NEFA Foundation: “Core Al-Qaida in 2008: A Review”

The NEFA Foundation has released a new report by NEFA Director of Analysis and Research Ronald Sandee titled, “Core Al-Qaida in 2008: A Review.” Delivering the Intelligence Community’s annual threat assessment in February 2009, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair noted that, “In Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), al-Qa’ida lost significant parts of its command structure since 2008 in a succession of blows as damaging to the group as any since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001.” A few months earlier, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden had also addressed the significant developments impacting core Al-Qaida: “In the past year alone, a number of senior al-Qa’ida leaders who have sought refuge in the tribal areas have died, either by violence or natural causes. These include a chief of external operations, a senior commander who plotted attacks against the coalition in Afghanistan, a seasoned explosives expert and trainer, a veteran combat leader, and a senior operational planner.” This NEFA Foundation Special Report examines, in depth, the notable losses that Al-Qaida suffered in 2008, its efforts to repulse ideological attacks by respected voices in the extremist community, and assesses the organization’s ability to carry out attacks against the West.