Katherine Zimmerman is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute(AEI) and an adviser to AEI’s Critical Threats Project. Her work is focused on terror groups, including the Salafi-jihadi movement and the global al Qaeda network, as well as related trends in the Middle East and Africa. She also specializes in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen, al Shabaab in Somalia, and al Qaeda in the Sahel.
Ms. Zimmerman has testified before Congress about the threats to U.S. national security interests emanating from al Qaeda and its network. She has also briefed members of Congress, their staff, and U.S. military, diplomatic, and intelligence community personnel. Her analyses of terror groups and the countermeasures that need to be taken against them have been widely published, including in CNN.com, Foreign Affairs, FoxNews.com, The Hill, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. She is a term member with the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the RESOLVE Network Research Advisory Council, whose mission is to deliver high-quality research and insight on violent extremism.
She graduated with distinction from Yale University with a BA in political science and modern Middle East studies.
US should help Yemen fight Houthis
US must respond to threat from Iran-backed Houthis
Last month, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force told the head of Hamas’ military wing that Iran will do “whatever it takes” to support them in its war with Israel. Meanwhile, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen intensified attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, prompting U.S. warships to shoot…
US, Israeli counterterrorism policy must adjust after Hamas attack
Revered Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies failed to detect the signs of an imminent Hamas attack on Israeli villages near the Gaza Strip. The surprise attack was planned within Hamas’s military wing and highlights both Israel’s intelligence blind spots as well as Hamas’s use of “old-school techniques” like in-person communication. Straight Arrow News contributor Katherine…
US must sustain pressure against al-Qaeda
The United States and its allies have severely reduced the capacity for al-Qaeda, the terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks, to organize or carry out any large-scale terrorist attacks against the U.S. homeland. Recent U.S. intelligence assessments suggest al-Qaeda is weaker than ever in Afghanistan, while experts and international observers continue to warn that al-Qaeda is…
African coups demand US policy changes
A string of recent military coups toppling governments in the African Sahel, from Guinea to Sudan, poses new risks and challenges to the United States. France, formerly a key ally in African security affairs, has also massively reduced its forces on the continent, at times being chased out by pro-Moscow forces. Straight Arrow News contributor…
The impact of al-Qaeda’s missing public leadership
On July 31, 2022, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed during a U.S.-led airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda has yet to acknowledge Zawahiri’s death nor has it publicly declared a new leader to take his place. Straight Arrow News contributor Katherine Zimmerman analyzes recent shifts in leadership within al-Qaeda and explains the significance of not…
Divesting from counterterrorism would be costly mistake for US
While the threat of a terrorist attack against America and its interests abroad has decreased in recent years, the war on terror is far from over. Leaked U.S. intelligence indicates ISIS is using Afghanistan as its base of operations to plot attacks in Asia, Europe, and possibly even the United States. This comes as the…
Did the US government abandon its private citizens in Sudan?
The fighting in Sudan between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. The East African country is facing a humanitarian crisis and is on the brink of a civil war. With the increasing violence, the U.S. shuttered its embassy indefinitely and evacuated staff…
Prospect of Yemen peace encouraging but problems persist
According to the United Nations, more than 200,000 people have died during Yemen’s civil war and the country is suffering from an epic humanitarian crisis. But after eight years of the war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-backed Yemeni government, a potential truce is being hammered out. On April 9, a delegation from Saudi…
US must rethink its strategy to defeat terrorist safe havens
Last month U.S. special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State leader, Bilal al-Sudani, in a remote area of northern Somalia. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said al-Sudani “was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan.” Areas of Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Africa’s…
Don’t underestimate al-Qaida or ISIS in coming year
According to The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project (CTP), “ISIS and al-Qaeda are more than terrorist groups; they are insurgencies” who want to overthrow existing governments and spread their ideology to all of humanity. Al-Qaida is still determined to be the leader of the global…
Iran drones’ impact extends far beyond Ukraine War
Russia is using Iranian-manufactured drones to bombard Ukraine’s capital city. Moscow has turned to one of its few remaining allies because its own weapons manufacturing is a shadow of what it once was. While they are not considered top-of-the-line military gear, the drones are relatively inexpensive and not hard to build. Straight Arrow News contributor…
We must do more than over-the-horizon to fight terrorism
The White House says over-the-horizon counterterrorism is the future in America’s war on terror. President Biden singled out the assassination of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri by drone strike last July in Afghanistan as proof that the new strategy works. But with terrorism still a top concern stateside, is waging this war from a distance the best…
Biden must honor pledge to help US allies in Afghanistan
The killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan marked a major win for the U.S. But as we approach the first anniversary of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, nearly 70,000 our our Afghan allies remain trapped. President Biden’s pledge to help U.S. allies in Afghanistan has gone unfulfilled. Straight Arrow News contributor Katherine Zimmerman…
Despite Ukraine, we must not forget other atrocities
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues with the torture and killing of civilians. While the U.S. looks to hold Putin accountable for what President Biden called a “genocide,” other atrocities across the world persist. Straight Arrow News contributor Katherine Zimmerman reminds us not to forget the victims — and their perpetrators: The Chinese government is engaged…
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