Lucha antiterrorista

Women line up for aid supplies at al-Hol camp in Hassakeh province, Syria, on March 31. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

Last month, the Defense Department’s inspector general issued a detailed report on conditions in the al-Hol refugee and detention camp in rebel-controlled Syria. In al-Hol, tens of thousands of women and children who once lived under the so-called caliphate of the Islamic State are now being held in dire conditions. Yet minimal security permits women to spread the Islamic State ideology uncontested — resulting in what some observers are calling “a reign of fear.” If the extremist group continues to exert influence in the region despite its lack of a physical stronghold, these women will bear responsibility.

Eighteen years since the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11, violent extremism persists unabated.…  Seguir leyendo »

Burkina Faso is in the grips of a dangerous threat from armed Islamist fighters who are murdering civilians and threatening to destabilize other West African countries. But the government’s abusive counterinsurgency strategy, notably the summary execution of suspects, risks inflaming the conflict by driving more people into the hands of Islamist militant recruiters.

Since 2017, I have documented the alleged extrajudicial execution by the security forces of more than 150 men accused of supporting or harboring terrorists. I cannot confirm whether any of the executed men supported armed Islamists. But all of the victims were last seen in the custody of government security forces and found hours later shot in the head or chest.…  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 »

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 »

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 »


El 1 de noviembre de 2018 se han cumplido 25 años de la entrada en vigor del Tratado de Maastricht por el que se creó la UE. Sin duda, supuso un hito en el proceso de construcción europea, superando el modelo de Comunidades europeas existente hasta este ese momento. Además, desde el punto de vista general de la seguridad estableció el inicio de la cooperación formal entre sus Estados miembros en el ámbito de los denominados “Asuntos de Justicia e Interior”, abriendo la posibilidad de cooperar también en el marco de la lucha contra el terrorismo, superando el modelo informal que había establecido la cooperación Trevi.…  Seguir leyendo »

People take part in a vigil at the New Zealand War Memorial on Hyde Park Corner in London Friday. (Dominic Lipinski/AP)

It begins with humor. The alt-right’s jokes, a teenage friend assures me, are genuinely funny: They ridicule the pomposities of “mainstream” culture, laugh at political correctness and create ridiculous memes mocking everything, including themselves. And once you’ve laughed at the jokes, there is a whole amusing, darkly ironic, alternative world out there, only a couple of clicks away.

There are the YouTubers such as PewDiePie, the Swedish gamer and vlogger who has shown Nazi videos while metaphorically arching his eyebrows. Viewers are meant to get that it’s a joke: “I know my audience understand that and that is why they come to my channel,” he has said.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why We Should Take Back Americans Who Fought for ISIS

What do we do with Westerners who fought on behalf of, or at least traveled to and joined, the Islamic State? Some like Hoda Muthana, who left college in Alabama to join the Islamic State in Syria, have expressed the desire to return to their native country.

As the Islamic State loses its last safe havens in eastern Syria and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic confront the question of what to do with the Western “foreign fighters,” I thought I could add my voice and unique experiences to the discussion.

I was the first American foreign fighter for Al Qaeda after Sept.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai headed a Taliban delegation at meetings with Afghan opposition leaders in Moscow this week.CreditCreditMaxim Shemetov/Reuters

The United States and the Taliban made progress in peace talks in late January after coming to a basic understanding about withdrawing American troops in return for Taliban commitments to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for transnational terrorists. An agreement between the United States and the Taliban has been long overdue — as part of a broader settlement also involving the Taliban’s Afghan opponents — and is the way out of a war without victory.

The fear of Afghanistan-based terrorists attacking the United States has been the key reason for keeping American troops in the country and keeping the Taliban out of power, but it is rooted more in perception than in reality.…  Seguir leyendo »

American military advisers at an Afghan National Army base.CreditCreditJames Mackenzie/Reuters

President Trump may be a controversial and disruptive president. But in regard to Afghanistan, his frustration with the 17-year war differs little from the sentiments of President Barack Obama or most of the rest of us. Reportedly, he has asked for a precipitous cut of up to half the 14,000 American troops serving there, early this year.

