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A discussion on terrorism and the united states

The report provides policy-related assessments, country-by-country breakdowns of foreign government counterterrorism cooperation; and contains information on state sponsors of terrorism, terrorist safe havens, foreign terrorist organizations, and the global challenge of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terrorism.

Thank you so much. Good morning, everyone, and thanks so much for calling in for this. It describes the global counterterrorism landscape in 2016 and fulfills a congressional mandate. The report also allows us to highlight the significant terrorist trends and also take stock of how effective U. It also helps us to make more informed judgments and plans about our policies, our priorities, and where to place our resources.

Justin, go right ahead. Well, thank you very much, Heather, and thanks to everyone for calling in this morning. Terrorist attacks and fatalities from terrorism declined globally in 2016 from levels seen in 2015, and at the end of my remarks I will summarize a few of the topline statistics that are included as an appendix to the yearly report. ISIS remained the most capable terrorist organization globally in 2016, directing and inspiring terror cells, networks, and individuals around the world, even a discussion on terrorism and the united states it faced increased military pressure in Iraq and Syria and suffered considerable territorial losses throughout the year — through the year.

We also faced a resilient al-Qaida and an Iranian regime that remained the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The international community strengthened cooperation in a number of areas, including by expanding information-sharing related to terrorist identities to prevent terrorist travel, strengthening border and aviation security, and putting increased resources into efforts to counter radicalization to violence and terrorist recruitment.

As you all are aware, ISIS lost considerable territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria through 2016, and the report provides detailed assessment of that progress. Iraqi Security Forces supported by the coalition delivered a series of defeats on ISIS through 2016, beginning with the liberation of Ramadi in February, the recapture of Fallujah in June, and the seizure of the Qayyarah Air Base in northern Iraq in July, and finally the launch of the broad offensive in Nineveh in October that led to Iraqi Security Force penetration deep into eastern Mosul by the end of the year.

This is a critical milestone in the global fight against ISIS and underscores the success of the international effort led by the Iraqi Security Forces. Syrian Democratic Forces supported by coalition efforts liberated a number of cities and towns used by ISIS as transit and facilitation hubs for foreign terrorist fighters and ISIS external plotting a discussion on terrorism and the united states, including Manbij and Jarabulus.

These operations set the stage for the operation to isolate and liberate Raqqa, which, as you know, is currently underway. ISIS has relied heavily upon foreign terrorist fighters but was unable to sustain a sufficient inward flow of new foreign terrorist fighter recruits in 2016 to compensate for battlefield losses.

ISIS dispatched operatives from Iraq and Syria to conduct attacks but also worked aggressively to inspire and encourage attacks by its followers to demonstrate continued strength and relevance.

ISIS directed its followers to attack in their home countries rather than attempt to travel to the conflict zone, which itself is an acknowledgement of the a discussion on terrorism and the united states difficult environment faced by aspiring foreign terrorist fighters to access the conflict area.

Another feature of the terrorism landscape in 2016 — and this is a continuation of what we saw in 2014 and 2015 — is the exploitation by terrorist groups of ungoverned territory and conflict zones to establish safe havens from which to expand their reach. In 2016 ISIS established a presence in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, from which a discussion on terrorism and the united states was expelled as a result of a concerted ground campaign by Libyan forces with U.

Somalia, Yemen, northeastern Nigeria, portions of the Sinai Peninsula, the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions, and portions of the Philippines, among other places, are examples of such safe-haven environments.

Turning to al-Qaida, al-Qaida and its regional affiliates exploited the absence of credible and effective state institutions in a number of states and regions to remain a significant worldwide threat despite sustained pressure by the United States and its partners. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula remained a significant threat to Yemen, the Gulf region, and the United States despite a number of key leadership losses as the ongoing conflict in Yemen hindered U.

And al-Shabaab continued to conduct asymmetric attacks throughout Somalia and parts of Kenya despite weakened leadership and increasing defections. The establishment of a new government in Somalia and its efforts along with the international community to extend governance while maintaining security force pressure on al-Shabaab is an important recent development in Somalia.

And then finally, al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent continue to operate in South Asia, which the AQ al-Qaida Core has historically exploited for safe haven, and claim several attacks targeting religious minorities, police, secular bloggers, and publishers in Bangladesh.

A discussion on terrorism and the united states Afghanistan, al-Qaida suffered continued losses, including through the death of senior leader Faruq al-Qahtani, who was killed in a U.

Attacks by homegrown lone offenders continued in 2016, particularly in public spaces and other soft targets. Examples of this include the attack in Nice in July, in which a Tunisian national drove a truck into a Bastille Day festivities parade, killing 86; in Germany, an ISIS-claimed truck a discussion on terrorism and the united states killed 12 in a discussion on terrorism and the united states crowded Christmas market in Berlin in December; and of course, in the United States, Omar Mateen killed 49 in an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Release: Country Reports on Terrorism

As explained in the report, Iran continues to provide support to Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East. Iran employed the Quds Force of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. Iran has acknowledged a discussion on terrorism and the united states involvement of the Quds Force in conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

In 2016, Iran remained the primary source of funding for Hizballah and coordinated closely with Hizballah in its efforts to create instability in the Middle East. Hizballah is a designated foreign terrorist organization, and A discussion on terrorism and the united states has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran.

