Wednesday, July 18, 2012

US must kill and capture terrorist leaders as soon as possible. It works.

Killing or capturing leaders of terrorist groups increases the chances these groups will collapse. In spite of what some politicians see as short-term political and diplomatic costs, my findings suggest targeted killings are an effective counterterrorism strategy in the long run.
By Bryan C. Price / July 18, 2012
The United States made killing and capturing terrorist leaders a key focus of its counterterrorism strategy following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In addition to getting Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s number one counterterrorism priority upon taking office, his administration has netted scores of other high-profile leaders, including Al Qaeda leaders Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen and Abu Yahya al-Libi in Pakistan.
The latter successes are direct results of a greatly expanded drone program. According to the New America Foundation, Mr. Obama has launched more than six times as many drone strikes in Pakistan than his predecessor.
But does this “leadership decapitation” work? Does it enhance the security of the states that use it?
Debate over this controversial tactic is growing and currently playing out on the national stage, with critics of these targeted killings just as vocal as supporters.
Critics argue that targeted killings do little to prevent future attacks. Some claim that they may increase recruitment, harden terrorists’ resolve, and trigger retaliatory attacks. Still others highlight the moral and ethical concerns of collateral damage and killing terrorist leaders without due process, especially American citizens such as al-Awlaki. The Obama administration has also recently come under fire after details of its approval process for drone strikes leaked to the press. Some have argued the process is too informal and lacking in oversight.
Conversely, supporters claim that targeting killings reduce the terrorist group’s operational capability by eliminating its most highly skilled members and forcing the group to divert time and resources to protect its leaders. They allege removing leadership causes intra-organizational turmoil and deters others from assuming power. While there are no silver bullets in counterterrorism tactics, killing or capturing leaders can, in some cases, even trigger organizational collapse.
New evidence suggests that killing or capturing terrorist leaders significantly increases terrorist-group mortality rates. In other words, groups stripped of a leader end much faster than those groups whose leaders remain alive and in place.
The evidence is based on research from my dissertation at Stanford University, which is described in detail in an article in the Spring 2012 issue of International Security. To test the effectiveness of targeted killing and capture of terrorist leaders over long periods, I used survival analysis. This is a technique that doctors commonly use to evaluate the efficacy of medical treatments by comparing the survival rates of patients who receive different treatments for the same disease.
In this case, my “patients” were 208 terrorist groups that were active from 1970 to 2008, and “leadership decapitation” was my “treatment.” The findings were robust and consistent. Killing or capturing leaders of terrorist organizations significantly shortened the life span of these groups.
This holds true for groups of different sizes and ideologies, although relative differences exist between types of groups. For example, religious groups are 80 percent less likely to dissolve than nationalist groups based on ideology alone. However, religious groups were almost five times as likely to collapse as nationalist groups after losing their leadership to a targeted killing or capture.
Moreover, the earlier in its life cycle that a terrorist group loses its leadership, the more likely it is to collapse. Killing or capturing a terrorist leader in the first year of a terrorist group’s existence makes the group more than eight times as likely to crumble as a group that retains its leadership. The detrimental effects on a group from loss of leadership diminish by 50 percent in the first 10 years, and after 20 years, killing or capturing a leader may have no effect on the group at all.
Therefore, states that choose to employ this method of eliminating leadership as a counterterrorism tactic should allocate their resources accordingly, concentrating their time and money on killing and capturing leaders of terrorist groups as early in their existence as possible.
Additionally, contrary to a widely cited claim that 90 percent of all terrorist groups last less than one year, I found terrorist groups to be much more durable. The mean lifespan of the groups that collapsed some time during the period of 1970 to 2008 was approximately 14 years.
If terrorist groups last longer than previously believed, then tactics such as killing or capturing leadership, which can increase groups’ mortality rates, deserve special attention. Politicians may ultimately determine the short-term costs associated with this strategy outweigh the benefits, but my findings suggest that the long-term implications of targeted killings need to be part of the decision-making calculus.
It has been said that terrorism will never end, but that terrorists groups do. Getting rid of their leadership makes them end sooner – a fact that policymakers should consider when crafting counterterrorism strategy.
Bryan C. Price, Ph.D., a major serving in the US Army, will serve as the director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point this summer. His article, “Targeting Top Terrorists: How Leadership Decapitation Contributes to Counterterrorism,” appears in the Spring 2012 issue of International Security.

Iranian spy cell arrested in Yemen

July 18, 2012
The Yemeni authorities have arrested an Iranian spy cell that had been working in Yemen for seven years, the military-run 26 September Newspaper said.
The Newspaper said that the cell is run by a former leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), pointing out that it is tasked with running spy operations in Yemen and African Horn.
Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi had affirmed that there are a strong relations between the Houthi group and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
In remarks to a Saudi newspaper, Al-Watan, Al-Qirbi said affirmed that Tehran trains the Houthis and provides them with weapons, equipments and funds.Al-Qirbi affirmed that Iran has relations with Al-Houthi group and other Yemeni groups, pointing out that such relations pose a source of concerns to Yemenis."There are other issues that we do not want to currently speak about because we are engaged in internal dialogue and hope that these issue are resolved through dialogue" he added.
Al-Qirbi had previously accused Iran of interfering in Yemen’s affairs, stressing that any Iranian cooperation with Yemeni political sides is unacceptable. "We along with all regional states are keen to have relations with Iran, but we refuse any intervention in internal affairs” he An Emirati Newspaper, Al-Khaleej.The US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein frequently cautioned against Iranian intervention in Yemen, indicating that Iran seeks to spark troubles in Yemen through supporting the Saada-based Houthi group.
According to the New York Times, Iran operates to increase its political outreach and arms shipments to rebels and other political figures in Yemen as part of what American military and intelligence officials say is a widening Iranian effort to extend its influence across the greater Middle East.
Source: Yemen Post