That would be a mistake. There is still a strong case to sustain America’s longest war — especially if we redefine it, away from nation-building and toward something more like an enduring partnership with the Afghan people against regional and global extremism. Indeed, Washington should stop looking for an exit strategy and view Afghanistan as one pillar in a broader regional web of capabilities against Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and related movements that show few signs of dissipating.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man, blindfolded and handcuffed, kneels on the ground between two members of the Iraqi security forces after being accused of having links to the Islamic State group and being detained, on Nov. 8. (Alice Martins/For The Washington Post)

Last month, President Trump claimed the defeat of the Islamic State as justification for his decision to withdraw American troops from Syria. In 2014, at the height of its reign, the Sunni insurgent group governed an estimated 10 million people and 34,000 square miles of territory.

The Islamic State no longer controls significant territory in Iraq and Syria. But during a visit to Baghdad in December, the question being asked by Iraqi government officials was not if the Islamic State is making a comeback, but how soon the group will again be strong enough to recapture and hold territory.

How the Iraqi government is fueling anger

In Iraq, the government’s harsh counterterrorism strategy, which is widely perceived as collectively punishing the Sunnis, is generating new grievances that could increase local support for an Islamic State 2.0.…  Seguir leyendo »

A building hit by U.S. airstrikes during the war against the Islamic State near the Turkish border wall in Kobani, Syria.CreditCreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

The United States is at risk of another “Mission Accomplished” moment. On Wednesday, President Trump declared by tweet, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency.” President Trump is right that the United States has made tremendous progress against the Islamic State, and we’ve been honored to support that mission from the White House across two administrations as senior counterterrorism officials. But the Islamic State has not been “defeated” — and our mission in Syria has not been fully accomplished.

The recent Christmas market terrorist attack in Strasbourg that left five dead and at least a dozen injured serves as an all-too-vivid reminder that the threat posed by the Islamic State persists.…  Seguir leyendo »


Una década después de que el Sahel irrumpiese con fuerza en la agenda exterior española, dos son los ejes principales que actualmente vertebran su contribución al desarrollo de capacidades antiterroristas en el Sahel: la mejora del control de espacios y fronteras y el establecimiento o desarrollo de canales de información.


Además de la capacitación de las contrapartes locales en diferentes aspectos de la lucha antiterrorista, dos son los ejes principales que actualmente vertebran la contribución española a la lucha contra el terrorismo en el Sahel: la mejora del control de espacios y fronteras y el establecimiento o desarrollo de canales de información.…  Seguir leyendo »

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - OCTOBER 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by U.S. Military prior to transmission) A group of detainees kneels during an early morning Islamic prayer in their camp at the U.S. military prison for "enemy combatants" on October 28, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Although U.S. President Barack Obama pledged in his first executive order last January to close the infamous prison within a year's time, the government has been struggling to try the accused terrorists and to transfer them out ahead of the deadline. Military officials at the prison point to improved living standards and state of the art medical treatment available to detainees, but the facility's international reputation remains tied to the "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding employed under the Bush administration. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

I have defended men and women on death row for nearly all of my thirty years as a lawyer, and have represented people caught up in the excesses of the “war on terror” since very shortly after that war was launched. For more than a decade, I have been counsel for Zayn al-Abedin Muhammad Hussein, known more widely as Abu Zubaydah. Abu Zubaydah was the first person immured in a “black site,” the clandestine prisons operated around the globe by the CIA from early 2002 to late 2006. He was the first prisoner to have his interrogation “enhanced,” and the only person subjected to all the DOJ-approved interrogation techniques, as well as a number that were never approved (including, for example, rectal rehydration).…  Seguir leyendo »

