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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Bruce Riedel
U.S. intelligence has yet to uncover evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad directly ordered the chemical attacks last month on civilians in a suburb of Damascus, though the consensus inside U.S. agencies and Congress is that members of Mr. Assad's inner circle likely gave the command, officials tell The Washington Times.
The Obama administration has started to rebrand Syria's rebels by de-emphasizing the number of al Qaeda fighters among them — a move critics say is based on questionable intelligence designed to downplay the risks associated with a U.S. military strike on the regime of President Bashar Assad.
President Bashar Assad likely does not have complete control over Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons, which is dispersed across the country and believed to have been shared with its allies, including the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Egypt's crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters risks driving the Islamist movement back toward the violent extremism it renounced decades ago, analysts said Thursday as security forces spent a second day fighting protesters who torched government buildings, churches and police stations.
Thousands of foreign terrorists traveled to Syria over the past several months to wage jihad, or holy war, in what U.S. officials say is fast becoming a new international terror training ground.
Nawaz Sharif, a two-time former prime minister who has talked about ending Pakistan's role in the U.S.-led war against terrorism, was set to win a third term as the South Asian nation's leader on Sunday.
A document uncovered in Mali giving Islamist extremists 22 tips on avoiding drones is sending a subtle message to military analysts: Al Qaeda is becoming more united.
The attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya last year has become a factor driving the White House decision on how large a force to leave in Afghanistan after 2014 — and a specter hanging over talks between the Afghan president and the U.S.
Al Qaeda has advanced beyond isolated pockets of activity in Syria and now is building a network of well-organized cells, according to U.S. intelligence officials, who fear the terrorists could be on the verge of establishing an Iraq-like foothold that would be hard to defeat if rebels eventually oust President Bashar Assad.
Foreign policy analysts say an escalation of President Obamas hard-line approach toward Iran is heightening anxiety over the prospect of a military clash, as the U.S. and Europe impose tougher sanctions on the Islamic regime to stop its suspected nuclear weapons program.
The Afghan Taliban is ready to exchange prisoners with the United States and is "optimistic" about engaging in peace talks after it opens its office in Qatar, the militant group's spokesman said this week.
Fears of a coup in Pakistan increased Wednesday when the military warned of "potentially grievous consequences" after the prime minister criticized the army chief and the head of the country's spy agency.
U.S., Afghan and Taliban officials this week have offered contradicting accounts about the purpose of the Taliban establishing an office in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar.
Gunmen with explosives crossed into southern Israel from the Sinai Peninsula on Thursday and carried out an attack that left eight Israelis dead and prompted an airstrike on Gaza that Israel said killed six Palestinians linked to the attack.
The Obama administration's new counterterrorism strategy — the first since the killing of Osama bin Laden last month — will focus on would-be terrorists in the United States who are inspired by al Qaeda's "hateful ideology," the president's top adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism said Wednesday.
"This is a serious blow to the Pakistani Taliban which may spark internal fractures in the movement," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and adviser to the Obama administration who helped craft the agency's drone campaign.
"Since the Taliban are a key al-Qaida ally it will be a setback for them as well," said Riedel, who now runs the Washington-based Brookings Institution's intelligence project.