Yemen Army Officer, 2 Al-Qaida Militants Killed

By AHMED AL-HAJ Associated Press
SANAA, Yemen July 18, 2012 (AP)
Two al-Qaida militants and an army officer have been killed in separate incidents, a Yemeni military official said Wednesday,
Another official claimed an Iranian spy operation has been discovered, and Yemen's president called for Iran to refrain from interfering in his country.
In Sanaa, an army officer supporting former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed while leading an attack on the house of a general who defected to the opposition last year during the uprising against Saleh.
The clash showed an undercurrent of tribal and political tensions, though Saleh has been replaced.
In southern Yemen, armed tribesmen ambushed a group of al-Qaida militants, killing two and wounding three, the official said.
The clash took place in an area seized by the army and tribesmen last month in heavy fighting with al-Qaida militants. Al-Qaida took control there during last year's internal political turmoil.
Also Wednesday, a security official said that an Iranian revolutionary guard officer has been arrested for allegedly running a spy network in Yemen, and several members of the network were also arrested.
He said the ring leader entered Yemen with false identity documents, but an investigation uncovered his identity as a Revolutionary Guard officer who has been operating in Yemen for some time.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations.
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi later Wednesday called on Iran to stay out of Yemen's internal affairs.
He called on Iran to "take into consideration the delicate circumstances the country is passing through ... We say from here to leave Yemen to mind its own affairs and that is enough for now." Hadi spoke during a military cadet graduation ceremony, according to the official SABA news agency.

President Hadi's speech before cadets of the War College

By Yemen 21 News
SANA'A, July 18, 2012- President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi paid a visit to the War College on the occasion of ending the academic year.
During his visit to the college, President Hadi delivered a speech to cadets of the War College, covering various political, scientific, social aspects reviewing what have been achieved on the ground on the level of the historic political settlement under the Gulf initiative.
President Hadi expressed his appreciations for the meeting with the cadets of military college, congratulating the leaders and cadets of the college of the occasion of the advent of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, wishing all health and happiness.
He said "I am delighted to pay a visit to the War College, which participated effetely on the security spreading during the 2011's crisis, saving the security and stability in the capital Sana'a  along with presents' properties.''
Hadi added "You were a model in the armed forces, and I hope when you graduated do not influence by the past because you are sons of the people and serve the whole people and not for a family or group," confirming that Yemen has experienced various crisis at the political, economic, and security levels and reflected on other aspects at the same time.''
Furthermore, the President said if that all crisis happened at the same time in any country it would affect negatively and it would be collapsed, however; when the political powers accepted the country's political settlement based on the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism backed by the Security Council resolution No. 2014  as an international solution we could avert the country dragging in the civil war.
He pointed out that Yemen is celebrating the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Yemeni revolution of September and October, and we are still in conflict and deporting the crisis, one after another.
He also noted to the 2011's crisis, saying "There are several reasons, internal and external ones, the internal one was the division of armed forces which could not maintain its unity as a safety valve for the national unity and it is for all Yemeni people and not only for one family or some group reflecting the principles of September and October revolutions.''   
During his speech at the Military College President Hadi pointed out to the forming of the national government, the early elections, and the forming of the Military committee along with other tasks which he said considered as the first stage of the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism, saying that ''Today we go on the second stage of the Gulf initiative by preparing for the comprehensive national dialogue in order to find solutions to all of the country's issues.''
The President added ''We have experienced complicated and difficult circumstances and still more there, but today is better than yesterday, we achieved a lot and still more as well.''
President Hadi revealed that foreign ambassadors to Yemen asked him to convey their residence to Djibouti or Oman and to come every week, but I told them your stands would enter the country into civil war, and then they connected their countries and changed their stands.''
''Our meeting with them continued especially with the crisis of power cuts and oil and diesel shortages which reflected badly on children, women and elderly and caused scores of them to death in the operating rooms, intensive operations, dialysis, and premature babies, the death toll sometimes were up to 50 to from power outages.''
President Hadi considered the return of displaced persons to Zanzibar and Ja'ar, and some houses in the villages, especially with the holy month as a great victory for humanitarian and relief to the displaced, which suffered from the pain and trouble last year, stressing that we will continue pursuing terrorists everywhere in Yemen.
President Hadi "We hope that our brothers in Iran to stop their interference in Yemen affairs, and taking into account the exact circumstances experienced by Yemen in this critical and sensitive, and Yemen did not interfere days in the affairs of any country near or far, and we tell everyone here from the Military Academy, leave Yemen alone and it is enough."
He touched upon the forming of the technical preparatory committee for the comprehensive national conference, saying that "Some political powers differ in their interpretations of the nature work of the technical committee, some believe that they attend to the conference as same as the previous conference which the task of the committee is to formulate the decisions and recommendations and the conference members come just for signing or ratification."
''The mission of the committee is to identify the bodies and the number of delegates or members and determine the place and time to hold the conference, the mission of the committee also is to discuss  issues and important files, which will determine the shape of system in Yemen based on the national principles in order to serve a new Yemen and its development and prosperity,'' the President added.