Coto al terrorismo en Internet

LA amenaza que plantea el terrorismo en Europa es, sin duda, más clara que nunca en este momento, cuando está próximo el primer aniversario de los terribles sucesos de Barcelona y Cambrils. Lamentablemente, los atentados perpetrados el 17-A, que se saldaron con 16 personas inocentes asesinadas, más de 150 heridos y otros muchos afectados, distan de ser únicos. Europa ha sufrido numerosos atentados terroristas en los últimos años, y uno de los factores que liga a casi todos, ya los inspire Daesh, Al Qaida o cualquier otro grupo terrorista, es el uso de internet por parte de sus autores para difundir su mensaje de odio, facilitar información sobre la manera de perpetrar las atrocidades y ensalzar sus mortíferos resultados.…  Seguir leyendo »

Combatir el terrorismo que amenaza a una sociedad en forma sistemática es una obligación de todos. Sin embargo, precisamente porque vivimos gobernados en un Estado de derecho y nos movemos dentro de los límites que nos marca, no podemos utilizar cualesquiera métodos, instrumentos o medios para conseguir el fin de la seguridad perfecta. Desafortunadamente, esa seguridad no existe más que en la pura teoría.

Pero debemos avanzar y aprender de los golpes recibidos. Quizás por ello, y porque está próximo el 14 aniversario del atentado más brutal sufrido en España, cuando cuatro trenes de Cercanías fueron reventados por sendas bombas que segaron la vida de 193 personas (la última víctima murió en 2104 tras un prolongado estado de coma) e hirieron a más de 2.000, debemos hacer una reflexión y una autocrítica para tomar impulso y ver por donde debemos ir a fin de dar la mayor tranquilidad posible a la ciudadanía.…  Seguir leyendo »

Syrian rebel fighters backed by Turkey at a checkpoint in Azaz, near the Afrin region of Syria, on Saturday. The Turkish military has launched an operation to oust the so-called People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., from its Afrin enclave. Credit Ozan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The United States is bound to the Middle East by interests, but Turkey shares about 800 miles of border with Syria and Iraq alone. In this geography and beyond, Turkey and the United States share the goal of defeating terrorist organizations that threaten our nations. Daesh (or the so-called Islamic State) has been our common enemy, and the victory against the group could not have been possible without Turkey’s active contributions.

Those contributions continue even though the group has been defeated militarily in both Iraq and Syria. The Turkish military was crucial in the liberation of the northern Syrian city of Jarabulus from Daesh in 2016.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Iraqi dinar banknote with an image of Mosul's iconic minaret, which was destroyed by ISIS. Photo: Getty Images.

As ISIS lost one of its last villages in Iraq, Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the coalition battling the group, took to Twitter for a victory lap. The organization’s ‘phony «caliphate»‘, he wrote, is ‘coming to an end’.

It is true that ISIS has lost the vast majority of its territory, which at its peak in 2014 included about one-third of Iraq and half of Syria. Once dubbed ‘the world’s richest terrorist organization’ by the United Nations, it has also lost an estimated 80 per cent of the funds it acquired by conquering territory and mimicking the functions of a state, collecting taxes and tariffs from the citizens under its control.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to extend martial law — for a second time — in his home region of Mindanao. Two days later, Congress did just that. Mindanao is a restive southern province and home to 94 percent of the country’s Muslim population. Martial law is part of Duterte’s plan to ensure the “total eradication” of Islamist extremists — but this approach can backfire. Here’s why.

Why did Duterte first declare martial law?

In May, Duterte declared 60 days of martial law after security forces raided a suspected terrorist hideout. The raid was a failure: Instead of capturing the leader of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, Philippine troops found themselves in a firefight with different Islamists, the Maute group.…  Seguir leyendo »

La batalla contra el terrorismo del siglo XXI se libra en Internet. El Estado Islámico (IS) puede haber perdido su centro de gravedad territorial en Raqqa, pero mantiene todo su vigor en Internet. Su propaganda, clandestina e infecciosa, disemina de una plataforma a otra un mensaje de odio, una interpretación nihilista del Islam e instrucciones detalladas sobre cómo asesinar a ciudadanos inocentes. La mayoría de los atentados perpetrados recientemente en Europa y los Estados Unidos fueron concebidos por residentes en esos territorios: los autores de los atentados no estuvieron nunca en Siria o Irak y su proceso de fanatización y captación para el terrorismo se llevó a cabo a través de las redes.…  Seguir leyendo »