Al-Qaeda Is Using the War with IS to Plan Its Next Move—in Pakistan

Al-Qaeda’s leadership may not have been happy about Islamic State’s declaration of a new caliphate, but it now wishes to use the current war between IS and the U.S.-led coalition as a smokescreen while it plans its next move. Fortunately for Israel, it is not (yet) al-Qaeda’s top priority. But al-Qaeda is particularly dangerous because it wants to reclaim its stolen thunder, contrary to what some U.S. officials have claimed.

[Al-Qaeda head Ayman al]-Zawahiri . . . is striving to leverage international focus on IS in order to divert attention from his organization’s preparations to take advantage of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of this year. Al-Qaeda . . . also used the Syrian theater to identify and recruit new volunteers with suitable credentials, in order to expand its manpower and train operatives for future operations. That was apparently, the purpose of the “Khorasan Army,” whose existence and objectives were recently unveiled, following the bombardment of its camp in Syria.

These preparations are also reflected in the establishment of the “Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent” (AQIS) organization, whose founding was announced by al-Zawahiri at the beginning of September this year. The declared purpose of the organization is to reinforce jihadist activity in Pakistan, India, Burma, and Bangladesh. According to both official reports from Pakistan and the organization’s own announcements . . . the new organization has already tried to carry out an ambitious and daring attack designed to damage a Pakistani warship and to attack an American destroyer. Action on this scale, had it succeeded as planned, would have caused great damage and cost many lives, in addition to harming the prestige of the fleets of the targeted countries. Furthermore, the planning of such attacks indicates that al-Qaeda is not resting on its laurels, and refutes the assessments by senior American administration officials that al-Qaeda is a spent force.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Pakistan, War on Terror

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship