Thursday, June 30, 2011

US Presidential Adviser Announces New Counterterrorism Strategy

Washington - President Obama's new National Strategy for Counterterrorism formalizes the approach his administration has been pursuing and adapting for the past two and a half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to ensure al-Qaida's demise, Obama's chief homeland security and counterterrorism adviser says.

"This counterterrorism strategy is only one part of President Obama's larger National Security Strategy," presidential adviser John Brennan said in prepared remarks June 29 in Washington. "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."

Those interests include U.S. security, prosperity, respect for universal values and global cooperation to meet shared challenges, according to a White House fact sheet.

Brennan said the president's broader foreign policy and national security initiatives help to achieve counterterrorism goals by addressing the conditions that can sometimes lead individuals to join terrorist groups.

"Peaceful political, economic and social progress undermines the claim that the only way to achieve change is through violence. It can be a powerful antidote to the disillusionment and sense of powerlessness that can make some individuals more susceptible to violent ideologies," he said.

The principal focus of U.S. counterterrorism efforts is "the network that poses the most direct and significant threat to the United States, and that is al-Qaida, its affiliates and its adherents," Brennan added.

Brennan called the May 2 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special operations forces the "biggest blow against al-Qaida yet" and said that though the group is in its decline, the struggle is not over.

The United States, he said, is strengthening intelligence, military capabilities, homeland security, aviation security and a full range of law enforcement tools. Brennan added that as "no one nation alone can bring about al-Qaida's demise," the United States has partnered in the struggle with multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and NATO, as well as regional organizations, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the African Union (AU). He said the United States has also increased efforts to build the capacity of partners "so they can take the fight to al-Qaida in their own countries."

Brennan said that in all actions, the United States would uphold its core values, such as respect for human rights and opportunity, dignity and justice for all people.

"Guided by the strategy we're releasing today, we will never waver in our efforts to protect the American people," Brennan said. "We will continue to use every tool at our disposal, and apply them wisely. We will continue to forge strong partnerships around the world and build a culture of resilience here at home. And as Americans, we will continue to uphold the ideals and core values that inspire the world, define us as people and help keep us safe."

(published by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State)