This is the smallest, big event in the War on Terror you didn’t hear about | Opinion

February 14, 2020 6:30 am

By John Weaver

The past few weeks have been replete with breaking news at the national level.  First, President Trump was acquitted in a Senate trial.

The coronavirus continues to spread in Asia. Full vote counts for the Iowa Caucuses took days to arrive after an app contributed to the meltdown of the process. U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was interviewed about his concerns about Russia and what it will likely do to influence American politics in the run-up to November’s general election.

And as we get ready to close out the second week of February, our nation has learned about another seminal event.  News surfaced last week about the killing of Qassim al-Rimi.

So who was al-Rimi and why is this important?

To begin, he was the leader of a major terror organization. More specifically, he sat at the helm of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP has been instrumental in wreaking havoc in Yemen and has operated within the borders of Saudi Arabia, a nation that the United States has stated is an ally in the region.

Yemen has been beleaguered by a security breakdown stemming from its civil war for the last several years.  What one often sees in such environments is an opportunity for those engaged in nefarious actions to seek refuge in these locales.

More specifically, terror organizations like AQAP take advantage of instability, lack of security, and tumultuous circumstances to plan and execute operations.

Moreover, it was al-Rimi and his terror organization that was responsible for last year’s attack on Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Subsequently, al-Rimi released a video claiming ownership of the event. The incident involved a Saudi Arabian aviation student who acquired a weapon and killed three U.S. service members and wounded eight others in early December of 2019.

What’s more is that this attack unfolded on U.S. soil. This was seen as an insider attack and is a major concern for the U.S. military in particular. It was also seen as a major victory by those who promote terror.

Though not fully known at this time, the U.S. claimed that the killing of al-Rimi was a counterterrorism operation.

That stated, it should be noted that the United States still remains intrepid in its pursuit of those who wish to do us harm.  Those who want to hurt our nations should pause and consider the long arm and reach of our national security wing. The United States has a wide accoutrement of stalwart professionals who work to keep us safe, and for this, we should all be grateful.

Remember, it all began with al Qaeda on that fateful morning in September almost two decades ago. Last week’s operation underscores that al Qaeda (and its branches) still poses a threat and that the national security apparatus of the United States is still engaged in this war on terror, likely for years to come.

Amidst the flurry of news surrounding impeachment, coronavirus and the election, the American people mustn’t overlook this important military action, lest we forget that our nation remains at war.

Whomever America elects president and commander in chief in November, that leader must be prepared to take up the war on terror for the duration of their term in office.

John Weaver is an associate professor of intelligence analysis at York College of Pennsylvania in York , Pa. His work appears occasionally on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. 

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