Key Points

In February 2019, Ayman al Zawahiri criticized Turkey as a “secular” regime, warning its Syrian affiliates not to trust or rely on Turkey as well as the “secular Turkish checkpoints” present in Idlib. These statements from al-Zawahiri undoubtedly fueled the suspicion and mistrust of al-Qaeda commanders in groups such as Hurras al-Din, thus providing an ideological basis on which these groups will continue to resist Ankara’s influence in Idlib as well as the implementation of any Russo-Turkish agreements. Whatever the future of Turkey’s involvement in Idlib may look like, Ankara will have eventually be forced to deal with the al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in one fashion or another.

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The statement concludes with a prayer for Allah to “guide” all of “our people” in Afghanistan, Palestine, the Islamic Maghreb, East Africa, the Levant, and all of the Muslim lands elsewhere.

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Americans like to believe that for every problem there is a solution. In reality, solutions almost always bring new problems. That doesn’t imply we should stop problem-solving. It does imply we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that we live in a global village, and come to the terms with the fact that we live in a global jungle where night and day voracious predators stalk us.

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Therefore, al-Qaeda has long been willing to use negotiations — even with so-called “apostate” governments — to advance its interests in Africa.

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Of course, Pompeo’s remarks came in the context of the Trump administration’s deal with the Taliban. While committing to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan in 14 months, President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have endorsed the Taliban as America’s counterterrorism partner. As I wrote in last week’s Vital Interests newsletter, that doesn’t make sense. But now we can add one more reason the deal is a bad one. In order to justify the withdrawal agreement, Secretary Pompeo is only seeing what he wants to see—just like President Obama.

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Events

EVENT: Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate

October 21, 2019 | 12:00

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