Terrorismo Internacional

Cuando el gobierno de Colombia firmó el acuerdo de paz en 2016 con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc), una guerrilla de inspiración marxista, parecía un milagro poder finalizar el conflicto de medio siglo que mató al menos a 220.000 personas y devastó las zonas rurales.

El expresidente Juan Manuel Santos recibió un Premio Nobel de la Paz por negociar el complejo acuerdo con las Farc. Sin embargo, desde antes de que se firmara muchos ya se oponían al pacto, furiosos ante la perspectiva de que rebeldes o militares fueran a quedar impunes o escépticos de que el gobierno pudiera darle seguimiento a sus promesas de ayuda al campo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mujeres del ISIS, verdades incómodas

Según un informe del Centro Internacional para el Estudio de la Radicalización (ICSR), aproximadamente unas 4.500 mujeres extranjeras viajaron a Siria e Irak para unirse al ISIS. Las historias de aquellas que quieren regresar a sus países de origen han ocupado los titulares de las noticias en las últimas semanas en los medios de comunicación europeos. Entre ellas se encuentran las tres ciudadanas españolas que viajaron a Siria para unirse a sus maridos. La entrevista que realizó este diario resulta perturbadora al revelar una imagen de la mujer que no encaja en las categorías que estamos acostumbrados a manejar, bien sean de corte conservador o progresista.…  Seguir leyendo »

A still showing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from a video released on April 29, 2019. Islamic State Group/Al Furqan Media Network/Reuters TV via Reuters

Like many sinister plots, this one started within a family. Tarek Khayat, an Australian originally from Lebanon, had been living in Raqqa as a dutiful soldier of ISIS before he texted his brother Khaled back in Sydney with an urgent request. It was April 2017. Mosul, the de facto capital of ISIS’s three-year-old “caliphate,” which had been inaugurated in that city, was falling to a hodgepodge consortium of Iraqi forces and Kurdish forces variously backed by the United States or Iran. Tarek’s message to his brother had heightened urgency. Khaled should wage an attack against their adoptive country, a member-state of the broad coalition committed to the caliphate’s annihilation.…  Seguir leyendo »

La reivindicación por parte del Estado Islámico de la reciente cadena de atentados en distintas ciudades de Sri Lanka no es más que un nuevo ejemplo sobre la capacidad del grupo para seguir perpetrando acciones terroristas o influir directamente sobre movimientos locales con la finalidad de que éstos cometan atentados en su nombre.

Lo ocurrido el pasado abril en el país del Índico pone de manifiesto una realidad que lleva dándose desde septiembre de 2016. Fue en esta fecha cuando el líder del IS, Abu Bakr al Bagdadi, instó a sus seguidores y simpatizantes a no viajar al califato yihadista -por las dificultades de llegar hasta él como consecuencia del incremento del control sobre las fronteras- y desplazarse en su lugar a aquellos territorios en los que el grupo tuviese presencia a través de sus provincias, también conocidas como wilayats.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man praying at a mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Friday.CreditCreditIshara S. Kodikara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Two days after the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, I met my greengrocer at the Colpetty market, a symbol of the cosmopolitan city that I call home. I have known Ashraff virtually all my life. He did not have his usual half-smile on his face, and when I went up to him to say goodbye, I could see he was troubled.

Eventually, shaking his head in sorrow, with tears in his eyes, he told me that the day before, someone he had known for 35 years, a man from Sri Lanka’s Sinhala majority, had said he could no longer be his friend.…  Seguir leyendo »

What are the implications of the recent terrorist attacks for the country?

The political parties met last week at an all-party conference to try and forge a new security culture in the wake of these attacks. This brought together key players such as current President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wikremesinghe as well as formidable political figures like the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The intent at the moment seems to be to try to present a united front recognizing the scale of the crisis – and one hopes that the enormity of what happened will bring everyone together.

How likely is it that Sri Lankan society will come together to present a united front in response to the attacks?…  Seguir leyendo »

Police officers work at the scene at St. Sebastian Catholic Church, after bomb blasts ripped through churches and luxury hotels on Easter, in Negombo, Sri Lanka 22 April, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Sri Lankans from all ethnic and religious groups – Sinhalese and Tamil, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and Hindu – lived through terrible violence during the decades of war and terrorism that ended ten years ago. Still, no one was prepared for Easter Sunday’s atrocities, whose death toll – now over 300, with more than 500 injured – and degree of organisation make them Sri Lanka’s worst-ever terror attack. The damage to the country’s already torn social fabric is likely to be immense.

