Katherine Zimmerman is a senior analyst and the al Qaeda and Associated Movements Team Lead for the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project. Her work has focused on al Qaeda’s affiliates in the Gulf of Aden region and associated movements in western and northern Africa. She specializes in the Yemen-based group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, al Shabaab. Katherine has testified in front of Congress and briefed Members and congressional staff, as well as members of the defense community. She has written analyses of U.S. national security interests related to the threat from the al Qaeda network for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN Global Public Square, and the Huffington Post, among others. Katherine graduated with distinction from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science and Modern Middle East Studies.
The horrific images and story of 14 murdered soldiers that came out of Yemen on August 8 pale in comparison to those coming from Iraq and Syria. Yet they may presage the emergence of a renewed threat from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that the U.S and Yemen are ill-prepared to handle.
President Obama says the United States is looking to its Yemen policy as a model for what to do in Iraq and Syria. But what the president labels the "Yemen model" has not been as successful as the White House claims; indeed, it is in danger of collapse.
It would be premature to expect an AQAP offensive on the scale of what the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham recently conducted in Iraq, but it would also be a mistake to rule out the possibility of a series of significant attacks that could unhinge the Yemeni security forces and, in conjunction with the expanding al Houthi conflict in the north, possibly the Yemeni state.
Please join AEI and the Foreign Policy Research Institute as they cohost a discussion unraveling different perspectives on the al Qaeda challenge, assessing the success of current policies, and, in particular, focusing on the implications of growing factionalism among groups.
This event will coincide with the release of a new report by AEI’s Mary Habeck, which analyzes why current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates and what the US can do to develop a successful strategy to defeat this enemy.
Degrading al Qaeda’s leadership is central to US counterterrorism strategy. But the leaders today are not the same as they were in 2001, are no longer necessarily connected by formal relationships, and are defined by their common purpose and experiences. AEI’s Critical Threats Project is engaged in an effort to rethink our understanding of al Qaeda and our strategy to fight its network.