Showing posts tagged as "terrorism"

Showing posts tagged terrorism

8 Oct
Countering terrorism must go beyond international law enforcement | COMFORT ERO
The UN Security Council’s resolution on combating foreign terrorist fighters devotes just 31 of its 330 lines to addressing the roots of the problem. The rest is law enforcement. But a narrowly military and police focus alone cannot work. We also must face up to the difficult work of balancing international and regional diplomatic rivalries, thereby reducing the conflicts and tensions that lead to radicalization. Terrorism is usually a symptom of social breakdown rather than its cause, and states that have taken a narrowly military rather than more comprehensive approach often have little to show for it.
In Nigeria, for instance, the government has never addressed the governance, underdevelopment and rampant corruption driving radicalization, choosing instead to “do something” through military surges that drive more people into the hands of jihadi extremists. Yet, just as the expensively built new Iraqi army was pushed out of Mosul by a few thousand fighters, Nigeria’s military is now threatened in Borno state.
FULL ARTICLE (Today’s Zaman)
Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price/flickr

Countering terrorism must go beyond international law enforcement | COMFORT ERO

The UN Security Council’s resolution on combating foreign terrorist fighters devotes just 31 of its 330 lines to addressing the roots of the problem. The rest is law enforcement. But a narrowly military and police focus alone cannot work. We also must face up to the difficult work of balancing international and regional diplomatic rivalries, thereby reducing the conflicts and tensions that lead to radicalization. Terrorism is usually a symptom of social breakdown rather than its cause, and states that have taken a narrowly military rather than more comprehensive approach often have little to show for it.

In Nigeria, for instance, the government has never addressed the governance, underdevelopment and rampant corruption driving radicalization, choosing instead to “do something” through military surges that drive more people into the hands of jihadi extremists. Yet, just as the expensively built new Iraqi army was pushed out of Mosul by a few thousand fighters, Nigeria’s military is now threatened in Borno state.

FULL ARTICLE (Today’s Zaman)

Photo: UN Photo/Stuart Price/flickr

30 Sep
Turkey shifts tone on Islamic State. Will it join US-led coalition? (+video) | Dominique Soguel
ISTANBUL, TURKEY — When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned home from the United Nations last week, he said Turkey was ready to play a more active role in the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition that has drawn new members both from across the West as well as the Arab world.
Just how active may become clearer Thursday when the Turkish parliament meets to take the “necessary steps” cited by President Erdogan, who was lobbied intensively by US leaders while in New York.
The Turkish lawmakers are expected to decide whether to expand the scope of two existing mandates authorizing the government to take military action in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadist Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, has sought to create the seed of an Islamic caliphate.
Turkey shares a 206-mile-long border with Iraq and a 544-mile-long border with Syria, where IS thrived unchecked for months. Already a temporary home for more than a million refugees fleeing the 3-1/2-year civil war in Syria, Turkey has just opened its borders to a fresh wave of more than 200,000 mostly Kurdish refugees fleeing the latest IS offensive in Syria.
FULL ARTICLE (The Christian Science Monitor)
Photo: UN/Eskinder Debebe/flickr

Turkey shifts tone on Islamic State. Will it join US-led coalition? (+video) | Dominique Soguel

ISTANBUL, TURKEY — When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned home from the United Nations last week, he said Turkey was ready to play a more active role in the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition that has drawn new members both from across the West as well as the Arab world.

Just how active may become clearer Thursday when the Turkish parliament meets to take the “necessary steps” cited by President Erdogan, who was lobbied intensively by US leaders while in New York.

The Turkish lawmakers are expected to decide whether to expand the scope of two existing mandates authorizing the government to take military action in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadist Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, has sought to create the seed of an Islamic caliphate.

Turkey shares a 206-mile-long border with Iraq and a 544-mile-long border with Syria, where IS thrived unchecked for months. Already a temporary home for more than a million refugees fleeing the 3-1/2-year civil war in Syria, Turkey has just opened its borders to a fresh wave of more than 200,000 mostly Kurdish refugees fleeing the latest IS offensive in Syria.

