Taliban Threatens to End Polio Vaccinations in Pakistan

By Chris Lundry According to a CNN report Monday, the Taliban in Pakistan released a statement threatening to cut off all polio vaccinations for children in the North Waziristan region if the US continues drone strikes there. From the Taliban statement: Almost every resident of North Waziristan has become a mental patient because of the drone strikes, which are worse than polio… On one hand, the U.S. spends millions of dollars to eliminate polio, while […] Read more »

With bin Laden Dead Let’s Kill the Binary Narrative

by Scott Ruston As details pour in regarding this past weekend’s daring raid in which U.S. Navy SEALs  killed elusive al-Qaeda leader and world’s most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden, the exact details of the events keep changing slightly. The New York Times titled an article covering a recent revision to the sequence of events and details about the operation as “White House Corrects Bin Laden Narrative”. I would argue, however, the “Bin Laden Narrative” […] Read more »

Tainted Legacies: to the Victor go the (Narrative) Spoils?

By Chris Lundry The first 48 hours after the death of Osama bin Laden were grounds for relief in the United States, its allies, and those who condemn violent extremism, but they have also been fraught with speculation and rumors concerning the operation. Is bin Laden really dead? Did he really use his wife as a shield? Was he really armed and did he fire at the Navy Seals? Why have there been no pictures […] Read more »

Let’s Amplify Extremist Contradictions

by Steven R. Corman Yesterday the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan over the last year.  It concluded that “2009 proved to be the deadliest year yet for civilians since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.”  The surprise is what it says about the causes of these deaths, which in turn identifies an under-exploited opportunity to amplify ideological contradictions. Of the 2412 conflict-related deaths […] Read more »

Gadahn Signals Gi-normous Extremist Say-Do Gap

by Steven R. Corman Jarret Brachman just did a post on a new video by nice-Jewish-boy-turned-AQ-mouthpiece Adam Gadahn (a.k.a Azzam al-Amriki, video linked on Jarret’s site). Jarret points out that this is the first video in a good long while from as-Sahab, and it has notably lower production values than its normal fare.  But to me the most significant thing is the subject matter of the video.  I, with the help of Jeff Halverson, produced […] Read more »

Bad Public Diplomacy Outcomes in Pakistan

by Steven R. Corman Pakistani public opinion about the U.S. and its war against extremists is a matter of  considerable concern given the tenuous situation in that country.  As we know, the public is quite unhappy about cross-border missile strikes the U.S. has been conducting this year. Even if the U.S. and Pakistani governments have a tacit agreement allowing the missile strikes from unmanned aircraft, this does not make them acceptable to the public at […] Read more »

A Bad Year for Dr. Zawahiri

by Monika Maslikowski For Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s communication strategy, its been a year full of ups and downs. Individually, the mishaps seem like minor blips in an otherwise burgeoning online presence, but when combined, they could point to Zawahiri’s diminishing abilities as a skilled communicator and principal figure of al-Qaeda’s online media strategy. Earlier this year, Zawahiri held an extensive online Q&A session, soliciting questions from anyone who wanted to ask. It was initially thought […] Read more »

Don’t Drink the Lemonade

by Monika Maslikowski The Global War on Terror has been accurately described by some as a global counterinsurgency against the groups and individuals that promote the ideology of violent Islamic extremism. Unlike traditional counterinsurgency campaigns, however, there is no single host-nation (HN) in this fight; the enemy is disparate, networked, transnational, and bound together by a destructive and intolerant religious ideology. In recent weeks and months, the difficult issues surrounding this global counterinsurgency have been […] Read more »

Gilani Must Have Missed That Meeting

by Steven R. Corman Last night’s PBS NewsHour carried and interview with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.  He said a lot of interesting things. For example, he said that the reason the Pakistani Army can’t go after the Bad Guys in the FATAs is because they don’t have Predators.  He implied that President Bush had agreed to give him some so the Pakistanis could do the flying and shooting.  I wonder how the Indians […] Read more »

The Public Diplomacy of Deeds Writ Small

by Steven R. Corman Yesterday the Washington Times released video excerpts of an interview with  Hussain Haqqani, Pakistani ambassador to the United States.  While the Times featured statements about coming FATA operations in its print story, I was intrigued by a couple of comments he made about U.S. performance in the war of ideas. On one count, Haqqani faulted U.S. officials for not spending enough quality time with the foreign media, allowing the Bad Guys […] Read more »