America Shouldn’t Succumb to Counterterrorism Fatigue

Twenty-two years after the September 11 attacks, the threat of jihadist terror is not a major concern for most Americans. But it has not gone away. Noah Rothman examines the ongoing dangers of al-Qaeda and other groups based Afghanistan—despite the White House’s insistence that they are not a serious cause for concern. He then turns to a larger problem:

A lot has changed since 9/11. The West has developed a robust counterterrorism apparatus, which has proven proficient at intercepting communications and signals intelligence regarding potential plots and interdicting them either directly or via a global network of state partners. But those capabilities are eroding. Afghanistan has once again become a permissive environment in which terrorist groups operate openly, recruit and train operatives directly, and plot extensively.

Moreover, a sense of complacency has descended over lawmakers in Washington. . . . A similar complacency is evident in the political landscape to which American lawmakers are uniquely attuned. One representative essay published in the Washington Post last week by Jessica Petrow-Cohen, whose formative early-childhood experiences were forged in the wake of 9/11, maintained that the fears of terrorism she grew up with “were valid but misplaced.” The real, acute threats weren’t Islamist radicals bent on mayhem and murder, she argued, but the “environmental toxins released during and after the World Trade Center attacks” and the domestic officials who failed to mitigate that menace.

That would be a comfort, but the global terrorist threat has not degraded all on its own. It has been degraded actively and only as a result of persistent effort. We have become adept at detecting terrorist plots, good at interdicting them, and very lucky in the pursuit of both objectives. “There’s no such thing as perfect security,” George W. Bush said in 9/11’s wake. “To attack us, the terrorists only have to be right once. To stop them, we need to be right 100 percent of the time.” The Islamist terrorist threat hasn’t receded so much as we have grown fatigued with the obligations associated with defending against it. Our enemies are not above exploiting our exhaustion.

Read more at National Review

More about: 9/11, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Jihadism, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security