FULL ARTICLE (The Christian Science Monitor)

Photo: UN/Eskinder Debebe/flickr

The Evolving Risks of Fragile States and International Terrorism | Brookings
Even as today’s headlines focus on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) and violent extremism in the Middle East, terrorist activities by Boko Haram in Nigeria, al Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and competing militias in Libya show the danger of allowing violent extremism to flourish in fragile states. Continued threats emerging from ungoverned spaces underline the need to address the relationship between weak states and international terrorism – a need that has grown significantly in the past three years. Of particular urgency is the need to focus on comprehensive responses including the most effective preventive measures to address extremism and instability before they lead to international terrorism.
On September 29, the Project on International Order and Strategy (IOS) hosted the first public remarks in Washington by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the new president of the International Crisis Group and former undersecretary-general of the United Nations for peacekeeping. Guéhenno discussed the conditions in fragile states that provide fertile ground for conflict and for risks of international terrorism.
A discussion followed with World Bank Special Adviser Sarah Cliffe, a former assistant secretary-general of the U.N. and an expert on fragile states and conflict zones. Bruce Jones, deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings and director of the IOS project, moderated.
FULL DISCUSSION (Brookings)
Photo by International Crisis Group

The Evolving Risks of Fragile States and International Terrorism | Brookings

Even as today’s headlines focus on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) and violent extremism in the Middle East, terrorist activities by Boko Haram in Nigeria, al Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and competing militias in Libya show the danger of allowing violent extremism to flourish in fragile states. Continued threats emerging from ungoverned spaces underline the need to address the relationship between weak states and international terrorism – a need that has grown significantly in the past three years. Of particular urgency is the need to focus on comprehensive responses including the most effective preventive measures to address extremism and instability before they lead to international terrorism.

On September 29, the Project on International Order and Strategy (IOS) hosted the first public remarks in Washington by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the new president of the International Crisis Group and former undersecretary-general of the United Nations for peacekeeping. Guéhenno discussed the conditions in fragile states that provide fertile ground for conflict and for risks of international terrorism.

A discussion followed with World Bank Special Adviser Sarah Cliffe, a former assistant secretary-general of the U.N. and an expert on fragile states and conflict zones. Bruce Jones, deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings and director of the IOS project, moderated.

FULL DISCUSSION (Brookings)

Photo by International Crisis Group

26 Sep
"One year after the Westgate Mall terrorist attack in Nairobi, Al-Shabaab is more entrenched and a graver threat to Kenya. But the deeper danger is less in the long established terrorist cells that perpetrated the act – horrific as it was – and more in managing and healing the rising communal tensions and historic divides that Al-Shabaab violence has deliberately agitated, most recently in Lamu county."

—From Crisis Group’s latest Africa Briefing Kenya: Al-Shabaab - Closer to Home

25 Sep
Why Turkey is reluctant to join U.S-led coalition against ISIS | Mark Gollom
The launch of airstrikes in Syria by a U.S.-led coalition as part of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has placed Turkey in a delicate position of needing to thwart the militant group’s growing threat while not wanting to raise its ire and face retribution.
"It`s obviously very careful on how it handles ISIS," said Didem Ackyel Collinsworth, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Turkey. "In terms of signing on to the coalition and taking part in airstrikes and so on, [it] would be very cautious about that."
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was considering expanding support for Western and Arab operations against the Islamic State group to include everything, “both military and political.”
The remarks signalled a possible shift by Erdogan, who has so far not committed to a U.S.-led coalition to take on the militants.
FULL ARTICLE (CBC News)
Photo: Eboni Everson-Myart, U.S. Army/DOD/flickr

Why Turkey is reluctant to join U.S-led coalition against ISIS | Mark Gollom

The launch of airstrikes in Syria by a U.S.-led coalition as part of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has placed Turkey in a delicate position of needing to thwart the militant group’s growing threat while not wanting to raise its ire and face retribution.

