WBEZ | Al Qaeda http://www.wbez.org/tags/al-qaeda Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Fawaz Gerges talks about 'The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-31/fawaz-gerges-talks-about-rise-and-fall-al-qaeda-93638 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-31/alqaeda3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>According to the American counterterrorism establishment, al Qaeda is on the brink of collapse. Officials suggest that with a small number of additional blows, the U.S. can effectively extinguish the Pakistan-based organization that executed the September 11th attacks. For much of the past decade, this outcome was considered a distant and elusive prospect. But many observers sense some cynicism in the government’s assessment of al Qaeda. These individuals insist that the terrorist group has been ineffective and marginalized for years, and is far from a threat today.</p><p><a href="http://fgerges.com/" target="_blank">Fawaz A. Gerges</a> is a professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics. Today, we’re talking to him about his new book, <a href="http://fgerges.com/recent-books.php" target="_blank"><em>The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda</em></a>.</p><p>Fawaz, a leading authority on radical ideologies and Muslim extremism, argues that Western powers have become mired in a “terrorism narrative” that's detached from reality. This narrative, he says, perpetuates the false belief that Americans are in danger of another devastating attack by al Qaeda. Ten years out from 9/11, Fawaz thinks that politicians and special interests use Americans’ deep-rooted fear of terrorism to further their own agendas.</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 16:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-31/fawaz-gerges-talks-about-rise-and-fall-al-qaeda-93638 Worldview 10.31.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-103111 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-october/2011-10-31/alqaeda2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Al Qaeda has degenerated into a fractured, marginal body that is kept alive largely by the anti-terrorist bureaucracy it helped to spawn, says <a href="http://fgerges.com/" target="_blank">Fawaz Gerges</a>, a professor at the London School of Economics. He discusses his new book <a href="http://fgerges.com/recent-books.php" target="_blank"><em>The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda</em></a>. Also, in Pakistan, trucking has become an important part of the country’s economic engine. Their colorful trucks, however, look nothing like the ones you see on American highways. The <em><a href="http://www.worldvisionreport.org/" target="_blank">World Vision Report’s</a></em> Jessica Partnow reports from the heart of Karachi's truck decorating business.</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-103111 New York Times Pentagon Reporter offers detailed account of the ‘War on Terror’ http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-17/new-york-times-pentagon-reporter-offers-detailed-account-%E2%80%98war-terror%E2%80%99-93 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-17/thomshanker.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the decade since 9/11, the U.S. has dramatically altered its counterterrorism strategy. Focus on Al Qaeda's as an existential threat to our society has waned. Drone strikes in Afghanistan and the targeted assassinations of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki demonstrate how much the security establishment changed its approach since President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror.”</p><p>As Pentagon Correspondent for the <em>New York Times</em>, Thom Shanker has witnessed the evolution of our nation’s counterterrorism effort from the inside. Along with his colleague Eric Schmitt, Thom recently published a book synthesizing the last ten years of his work. It’s called <a href="http://www.nytstore.com/COUNTERSTRIKE-The-Untold-Story-of-Americas-Secret-Campaign-Against-Al-Qaeda-_p_6813.html" target="_blank"><em>Counterstrike: the Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda</em></a>. We sit down with Thom to talk about America's evolving approach to terrorism.</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 17:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-17/new-york-times-pentagon-reporter-offers-detailed-account-%E2%80%98war-terror%E2%80%99-93 Was the targeted assassination of American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki legal? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-03/was-targeted-assassination-american-citizen-anwar-al-awlaki-legal-92753 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-03/yemen1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last Friday, U.S. forces killed Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone attack in Yemen, along with U.S.-born propagandist Samir Khan. The State Department just issued a travel alert to Americans, warning of a heightened risk of violence in the wake of al-Awlaki’s assassination.