Friday, July 01, 2011

Defeating Al-Qaeda - Refining U.S. Strategy ?

Obama Adviser Outlines Plans to Defeat Al Qaeda
By Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times, June 29, 2011

WASHINGTON — A week after President Obama announced the initial drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan, his top counterterrorism adviser described plans to rely more heavily on a largely landestine campaign to destroy Al Qaeda’s network, which he described as already “in its decline.”

The adviser, John O. Brennan, said Wednesday that military and intelligence operatives would deliver “targeted, surgical pressure” on militant groups intent on attacking the United States.

Laying out the administration’s plan to battle Al Qaeda in the era after Osama bin Laden and at a time of declining public support for costly wars, Mr. Brennan outlined a White House counterterrorism strategy that formalized a governmentwide approach that had been evolving in practice since Mr. Obama took office.

He talked of hitting Al Qaeda “hard enough and often enough” with increased numbers of Special Operations forces and speedy deployments of “unique assets” (presumably drone aircraft), and he underscored that military commandos and intelligence operatives were working more closely than ever before on the battlefield.

“It will take time, but make no mistake, Al Qaeda is in its decline,” he said in a speech at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

But this wide-ranging strategy — relying on often unreliable allies, sometimes sketchy intelligence and a clandestine American force already strained by a decade of secretive wars — has its limitations, American officials have said in recent days.

Mr. Brennan acknowledged as much in his remarks, noting the collapsing government in Yemen and the United States’ deteriorating relationship with Pakistan. Although he said that the United States must remain committed to Pakistan, Mr. Brennan voiced exasperation at one point, saying, “I’m hoping that the Pakistani people and the services are going to realize this really is a war.”

He said that the terrorist threat emanating from both countries was so serious that the United States had little choice but to deliver aid and military support to bolster its faltering counterterrorism partners.

For complete article, click here

Read complete (pdf) document - National Strategy for Counterterrorism, White House, June 2011
How to get Pakistan to break with Islamic militants - By Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington Post
Analysts: New Strategy Focuses On Insurgent Leaders - NPR
Drone strikes show Pakistan still cooperating with U.S. By Jonathan Landay, Miami Herald
The Future of Al-Qaeda - Foreign Policy

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