In 2016, Donald Trump, then a candidate for president, described Barack Obama as the “founder of ISIS.” In the end, it may be Mr. Trump who comes to be known not as the terrorist group’s founder, but as its savior.
The Islamic State has been weakened considerably since its peak in 2015, when it controlled a territory the size of Britain, but the Trump administration’s targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani may have poised the group for a comeback. Just as the misguided American invasion of Iraq in 2003 revitalized Al Qaeda, some 17 years later, a return to chaos in the same country may yet do the same for the Islamic State.… Seguir leyendo »
Le 13 janvier à Pau, le président Macron et ses homologues du G5-Sahel (Mauritanie, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Tchad) discuteront de la situation dans le Sahel en présence du secrétaire général des Nations unies, du président de la commission de l’Union Africaine et du chef de la diplomatie européenne. Sauf surprise, cette réunion de haut niveau devrait se contenter de réaffirmer l’engagement des différents pays à lutter ensemble contre le terrorisme jihadiste qui gagne tant de terrain au Sahel. Pourtant, face à l’ampleur des insurrections, les opérations militaires menées par la France et les pays sahéliens ne peuvent constituer une réponse suffisante tant qu’elles n’appuient pas une réponse politique claire qui continue de faire défaut.… Seguir leyendo »
La deuxième décennie de ce siècle tourmenté a commencé deux ans plus tard pour les Colombiens : lorsque, en 2012, le gouvernement a annoncé l’ouverture d’un dialogue de paix avec la guérilla des FARC. Il s’agissait d’aboutir à la sortie négociée d’une guerre qui, remontant à plus d’un demi-siècle, avait laissé sur son chemin près d’un quart de million de morts, et dont le nombre des autres victimes – blessés, individus enlevés ou contraints de partir ailleurs en raison de la violence multiforme – s’élevait au chiffre effroyable de plus de sept millions.
Par le passé, des négociations similaires avaient été initiées à plusieurs reprises avant de se solder par des échecs retentissants.… Seguir leyendo »
On Nov. 29, London Bridge was the site of another terrorist attack. Usman Khan, a 28-year-old convicted on terrorism offences in 2012 and then released from jail last year, stabbed two people to death and injured three others. British police shot and killed Khan, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack the following day.
A week later, a Saudi trainee at a Navy base in Pensacola, Fla., murdered three sailors before military security shot him dead. The Navy grounded nearly 300 Saudi trainees while the FBI investigated the incident as a presumed terrorist attack.
These two acts jolted Western governments and security agencies to the risk of jihadist terrorism.… Seguir leyendo »
Less than a month ago, London endured another terrorist attack. Wielding two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, Usman Khan killed two people and injured three others. Khan had been imprisoned in 2012 for plotting attacks on the London Stock Exchange and Parliament, but was released “on license” (the British version of parole) in December 2018, subject to security measures including a government-run disengagement and desistance program and a GPS tag. He was considered, by some, a “poster boy” for rehabilitation.
While prison can rehabilitate some terrorists, it can further radicalize others. Unfortunately, experts are not very adept at assessing the risk — predicting who will return to terrorism, either after time in prison or returning from a conflict zone.… Seguir leyendo »
What happened in Niger?
On 10 December, assailants struck a Nigerien military camp close to the settlement of Inates on the border with Mali, killing more than 70 soldiers in the deadliest attack on security forces in the country’s history. The Islamic State’s affiliate in Mali and Niger claimed responsibility for the attack. Its fighters reportedly used mortars and kamikaze vehicles to storm the base. In its statement, the Islamic State said it had captured weapons, ammunition, vehicles and even “a number of tanks”. This claim could not be independently confirmed.
