This episode features the most special guest to join Generation Jihad in two years: Thomas Joscelyn.
Bill’s OG partner in crime is back on the show to discuss the newest variant of Disconnect-the-Dots Disease and its primary benefactor who also happens to be the arsonist behind the dumpster fire currently engulfing the Middle East — and the dangerous cost of American ambivalence.
Al Qaeda continues to build its network and infrastructure in Afghanistan after the fall of the Afghan government. Al Qaeda opened eight new training camps, five madrasas, a weapons depot and safe houses in Afghanistan that are used to facilitate the movement of its members to and from Iran.
Despite the incessant attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis and Iranian proxy militias in Iraq and Syria, the Biden administration continues to insist it is not at war with Iran.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani also denounced militia attacks on U.S. forces, however he is powerless to stop them. The Iranian-backed militias report to Sudani, but do not follow his orders. They are loyal to Iran.
Bill is joined by Friday co-host Behnam Ben Taleblu to check in on the U.S.-led coalition formed earlier this week in response to increased maritime aggression from the Iran-backed Houthis. Spoiler: France seems to already be backing out. They examine countries noticeably absent from the bloc, like Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. They also ponder the strategic nature of Operation Prosperity Guardian — is it only defensive? How about going on the offensive to prevent Houthi attacks in the first place? Bill thinks he’s seen this movie before. It’s the one where they ignore the core of the issue.
Bill is joined by CDR Salamander to discuss the coalition announced today by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during his trip to the Middle East. The coalition — made up of the UK, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain in partnership with the US — was formed with the objective of “ensuring freedom of navigation in the Red Sea” following the recent uptick in Houthi aggression and attacks in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden area.
The U.S. announces the formation of Operation Prosperity Guardian as Houthi attacks have ground international shipping transiting the Red Sea through the Suez Canal to a halt as multiple shippers are now bypassing the dangerous waterway. It is unclear if the operation will be offensive or defensive in nature.
Bill is back with FDD Senior Fellow and Iran expert Behnam Ben Taleblu (now also a Generation Jihad co-host, you heard it here first) to unpack and contextualize this week’s headlines stemming from the Middle East.
They discuss the politics of diplomacy and analyze recent trips and statements made by key players like Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and President Biden himself; whether U.S. support for Israel is at a crossroads, and what message this could send to U.S. partners and allies (and enemies) around the world; an apparent U.S. intelligence leak estimating that 45% of Israeli munition used in Gaza has not been precision-guided; and more.
Bill is joined by Stu Velasco and Zach Popp of The Boardwalk Podcast (also hosted by Kyle Reynolds who couldn’t make it, shoutout Kyle Reynolds) to discuss the trials and tribulations of their time in service to the U.S. during the long war.
Bill Roggio testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability, on the order to withdraw from Afghanistan and the impact on the Afghan government and security forces.
Iran’s militias in Iraq and Syria have launched at least 24 strikes, primarily with drones, rockets, and mortars on U.S. military bases since Oct. 17. Five of the attacks took place after the U.S. military struck IRGC weapons depots in Syria in a failed effort to reestablish deterrence.
In response to a spate of attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed militias, the U.S. military struck two IRGC weapons storage sites in Syria. After years of largely ignoring these strikes, the Biden administration wants to deter the militias from future assaults. It may be too late.
The USS Carney intercepted three missiles fired from Yemen as it was patrolling the Red Sea. The missiles appear to have been fired at Israel.
Abukar Ali Adan, the deputy leader of Shabaab, Al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, is a dangeorus commander who has led the group’s military wing and has ties to other Al Qaeda branches in African and on the Arabian Peninsula.
Shabaab denied “randomly” targeting civilians in its suicide bombings. This is a mischaracterization of the data on its suicide campaign.
The raid is the latest against the Islamic State’s network in Iraq and Syria, which has been weakened since it lost its physical caliphate in 2019 but continues to persist.
