– New York Times Magazine – C.J. Chivers writes that for decades, aspiring bomb makers — including ISIS — have desperately tried to get their hands on a lethal substance called red mercury. There’s a reason that they never have.
– The Atlantic – Sean Naylor provides a brief history of special operations, from Panama to the war on terror.
– New York Times Magazine – Carlotta Gall, who reported from Pakistan for the New York Times for the last decade, on Seymour Hersh’s recent Bin Laden story.
– London Review of Books – Seymour Hersh has a different tale behind the killen of Osama bin Laden.
– New Yorker – A look at the drone war in Pakistan.
– New York Times Magazine – As the fight against terrorism broadens to Africa, the United States faces a tricky balance: how to fight an enemy without actually doing the fighting.
– The Independent – Twelve and a half years after 9/11, al-Qa’ida-type organisations control an area the size of Britain in western Iraq and eastern Syria. Include Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia and the territory they rule is larger in size than the UK. What is so extraordinary – and blameworthy – is that this vast expansion of jihadist groups comes even as the US, Britain and others are waging a “war on terror”. In the name of such a struggle, great sums have been spent; wars have been fought in Iraq and Afghanistan; civil rights have been curtailed; and torture, rendition, detention without trial and domestic espionage have been justified. But attempts to eliminate the supposed enemy have wholly failed. It is to consider the roots of this failure that The Independent published a five-part investigation by our distinguished correspondent Patrick Cockburn this week. The aim of the series is to show the extent to which jihadist organisations identical in ideology and methods to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida have survived, flourished and are now stronger than ever.
– New Yorker – An interesting look at the potential long-term consequences of using unmanned aerial vehicles for terrorist assassinations.
– Esquire – (An archival article, from CJ Chivers, on terrorism in Chechnya. Relevant in regards to last week’s tragic events in Boston.) – On the first day of school in 2004, a Chechen terrorist group struck the Russian town of Beslan. Targeting children, they took more than eleven hundred hostages. The attack represented a horrifying innovation in human brutality. Here, an extraordinary accounting of the experience of terror in the age of terrorism.
– Washington Post – Mark Bowden debunks 5 myths about the raid on Osama bin Laden.
– Vanity Fair – President Obama saw it as a “50–50” proposition. Admiral Bill McRaven, mission commander, knew something would go wrong. So how did the raid that killed bin Laden get green-lighted? In an adaptation from his new book, Mark Bowden weaves together accounts from Obama and top decision-makers for the full story behind the daring operation.
– Los Angeles Times – Andrew J. Bacevich writes that even as our troops march hither and yon, America seems to be losing the thread in an ‘era of persistent conflict.’
– Military Times – The sixth and final part of Sean Naylor’s look at the war on terror in Africa.
– Army Times – Part 5 of Sean Naylor’s look at the war on terror in Africa.
– Army Times – Fourth in a series by Sean Naylor. Often-frustrating search for Harun Fazul combined high-tech gear, low tech human intelligence and courage
– Army Times – The third in a series by Sean Naylor looking at U.S. military operations in the Horn of Africa after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
– Army Times – The second in a series by Sean Naylor looking at U.S. military activity in the Horn of Africa.
– Army Times – First of a series by Sean Naylor. Clandestine SEAL mission planted cameras, but little came out of the images.
– Wall Street Journal – Andrew Krepinevich writes that the world’s vast undersea energy infrastructure—oil and gas platforms, wellheads, pipelines and pumps—is now vulnerable to attack by cheap submarines and unmanned vehicles.
– New Yorker – What happened that night in Abbottabad.
New York Times – The Coming Swarm
John Arquilla on how we should be combatting terrorism today – fighting swarms with swarms.
New York Times Magazine – The Saharan Conundrum
Terrorism experts feared that North Africa would be the next Afghanistan: a haven, and a launching pad, for Al Qaeda. Why hasn’t it turned out that way?
New York Times – ‘Terror’ Is The Enemy
Philip Bobbitt gives his views on how the war on terror should be waged in the future.
Foreign Affairs – Marc Sageman claims that al Qaeda’s leadership is finished and today’s terrorist threat comes primarily from below. But the terrorist elites are alive and well, and ignoring the threat they pose will have disastrous consequences.
New York Review of Books – Ahmed Rashid reviews the current state of the jihad against the West.