There is something new about the jihadi terrorist violence of the past two decades. Both terrorism and jihad have existed for many years, and forms of “globalised” terror – in which highly symbolic locations or innocent civilians are targeted, with no regard for national borders – go back at least as far as the anarchist movement of the late 19th century. What is unprecedented is the way that terrorists now deliberately pursue their own deaths.Over the past 20 years – from Khaled Kelkal, a leader of a plot to bomb Paris trains in 1995, to the Bataclan killers of 2015 – nearly every terrorist in France blew themselves up or got themselves killed by the police. Mohamed Merah, who killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, uttered a variant of a famous statement attributed to Osama bin Laden and routinely used by other jihadis: “We love death as you love life.” Now, the terrorist’s death is no longer just a possibility or an unfortunate consequence of his actions; it is a central part of his plan. The same fascination with death is found among the jihadis who join Islamic State. Suicide attacks are perceived as the ultimate goal of their engagement.
Tag Archives: GWOT
We cannot deal with Islamist terrorism alone. Using security as a Brexit bargaining chip is a dangerous game
This is Theresa May in her Article 50 letter on a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU: “In security terms, a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened.” Then we had Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, talking about Britain’s contribution to Europol: “If we left, we would take our information with us.”
And this is Alex Younger, the head of MI6, in his first public speech three months ago addressing the issue of Brexit and security: “The need for the deepest cooperation can only grow. And I am determined that MI6 remains a ready and highly effective partner, just as the UK is and will be. These partnerships save lives in all our countries.”
Whose views should the people of this country, a week after the Westminster attack, believe offers greater protection against terrorism? The chief of the intelligence service? Or politicians trying to use public safety as a bargaining tool?
FROM THE START of his presidency, Donald Trump’s “war on terror” has entailed the seemingly indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people in the name of killing terrorists. In other words, Trump has escalated the 16-year-old core premise of America’s foreign policy — that it has the right to bomb any country in the world where people it regards as terrorists are found — and in doing so, has fulfilled the warped campaign pledges he repeatedly expressed.
The most recent atrocity was the killing of as many as 200 Iraqi civilians from U.S. airstrikes this week in Mosul. That was preceded a few days earlier by the killing of dozens of Syrian civilians in Raqqa province when the U.S. targeted a school where people had taken refuge, which itself was preceded a week earlier by the U.S. destruction of a mosque near Aleppo that also killed dozens. And one of Trump’s first military actions was what can only be described as a massacre carried out by Navy SEALs, in which 30 Yemenis were killed; among the children killed was an 8-year-old American girl (whose 16-year-old American brother was killed by a drone under Obama).
Iraqi forces are stalled and suffering heavy casualties in their assault on the last Isis fighters defending close-packed buildings in the Old City of Mosul. Civilian loss of life is very high as US aircraft, Iraqi helicopters and artillery, try to target Isis strongpoints in a small area in which at least 300,000 civilians are trapped and unable to reach safety.
If you want to know where President Donald Trump came from, if you want to trace the long winding road (or escalator) that brought him to the Oval Office, don’t look to reality TV or Twitter or even the rise of the alt-right. Look someplace far more improbable: Iraq.
Donald Trump may have been born in New York City. He may have grown to manhood amid his hometown’s real estate wars. He may have gone no further than Atlantic City, New Jersey, to casino-ize the world and create those magical golden letters that would become the essence of his brand. He may have made an even more magical leap to television without leaving home, turning “You’re fired!” into a household phrase. Still, his presidency is another matter entirely. It’s an immigrant. It arrived, fully radicalized, with its bouffant over-comb and eternal tan, from Iraq.
Despite his denials that he was ever in favor of the 2003 invasion of that country, Donald Trump is a president made by war. His elevation to the highest office in the land is inconceivable without that invasion, which began in glory and ended (if ended it ever did) in infamy. He’s the president of a land remade by war in ways its people have yet to absorb. Admittedly, he avoided war in his personal life entirely. He was, after all, a Vietnam no-show. And yet he’s the president that war brought home. Think of him not as President Blowhard but as President Blowback.
When the hype surrounding the Trump-Xi summit turns into a Mar-a-Lago fact on the ground next month, both presidents are bound to agree fully on at least one issue: “radical Islamic terror” – as per Trump terminology.Donald Trump has relied on a controversial Muslim “no-ban” ban that – in theory – would restrict the inflow of potential radical Islamists to US territory; his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, meeting Xinjiang lawmakers on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, has launched a “Great Wall of Iron” to protect China’s Far West.
The CIA is facing a potentially crippling loss of human intelligence from foreign militant groups because some of its best spies in the field are unwilling to work for US President Donald Trump’s administration, Middle East Eye has learned.Contracted agents, some of whom run networks of sources within al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group have either quit or threatened to quit amid frustration in the intelligence services since Trump took office last month.These operatives are known as “terrorist hunters” and are both American and other nationalities. They are mostly Muslim and some are allowed to develop their own assets and run their own big budgets.
An late warm spell warmed Washington in fall 2016. Pumpkins sat squarely on porch stoops and Halloween skeletons dangled from red-tinted trees in the yards of Georgetown, an upscale neighborhood in the US capital city. John Rizzo, the former Deputy Counsel of the CIA, is spending a peaceful retirement there. Each morning, he takes care to match his socks to his polo shirt before going for a stroll down the pretty streets lined with small brick homes.Fourteen years ago, this snowy-haired dandy was part of a small group of people who, in the secrecy of their meeting point in the CIA’s headquarters, decided to legalize a new method of interrogation. These enhanced techniques were supposed to “break the resistance” of prisoners captured in the War on Terror.The decision to use these techniques in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other secret locations would forever change the face of the United States. It would open the door to the use of multiple forms of torture that would cause prisoners physical, psychological… and sexual trauma.
A MASS SHOOTING at a Quebec City mosque last night left six people dead and eight wounded. The targeted mosque, the Cultural Islamic Center of Quebec, was the same one at which a severed pig’s head was left during Ramadan last June. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the episode a “terrorist attack on Muslims.”
Almost immediately, various news outlets and political figures depicted the shooter as Muslim. Right-wing nationalist tabloids in the U.K. instantly linked it to Islamic violence. Fox News claimed that “witnesses said at least one gunman shouted ‘Allahu akbar!’” and then added this about the shooter’s national origin:
The U.S. State Department confirmed on January 5 that the man the U.S. government once claimed was the target of the drone strike that killed American teenager Abdulrahman Awlaki in 2011 in Yemen is alive. The department announced that it has designated Ibrahim al Banna “a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.” The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to al Banna’s killing or capture.
Al Banna’s name was floated by anonymous U.S. officials as the target of the October 14, 2011, drone strike that killed Awlaki, a 16-year-old U.S. citizen born in Colorado. Awlaki’s family insists he was having dinner with his teenage cousin and some others in Shebwah, Yemen, when they were killed in the strike. The Obama administration has never explained why Awlaki was killed, other than anonymous officials implying he was with a terror target at the time or that it was a lethal mistake. Awlaki’s estranged father, Anwar al Awlaki, was a radical pro-al Qaeda imam whose sermons influenced and inspired many terrorists in the English speaking world. The elder Awlaki, who was also a U.S. citizen, was an enigmatic figure who supported George W. Bush’s 2000 election campaign, spoke at the Pentagon shortly after 9-11, and went on to become an important propaganda figure for the growing radical Islamist movement after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He was killed in a U.S. drone strike two weeks before his son was killed.