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Tag Archives: GWOT

Though Isis leader al-Baghdadi is alive, this poor strategist may not be a huge threat

The reappearance of the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has the same shock effect as that of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of 9/11. It has all the greater impact because of claims that, with the elimination of the last territory held by Isis in March this year, that group was close to being out of business as a serious threat.

The slaughter of some 250 civilians in Sri Lanka had already showed that Isis retains its ability to take control of the international news agenda with suicide bombing attacks directed at civilians. “As for our brothers in Sri Lanka, I was overjoyed when I heard about the suicide attack, which overthrew the cradles of the Crusaders, and avenged them for our brethren in Baghouz,” al-Baghdadi said.

Just before the bombings in and around Colombo, the leader of the Isis cell had pledged allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/isis-leader-video-name-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-syria-iraq-a8892081.html

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Middle East

 

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From Christchurch to Colombo, Islamists and the far right are playing a deadly duet

How should we make sense of the Easter Sunday church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people and wounded 500? Now that Islamic State appears to have claimed responsibility for the attacks, the question arises: is this merely the latest symptom of an epidemic of Islamist violence, motivated by a belief in offensive jihad (“holy war”)?

The answer is complex and not necessarily in line with public perceptions. Islamist terrorism has been decreasing globally, and particularly in the west, since its peak in 2014-15 when Isis established its caliphate. In recent years, however, far-right supremacist terrorism has risen sharply, to more than one-third of terror attacks globally, even accounting for every extremist killing in the US in 2018. Yet it was more likely to be overlooked or tolerated by western polities, because of cultural history, familiarity and legal protections extended to domestic groups (such as US constitutional safeguards for freedom of speech and the right to bear arms). Thus, attacks by Muslims between 2006 and 2015 received 4.6 times more coverage in US media than other terrorist attacks (controlling for target type, fatalities, arrests).

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/25/christchurch-colombo-islamists-far-right-sri-lanka

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Asia

 

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Sri Lanka Attack Signals ISIS’ Widening Reach

A bearded man wearing a heavy backpack and sandals walks deliberately across the courtyard of St. Sebastian’s Church in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Moments later, he slips past the pews where women are sitting with their hair covered in veils of white lace, then detonates a bomb.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Asia

 

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Sri Lanka Attacks: Hometown of Accused Mastermind Was Fertile Ground for Extremism

When the Wahhabis came, with their austere ideology and abundant coffers, the town of Kattankudy yielded fertile ground.

In this part of Sri Lanka, faith was often the sole sustaining force during the civil war that raged for nearly three decades. Wahhabism — a hard-line strain of Islam blamed for breeding militancyproposed a direct path to God, albeit one that aimed to return the religion to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Asia

 

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Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy in Australia

The worst terror attack in New Zealand’s modern history took place on Friday, and the alleged perpetrator is an Australian.

Appropriately, this calamity has started a process of deep reflection in the man’s home country. Everywhere, decent Australians are asking, how did we get here? Do we own him?

There has been extensive, international discussion about the role of the online subculture of the far right in these events – the codes, memes and signals of internet-mediated white supremacy.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/17/australians-are-asking-how-did-we-get-here-well-islamophobia-is-practically-enshrined-as-public-policy

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2019 in Oceania

 

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Isis caliphate defeated: How the Islamic State’s brutal project was finally overthrown, and what might come next

Up to its dying days the self-declared Islamic State has retained the ability to top the news agenda, even as its fighters were losing their last battle for bomb-shattered villages in the deserts of eastern Syria. When their spokesman promised retaliation for the massacre of Muslims in the Christchurch mosques his threat was taken seriously.

Given the record of Isis atrocities it is not surprising that nobody can discount its ability to exact revenge through existing adherents, new converts or those using its name to spread terror. This is not just western paranoia: in Syria and Iraq people speak continually of Isis sleeper cells waiting to emerge and exact revenge.

There is a largely sterile debate about whether or not Isis – whose territory once stretched from the outskirts of Baghdad to the hills overlooking the Mediterranean – is dead and buried, as Donald Trump claims. Could it be reborn if the pressure against it is relaxed? The answer is simple enough: Isis is defeated as a state apparatus that once ruled eight million people, but it can persist as a terrorist and guerrilla organisation.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-defeat-caliphate-isamic-state-territory-syria-iraq-victory-terror-a8781626.html

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2019 in Middle East

 

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What does Christchurch attack tell us about rightwing extremism?

The terrorist attack in New Zealand has focused attention once more on the acute threat posed by rightwing extremists.

Waves of terrorism follow a pattern: a long, unnoticed buildup followed by a massive and spectacular strike that often inflicts significant damage and casualties but focuses minds and eventually resources.

Counterterrorism agencies, driven by public outrage and concerned officials, struggle for a time to gain the upper hand until, with better funding and understanding, they begin to win the battle to keep us safe. The cycle can take many years, even decades.

Rightwing terrorism was building through the 2000s. The spectacular event came when the Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. Since then there has been a steady drumbeat of violence: the killing of 11 Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh, the murder of the British MP Jo Cox, attacks on mosques in London and Quebec, and, barely reported, many more incidents motivated by hatred.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/15/what-does-christchurch-attack-tell-us-about-rightwing-extremism

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in Oceania

 

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White Nationalism Is an International Threat

On Friday, a gunman stormed a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, showering worshippers with gunfire, and live streaming the country’s deadliest mass killing since 1943. “I was able to hear the big sound of the shooting,” one survivor, Mohan Ibrahim, told the Canadian broadcaster CBC. Ibrahim fled through the back entrance, with people dropping around him. “Many, many bullets, I’ve never seen anything like that. Later on, we saw the video … he was reloading so many guns.” 

Brenton Tarrant, a twenty-eight-year-old Australian national, reportedly claimed responsibility for the slaughter. Police arrested the suspect and three others believed to be linked to the massacre, which by its conclusion had claimed 49 victims.  

https://newrepublic.com/article/153329/white-nationalism-international-threat

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2019 in Oceania

 

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On October 16 2011 when Kenya’s armed forces invaded southern Somalia in the middle of a severe famine hoping to eventually capture the port city of Kismayo and cut off what at that time was thought of as the most vital lifeline for the group, Fatma was a 15year old whose main concern was whether the henna she had applied the previous night would hold on to her fingernails for long. She had no idea that within three years, she would be in Somalia training new recruits, going toe-to-toe with people who had committed to protecting the family she had left behind.Fatma

Fatma’s hands are not soft. Her body is not wrapped in layers of baby fat. Her face is kind and her smile bewitching. Her voice sounds like it is suspended in age, stuck somewhere between a tenor and a soprano. Too deep to be a woman’s, but not deep enough to be a man’s.

Her oval eyes are clear. Sometimes she sees you, sometimes she doesn’t. Most of the time, she sees the faces of the five men she shot dead. Her ears are hidden deep behind her head scarf. Sometimes she hears you, sometimes she doesn’t. Most of the time she hears screams from the dozens of men and women she saw beheaded for something as trivial as a refusal to sleep with yet another man.

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/special-report/the-unseen-war/

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2019 in Africa

 

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The ISIS Files

Weeks after the militants seized the city, as fighters roamed the streets and religious extremists rewrote the laws, an order rang out from the loudspeakers of local mosques.

Public servants, the speakers blared, were to report to their former offices.

To make sure every government worker got the message, the militants followed up with phone calls to supervisors. When one tried to beg off, citing a back injury, he was told: “If you don’t show up, we’ll come and break your back ourselves.”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2018 in Middle East

 

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