Generation Jihad

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Each week Generation Jihad, a podcast of FDD’s Long War Journal, brings you a new story focusing on jihadism around the globe. These stories will focus not only on Sunni jihadism, but also Shiite extremist groups. We will also host guests who can provide their own unique perspectives on current events.

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EPISODE 55 – Afghanistan Falls

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the need for accountability after 20 years of failures.

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EPISODE 54 – What Shabaab Wants

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss a new message from Shabaab’s emir. They also discuss their reluctance to report on a video, titled “America Burns,” produced by Al Qaeda’s main propaganda arm.

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EPISODE 53 – The Taliban and al Qaeda advance as U.S. completes withdrawal

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss President Biden’s latest defense of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Despite the jihadists’ significant advances since May 1, the president remains steadfastly committed to completing the American retreat.

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EPISODE 52 – Mapping the Taliban’s Offensive

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss the Taliban’s massive offensive in Afghanistan. The campaign demonstrates, once again, that the “peace process” is a Western delusion. They also discuss how Bill’s map of the Taliban’s gains has evolved over time. 

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EPISODE 51 – How the U.N. assesses al Qaeda and ISIS

Edmund Fitton-Brown joins hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio to discuss his team’s most recent report on Afghanistan. Fitton-Brown is a former British diplomat. He is currently coordinator of the U.N. Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.

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EPISODE 50 – The Unknowns

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the basic epistemological problems that plague analyses of al Qaeda nearly 20 years after 9/11.

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EPISODE 49 – Al Qaeda tries to capitalize on conflict between Hamas and Israel

Hosts Tom and Bill discuss recent statements by al Qaeda concerning the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Al Qaeda has commented on Palestinian issues often, but otherwise has had little to do with the situation. Bill also discusses his updated map of the war in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has steadily made gains.

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EPISODE 48 – What happens in Afghanistan doesn’t stay in Afghanistan

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss President Biden’s to withdraw U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. It’s understandable that he doesn’t want any more Americans to die there, but the Afghans continue to fight a global jihadist threat.

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EPISODE 47 – Designating terrorists

FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer joins the podcast to discuss how the U.S. Treasury Department designates terrorists and America’s current challenges. Jon and host Bill Roggio also discuss their love of Philly sports teams to the disgust of host Tom Joscleyn.

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EPISODE 46 – Waiting for a withdrawal decision

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio briefly discuss recent reporting on the Biden administration’s deliberations concerning a withdrawal from Afghanistan. They also discuss ISIS’ surge in Mozambique.

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EPISODE 45 – President Biden’s Decision Points

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio explain why President Biden should be clear-eyed when it comes to making decisions about the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some argue the U.S. should stay in Afghanistan to further the “peace process,” but there is no evidence that such a “process” even exists.

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EPISODE 44 – The Abraham Accords

Varsha Koduvayur, a senior research analyst at FDD, joins the podcast to discuss the Abraham Accords, recent announced reforms in Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen. 

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EPISODE 43 – The Status of ISIS and Al Qaeda

Edmund Fitton-Brown again joins the podcast to discuss the United Nations Security Council’s latest report on ISIS and Al Qaeda.

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EPISODE 42 – Groundhog Day in Afghanistan

In Episode 42 of Generation Jihad, hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s comments on the U.S.-Taliban deal. They explain why there isn’t much for the Biden administration to assess. The Taliban was never interested in peace and hasn’t taken any steps to break with al Qaeda.

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EPISODE 41 – The Jihad in West Africa

Caleb Weiss joins Tom and Bill to discuss France’s intervention in West Africa. Branches of both Al Qaeda and ISIS are fighting for territory, but France’s patience may be starting to wear thin.

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EPISODE 40 – Al Qaeda in Iran – and Afghanistan

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss and critique Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on the Iran-Al Qaeda axis. Contrary to much reporting, there is a long history of ties between the two. But there’s also much evidence pointing to al Qaeda’s ongoing alliance with the Taliban, an issue Pompeo is eager to downplay. The guys also explain why the 2001 AUMF isn’t being used to start a war with Iran.

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EPISODE 39 – Countering Extremism

Robin Simcox joins hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio to discuss the ongoing jihadist threat in Europe and efforts to combat extremism in the U.K. and elsewhere. Simcox is the director of the London-based Counter Extremism Group.

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EPISODE 38 – The Airing of Grievances

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio air and discuss their 2020 grievances, which pale in comparison to the problems faced by so many around the world today.

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EPISODE 37 – How Hezbollah Profits from Black Cocaine

FDD senior fellow Emanuele Ottolenghi joins hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio to discuss the history of Iran’s and Hezbollah’s illicit activities across Central and South America, including the trafficking of “black cocaine.”

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EPISODE 36 – The U.S. withdraws from Somalia

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss President Trump’s decision to order the withdrawal of a small American force from Somalia. Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, will continue to fight on, waging an insurgency against the Somali government while threatening countries throughout the region and possibly elsewhere as well.

