As designed, the Department of Defense has taken the lead role on foreign soil in the fight against the terrorist elements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Domestically, in one of the US’ first steps in this same fight, the Department of Homeland Security was created.
For years, leading U.S. counterterrorism experts possessed evidence that al-Qaeda was recruiting, training and positioning operatives for attacks on the West. Their targets included North American and European citizens with passports that allow unrestrained travel to the U.S. without the potential of attracting the kind of attention other travelers would.
Last week, al-Qaeda’s Deputy in Command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, resumed answering questions previously submitted to Al-Sahab via the internet. His answers and how they have been analyzed and reported by some journalists sheds new light on the growing criticism of the terrorist organization in the “Muslim world”.
US policy towards Hamas is boosting Iran’s standing and influence in the Middle East, increasing the Iranian threat to Israeli security, neutralizing American efforts to contain Iranian ambitions, and endangering the long term interests of the United States in that region. The question that should be seriously debated in Washington still stands: should the United States talk to Hamas?
The assassination of the elusive Mughniyah on February 12 could be a major turning point in the Middle East – but in what direction? The answer to that question depends heavily on identifying who was behind the assassination.
The new reality of the Middle East presents new challenges to US foreign policy makers as they shape future US engagements and/or disengagements in part or parts of that region. On the other hand, this new reality gives the United States a larger degree of maneuverability unthinkable of few years ago. As intelligence is key to national security strategy-making, so is cultural intelligence essential to the development of foreign policy strategies.
This is the first time Congress has fully funded the ports’ annual security request of $400 million — an important step forward for the nation’s critical security of its port infrastructure.
If Pakistan continues to falter in its nascent steps toward democracy; if its government continues to arbitrarily jail leading citizens and silence an independent media; if it continues to focus its security measures against legitimate political opponents and civic leaders rather than the violent extremists and terrorists; then the resulting discontent and repression will make it that much easier to recruit and motivate more terrorists. And if the rule of law and the justice system collapse, and they are teetering on the edge now, then the terrorists will surely operate with even greater freedom and efficiency.
The Department of Homeland Security is testing a program with the New York City Fire Department to share intelligence so firefighters are better prepared when they respond to emergency calls. DHS trains FDNY personnel in how to identify material and/or behavior that may indicate terrorist activity. When entering a location, the firefighters are instructed to be alert for hostile, uncooperative and resistant behavior; chemicals or materials that seem out of place; surveillance equipment; little or no furniture; and other signs that could indicate a terrorist hideout. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says using firefighters to gather intelligence is another step towards lost privacy rights.
Organisations like Sinn Fein turned ‘The Struggles’ into a very good business. The question becomes: Will the US military learn from the lessons of the very recent past and exploit them?