Hizballah has contributed significant numbers of its fighters to support the Assad regime in Syria and carried out several attacks against Israeli Defense Forces in 2016 along the Lebanese border with Israel. In January 2016, Bahraini security officials dismantled a terrorist cell linked to the Quds Force that was planning to carry out a series of bombings throughout the country.

Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaida members it continued to detain and has refused to publicly identify the members in its custody. Since at least 2009, Iran has allowed al-Qaida facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through the country, enabling al-Qaida to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.

As I noted at the top of the briefing, the total number of terrorist attacks in 2016 decreased by 9 percent, and total deaths due to terrorist attacks decreased by 13 percent compared to 2015. This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths from terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen. At the same time, there was an increase in terrorist attacks and total deaths in several countries, including Iraq, Somalia, and Turkey. ISIS was responsible for more attacks and deaths than any other perpetrator group in 2016.

In 2015, it was the Taliban that was responsible for more attacks and deaths. And although terrorist attacks took place in 104 countries in 2016, they were heavily concentrated geographically, as they have been for the past several years. Fifty-five percent of all attacks took place in A discussion on terrorism and the united states, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and 75 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

All of these statistics and more are in the annex, as I said, that is appended to the report. And while I cite these statistics which are compiled by the University of Maryland and they are not a U.

Defending against terrorism has remained a top policy priority for Americans since 9/11

Government product, I must emphasize that numbers alone do not provide the full context, something that we — and a point we make consistently when the numbers fall from — fall and rise from year to year in the report.

And all of you, just as a reminder, the call is embargoed until the end of the call, and it is on the record. Yeah, just two sort of general questions. Is that at all in the works or being discussed seriously? Well, thank you for the questions. So whereas prior to the conflict we had a partner, albeit a generally speaking weak government but a government that did have police forces, intelligence services with whom we and other partners could work to help to dismantle AQAP a discussion on terrorism and the united states in the country, while the conflict has continued, that presence is really no longer available to us or the Yemeni Government itself.

And that, a discussion on terrorism and the united states course, leads then to the importance of a negotiated political settlement in that conflict which our government is pursuing. Can I just have a follow-up there? Has AQAP strengthened in the last year because of the — of the conflict?

Our next question comes from the line of Yeganeh Torbati with Reuters. Just a couple of quick questions. So the language on Sudan in the state sponsors of terrorism section is quite different a discussion on terrorism and the united states year.

I know that probably reflects the policy that kind of started late last year. And then just very quickly, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said today that the U.

And that seems to be a pretty thinly veiled threat, and I was just wondering how seriously does the United States take that sort of threat from the IRGC? And so there are — there are particular criteria that are necessary for a country to meet in rescinding the state sponsor — being removed from the state sponsor of terrorism list — from that designation.

And the Sudanese Government has recognized itself that there is an ISIS threat in particular in the region and has been cooperative in some areas with regard to that threat. But the criteria for removal is stated in the statute.

Our next question is from the line of Nick Wadhams with Bloomberg News. Just two quick questions. One, can you tell us what, in your view, chiefly accounts for the decline in attacks and deaths, the number down by 9 percent and the total death toll down by 13 percent? Is there a particular issue or a particular reason for that? Thank you very much.

I tried to at the beginning caveat the — on the one hand, the statistics — and you can find those, as I said, in the annex, and there are significantly more detail than I provided with regard to the number of attacks, where they took place, and the change in year by year in the annex. So as an example, there were fewer attacks and deaths in Nigeria and Pakistan. Now, there have been years when attacks have increased significantly in those places, so there is a kind of year-by-year fluctuation.

The broad trend, however, is a slight decrease from 2015, and that — in 2015 had a slight decrease from 2014. But I think you can look within the statistics as provided in the annex to get more details on the specifics behind the decrease. I wanted to ask you, on the Hizballah a discussion on terrorism and the united states, that seems more highlighted in this report than previous ones. Can you elaborate on it? How serious do you view this threat, and do you think Hizballah has gained actually more capabilities and became a bigger threat from its fighting in Syria?

You mentioned al-Qaida operating at large. Okay, thank you for the questions. I mean, Hizballah is a extremely sophisticated terrorist group with a network that extends globally, both operational capability and then also support network that resides in a number of regions around the world, and we are working very closely with partners around the world to disrupt that network.

Many Hizballah soldiers have died in a discussion on terrorism and the united states conflict and been wounded.

I think there is sort of a mixed picture as to whether that has strengthened or weakened the group. It is quite adaptable, but that said, we see a lot of consensus among partners and governments to continue to put pressure on the group, and we will continue to do so. Schwartz, your line is open.

Can you hear me now? We can hear you.