</p><p>A dual Yemeni-American citizen, al-Awlaki was instrumental in spreading Al Qaeda’s message throughout the Arabian Peninsula through religious sermons and savvy online outreach. His death marks the most significant milestone in the war on terror since the killing of Osama bin Laden by a special operations unit in Pakistan.</p><p>But the manner in which al-Awlaki was killed raises questions. Has the Obama administration's armed drone program become the new standard for U.S. military campaigns?&nbsp; And is it legal? Does President Obama's decision to execute a U.S. citizen without judicial process set a precedent that will transcend his administration? And how will this assasination change relations between the U.S. and Yemen? The government has already accused the U.S. of disrespect for its repeated calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. As Yemen's deputy information minister Abdu al-Janadi <a href="http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE78T0ZG20111001" target="_blank">told</a> <em>Reuters</em>, "The Americans don't even respect those who cooperate with them."</p><p><a href="http://law.nd.edu/people/faculty-and-administration/teaching-and-research-faculty/mary-ellen-oconnell/" target="_blank">Mary Ellen O’Connell</a>, a legal scholar at Notre Dame University and the vice president of the <a href="http://www.asil.org/" target="_blank">American Society of International Law</a>, discusses the ramifications of al-Awlaki's assassination.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Video of Mary Ellen O’Connell discussing the drone strikes:</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-C_4UuDLVQw" width="560" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-03/was-targeted-assassination-american-citizen-anwar-al-awlaki-legal-92753 Osama bin Laden's dead, what's next? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-02/osama-bin-ladens-dead-whats-next-85934 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-02/1776472.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last night President Obama announced that al Qaeda’s founder, Osama bin Laden, was found and killed by American special forces about an hour’s drive north of Islamabad, Pakistan. We spend the hour dissecting the significance of Osama bin Laden’s death.</p><p>We'll take your calls at <strong>312.832.3124</strong>. What’s your reaction to the news? What affect do you think it will have on American national security and foreign policy? What was Pakistan's role, if any, in Bin Laden's ability to avoid capture?</p><p>Today’s panel includes:</p><p><strong>Steve Clemons</strong>, founder of the New America Foundation’s American Strategy Program and author of the blog, <a href="http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/">The Washington Note</a>.</p><p><strong>Imam Malek Mujahid</strong>, executive producer of the Chicago program <a href="http://www.radioislam.com/">Radio Islam</a>.</p><p><strong>Joseph Kechichian</strong>, security analyst for the <a href="http://www.mei.edu/">Middle East Institute</a>.</p></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 16:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-02/osama-bin-ladens-dead-whats-next-85934 What bin Laden's death means for national security http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-02/what-bin-ladens-death-means-national-security-85920 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-02/Osama Getty Mario Tama.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A prominent international-security expert says the killing of Osama bin Laden creates an opening for the U.S. to rethink how it’s waging the War on Terror.</p><p>Robert Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and author of the book <a href="http://political-science.uchicago.edu/faculty/pape.shtml"><em>Cutting the Fuse:&nbsp; The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It</em></a>, argues that the U.S. should proceed even more expeditiously to withdraw its ground troops from Afghanistan and other Muslim countries.</p><p>“If you have accurate intelligence, you don’t need an army of people, you just need a handful,” Pape told WBEZ’s Jason Marck on Monday.</p><p>Pape praised the work of the Obama Administration and national intelligence agencies in locating the whereabouts of bin Laden, calling the search for him “always an intelligence problem” – and not a military problem.&nbsp; He argues that the deep and sustained military presence in Muslim countries during the last decade has created more problems than it’s solved.</p><p>Now Pape says the moment is ripe for a rapid draw-down in U.S. troops stationed in the region.&nbsp;</p><p>“The combination of concentrated intelligence and withdrawing the element that’s fueling the anger against the U.S. will mean that Al Qaeda is likely to be a thing of the past six months to a year from now,” he predicts. &nbsp;“If we do the wrong thing and freeze our oversees ground forces in Muslim countries, that’s going to help reconstitute Al Qaeda.”</p><p>Bin Laden was the driving force behind the Al Qaeda terrorism network, but the organization became increasingly decentralized in the wake of mounting pressure against him following the September 11<sup>th</sup> terrorist attacks.