Assessing the Terrorist Threat -- Bruce Hoffman and Peter Bergen describe how Al Qaida has evolved since the attacks in 2001, including the development of domestic USA networks and the increasingly diverse and decentralized nature of terrorism. Homeland Security and local law enforcement are not keeping up with the changes. [more inside]
The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010 (PDF). "Our study shows that the 114 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan from 2004 to the present have killed between 830 and 1,210 individuals, of whom around 550 to 850 were described as militants in reliable press accounts, about two-thirds of the total on average. Thus, the true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 percent." [more inside]
That afternoon, American signals operators picked up bin Laden speaking to his followers. Fury kept a careful log of these communications in his notebook, which he would type up at the end of every day and pass up his chain of command. “The time is now,” bin Laden said. “Arm your women and children against the infidel!” Following several hours of high-intensity bombing, the Al Qaeda leader spoke again. Fury paraphrases: “Our prayers have not been answered. Times are dire. We didn’t receive support from the apostate nations who call themselves our Muslim brothers.” Bin Laden apologized to his men for having involved them in the fight and gave them permission to surrender.
How to win in Afghanistan? Peter Bergen looks at the capability of the Taliban insurgents, NATO troops, and the Afghan army and police, compares the current conflict to the Soviet invasion, and weighs the dangers of civilian casualties and popular support. He concludes that renewed American effort in the fight will "produce a relatively stable and prosperous Central Asian state." (via Matthew Yglesias)
Kola Boof claims she was a successful actress in the Arabic-speaking world, an active member of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army and, most notably, Bin Laden's mistress. Although skeptics have been passionate in their criticism and the skeptics themselves vilified by the believers, no conclusive evidence seems to have been presented either way. So who is this woman? (Some links mildly NSFW: some female nudity.)
Max Rodenbeck reviews a new collection of Osama bin Laden's speeches and a biography by Peter Bergen. David Cole discusses the US side of the conflict, reviewing the latest book by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon: "--when it comes to fighting the decentralized threat of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, Benjamin and Simon maintain, the best defense is not a good offense, but a good defense." More on al-Qaeda: Rodenbeck, MetaFilter.