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Analysis & Commentary - Thomas Joscelyn

Thomas Joscelyn's Latest Articles

1st October 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Badness personified

Thomas Joscelyn

On September 4, the Taliban announced that Jalaluddin Haqqani had “passed away after a long battle with illness.” A notorious jihadist who was one of Osama bin Laden’s earliest and closest allies, Haqqani had long been a recluse, with rumors swirling that he left the land of the living some years ago. But if the Taliban is telling the truth, then Haqqani died only recently. more...

1st October 2018 – The Weekly Standard

Badness Personified

Thomas Joscelyn

On September 4, the Taliban announced that Jalaluddin Haqqani had “passed away after a long battle with illness.” A notorious jihadist who was one of Osama bin Laden’s earliest and closest allies, Haqqani had long been a recluse, with rumors swirling that he left the land of the living some years ago. But if the Taliban is telling the truth, then Haqqani died only recently. more...

19th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Pakistan continues to harbor Taliban, including al Qaeda-linked Haqqanis

Thomas Joscelyn

Pakistan continues to allow the Taliban, including the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, to operate on its soil, despite pressure from the US government. That is one of the conclusions drawn in the State Department’s newly released Country Reports on Terrorism 2017. more...

19th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

State Department: Iran allows al Qaeda to operate its ‘core facilitation pipeline’

Thomas Joscelyn

The State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism today. The report covers events during the previous calendar year. As in past assessments, State says that Iran “has allowed” al Qaeda to operate its key facilitation network on Iranian soil. more...

17th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: Al Qaeda eulogizes Jalaluddin Haqqani

Thomas Joscelyn

On Sept. 11, al Qaeda released a two-page eulogy for Jalaluddin Haqqani, a legendary jihadist who was one of Osama bin Laden’s first and most important allies in South Asia. The Taliban announced the elderly Haqqani’s death one week earlier on Sept. 4. more...

11th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Al Qaeda leader: America is the main enemy in a ‘single war with different fronts’

Thomas Joscelyn

Al Qaeda released a new message from its leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 hijackings earlier today. Titled “How to Confront America,” the talk is intended to rally jihadists and supporters against their common perceived enemy. Much of the message is not a how-to so much as it is a restatement of al Qaeda’s anti-American view. more...

11th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Al Qaeda is very much alive, and widely misunderstood

Thomas Joscelyn

On Sept. 11, 2001, nineteen of Osama bin Laden’s operatives changed the course of world history. We are fortunate that al Qaeda hasn’t carried out another 9/11-style attack inside the U.S. in the seventeen years since. But that fact shouldn’t obscure the reality about al Qaeda and its global jihad. more...

11th September 2018 – The Weekly Standard

Al Qaeda Is Very Much Alive

Thomas Joscelyn

On September 11, 2001, 19 of Osama bin Laden’s operatives changed the course of world history. We are fortunate that al Qaeda hasn’t carried out another 9/11-style attack inside the U.S. in the 17 years since. more...

5th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State claims bombings at sports club in Kabul

Thomas Joscelyn

A suicide bomber detonated himself at a sports club hosting a wrestling match in the Afghan capital earlier today. As emergency personnel and the media converged on the scene, a second, larger explosion rocked the area. The follow-on blast was apparently caused when a car packed with explosives was remotely detonated, though there is some uncertainty concerning the exact details. more...

5th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

US designates al Qaeda’s branch in Mali as terror organization

Thomas Joscelyn

The State Department announced today that it has added Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), al Qaeda’s branch in Mali and West Africa, to the US government’s terrorist designation lists. JNIM was established in Mar. 2017, bringing together several preexisting al Qaeda groups under a common banner. more...

4th September 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

AQAP claims Saudi spy network targeted its leaders

Thomas Joscelyn

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has released a lengthy video documenting its efforts to uproot an alleged Saudi spy network that helped hunt down some of the group’s most senior figures. The production is titled, “The Preliminary Introduction [to] Demolishing the Espionage,” and is intended to be the first in a series. more...

29th August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: Losing a War

Thomas Joscelyn

Trump’s disdain for the war in Afghanistan had long been well known, so no one in the White House knew what he would decide to do about it in the summer of 2017. Multiple options were on the table in Trump’s freewheeling administration. The president had heard plans ranging from privatizing the war under the authority of military contractors, to a narrowly defined, CIA-led counterterrorism mission, to a more robust deployment of American forces, to a complete withdrawal. more...

27th August 2018 – The Weekly Standard

Losing a War

Thomas Joscelyn

Trump’s disdain for the war in Afghanistan had long been well known, so no one in the White House knew what he would decide to do about it in the summer of 2017. Multiple options were on the table in Trump’s freewheeling administration. The president had heard plans ranging from privatizing the war under the authority of military contractors, to a narrowly defined, CIA-led counterterrorism mission, to a more robust deployment of American forces, to a complete withdrawal. more...

27th August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: US terror designations target Islamic State’s Southeast Asian network

Thomas Joscelyn

On Aug. 24, the US Treasury Department announced that it had designated three Islamic State recruiters from Southeast Asia as terrorists. The move is the latest in a series of designations targeting jihadists from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines who joined Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s caliphate building project. more...

24th August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Al Qaeda leader argues Taliban’s ‘blessed emirate’ a core part of new caliphate

Thomas Joscelyn

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri calls on Muslims to unite against an alleged “international infidel alliance” in a newly released video. The 5-minute production, which was posted online yesterday (Aug. 23), is titled “The Battle of Awareness and Will – The Solid Structure.” more...

23rd August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: Gen. Nicholson says US strategy in Afghanistan ‘is working,’ despite the facts

Thomas Joscelyn

In a press briefing yesterday that seemed detached from the reality on the ground in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, the commander of Resolute Support and US Forces Afghanistan said the “the strategy is working” and “advancing us towards reconciliation” with the Taliban. more...

23rd August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Authorities investigate knife attack west of Paris

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency quickly claimed responsibility for a knife attack west of Paris earlier today. Initial reports say two people were killed and another injured. The incident was carried out in Trappes, which is west of Paris. more...

22nd August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State leader downplays territorial losses in new audio message

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State has released a new audio message from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The public seldom hears from the reclusive Baghdadi, who last released a speech nearly a year ago. But in his latest message, Baghdadi downplays the loss of his territorial caliphate while claiming the US has entered a new stage of “weakness.” more...

22nd August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

NATO touts efficacy of Afghan crisis response unit

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State’s arm in Afghanistan conducted a mortar attack in Kabul as President Ashraf Ghani was delivering a speech yesterday. It appears that there were relatively few casualties, because Afghan forces quickly mobilized to shut down the operation. more...

21st August 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State video purportedly shows youths responsible for attacks in Chechnya

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a video showing four young males, including a boy and three other children or teenagers, who were allegedly responsible for terrorist attacks in Chechnya yesterday. The self-declared caliphate previously claimed responsibility for the incidents, which targeted police forces. more...