AL Qaeda’s operatives are fighting in more countries around the world today than was the case on 9/11. And its leaders still want to target the United States and its interest and allies. The war they started is far from over.
The State Department announced today that it has designated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), al Qaeda’s branch in Mali and West Africa, as a terrorist organization. JNIM and its leader, Iyad Ghali, are openly loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban’s emir.
This is the first strike since early June, when the United States targeted both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in separate strikes in Bani Walid.
The US military announced that it killed Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb leader in Libya, in an airstrike last weekend. Dawud is an established jihadist who has been in the fight with the GSPC and AIQM for at least three decades.
One of the leaders “planned” the March 2015 Bardo Museum attack in Tunis, which was claimed by the Islamic State. Another serves as Shabaab’s deputy emir.
On Nov. 17, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and FDD’s Long War Journal held an event to discuss the findings from the recently released documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound.
US Africa Command launched airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya for the first time in eight months. AFRICOM also revealed to FDD’s Long War Journal that an estimated 800 to 900 Islamic State fighters were killed during Operation Odyssey Lightning’s air campaign in Sirte last year.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) presented its written “Worldwide Threat Assessment” to the Senate last week. The analysis confirms that the Islamic State is capable of sustaining insurgencies in both Iraq and Syria, Afghan security continues to “deteriorate,” and al Qaeda remains a threat in several parts of the globe.