Sunday, May 29, 2005

Review May Shift Terror Policies

Review May Shift Terror Policies: "Review May Shift Terror Policies
U.S. Is Expected to Look Beyond Al Qaeda

By Susan B. Glasser
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 29, 2005; A01

The Bush administration has launched a high-level internal review of its efforts to battle international terrorism, aimed at moving away from a policy that has stressed efforts to capture and kill al Qaeda leaders since Sept. 11, 2001, and toward what a senior official called a broader 'strategy against violent extremism.'

The shift is meant to recognize the transformation of al Qaeda over the past three years into a far more amorphous, diffuse and difficult-to-target organization than the group that struck the United States in 2001. But critics say the policy review comes only after months of delay and lost opportunities while the administration left key counterterrorism jobs unfilled and argued internally over how best to confront the rapid spread of the pro-al Qaeda global Islamic jihad.

President Bush's top adviser on terrorism, Frances Fragos Townsend, said in an interview that the review is needed to take into account the 'ripple effect' from years of operations targeting al Qaeda leaders such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, arrested for planning the Sept. 11 attacks, and his recently detained deputy. 'Naturally, the enemy has adapted,' she said. 'As you capture a Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an Abu Faraj al-Libbi raises up. Nature abhors a vacuum.'

The review marks the first ambitious effort since the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks to take stock of what the administration has called the 'global war on terrorism' -- or GWOT -- but is now considering changing to recognize the evolution of its fight. 'What we really want now is a strategic approach to defeat violent extremism,' said a senior administration official who described the review on the condition of anonymity because it is not finished. 'GWOT is catchy, but there may be a better way to describe it, and those are things that ought to be incumbent on us to look at.'"