&nbsp; Pape says that means Al Qaeda remains a viable threat even with bin Laden’s death.&nbsp; But he notes, the attack by U.S. Special Forces on Sunday also creates a new intelligence opening if Al Qaeda members pursue retaliation.</p><p>“As they try to retaliate, they’ll have to talk to each other,” said Pape.&nbsp; “That creates opportunities for the CIA and other intelligence agencies to roll the group up.”</p><p>Pape accused the Bush Administration of taking its eye off the ball and said many of its policies, while well meaning, proved to be a distraction. Rather than engaging in major military actions, Pape argued that the hunt for bin Laden should have been more focused and sustained.&nbsp;</p><p>"If you spend any time talking to folks in intelligence, there’s a secret to hiding: That’s to hide where people aren’t looking,” he said. “And for many years we simply weren’t looking.”</p><p>Instead, Pape argued that the United States should have been more diligent and patient in its pursuit of intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts.</p><p>“We needed to wait for those intelligence leads and follow them up meticulously, “ he said.&nbsp; “That was always our best chance for getting bin Laden – and it’s still our best chance for rolling up Al Qaeda in the future.”</p></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 13:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-02/what-bin-ladens-death-means-national-security-85920 Osama Bin Laden Killed In U.S. Firefight http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/osama-bin-laden-killed-us-firefight-85917 <p><p>Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has been killed by U.S. forces in what is being described as a surgical strike at a compound in northern Pakistan, ending one of the longest and costliest manhunts in history.</p><p>President Obama <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/05/02/135908178/remarks-by-the-president-on-osama-bin-laden">announced the news</a> late Sunday at the White House, calling the death of bin Laden "the most significant achievement to date" in the war against al-Qaida — — a battle that has led the U.S. into protracted and bloody conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq.</p><p>"Justice has been done," Obama said.</p><p>The news released a decade's worth of emotion as Americans, cheering, waving flags and singing the national anthem, streamed to the site of the World Trade Center in New York City, the gates of the White House in Washington, D.C., and across the nation.</p><p>Obama said U.S. intelligence tracked the terrorist leader to a redoubt near the Pakistani town of Abbottabad. His movements were monitored for months until a small team of U.S. operatives moved on the compound early Monday local time. An American official said bin Laden had been buried at sea in accordance with Islamic tradition that calls for a speedy interment of the body.</p><p>"After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body," the president said, warning that the U.S. must remain vigilant because al-Qaida will "continue to pursue attacks against us."</p><p>Even before the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and became a defining moment in U.S. history, American officials had bin Laden in their sights. But he managed to elude capture, moving to Sudan and later to Afghanistan, where he was sheltered by the Taliban even after the regime was toppled by a U.S. invasion. Bin Laden is thought to have continued a secret nomadic existence, moving in and around the mountainous border region that straddles Afghanistan and Pakistan.</p><p>Obama said that almost two years ago, he formally ordered the CIA to make finding bin Laden a top priority. The administration said years of intelligence gathering began to pay off in August, when authorities discovered a heavily fortified compound outside Islamabad that appeared to be custom-built for harboring someone as notorious — and resourceful — as bin Laden.</p><p>"It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground," Obama said in his address.</p><p>"I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan," he said. "Finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice."</p><p>The order was given Friday morning, U.S. officials said, shortly before the president left to tour tornado-raked areas in Alabama. Officials said the final operation — which was under the direction of CIA head Leon Panetta — was so secret that no foreign officials were informed and only a small circle in Washington was aware.</p><p>According to U.S. officials who spoke to The Associated Press, four helicopters swooped in early Monday and killed bin Laden in a raid on the fortress-like compound in Abbottabad. The town north of the capital, Islamabad, is home to three army regiments and the Kakul Military Academy, an army officer training center. The location raised pointed questions of whether Pakistani authorities knew the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man.