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EPISODE 35 – The Shadow War Inside Iran

FDD senior fellow Behnam Ben Taleblu joins the podcast to discuss recent assassinations inside Iran and the state of the Iranian regime’s various proxy wars.

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EPISODE 34 – An Assassination in Tehran

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the killing of al Qaeda’s deputy emir in Tehran. The operation was reportedly conducted by Israeli assassins at the behest of the U.S.

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EPISODE 33 – A Conversation with H.R. McMaster

LTG (ret.) H.R. McMaster joins hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio to discuss his new book, his career in the U.S military and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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EPISODE 32 – What Will Biden Do?

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the decisions awaiting the incoming Biden administration with respect to the ongoing conflicts in several countries. They also discuss the State Department’s decision to delist al Qaeda’s Uighur affiliate.

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EPISODE 31 – Al Qaeda’s Media Chief Killed in Taliban Country

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the demise of Husam Abd-al-Ra’uf, al Qaeda’s media chief. Afghan forces hunted him down in a Taliban-controlled village nearly eight months after the U.S. State Department trumpeted the Taliban’s supposed counterterrorism assurances.

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EPISODE 30 – The Would-be Caliph was a Snitch

Craig Whiteside joins hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio to discuss the biography of the Islamic State’s leader. Recently released files show that he snitched on his fellow jihadists during his time in U.S. custody.

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EPISODE 29 – An Interview with Edmund Fitton-Brown

Edmund Fitton-Brown joins hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio to discuss his work for the United Nations Security Council. Fitton-Brown is a former British diplomat. He is currently coordinator of the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.

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EPISODE 28 – Our Review of The Outpost

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn review The Outpost, a new movie based on a book by CNN’s Jake Tapper. The book and movie are excellent, but the guys discuss how al Qaeda is often left out of such stories. Still, The Outpost reveals many truths about the war in Afghanistan.

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EPISODE 27 – Counting Al Qaeda

Senior U.S. officials claim there are fewer than 200 al Qaeda members in Afghanistan. Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn explain why that estimate, like all others before it, isn’t credible. The U.S. has consistently downplayed al Qaeda’s presence for more than a decade.

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EPISODE 26 – Zawahiri’s Bizarre 9/11 Anniversary Message

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss al Qaeda’s weak media output on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 hijackings. Despite this shortcoming, the group remains resilient. And the guys explain why an op-ed by the new director of the National Counterterrorism Center misses the mark.

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EPISODE 25 – Another Coup in Mali

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio are joined by Caleb Weiss, a longtime contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal. They discuss the recent coup in Mali and what it will mean for ISIS and al Qaeda.

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EPISODE 24 – America Remains in Iraq

Despite decrying America’s role in “endless wars,” President Trump recently defended the role of a small U.S. force in the country. Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss this apparent contradiction, as well as current events in Afghanistan and Somalia.

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EPISODE 23 Joe Biden Can’t End the Jihad

…Nor can President Trump. Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss former VP Joe Biden’s intent to “end” the “forever wars.” President Trump has pledged to do the same, but hasn’t delivered. Why? The jihad continues.

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EPISODE 22 – Conspiracies Everywhere

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the prevalence of conspiracy theories in the post-9/11 era. Osama bin Laden was upset that some pretend al Qaeda wasn’t responsible for 9/11, but bin Laden was a conspiracy theorist himself. Al Qaeda was founded on the nonsensical claim that there’s a “Zionist-Crusader” alliance against Muslims.

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EPISODE 21 – An ISIS Jailbreak in Afghanistan

ISIS orchestrated an assault on the main prison in Jalalabad earlier this month. Afghan officials immediately accused the Taliban of planning the attack. Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss this allegation, as well as other recent events.

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EPISODE 20 – How China’s repressive policies could fuel the jihad

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive policies in the Xinjiang region. The CCP claims to be fighting terrorism, but it could drive more people into the jihadists’ arms. The guys discuss the history of the Turkistan Islamic Party, an al Qaeda group that seeks to exploit the CCP’s actions.

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EPISODE 19 – Al Qaeda in 2020

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss what al Qaeda looks like in 2020. Nearly 19 years after the 9/11 hijackings, the group is alive, but still widely misunderstood. Despite suffering setbacks, al Qaeda’s members fight on in multiple countries. 

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EPISODE 18 – What We Don’t Know About Russian Bounties

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss reports saying that Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters to attack Americans. While this wouldn’t be surprising, there are still many unanswered questions concerning the reported bounties. The Taliban has been fighting American forces for nearly 19 years, and its jihadists don’t need any extra incentives. 

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EPISODE 17 – The CIA in Libya

Former CIA Officer Sarah Carlson joins the podcast to discuss her new book, In The Dark of War. Sarah discusses her career as a counterterrorism analyst, the jihadist scene in Libya and the U.S. evacuation from Tripoli in 2014.

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EPISODE 16 – Al Qaeda’s Never-ending Problems in Syria

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss al Qaeda’s problems in Syria, where a series of disputes have upset the group’s chain of command. They also discuss the State Department’s latest terrorism report and what it says about Pakistan’s sponsorship of the Taliban. 

