- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Al Qaeda may rise from ashes of Syria: report
Question of the Day
The current turmoil in the Arab world and in particular Syria's 2½-year old civil war could revive the fortunes of a battered al Qaeda, according to a report from the former co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission.
"The civil war in Syria may provide al Qaeda with an opportunity to regroup, train and plan operations. Foreign fighters hardened in that conflict could eventually destabilize the region or band together to plot attacks against the West," former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton and former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean wrote in a summary of the report's findings.
Titled "Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment," the report was published Monday by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
"It is too soon to predict the long-term threat posed by al Qaeda and allied groups as the movement is undergoing a transition that may end up proving to be its last gasp; but the right set of circumstances in the unstable Middle East could also revive the network," the report says.
In the long term, the growth of democracy in the Arab world will be fatal to the group's appeal, but the results could be quite different in the short term, it says.
"Much as the U.S. invasion of Iraq revitalized the network and gave it new relevance, [Syria's conflict could offer a] long-term safe haven for Jabhat al-Nusra," al Qaeda's affiliate there, the report says.
It notes that al-Nusra "is widely regarded as the most effective fighting force in Syria," adding that the militant group appears to have learned a lesson from its predecessors about how to exercise power in areas it controls.
"For the moment, al-Nusra is not imposing Taliban-style rule on the population as [al Qaeda in Iraq] did in Anbar province during the first years of the Iraq War," which inspired a U.S.-supported backlash, the report says. Instead, al-Nusra "is operating in a Hezbollah-like manner as a large-scale provider of social services," such as food distribution, hospitals and Sharia courts.
"This is something of a first for an al Qaeda affiliate; developing a Mao-like 'population-centric' approach to implementing a successful insurgency," the report says.
In addition to Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton, the report's authors are Peter Bergen, an al Qaeda analyst and author; Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University; C. Michael Hurley, a former CIA counterterrorism officer; and former FBI agent Erroll Southers, now a terrorism scholar at the University of Southern California.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized War College master's thesis: report
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- Hezbollah warring in Syria could join fight against Israel
- Despite rhetoric, gun prosecutions plummet under Obama
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq