Daniel Benjamin

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Since early in his campaign, President Trump has made counterterrorism cooperation a pillar of his argument for improving relations with Russia. On the face of it, that idea might seem attractive: two of the world’s largest militaries and intelligence communities working together against the Islamic State and other jihadist networks to achieve progress that neither could alone.

But it’s a bad idea. A partnership with Russia of the kind Mr. Trump proposes has the potential to profoundly undermine the United States’ counterterrorism progress and shred our relationships with Sunni Muslims around the world. Moreover, it’s doubtful such an alliance could actually be forged.…  Seguir leyendo »

Egypt’s military leaders have launched an all-out war against the Muslim Brotherhood. American and European leaders have observed this crackdown with a sense of detachment, both because they have few tools to influence the military’s decision-making and because this conflict appears to be an internal matter.

But the belief that this intensifying conflict will play out solely within Egypt’s borders is false. As the violence increases, and the radicalization of Islamists deepens, Egypt’s crisis threatens to add fuel to the ongoing terrorist activity across North Africa and to spawn a new wave of attacks against Western targets just as the anti-Islamist crackdown that began in the late 1970s aided the rise of Al Qaeda.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since well before 9/11, the United States and other nations have worked hard to cut off the flow of money to Al Qaeda and related terrorist groups.

Through innovative approaches and strong partnerships, including with many European nations and the European Union, we have had real success in our counterterrorism efforts broadly and in our specific efforts to combat the flow of funds to terrorist organizations.

In particular, Al Qaeda’s senior leadership in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region has seen its funds dwindle.

In recent years, however, the Qaeda network has found new deep pockets, not among rich radical sheikhs in the Persian Gulf but through the exploitation of wealthy Western countries and their allies.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the National Intelligence Estimate issued last week confirms, a terrorist haven has emerged in Pakistan’s tribal belt. And as recent revelations about an aborted 2005 operation in the region demonstrate, our Defense Department is chronically unable to conduct the sort of missions that would disrupt terrorist activity there and in similarly ungoverned places.

These are perhaps the most important kind of counterterrorism missions. Because the Pentagon has shown that it cannot carry them out, the Central Intelligence Agency should be given the chance to perform them.

The story of the scrubbed 2005 operation illustrates why the Pentagon is incapable of doing what needs to be done.…  Seguir leyendo »