Lucha antiterrorista

In August 2021, all US soldiers left Afghanistan, enabling the Taliban to take over the country. Since then, the Taliban have installed a theocracy that bans women from most jobs and bars girls over the age of 12 from attending school, while maintaining close relationships with terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda.

The Taliban today control more of Afghanistan than they did the last time they were in power before the 9/11 attacks. And they are better armed since they now possess American armored vehicles and M16 rifles left behind as the US military headed for the exits.

For the past year, a group known as the National Resistance Front has waged a guerrilla war against the Taliban.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers of the French military mission in Mali fold a French flag at an undisclosed military installation on Aug. 11. (Etat Major des Armées/AFP/Getty Images)

The withdrawal of the last remaining French troops from Mali this month has inflicted a serious blow to Western military efforts to curtail a growing Islamist threat spreading across the Sahel region of Africa.

The failure of the French military mission, which included up to 5,000 soldiers in what became known as Operation Barkane, demonstrates the perplexing difficulties of waging a counterinsurgency campaign against regional remnants of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. It also raises concerns that Russia and China might step into the geopolitical void left by frustrated and impatient Western governments.

As the United States ponders the lessons of its 20-year struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, which ended in a chaotic exit one year ago, France is reconsidering its own strategy in coping with the proliferation of Islamist militants in many of its former African colonies.…  Seguir leyendo »

El regreso de los monjes soldado

Entre la enorme lista de cosas estigmatizadas por nuestra sociedad está el uso de la violencia. Lo que voy a decir puede resultar inaceptable, políticamente incorrecto, casi delictivo, en una sociedad que hace del pacifismo idiota uno de sus mantras más poderosos. La violencia es a la historia de la Humanidad lo mismo que el sol y la lluvia, constante y permanente. La violencia es buena o mala en relación al fin que la motive, no en sí misma. Que los cuerpos de seguridad o nuestro Ejército hagan uso legítimo y equilibrado de ella para defender la libertad, el territorio nacional o terminar con una amenaza terrorista no solo es bueno, sino deseable.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taliban security in the neighborhood where a U.S. drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 31. EPA, via Shutterstock

When President Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan last year, one of his main justifications was that Al Qaeda had been so “degraded” that the United States no longer needed to maintain a military presence in a country once used as a Qaeda sanctuary. Mr. Biden also vowed to hold the Taliban to its pledge not to allow terrorists to threaten the United States from Afghan soil.

Yet less than a year after the Taliban completed their recapture of Afghanistan, the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, was hiding out in a house in downtown Kabul, where he was killed in an American drone strike on Sunday.…  Seguir leyendo »

La OTAN existe desde hace más de siete décadas y el terrorismo internacional afecta a los ciudadanos de las democracias europeas y norteamericanas desde hace más de cinco. Pero no fue hasta 1999 cuando, en lo que se conoce como el concepto estratégico de la Alianza, aparecieron mencionados por primera vez y escuetamente los actos de terrorismo entre otros riesgos para la seguridad. Eso ocurrió después de los primeros incidentes de terrorismo yihadista, en Nueva York en 1993, y en París en 1995. Pero solo dos años antes de que, a partir de los atentados del 11-S, la OTAN comenzara a implicarse en la lucha contra ese nuevo terrorismo global, en la práctica el único que ha afrontado.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Grassley and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today about the United States’ use of force in countering terrorism and more broadly as a tool of U.S. foreign policy. It is a privilege to be speaking before this distinguished committee.

I am currently the Chief of Policy for the International Crisis Group, an international non- governmental organization dedicated to conflict prevention; we currently cover more than 50 conflict situations around the world. From 2002 until 2017, I worked for the U.S. government in a variety of roles including as the Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council, where I helped to develop U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Debris from a building destroyed in the aftermath of a counter-terrorism mission conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Forces are seen in Atmeh, Syria, 4 February 2022. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hassano

Who was the ISIS leader killed yesterday in north-western Syria?

Abdullah Qardash, an Iraqi national also known as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, became ISIS leader on 31 October 2019, one week after his predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a U.S. raid in Idlib province in north-western Syria. Qardash was a long-time jihadist veteran. He joined what was known as al-Qaeda in Iraq shortly after the 2003 U.S. invasion to fight the U.S.-led coalition forces and the new Iraqi government. Like several other future ISIS leaders, he was arrested for his role in the insurgency and spent time in the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

I’ve been held at Guantánamo for 20 years without trial. Mr Biden, please set me free

Injustice takes many forms. After 20 years in US custody, most of that time spent in Guantánamo, you could say I am an expert.