"It`s obviously very careful on how it handles ISIS," said Didem Ackyel Collinsworth, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Turkey. "In terms of signing on to the coalition and taking part in airstrikes and so on, [it] would be very cautious about that."

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was considering expanding support for Western and Arab operations against the Islamic State group to include everything, “both military and political.”

The remarks signalled a possible shift by Erdogan, who has so far not committed to a U.S.-led coalition to take on the militants.

FULL ARTICLE (CBC News)

Photo: Eboni Everson-Myart, U.S. Army/DOD/flickr

Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home
Nairobi/Brussels  |   25 Sep 2014
One year after the Westgate attack, Al-Shabaab has become more entrenched and active in Kenya. Meanwhile, the country’s immediate post-Westgate unity has broken down in the face of increasing attacks, and the political elites, security services, and ethnic and faith communities are beset by mutual suspicion and recriminations.
In its latest briefing, Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home, the International Crisis Group highlights Al-Shabaab’s growing presence and increasingly frequent attacks and the muddled response of Kenya’s government, security services and political elite. Anti-terrorism operations perceived to target entire communities have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation and persecution, particularly of the Muslim minority, and are feeding directly into Al-Shabaab’s messaging and recruitment.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
The wider danger of Al-Shabaab’s tactics in Kenya lies in its ability to use existing religious and ethnic fault lines to deepen the country’s political and social divides.
Kenyan political elites need to acknowledge the domestic terror threat and form a common action-plan together with the country’s senior Muslim leadership to counter extremist recruitment.
The government should put into practice the recommendations of the 2008 Special Action (“Sharawe”) Committee set up to address the concerns of the Muslim minority: these include measures to end institutional discrimination against Muslims and their more proportional representation in senior public service appointments.
The government and its security services need to identify and isolate the specific Al-Shabaab threat and not conflate the actions of extremists with specific communities – especially in the north east and the coast – whose past and present grievances make them suspect in the eyes of the state. It must reappraise its anti-terrorism practices and operations, which are perceived as collective punishment of Muslims and particular ethnic groups. It should also allow for transparent investiga-tions and redress where operations have exceeded the law or breached constitutional rights.
“Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims have been historically marginalised, especially in the north east and along the coast”, says Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director. “If the government wants to cut grassroots support for Al-Shabaab, it has to address the widespread institutional and socio-economic discrimination felt by Kenyan Muslims”.
“The blame for growing radicalisation in Kenya lies less in the weaknesses of the country’s institutions than in the unwillingness of political leaders to put aside partisan divisions”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Deputy Africa Program Director. “Their playing politics with terrorism compounds an already volatile situation”.
FULL BRIEFING

Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home

Nairobi/Brussels  |   25 Sep 2014

One year after the Westgate attack, Al-Shabaab has become more entrenched and active in Kenya. Meanwhile, the country’s immediate post-Westgate unity has broken down in the face of increasing attacks, and the political elites, security services, and ethnic and faith communities are beset by mutual suspicion and recriminations.

In its latest briefing, Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home, the International Crisis Group highlights Al-Shabaab’s growing presence and increasingly frequent attacks and the muddled response of Kenya’s government, security services and political elite. Anti-terrorism operations perceived to target entire communities have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation and persecution, particularly of the Muslim minority, and are feeding directly into Al-Shabaab’s messaging and recruitment.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The wider danger of Al-Shabaab’s tactics in Kenya lies in its ability to use existing religious and ethnic fault lines to deepen the country’s political and social divides.
  • Kenyan political elites need to acknowledge the domestic terror threat and form a common action-plan together with the country’s senior Muslim leadership to counter extremist recruitment.
  • The government should put into practice the recommendations of the 2008 Special Action (“Sharawe”) Committee set up to address the concerns of the Muslim minority: these include measures to end institutional discrimination against Muslims and their more proportional representation in senior public service appointments.
  • The government and its security services need to identify and isolate the specific Al-Shabaab threat and not conflate the actions of extremists with specific communities – especially in the north east and the coast – whose past and present grievances make them suspect in the eyes of the state. It must reappraise its anti-terrorism practices and operations, which are perceived as collective punishment of Muslims and particular ethnic groups. It should also allow for transparent investiga-tions and redress where operations have exceeded the law or breached constitutional rights.

“Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims have been historically marginalised, especially in the north east and along the coast”, says Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director. “If the government wants to cut grassroots support for Al-Shabaab, it has to address the widespread institutional and socio-economic discrimination felt by Kenyan Muslims”.

“The blame for growing radicalisation in Kenya lies less in the weaknesses of the country’s institutions than in the unwillingness of political leaders to put aside partisan divisions”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Deputy Africa Program Director. “Their playing politics with terrorism compounds an already volatile situation”.

FULL BRIEFING

(Source: )

12 Sep
U.S. Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels With Loyalties All Over the Map | BEN HUBBARD, ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI
BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Obama’s determination to train Syrian rebels to serve as ground troops against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leaves the United States dependent on a diverse group riven by infighting, with no shared leadership and with hard-line Islamists as its most effective fighters.
After more than three years of civil war, there are hundreds of militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad — and one another. Among them, even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
“You are not going to find this neat, clean, secular rebel group that respects human rights and that is waiting and ready because they don’t exist,” said Aron Lund, a Syria analyst who edits the Syria in Crisis blog for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It is a very dirty war and you have to deal with what is on offer.”
FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)
Photo: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Liesl Marelli/The National Guard/flickr

U.S. Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels With Loyalties All Over the Map | BEN HUBBARD, ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI

BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Obama’s determination to train Syrian rebels to serve as ground troops against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leaves the United States dependent on a diverse group riven by infighting, with no shared leadership and with hard-line Islamists as its most effective fighters.

After more than three years of civil war, there are hundreds of militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad — and one another. Among them, even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

“You are not going to find this neat, clean, secular rebel group that respects human rights and that is waiting and ready because they don’t exist,” said Aron Lund, a Syria analyst who edits the Syria in Crisis blog for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It is a very dirty war and you have to deal with what is on offer.”

FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)

Photo: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Liesl Marelli/The National Guard/flickr

11 Sep
Obama promises a long and limited war on Islamic State | Tony Karon
President Barack Obama used the broadest of brushstrokes on Wednesday night to describe his “comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State insurgency, providing few details and skirting discussion of key dilemmas facing any such plan.
The United States will lead a “broad coalition,” Obama said, but its war plan “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.” Instead, the campaign would rely on U.S. air power and support for “partner forces on the ground” to put the Islamic State (IS) to flight. The U.S. would supply intelligence, weapons and logistics and training. But it would be up to those forces to drive out the IS.
It was telling that the example he cited as the model for confronting the IS was the approach “we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” That comparison underscores the message that “ultimately” is the operative word in Obama’s promise to “ultimately destroy” the IS. In both Yemen and Somalia, America’s enemy remains very much intact and active, and the U.S. approach has thus far succeeded in managing and containing the threat, but not in destroying it.
FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera America)
Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via NASA HQ Photo/flickr

Obama promises a long and limited war on Islamic State | Tony Karon

President Barack Obama used the broadest of brushstrokes on Wednesday night to describe his “comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State insurgency, providing few details and skirting discussion of key dilemmas facing any such plan.

The United States will lead a “broad coalition,” Obama said, but its war plan “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.” Instead, the campaign would rely on U.S. air power and support for “partner forces on the ground” to put the Islamic State (IS) to flight. The U.S. would supply intelligence, weapons and logistics and training. But it would be up to those forces to drive out the IS.