The attack by the Islamic State affiliate, which has escalated its campaign in the area around Inates since April, is part of an emerging trend of large-scale jihadist operations against military outposts in the central Sahel.… Seguir leyendo »
If I dream, it invariably takes the form of being hunted by men with guns—in a house, in a forest, on a street. Sometimes these dreams end with me being shot, sometimes with me stabbing someone. I only ever stab someone, even though, growing up, we had a gun, illegally, in the house—a double-barreled shotgun that my father kept beneath his bed and that we’d use occasionally for shooting rabbits. In my dreams I never see the face of the man I’m stabbing. I’ve had these dreams all my adult life. Maybe they’re common among people like me, maybe they’re not.… Seguir leyendo »
Children peer out from behind the bars into the light, scarred by intense trauma and uncertain of their future, terrified both of their prison and the outside world. The images and stories of these youngsters, robbed of their childhood by the extreme violence of life under the Islamic State, are harrowing. Many are unaccompanied, the large majority are under 12. They now find themselves abandoned in appalling conditions in rudimentary camps in Syria. Governments have to do better: This is not the way to treat children who are also victims of terrorism. Nor is it effective counterterrorism policy.
Tens of thousands of men, women and children with an alleged connection to the Islamic State are currently held in camps in northeastern Syria.… Seguir leyendo »
Stuck in Guantánamo Bay detention camp, year after year, I often wonder if I will ever get my “day in court”. Not as a defendant – I have never been charged with a crime – but as a claimant seeking redress for the torture and mistreatment I have suffered at the hands of the US and its allies.
Today my lawyers are at least getting a hearing at the international criminal court (ICC) in the Hague. The ICC’s prosecutor wants to investigate crimes against humanity committed during the Afghan war. In April, ICC judges decided an investigation would “not serve the interests of justice”.… Seguir leyendo »
Le 11 novembre a été inauguré, à Paris, un monument en mémoire des soldats « morts pour la France » loin de leur pays depuis 1963. Si on examine le contexte dans lequel sont morts les 549, et hélas bientôt 562, soldats dont le nom y est inscrit, on s’apercevra que presque tous sont tombés en luttant non contre des Etats, mais contre des organisations armées. Aujourd’hui, et pour ne considérer que le Sahel, nous affrontons Ansar Eddine, Al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique (AQMI), la katiba Macina et la katiba Al-Mourabitoune réunies dans un Groupe pour le soutien de l’islam et des musulmans (GSIM), ainsi que l’Etat islamique dans le Grand Sahara (EIGS).… Seguir leyendo »
In 2014, Lamya Haji Bashar was a 15-year-old woman in Kocho, a sleepy Yazidi farming village in northern Iraq. On Sunday, August 3, 2014, her life changed forever when ISIS swept through the region.
ISIS fighters killed her neighbors and friends, entire families, women and children. Thousands of Yazidis fell victim to mass executions and disappeared into mass graves. And thousands of Yazidi women and girls were sold into slavery. The UN would later recognize ISIS as the perpetrator of a genocide against the Yazidi community.
Bashar herself was sold as a modern-day slave to ISIS. She escaped and is now sharing the brutal truth of violence against women.… Seguir leyendo »
On Oct. 13, al-Shabab sent mortar rounds into the United Nations base at the Mogadishu airport, one of the most fortified areas in Somalia. A July hotel attack and car bombing in a Somali port town left more than 26 dead. In May, al-Shabab detonated a car bomb near the presidential palace in Mogadishu, killing nine people.
Al-Shabab is an Islamist extremist group affiliated with al-Qaeda, seeking to oust the Western-backed federal government of Somalia and install an Islamic government instituting sharia law. Despite coalition efforts to counter this militant group, al-Shabab continues to demonstrate resiliency and the ability to launch attacks both domestically and cross-border into Kenya.… Seguir leyendo »
On Oct. 26, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, arguably the most wanted terrorist in the world, detonated a suicide belt to avoid capture by U.S. forces. His death, an important and symbolic event in the fight against the Islamic State, was soon followed by the announcement of a successor last Thursday.
ISIS has suffered significant setbacks over the past two years, losing most of its territorial control, and has returned to its roots as an insurgent organization. Although the group no longer operates as a proto-state governing vast amounts of land, it remains active with estimates of between 10,000 and 15,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria.… Seguir leyendo »
Au terme d’une traque sans relâche étalée sur près d’une décennie, Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi, «calife» autoproclamé du groupe Etat islamique, était tué le 26 octobre dans un raid des forces américaines en Syrie au côté de son porte-parole, Abou Hassan al-Mouhajir. Au-delà du discours triomphaliste déployé le lendemain même par le président Donald Trump, cette disparition ne signifie guère l’arrêt de la menace jihadiste, et encore moins celle de l’idéologie qui la sous-tend. Au cœur de celle-ci, un profond ressentiment ayant façonné toute une génération de radicaux et dont la prise en considération permet, a posteriori, de faire la pleine lumière sur les circonstances d’émergence du groupe terroriste en 2006, de même que sur l’extension continue de sa cause depuis cette période et son intarissable potentiel de mobilisation.… Seguir leyendo »
In the most recent Democratic debate, an animated Joe Biden exclaimed that ISIS «is going to come here» as a result of Trump’s decision to abandon the Syrian Kurds and withdraw nearly all US troops from Syria.
After Trump’s orders to withdraw, however, another wave of American troops entered Syria, leaving as many as 900 forces in the country. Still, the break in our alliance with the Kurds and the weakening in US counter-terror policy will undoubtedly allow gains for ISIS and other jihadi groups.
Is Biden right? Has Trump paved the way for ISIS to launch attacks on American soil?… Seguir leyendo »
The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, caused by a raid by Army Delta Force operators based in Iraq, was an enormous but not fatal blow to that dangerous terrorist network. Others among the ISIS leadership are being hunted and killed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was outraged that President Trump didn’t notify Congress before the raid, though he did notify Russia. Custom, not the law or the U.S. Constitution requires notifying Congress, so she’s way off base. The sad fact is that we had to notify Russia because Russia controls the airspace our Delta guys had to fly through to get to their target.… Seguir leyendo »
La historia de la humanidad ha demostrado que la mejor guerra es la que no se hace, pero, una vez hecha —por más de medio siglo cómo ocurre en Colombia—, todos los procesos de superación de la violencia son complejos, imperfectos y tienden a crisis permanentes, cuando no al fracaso. Prueba de ello es que todos los procesos de paz ensayados en ese país —casi uno por Gobierno— no han sido capaces de consolidar un acuerdo escrito, y el actual, considerado modélico sobre el papel, puede estar herido de muerte cuando los verdaderos artífices por parte del Secretariado de las FARC, los de mayor influencia y predicamento, voceros en la pasada negociación, lo dan por finiquitado.… Seguir leyendo »
The self-proclaimed Islamic State has just named its new leader. Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qorashi takes the place of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the man who declared the so-called Islamic State “caliphate” in the Iraqi city of Mosul in June 2014. The U.S. military killed Baghdadi on Oct. 26, ending a five-year manhunt for the world’s most wanted terrorist.
The new Islamic State leader faces a major challenge: how to make himself appear legitimate in the eyes of the group’s followers and the broader community of Muslim believers. Baghdadi’s appeal, of course, rested on his claim to be restoring the caliphate from the early centuries of Islam.… Seguir leyendo »
They are good at dismay, the Europeans. Their cheek-clutching horror at US President Donald Trump’s abandonment of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was worthy of Munch’s «The Scream.»
But to have reacted with surprise at this much-telegraphed decision reveals a staggering level of naivety. Worse still, their failure to anticipate the behavior of America’s mercurial President reveals both cowardice and stupidity — not among the tiny number of special forces from the United Kingdom, France, Denmark and elsewhere, who were sent to help with the defeat of ISIS, of course. But certainly among the leaders of wealthy western nations that have the greatest strategic interest in what happens in the Middle East.… Seguir leyendo »
‘Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!” The instructions to the Delta team in pursuit of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi were probably less direct than that of the Mexican crime lord in the Sam Peckinpah splatter movie but there’s little doubt that it was effectively an American hit job. In the end, the trapped leader of the Islamic State death cult blew himself up, sparing the need for an awkward debate about the ethics of targeted assassinations.
The problem, though, is that most modern terror organisations cannot be decapitated. When Osama bin Laden was eventually run to ground in Pakistan in 2011, a cache of porn and works by Noam Chomsky on the bookshelves of his hideout, it became clear he had become largely irrelevant to the daily proceedings of al-Qaeda.… Seguir leyendo »