Sep. 26, 2014

What’s Behind the Name ‘Khorasan’?

U.S. officials recently began using the name “Khorasan” to describe a jihadist subgroup of al-Qaida. Airstrikes this week reportedly killed its leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli, and disrupted plots against the West. No matter where the name “Khorasan” came from, its easy to see why it could be a positive for U.S. officials to use it. For one thing, by avoiding using the name al-Qaida, the Obama administration doesn’t remind the world that after more than a decade of the “War on Terror” and having “decimated” the group, al-Qaida is still an operational force. It also allows the White House to avoid mention of strikes on Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida group that enjoys a large amount of support in Syria and opposes both the Islamic State and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Finally, there’s the simple fact that Khorasan is a new and evocative name. Frankly, it’s something for the U.S. public to latch onto. More…

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