It was telling that the example he cited as the model for confronting the IS was the approach “we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” That comparison underscores the message that “ultimately” is the operative word in Obama’s promise to “ultimately destroy” the IS. In both Yemen and Somalia, America’s enemy remains very much intact and active, and the U.S. approach has thus far succeeded in managing and containing the threat, but not in destroying it.

FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera America)

Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via NASA HQ Photo/flickr

28 Aug
EXPERT VIEWS: Is Islamic State a flash in the pan? | Alex Whiting
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Is Islamic State a flash in the pan, or is it here for the long term? What impact is its expansion in Iraq having on the war in Syria, and the region as a whole?
Thomson Reuters Foundation asked three experts for their views: Nigel Inkster is director of transnational threats and political risk at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, chair of the World Economic Forum’s committee on terrorism, and former director for operations and intelligence at MI6; Noah Bonsey is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst on Syria, based in Lebanon; and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, and a student at Oxford University.
Islamic State (IS) was formerly called ISIS. It took control of key Iraqi cities like Mosul and Fallujah as part of a broad coalition of groups earlier this year, but it went it alone when it expanded into Kurdistan.
FULL ARTICLE (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Photo: maps.bpl.org/flickr

EXPERT VIEWS: Is Islamic State a flash in the pan? | Alex Whiting

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Is Islamic State a flash in the pan, or is it here for the long term? What impact is its expansion in Iraq having on the war in Syria, and the region as a whole?

Thomson Reuters Foundation asked three experts for their views: Nigel Inkster is director of transnational threats and political risk at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, chair of the World Economic Forum’s committee on terrorism, and former director for operations and intelligence at MI6; Noah Bonsey is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst on Syria, based in Lebanon; and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, and a student at Oxford University.

Islamic State (IS) was formerly called ISIS. It took control of key Iraqi cities like Mosul and Fallujah as part of a broad coalition of groups earlier this year, but it went it alone when it expanded into Kurdistan.

FULL ARTICLE (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Photo: maps.bpl.org/flickr

27 Aug
Libya’s Crisis: A Shattered Airport, Two Parliaments, Many Factions | Leila Fadel
As Libya has descended into chaos, it has split into two broad camps. On one side is Libya Dawn, an Islamist-backed umbrella group; on the other is a renegade general, Khalifa Hifter, who is based in the eastern part of the country along with his allies.
As this power struggle has escalated, it is no longer just an internal Libyan conflict. It is now being fought regionally, with parallels to other battles playing out in North Africa and the Middle East.
U.S. officials say Egypt and the United Arab Emirates carried out secret airstrikes in recent days directed against the Islamist factions, which was first reported in The New York Times. This direct involvement in the Libyan fighting came as a surprise, though both of these countries have staked out positions opposing Islamist groups in their own countries and abroad.
"We see in the battle that is being fought out in Libya between these two broad coalitions is a battle that is already being fought out regionally," says Claudia Gazzini, a Libya researcher at the International Crisis Group.
FULL ARTICLE (NPR)
Photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr

Libya’s Crisis: A Shattered Airport, Two Parliaments, Many Factions | Leila Fadel

As Libya has descended into chaos, it has split into two broad camps. On one side is Libya Dawn, an Islamist-backed umbrella group; on the other is a renegade general, Khalifa Hifter, who is based in the eastern part of the country along with his allies.

As this power struggle has escalated, it is no longer just an internal Libyan conflict. It is now being fought regionally, with parallels to other battles playing out in North Africa and the Middle East.

U.S. officials say Egypt and the United Arab Emirates carried out secret airstrikes in recent days directed against the Islamist factions, which was first reported in The New York Times. This direct involvement in the Libyan fighting came as a surprise, though both of these countries have staked out positions opposing Islamist groups in their own countries and abroad.

"We see in the battle that is being fought out in Libya between these two broad coalitions is a battle that is already being fought out regionally," says Claudia Gazzini, a Libya researcher at the International Crisis Group.

FULL ARTICLE (NPR)

Photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr