In the last six months, al Qaeda has been linked to two attempts to attack the United States and a deadly attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In September, an al Qaeda operative planned and prepared to attack the New York City subway system. In December, there was an attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day as the plane descended into Detroit. On December 30, an al Qaeda triple agent killed seven CIA officers and a member of the Jordanian intelligence service in Afghanistan. During this period and since, the Obama administration has been placing enormous pressure on al Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan and in Yemen.
On March 9, Brookings hosted the launch of the paperback edition of The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future (Brookings Press, 2008), written by Saban Center at Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel. This updated edition of The Search for Al Qaeda features a new postscript, based on recent developments since the book’s original publication. Edward Luce, Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times and author of In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India (Anchor, 2008) joined Riedel for a discussion of the war against al Qaeda, its current state and the Obama administration’s strategy to defeat the terrorist network.
The event is part of a new focus on the interconnected and vital issues of South Asia. Martin Indyk, vice president and director of the Foreign Policy program provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. After the program, the panelists took audience questions.