Amid the shock, grief and anger, there is also bewilderment. For many, the attacks seem to have come from nowhere.…  Seguir leyendo »

The coffin of the journalist Lyra McKee, who was killed by a dissident republican paramilitary in Northern Ireland last week. Credit Paul Faith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Kevin Barry O’Donnell told me that he and his friends wanted the Troubles to come back. “The madness, the riots, the shooting, the bombings, everything,” he said of the 30 years of conflict between mostly Catholic republicans who wanted to reunite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland and the mostly Protestant unionists who wanted it to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

I was interviewing Mr. O’Donnell in 2017 for a film I was making about life after the Troubles. He was 16 years old and living in Derry, the city in Northern Ireland that was famous as both the site of the conflict’s beginning and one of its worst atrocities, the killing of 14 Catholics by British soldiers in 1972 in an event known as Bloody Sunday.…  Seguir leyendo »

One disturbing aspect of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka was that the slaughter of 321 victims came at a time when the United States is suffering what might be described as terrorism fatigue.

The wars against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are part of a painful past that policymakers and the public want to escape. Those Middle East conflicts were costly and distracting. They didn’t produce many tangible gains, other than killing terrorists. Sept. 11, 2001, feels like it happened a long time ago, and many politicians want to move on.

But the networks of violent extremists are still there, stretching to places most of us probably hadn’t even imagined, like Sri Lanka.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police officers survey graves prepared for the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka. (Atul Loke/Getty Images)

Bombs ripped through three churches and four hotels in a series of attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning. The casualty count currently stands at more than 300 dead and more than 500 injured. What do we know about the attacks, and their impact?

For many Sri Lankans, the bombings brought back the trauma of the country’s 26-year-long civil war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers. For some, it was the ever-present fear of suicide attacks; for others, the terror of checkpoints and an unfettered security state.

On Monday, the Sri Lankan government blamed National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), a homegrown Muslim extremist group.…  Seguir leyendo »

Avant même que l’Etat islamique ne revendique les attaques qui ont ensanglanté le Sri Lanka dimanche, faisant au moins 310 morts et environ 500 blessés, le ministre de la Défense, Ruwan Wijewardene, avait déclaré que la vague d’attentats était le fait d’un seul groupe et que les coupables avaient été identifiés : des extrémistes religieux. Selon ce haut responsable, des kamikazes seraient responsables de la majorité des attentats de la matinée. Le gouvernement a imposé un couvre-feu avec effet immédiat. Il a également fermé les médias sociaux et les services de messagerie afin d’éviter la diffusion de rumeurs qui sont souvent, au Sri Lanka, à l’origine d’émeutes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace un mes, el 22 de marzo de 2019 acabó la aventura territorial del Estado Islámico. Así fue, no solo porque lo proclamasen las Fuerzas Democráticas Sirias al conquistar su último bastión, un pequeño pueblo en la frontera siria con Irak. Pocos días antes, previa calificación de Trump como «perro rumí» y tras advertir que Al-Bagdadi sigue vivo, lo anunció su portavoz, Abul-Hasan al Mihajr. El manifiesto adopta el final de un relato donde el profeta comenta la muerte heroica de un fiel a la causa: «Él era fiel a Alá y Alá le fue fiel». Fidelidad recíproca que garantiza el retorno después de la reciente derrota.…  Seguir leyendo »

Islam contra islam

Despierto esta mañana de Pascua conmocionado por la noticia de los salvajes atentados en Sri Lanka. No es casualidad que se busque transformar la celebración cristiana de la Resurrección en un día de muerte. Cuando escribo estas líneas se sigue concretando la autoría, pero dos cosas parecen claras: que los ataques tienen un sesgo anticristiano, y que sus responsables buscan no sólo sembrar terror sino también, y sobre todo, odio. Porque un estado de terror es siempre pasajero, pero el odio permanece como la polución, en ocasiones visible, imperceptible otras veces, y contaminando casi todo.

Los españoles, que hemos sufrido no sólo el terrorismo que se autodescribe -falsamente- como islámico, sino sobre todo décadas de terror por parte de ETA, sentimos una particular empatía ante este tipo de hechos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Au-delà du drame humain vécu par la population sri-lankaise [au moins 310 morts et 500 blessés le 21 avril], les attentats de Pâques soulèvent des questions complexes. Car nul ne s’attendait à ce que ce pays soit visé par des attentats d’une telle ampleur. L’île a certes un passé de violence intercommunautaire, qui a laissé des traces profondes : il y a précisément dix ans, l’armée sri-lankaise écrasait la rébellion séparatiste menée par les Tigres de libération de l’Eelam tamoul, mettant fin à près de trente ans de guerre civile. Cet épilogue brutal a donné à la population un sentiment illusoire de sécurité, mais il n’avait pas mis fin à la violence latente résultant notamment de l’exacerbation des émotions identitaires.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Sri Lankan government briefly blocked Facebook in March 2018, saying posts appeared to have incited anti-Muslim violence. Credit Ishara S. Kodikara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

This is the ugly conundrum of the digital age: When you traffic in outrage, you get death.

