CTC Sentinel | Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2015)

Published by Combating Terrorism Center

Cover Story Overview

Special Issue: The Al-Qa`ida Threat 14 Years Later

From the Editor
This special issue of the CTC Sentinel focuses on the evolution of the al-Qa`ida threat 14 years after 9/11. “With all the media focus on ISIL, what’s sometimes lost is that we still view al-Qa`ida and the various al-Qa`ida affiliates and nodes as being a principal counterterrorism priority,” Nick Rasmussen, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, stresses in our interview. Much of the concern relates to strengthening al-Qa`ida affiliates in Yemen and in Syria that Katherine Zimmerman and Charles Lister focus on respectively. In our cover story, Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the CIA and a senior fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center, warns that the Yemeni al-Qa`ida affiliate “poses an even greater threat to the U.S. homeland than does the Islamic State, at least for now.” This issue also features an examination of al-Qa`ida’s resilience in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region by former CIA analyst Barbara Sude and a profile by Kévin Jackson of Sanafi al-Nasr, a veteran Saudi al-Qa`ida operative now believed to be with the “Khorasan group” in Syria and “whose ideological and personal animus toward the United States may influence the degree to which al-Qa`ida elements plot international terrorism from Syrian soil.”  

This issue also features the first major redesign of the CTC Sentinel since the Combating Terrorism Center launched the publication eight years ago. We are looking to further enhance the reader’s experience both in print and online in the months ahead and to make it even more of a must-read for anyone interested in these crucial subjects.

Paul Cruickshank, Editor in Chief