It may surprise you to know that I think America has a very good justice system. But it is only for Americans. In the cases of those like me, justice is not something that interests the US. I wish that people understood how Guantánamo is distinct.

In Guantánamo, the torture we are exposed to is not isolated to the interrogation rooms; it exists in our daily lives. This intentional psychological torture is what makes Guantánamo different. There is interference in every aspect of my existence – my sleep, my food, my walking.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mes de octubre de 1974. Las compañías de Operaciones Especiales con sede en Burgos y Bilbao, al mando directo del Capitán General de la 6ª Región Militar, reciben la orden urgente de trasladarse a Pamplona, donde se ubica la División de Montaña, y presentarse en su Estado Mayor para abrir el sobre lacrado entregado a los respectivos capitanes. En cuestión de horas, no más de dos, las unidades marchan camino de su destino sin saber nada de la misión. Son unidades instruidas y adiestradas para el combate irregular, la vida en el campo en condiciones extremas, hombres duros y sometidos a interminables pruebas físicas y psicológicas que conocen bien su oficio.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las siete cajas de Manglano sí que evocan a Pandora, y no esa filtración en bruto de archivos de bufetes. Lo del jefe de los espías del felipismo ha requerido cuatro años de trabajo de Juan Fernández-Miranda y Javier Chicote, y uno está orgulloso de esta cabecera por ampararlos a ellos y a la verdad. Vamos a hablar de la verdad.

Nos ha tocado la era del relativismo cognitivo, fe venenosa y enervante que impide reconocer el mundo e interactuar con él. El relativismo cognitivo niega la existencia de la verdad y tiene más peligro que los relativismos moral y cultural, aunque no lo parezca.…  Seguir leyendo »

A lo largo de más de cinco horas, en la Nochebuena de 1820, Trieste fue tragada por la densa humareda que salía de las chimeneas del palacio del príncipe Jérôme, a quien su hermano Napoléon coronara un día como rey de Westfalia. Pocos sabían entonces que con ese humo volaba una parcela clave de la historia de la Revolución francesa: esto es, de la historia, sin más, de la Francia moderna.

El príncipe ha acogido en su mansión al antaño todopoderoso y ahora paria Joseph Fouché. Ministro de la Policía durante los trece años que se extienden desde el Consulado al Directorio y al Imperio, entre 1802 y 1815, Fouché ha sido el dueño y señor de todos los secretos de la República: no hay uno solo de sus rincones oscuros en el cual no haya podido moverse con la facundia de quien pasea por el salón de su palacio.…  Seguir leyendo »

Future federal air marshals participate in a shooting exercise in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., on March 29, 2017. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

Twenty years after the worst terrorist attack in history, there hasn’t been “another 9/11.” By one count, 107 people have been killed in jihadist attacks in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, and nearly half of those were in one attack — the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. Any deaths are tragic, but more Americans are dying of covid-19 every two hours than died of Islamist terrorism in the United States during the past 20 years.

You would think this counterterrorism success would be celebrated. Instead, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the “global war on terror” — as it was once called — is widely reviled.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una bandera estadounidense y una rosa se colocan entre los nombres de personas fallecidas el 11 de septiembre de 2001 en el monumento conmemorativo en Nueva York, Estados Unidos, el 8 de septiembre de 2021. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Quienes vivimos el 11 de septiembre siempre recordaremos con exactitud dónde estábamos y qué estábamos haciendo cuando Estados Unidos fue atacado. Como nuevo funcionario del Departamento de Justicia, pasé la mayor parte del día en un centro de comando abarrotado en la sede del Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI, por sus siglas en inglés). Fue un remolino de actividad y emociones: preocupación por los seres queridos, furia contra quienes nos atacaron, incertidumbre sobre el futuro inmediato. Pero lo que nunca olvidaré es la increíble sensación de solidaridad que hubo en ese salón. Estábamos unidos por nuestra determinación de encontrar a los responsables y decididos a prevenir otro ataque.…  Seguir leyendo »

(FILES) This file photo taken on Dec. 4, 2001 shows US Marine Cobra attack helicopters circling above larger CH-53 helicopters at the US Marines operations base in southern Afghanistan. President George W. Bush launched his "war on terror" in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, with air strikes on Afghanistan after the Taliban government had sheltered Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda movement. (Jim Hollander / POOL / AFP)

Following the Aug. 26 bombing at the Kabul Airport, President Biden said, “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay…These ISIS terrorists will not win.”

Biden’s reference to terrorism was hardly surprising. Since 9/11, the word “terrorism” has been a central element of the political narrative depicting the United States as fully engaged in an existential struggle against the “axis of evil.”