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EPISODE 15 – Don’t Call It Nation-Building

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio explore how President Trump’s rhetoric on Afghanistan and other post-9/11 conflicts changed from 2017 to 2020. While there is much to criticize about these wars, some of the common talking points don’t reflect reality. The guys also discuss recent counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda.

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EPISODE 14 – The Demise of an Al Qaeda Emir in Mali

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the life and reported death of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel. They also review some of Osama bin Laden’s files to piece together AQIM’s history. 

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EPISODE 13 – Send in the Military?

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn take a break from the jihad overseas to discuss the turmoil at home and whether it is a good idea to deploy the U.S. military in American cities. They also discuss a new report by a U.N. monitoring team alleging multiple ongoing ties between the Taliban and al Qaeda.

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EPISODE 12 – The ISIS Spokesman’s Latest Rant

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss the latest diatribe released by Abu Hamza al-Qurashi, the Islamic State’s spokesman, who portrays the coronavirus as an act of divine retribution against the West and accuses the Taliban of working with the “Crusaders.” Bill and Tom also discuss a new report outlining the Taliban’s reluctance to “publicly break” with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s resiliency in Iraq and Syria.

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EPISODE 11 – An Al Qaeda Sleeper Agent in Pensacola

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss the FBI’s breakthrough in the investigation into the Dec. 6, 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. It took more than four months for the FBI to crack the terrorist’s phones, but the hosts argue that Americans shouldn’t give up their privacy in the name of security. They also discuss the Taliban’s reluctance to publicly break with Al Qaeda and the Defense Department’s reluctance to release data concerning the war in Afghanistan. 

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EPISODE 10 – Endless Jihad

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss the “endless wars” narrative, explaining why it is more accurate to call the conflicts unleashed by 9/11 an “endless jihad.” While there are plenty of legitimate criticisms of America’s warfighting, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere continue because the jihadists fight on.

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EPISODE 9 – The Drone Wars

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss the history of America’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda and ISIS. They discuss some of the drone campaign’s biggest successes, civilian casualties and why the unmanned aerial vehicles are a tactic, not a strategy for defeating terrorist organizations. 

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EPISODE 8 – The Islamic State’s Foundational Texts

Craig Whiteside joins hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn to discuss his new book, The ISIS Reader: Milestone Texts of the Islamic State Movement. Coauthored with Haroro Ingram and Charlie Winter, the book reviews key texts in the evolution of the would-be caliphate. Craig and Bill discuss their time in Iraq, including how they witnessed the earliest days of ISIS.

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EPISODE 7 – Jihad in the Time of Coronavirus

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross joins hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn to discuss how jihadists are adapting to the coronavirus pandemic. The three colleagues discuss their years working in the counterterrorism field and how some erroneous ideas just won’t die. They also offer some advice for new analysts entering the field. 

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EPISODE 6 – Hezbollah’s Main Man in Iraq

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss Hezbollah’s influence in Iraq and the State Department’s decision to offer a $10 million reward for information concerning the group’s main man in the country. They also discuss: a new video from the Pakistani Taliban that illustrates how the jihadi syndicate in Afghanistan and Pakistan works, a recent batch of al-Qaeda infographics and an alleged ISIS plot that was foiled by authorities in Germany. 

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EPISODE 5 – Banned in Pakistan

A Pakistani court recently overturned the convictions of Omar Saeed Sheikh, a jihadist who allegedly planned and carried out the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. Pearl was then murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the 9/11 hijackings. A higher court may overturn the decision and Sheikh remains in custody. But hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss how this affair highlights deeper problems within Pakistan. After all, FDD’s Long War Journal is banned in Pakistan, while many jihadists are not. 

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EPISODE 4 – ISIS: A History of the Caliphate

Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the rise and fall of ISIS – the would-be caliphate. More than a year has passed since ISIS lost the last town under its control. Tom and Bill discuss the history of the ISIS and how the idea of building a caliphate in Iraq evolved over time. Bill witnessed the jihadists’ earliest state-building efforts during multiple embeds in Iraq.

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EPISODE 3 – AQAP Names A New Emir

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn profile Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) new emir, Khalid Batarfi. They explain how Batarfi came to his leadership position, what’s ahead for the group’s local and global operations, and what AQAP can teach us about Al Qaeda’s larger structure and the ambitions of jihadist insurgencies the world over. 

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EPISODE 2 – Wishcasting in Afghanistan

In a follow up to episode one, hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn explain why wishful thinking in Afghanistan has led the U.S. to portray the Taliban as something it is not. True peace is not on the horizon. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda views the U.S.-Taliban deal as a boon for the jihadists’ cause. Al-Qaeda’s affiliates are already attempting to use the agreement as a framework for gaining legitimacy elsewhere. 

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EPISODE 1 – The U.S.-Taliban Withdrawal Agreement

Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn review the U.S.-Taliban withdrawal agreement. They discuss why it isn’t a true peace deal, the Taliban’s ongoing alliance with al-Qaeda, and how the U.S. never dealt with Pakistani duplicity in America’s longest war.  

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