U.S. strategy focuses on al-Qaida, homegrown terrorists

Posted on June 30, 2011

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2011-06-30 05:34:08
WASHINGTON, June 29 (Xinhua) — The White House on Wednesday released a National Strategy for Counterterrorism, focusing the effort on defeating al-Qaida and protecting the U.S. homeland.

In a speech launching the strategy, John O. Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said the strategy “formalizes the approach that we’ve been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to ensure al-Qaida’s demise.”

The strategy recognizes that while there are nations and groups that support terrorism to oppose U.S. interests, including Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, the principal focus is “the network that poses the most direct and significant threat to the United States — al-Qaida, its affiliates and its adherents.”

Brennan said the strategy is also focused on homegrown terrorism, the ability of al-Qaida and its network to “inspire people in the United States to attack us from within.”

“This is the first counterterrorism strategy that designates the homeland as a primary area of emphasis in our counterterrorism efforts,” Brennan said at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C..

He said the United States is pursuing “specific and focused counterterrorism objectives,” including protecting homeland by reducing vulnerabilities and adapting and updating defenses, taking the fight to wherever al-Qaida manifests itself, degrading the ability of al-Qaida’s senior leadership, denying al-Qaida safe haven, confronting al-Qaida’s ideology, depriving al-Qaida of its enabling means such as financing, logistical support, and online communications.

He said the U.S. side is also “working to prevent al-Qaida from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction.”

Brennan said the approach to counterterrorism is pragmatic, not ideological. “It’s based on what works. It builds upon policies and practices that have been instituted and refined over the past decade.”

Brennan also stressed the counterterrorism strategy is “one part of President Obama’s larger National Security Strategy.”

“Our counterterrorism policies do not define our entire foreign policy; rather, they are a vital part of — and are designed to reinforce — our broader national security interests.”

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