After nearly two decades of abysmal assessments from U.S. intelligence officials and policy makers on Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the latest claims that the terror group is “at its historical nadir” should be taken with more than a grain of salt.
Bill is joined by Jerry Dunleavy and James Hasson to discuss their new book: Kabul: The Untold Story of Biden’s Fiasco — from the Biden administration’s deeply flawed decision to withdraw from Afghanistan to its equally disastrous execution of the withdrawal, which was completed two years ago today.
The Afghan people continue to suffer as the Taliban consolidates its power. Meanwhile, the Taliban’s support for Al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and a number of regional terror groups grows.
Bill is again joined by Generation Jihad regular Ambassador Edmund Fitton-Brown to discuss the latest report from the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (which Edmund previously led). Released on July 25, 2023, the Team’s thirty-second report provides an update on al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Bill and Edmund unpack findings, discuss a few highlights, and also explain some points of disagreement.
The Afghan Taliban continues to claim that there are no foreign terror groups operating inside their country, despite all evidence to the contrary. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has an extensive footprint in Afghanistan.
“I said Al Qaeda would not be there,” President Biden said about Afghanistan. “I said we’d get help from the Taliban… I was right.” Except Al Qaeda is indeed in Afghanistan and is receiving support from the Taliban.
The Afghan Taliban has vehemently objected to the lest UN report, as it punches gaping holes into the Taliban’s narrative that it does not shelter and support foreign terror groups. However, the presence of the TTP, Al Qaeda and a host of other terror groups in Afghanistan is undeniable.
Bill welcomes back to the show Generation Jihad regular Ambassador Edmund Fitton-Brown. Now a member of the Counter Extremism Project’s advisory board, Edmund previously served as the UK’s Ambassador to Yemen and later as the coordinator of the U.N. Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team.
Edmund’s former team at the U.N. just released its latest report on Afghanistan which details (among other troubling issues) just how embedded al Qaeda is in Afghanistan’s Taliban government.
Bill and Edmund dissect the report’s findings.
Al Qaeda has established training camps in five Afghan provinces, as well as safe houses and a media center. The Taliban-Al Qaeda relationship is strong. Al Qaeda most certainly has not declined, nor has it been decimated or defeated.
Three prominent dual hatted Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders serve in key positions within the Taliban establishment, according to the United Nationals Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. The Taliban is providing Al Qaeda with key support, including “welfare payments” and passports.
Host Bill Roggio is joined by two of his FDD colleagues to unpack the context surrounding Turkey’s imminent presidential elections.
Jonathan Schanzer is the Senior Vice President for Research at FDD, where Sinan Ciddi is a non-resident senior fellow. Both are Turkey experts. (One has taken a harder hit from pro-government Turks on Twitter than the other.)
From President Erdogan’s thinly-veiled political opportunism — like his 180 on Syria; his regional charm offensive, particularly with Israel; and his role as a U.S. “counterterrorism partner” — and his blatant corruption — like his mismanagement of earthquake aid and his allowing Turkey to be a terrorist superhighway — to an opposition candidate’s eleventh hour dropout, this is your starter pack for understanding what’s about to unfold in Turkey.
The Taliban has made this false statement for decades, even prior to 9/11. After al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was killed in Kabul, Taliban promises like this should be dismissed out of hand. Foreign terror groups continue to operate in Afghanistan to this day.
Senior U.S. State Department officials spoke at the same conference as Qais al Khazali, a known Shia terrorist who is responsible for arming, training and forming the deadly Iranian-backed militias that are known to have killed hundreds of U.S. troops in Iraq.
To unpack and assess the latest terror threats faced by Israel, Bill had to call in the experts: Dr. Jonathan Schanzer and Joe Truzman.
If you’d like to dig deeper on the topics discussed in this episode, we recommend you check out Joe’s project on mapping terrorism in the West Bank and Jon’s book “Gaza Conflict 2021: Hamas, Israel and Eleven Days of War” which according to LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster: “If you want to understand the hell in a very small place that is Gaza, read this book.”