ISIS and al-Qaeda: Assessing Terrorist Threats to the Homeland and Beyond

A discussion with:
Bruce Hoffman
Director, Security Studies Program
Georgetown University

Bruce Riedel
Director, The Intelligence Project; Senior Fellow
Brookings Institution

Welcome by:
Barry Pavel
Vice President and Director, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
Atlantic Council

Moderated by:
Bilal Y. Saab
Senior Fellow for Middle East Security, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
tlantic Council

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The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (also known as ISIS) as a violent extremist group with global aspirations has raised concerns over a potential terrorist attack on US soil. As ISIS pursues its objective of establishing a state in various parts of the Middle East, it continues to recruit foreign fighters from North Africa and Europe in order to plan for attacks against the West. Recently, Belgian and Australian authorities uncovered ISIS-inspired cells on their territories and succeeded in foiling terrorist plots. So could the US homeland be an ISIS target?

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda – the terrorist organization that actually attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 – is still alive and operational in Yemen and other poorly governed spaces in the region, and continues to pose a threat to the US homeland and regional interests. How should we assess the global terrorist threats posed by ISIS and al-Qaeda? Should al-Qaeda continue to be a counterterrorism priority for the United States? Are al-Qaeda and ISIS equally dangerous, but in different ways? 

Please join the Atlantic Council on Thursday, April 2, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a discussion of the potential differences between ISIS and al-Qaeda and how the US government should be analyzing and countering both groups simultaneously.  

Light lunch will be served.