Author Archives: Thomas Joscelyn

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

Analysis: Al Qaeda groups reorganize in West Africa

On Mar. 2, a new al Qaeda joint venture in West Africa was announced. The “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims” is led by Ansar Dine’s Iyad Ag Ghaly and is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri. It brings together four groups that were already part of al Qaeda’s international network.


Al Qaeda front group claims responsibility for suicide attacks in Damascus

Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), al Qaeda’s new front group in Syria, has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings that targeted Shiites in Damascus yesterday. Al Qaeda generally avoids targeting Shiite civilians, but a number of children and women were reportedly killed. HTS attempts to justify the bombings by arguing that the jihadists targeted “Iranian militias” and Bashar al Assad’s forces.


Resolving the Conflict in Yemen: U.S. Interests, Risks, and Policy

On March 9, Thomas Joscelyn testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The hearing, “Resolving the Conflict in Yemen: U.S. Interests, Risks, and Policy,” was called to explore the political dynamics of the ongoing war in Yemen, as well as the roles played by foreign actors and al Qaeda.


Islamic State suicide team assaults military hospital in Kabul

A team of five Islamic State inghimasi fighters terrorized the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital in Kabul yesterday. The hospital is “the largest military medical facility in Afghanistan,” according to the UN. The Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan province has launched other inghimasi attacks in Afghanistan in the past.


Former Guantanamo detainee killed in US air campaign in Yemen

The Pentagon announced today that a former Guantanamo detainee, Yasir al Silmi, was killed in a bombing on Mar. 2 in Yemen. Joint Task Force Guantanamo identified al Silmi, also known as Muhammad Yasir Ahmed Taher, as a “high” risk and warned that he would “engage in extremist activities upon release.” He was transferred to Yemen on Dec. 19, 2009.


Al Qaeda eulogizes Egyptian leader killed in Idlib, Syria

Al Qaeda has released a eulogy for Abu al Khayr al Masri, who was killed in a US airstrike in Idlib, Syria in late February. The eulogy emphasizes his close relationship with Osama bin Laden and his role as al Qaeda’s “representative” in meetings with the Taliban. Once in Syria, Masri was “honored” to oversee “combat operations” in the insurgents’ “management and planning rooms.”