Two decades on, the language of “terrorism” pervades the politics of countries around the globe. In our new book, we contend that the 20 years since 9/11 demonstrate how language has produced collateral damage in the form of expanded violence against all forms of opposition.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taliban fighters guard a street in the Laghman province of Afghanistan, following the Taliban takeover of the country. Photo by AFP via Getty Images.

The 9/11 attacks prompted the international community to adopt a wide range of counterterrorism measures. Debate continues over their compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law, and their effectiveness.

What has become clear is that some of these measures have made it difficult for humanitarian assistance to be provided to the millions of people living in areas under the control of armed groups designated as terrorist, or where such groups have a significant presence.

These include Al-Qaeda in Yemen’s Arabian peninsula, ISIL affiliates in Syria, Al Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Hamas in Gaza, and various Al-Qaeda affiliates in the Sahel.…  Seguir leyendo »

En documentales televisivos recientes sobre la lucha contra ETA se puede observar que se ha obviado, de forma inexacta, uno de los episodios clave para empezar a derrotar a la banda terrorista/delincuente que asolaba España en aquellos años ochenta; algunos de los cuadros de mando que aparecen ni siquiera habían acabado sus estudios en la Academia General Militar y menos en la Especial de la Guardia Civil, cuando poco después aparecieron, en Francia, de ‘ilegales’, destacados por Inchaurrondo, sembrando la confusión en los Servicios franceses, y en la relación con los españoles.

También se pueden escuchar afirmaciones, aún viniendo de políticos sensatos de primer nivel, que podrían restaurar la doctrina del Padre Mariana de que «todo es válido para matar al tirano», refiriéndose a la justificación de la lucha de ETA contra el Estado español dictatorial, como si a los terroristas les importara mucho el final de aquel periodo.…  Seguir leyendo »

These are the women who crushed the Caliphate

In early 2016, the first time a friend told Gayle Tzemach Lemmon the story of Kurdish Women's Projection Units in northeastern Syria -- also known as the YPJ -- she had two reactions. The first was fascination: How had no one else told the tale of these women, aligned with US forces (and later provided with support by the Trump administration) who were fighting the Islamic State -- a group which routinely kidnapped, raped and murdered women?

The second reaction, when an American friend of Lemmon's who had been working with the women's units, urged her, "Come on, you have to see it," was: "No."…  Seguir leyendo »

Jihadists of former al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham block demonstrators from approaching the Bab al-Hawa crossing between Turkey and Syria’s north-western Idlib province on 20 September 2019. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

If the Biden administration is looking to correct Washington’s overly militarised foreign policy, one opportunity to redefine U.S. counter-terrorism strategy lies in Idlib, an area which U.S. officials once described as “the largest al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11”. The north-western Syrian province is no longer that, for reasons explained below. But, in other respects, it remains what it has been for much of the Syrian war: a crowded refuge for three million civilians, the site of looming potential humanitarian disaster and a last stronghold of Syrian rebel groups. Its fate could also prove pivotal for the future of – and U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les forces françaises de l'opération Barkhane au nord du Burkina Faso, en novembre 2019. Photo Michele Cattani. AFP

Huit ans après ses débuts au Mali en janvier 2013, l’intervention militaire de la France au Sahel s’est ensablée dans une guerre dont on ne voit pas la fin et qui rappelle l’enlisement des Soviétiques puis des Américains en Afghanistan. Le problème ne tient pas qu’aux défis de la lutte contre le terrorisme dans des territoires immenses, mais aussi à l’entêtement de dirigeants qui ne veulent pas perdre la face et qui refusent d’admettre publiquement leurs erreurs d’analyse.

L’Elysée n’a jamais annoncé clairement quel était «l’état final recherché», comme disent les militaires. Officiellement, les soldats de l’opération Barkhane n’ont pas pour objectif de rétablir l’ordre au Sahel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters pay homage to slain history teacher Samuel Paty in October outside the Bois d'Aulne secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images)

On Dec. 9, after much debate and international press coverage, the French government proposed a bill to parliament designed to curb what it calls “Islamist separatism.” In January, lawmakers will debate and likely adopt a version close to the one submitted by the government. This new bill has sparked intense reaction abroad, where President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to counter Islamist extremism has led to much hostile(and sometimes misinformed) commentary. A healthy debate must start with a few cold-headed realities.

Macron and the government made a clear distinction between the majority of Muslims, peacefully observing their faith, and an Islamist minority upholding a radical political project.…  Seguir leyendo »