</p><p>Pakistani officials said a son of bin Laden and three other people were killed.</p><p>The location was far from the remote mountain caves along the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal border where most intelligence assessments had put bin Laden in recent years.</p><p>An American administration official said the compound was built in 2005 at the end of a narrow dirt road with "extraordinary" security measures. He said it had 12- to 18-foot walls topped with barbed wire with two security gates, and no telephone or Internet service.</p><p>A Pakistan intelligence official said the property where bin Laden was staying was 3,000 square feet.</p><p>One Pakistani official said the choppers took off from a Pakistani air base, suggesting some cooperation in the raid. Obama said Pakistan had provided some information leading to the raid.</p><p>Critics have long accused elements of Pakistan's security establishment of protecting bin Laden, though Islamabad has always denied this. Ties between the U.S. and Pakistan have reached a low point in recent months over the future of Afghanistan, and any hint of possible Pakistani collusion with bin Laden could have major reverberations.</p><p>Pakistan's foreign ministry said the death of bin Laden shows the resolve of that country and the world to battle terrorism — a resolve that has been frequently questioned by U.S. officials over the past decade.</p><p>Pakistan's first official statement about the operation acknowledged that the raid was a U.S. operation but did not elaborate.</p><p>Obama telephoned his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, after the raid, and the two agreed it was a good day for both countries, officials said. Obama also called former President George W. Bush, whose administration was defined by bin Laden's attacks and the fight against al-Qaida, to inform him of the news.</p><p>Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the death of bin Laden proves that the fight against terrorists should be focused not on his nation, but on Pakistan.</p><p>Karzai told an assembly of district government officials Monday that it was "a very important day" and that bin Laden had received his due punishment. The hall erupted into applause.</p><p>In New York, there were scenes of spontaneous jubilation at Ground Zero, the site where the World Trade Center towers stood until the fateful attacks, bagpipes played <em>Amazing Grace</em>.</p><p>"We've been waiting a long time for this day," said Lisa Ramaci, whose husband was a freelance journalist killed in the Iraq war. "I think it's a relief for New York tonight just in the sense that we had this 10 years of frustration just building and building, wanting this guy dead, and now he is, and you can see how happy people are."</p><p>She was holding a U.S. flag and wearing a T-shirt depicting the twin towers and, in crosshairs, bin Laden. Nearby, a man held up a cardboard sign that read: "Obama 1, Osama 0."</p><p>In Times Square, dozens stood together on the clear spring night and broke into applause when a New York Fire Department SUV drove by, flashed its lights and sounded its siren. A man held an American flag, and others sang <em>The Star-Spangled Banner</em>.</p><p>Outside the White House, a crowd began gathering after TV news bulletins that presaged the president's announcement. The throng grew and within a half-hour had filled the street in front of the White House and begun spilling into Lafayette Park.</p><p>"It's not over, but it's one battle that's been won, and it's a big one," said Marlene English of Arlington, Va., who lobbies on defense issues. She said she has baked thousands of cookies to send to friends serving in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years and that she was at the White House because they couldn't be.</p><p>As news of the president's announcement began to filter across the country, fans at a New York Mets-Philadelphia Phillies game in Philadelphia broke into chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" in the top of the ninth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Fans all over the stadium were checking their phones and sharing the news.</p><p>The chant "U-S-A! U-S-A!" echoed in Dearborn, Mich., a heavily Middle Eastern suburb of Detroit, where a small crowd gathered outside City Hall and waved U.S. flags. Across town, some honked their car horns as they drove along the main street where most of the Arab-American restaurants and shops are located.</p><p>Gordon Felt, president of an organization for families of people who were on United Flight 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, called the announcement of bin Laden's death "important news for us, and for the world."</p><p>"It cannot ease our pain, or bring back our loved ones," he said in a statement, but it does bring "a measure of comfort."</p><p><em>NPR's Scott Horsley reported from Washington, D.C. from this story, which contains material from The Associated Press.</em> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Mon, 02 May 2011 07:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/osama-bin-laden-killed-us-firefight-85917