So when the Sri Lankan government temporarily shut down access to American social media services like Facebook and Google’s YouTube after the bombings there on Easter morning, my first thought was “good.”

Good, because it could save lives. Good, because the companies that run these platforms seem incapable of controlling the powerful global tools they have built. Good, because the toxic digital waste of misinformation that floods these platforms has overwhelmed what was once so very good about them. And indeed, by Sunday morning so many false reports about the carnage were already circulating online that the Sri Lankan government worried more violence would follow.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Tragic Familiarity of the Sri Lanka Bombings

The series of suicide attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, which has left nearly 300 dead and hundreds injured, is more than just a national or religious tragedy. For members of the Sri Lankan diaspora, including Catholics like me, who have family connections to the very places and parishes that were attacked, the country’s tribulations are no longer terrible, local and hard to explain to people unfamiliar with its unsettled history. Now they are terrible, local — and familiar.

Much of the world knows the outlines of Sri Lanka’s historic troubles — a three-decade civil war, fought along ethnic lines and punctuated by hundreds of suicide bombings carried out by the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization.…  Seguir leyendo »

Debbie Bookchin. Girls playing in the garden of the Museum of Martyrs in Kobane, the town where some 1,400 mainly Kurdish men and women died fighting ISIS in 2014 and 2015, Northern Syria, March 21, 2019

As the de facto chief negotiator of the liberated region called the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, Ilham Ahmed, the Kurdish co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, has much on her mind. In recent months, she has traveled in the US and Europe, negotiating the future of a domain that is home to an estimated 5 to 6 million people, including a substantial portion of Syria’s 6.2 million internally displaced persons, and, now in addition, thousands of families implicated in Islamic State terrorism who are today living in refugee camps. As Ahmed continues delicate talks with the world’s superpowers over the status of this territory, its future is, to a certain degree, in her hands.…  Seguir leyendo »

A member of the Kenyan Defence Forces stands guard at the Garissa University campus after an attack by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab gunmen in Garissa on 2 April 2015. CARL DE SOUZA / AFP

On 2 April 2015, four gunmen belonging to Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based affiliate of al-Qaeda, began shooting on the campus of Garissa University College, the only major institution of higher learning in north-eastern Kenya. By the time Kenyan special forces ended the 15-hour siege, the militants had killed 148 students, most of them Christians, and injured more than 79. This particularly deadly assault four years ago attracted considerable media attention – and rightly so. Yet what is arguably Al-Shabaab’s most insidious attack on peace and security in Kenya continues to this day, beneath the media’s radar, in less spectacular forms.

Since 2015, Al-Shabaab has conducted over one hundred small-scale assaults in the north east, killing dozens of soldiers and police, mostly with roadside bombs.…  Seguir leyendo »

He estado reflexionando con angustia sobre el ataque terrorista de marzo de 2004 en Madrid. La década que comenzó en septiembre de 2001 con el ataque terrorista en Estados Unidos y la cadena de ataques terroristas que se sucedieron, incluido el de mi país, constituyó un punto de inflexión que remodeló las relaciones entre Occidente y el mundo árabe y musulmán.

Los discursos del odio, la xenofobia y la intolerancia contra los musulmanes se convirtieron en la nueva norma. El estereotipo negativo creó un miedo exagerado, odio y hostilidad frente “al otro”.

Con este telón de fondo se sentaron las bases para la creación de una ambiciosa iniciativa propuesta en 2004 por el expresidente del Gobierno español José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.…  Seguir leyendo »

Number of deadly attacks motivated by far-right beliefs. (wapo/Wapo)

The March 15 terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, triggered a debate about the terrorist threat from the far right in Western democracies. Two competing narratives leave the public with mixed signals.

On the one hand, right-wing terrorism is often portrayed as marginal compared to Islamist terrorism. This is also reflected in terrorism research, which, since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has mainly been preoccupied with Islamist terrorism. This one-sided focus on Islamist terrorism may have kept the public unaware of the fact that in most Western democracies, the number of deadly attacks motivated by far-right beliefs is considerably higher than those motivated by Islamism, including in the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »