- -- say where one begins in the elements but I would say it al-Qaeda maintains a deep.
Funding pool throughout the gulf and -- -- and imagine al-Qaeda in Syria is now being funded by some same planes here's who funded al-Qaeda all along.
So what would you say to somebody who says what we need to.
Arm the rebels trying to rebels give them some help but at the same -- and as you say they're fighting side by side -- try to you don't want to give rebels.
Military equipment that's gonna turn around -- has an archive it can be used against United States are allies either in the region or pearl.
Like I think it makes sense if we were going to intervene we should intervene earlier that isn't right for that well meaning actually depends on what intelligence is about the composition went.
The trying to bomb issues as they can't tell who was al-Qaeda and who -- -- -- which is troubling.
One of the things that the troubles me is the CIA -- York times is actually working with Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
Various tactical -- into Syria for the fight.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to me sort of black box we don't really know what the Syrian Muslim brother who has been up to all these years about -- this.
-- saying Al qaeda's September 11 plot.
It's an absolute fact in both hombre in Spain -- al-Qaeda cells there were run by Syrian Muslim Brothers are run by Syria Muslim Brothers graduate -- Qaeda.
All throughout Europe where -- Syrian Muslim brother was exiled.
You find this this confluence I would say of interest between former supposedly former Syrian Muslim Brothers and al-Qaeda.
What's going on now with in Syria is very tough to say that we -- -- you know now stream of the Brothers will only one of the good guys I have I'm doubtful that.
The United States have gone in to Afghanistan to get out try to get them up and we went in October.
November December in two months we have -- shoved al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan -- less than a hundred -- In a rickety old boss Osama bin Laden Britain's last will and testament and they thought they were gone -- As a less than a hundred of them escaped over the Tora Bora mountains and the Pakistan.
How did we get.
From our broken down bus and less than a hundred guys to this international movement where it just seems that you kill 15 -- show up.
Well like I think the estimate in late 2000 when -- -- on her own was way way off I mean it's the first part of the story there were -- that are clearly clearly warming there were more deceiving going in for Afghanistan and Pakistan there were way way more than that.
But -- we consistently underestimated al-Qaeda senior leadership and that their strategy the strategy was to forge a Qaeda to be as vanguard the broader job this movement.
And part of that was -- forged relationships with other -- groups that share their ideology.
Ensure seamless on the same targets can and does provide a very deep bench for all kinda draw from so we've seen for example when al-Qaeda loses a senior leader that's a formally al-Qaeda member.
They can draw in another member from another group to take over that -- that's the type of sort of continuum there is between all kinds of other groups you have this.
This whole set of groups in Pakistan -- -- very -- Haqqani Network even Afghan tell -- -- senior a lot of -- sort of the feeder schools -- -- Qaeda al-Qaeda is very much in league with the holes groups in fact in.
In 2010 and -- secretary of defense Robert Gates called of the syndicate.
He -- Travis Afghanistan is increasingly lovingly a syndicate between al-Qaeda.
Always -- different groups that was no accident that started long before 9/11 that the bin Laden very deliberately basically entrenched Al qaeda's interest amongst all these different groups.
Okay one of the great things about the show -- of the people who are watching.
Their computers on her hand house their -- -- -- -- part of this conversation so they're sending in their comments their questions.
And I got one really fascinating come -- and I think you're very well said from Taylor came -- as sad as it is to say.
I'm not shocked by the -- in Syria any regime.
That will fall regular occasion metal -- you have so many factions after a sound falls.
And there'll be no checks on the splits the civil war and the address it's a guaranteed thing.
So al-Qaeda is not finished but -- -- all the other groups in the region they're just gonna keep fighting no matter what we do or don't do what do you say that.
Well I mean they're two arguments right the first argument is serve quads I isolationists -- in which is don't get involved because it's a mess and can't control -- The other but the downside the argument is the -- the other argument which is it if you don't get involved you have no capacity to shape events so basically you're leaving you to hear your enemies to define what's gonna happen.
I think he saw that basically in Afghanistan after the Soviet Jihad member of the 1980s.
The US worker -- -- you're trying to build up these forces mujahideen to go in and Tyler Wilson's war that's probably going out and fight Soviets.
The downside with the US did was we form that ought to pakistanis allow them to decide who is going to be -- surviving analysts are surviving mujahideen who take over Afghanistan.
That led directly it's all mine and -- qaeda's rise and -- series of other chain of events.
The bottom line is if America doesn't play any role at all.
You know and you can do you can debate -- -- should be but they don't play any -- we don't play any role already some several at all we're just -- the battleground everybody else.
In an advisor to the table one last quick question al-Qaeda Hezbollah Hezbollah's the -- rainy -- Terrorist organization al-Qaeda is Sunni once she had one city.
Are they -- Brothers are -- -- moral animators.
Well I'll say this -- -- it's it's difficult to lump everybody together you know all of everybody in the -- group but when it comes to.
Our interest -- attacking American interest the -- have cooperated.
Firmly document by an island commissioned a series.
Of course this is how long have you had any connection between -- clearly infected and one of the things about -- it's interesting is now the Iran Iran's interest in our country -- contradict a -- Something we haven't seen throughout the Middle East and I may see some tension between two when -- and when they actually already -- -- be great for -- possibly possibly but but the thing is that there are still last year al-Qaeda members living in Iran.
Iran still hosts and al-Qaeda network according Obama's rationed it shovels a shot -- fighters to Iraq and Afghanistan.
So you know it's complicated to -- nearly could very well work against each other one area worked together in other areas.
If that's the Middle East traffic lets you manage it at the time -- and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies so long war journal thank you so much nothing I can't untangle and all -- --