Showing posts with label Arab World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arab World. Show all posts

15 December 2017

JERUSALEM, IN SEARCH OF AN HONEST BROKER

BEVERLEY MILTON-EDWARDS

There is an interesting link on the White House website. Click and you will find a blunt statement. “President Trump stands in solidarity with Israel to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our two nations and to promote security and prosperity for all. Stand with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.” There, of course, is no alternative link that asks the reader to stand with President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the same way.

Why the ‘Arab street’ didn’t just explode

By Ralph Peters

In the wake of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, the “experts” crowding the media predicted strategic calamity: Vast, violent protests and a wave of terror would sweep the Muslim world in the coming days. Instead, the largest demonstration anywhere this weekend was the funeral procession for Johnny Hallyday, the “French Elvis.” Nothing in the Middle East came close. We have witnessed, yet again, the carefully phrased anti-Semitism of the pristinely educated; the global left’s fanatical pro-Palestinian bias; and the media’s yearning for career-making disasters.

Chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine’ goes public


He packed his bag with his most treasured possessions before going to bed: the 1 terabyte hard drive with his evidence against the Islamic State group, an orange notebook half-filled with notes on Ottoman history, and, a keepsake, the first book from Amazon delivered to Mosul. He passed the night in despair, imagining all the ways he could die, and the moment he would leave his mother and his city.
He had spent nearly his entire life in this home, with his five brothers and five sisters. He woke his mother in her bedroom on the ground floor.

Saudi Arabia Shifts Policy From Risk Averse to Downright Dangerous

Bruce Riedel

The Saudi system of consensus and family cohesion is broken, and the United States has leverage with its military support. Young and impetuous: President Donald Trump meets with then-Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is among the billionaire princess detained on corruption charges in Saudi Arabia

Israel and Iran in Syria


Israel fired missiles at a base near Damascus, Syria, over the weekend. According to Syrian news agency SANA, two Israeli missiles were shot down. Arab media reported that the target was an Iranian military base. After the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would not tolerate Iranian forces in Syria. Israel previously had chosen not to conduct airstrikes on this reported Iranian base as it had done against other targets – mostly Hezbollah weapons convoys – in Syria. Israel obviously knew this site was well protected, proven by the fact that it had anti-missile capabilities.

The Defeat and Survival of the Islamic State

By Scott Stewart

Several people have asked me lately whether I thought the Islamic State will become a "virtual caliphate" now that it has lost most of the terrain it once held, including the strategic cities of Mosul and Raqqa. At the same time, I've talked with people who claim that the Islamic State has been destroyed. Both viewpoints have some truth to them, but neither is the whole truth. Both miss where the Islamic State is really headed.
Charting the Islamic State

14 December 2017

The IS Economy: Will Losing Territory Cripple Islamic State?



By: Ludovico Carlino
Two recent offensives against Islamic State (IS) in Syria have forced the group further south, squeezing its so-called caliphate into a small pocket of territory between the Syrian and the Iraqi border. More crucially, these two successful operations — one undertaken by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the other by the Syrian army — have almost put an end to the group’s ability to generate the revenue necessary to sustain its operations.

Struggle Over Scripture: Charting the Rift Between Islamist Extremism and Mainstream Islam

Milo Comerford Rachel Bryson

Concerns about Islamist extremism are growing both in the West and in Muslim-majority countries as it continues to kill tens of thousands each year around the globe. Yet there is a deficiency in evidence-based research into how the supremacist ideology that drives this violence warps mainstream religious principles. There must be greater consensus among policymakers and thought leaders that the battle against the extremism of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda is not against Islam, but rather against a perversion of the religion. This report aims to clarify the nature of that perversion, to enable a religiously grounded response to Islamist extremism, in both its violent and its nonviolent forms.

Global Extremism This Week


Bitesize analysis of the major extremism stories from around the world in the last seven days.

Defections between ISIS and the Taliban in Afghanistan have the potential to affect the complex dynamics of the two deadly militant groups. The murder of Yemen’s former president led to fresh waves of violence, further obscuring peaceful solutions to the country’s war. Meanwhile, the US defence secretary visited Islamabad amid increased pressure on Pakistan to counter terrorism.

“Fifty Shades of Jihad”: Al Qaeda Releases New Battle Manual at Book Launch

by Nigel Jesuan

In an attempt to regain some of the attention which has dissipated to ISIS in recent years, Al Qaeda is set to publish a provocatively titled new fighting manual and will be hosting their first book launch next week.

Entitled “Fifty Shades of Jihad”, the manual is marketed as a “guide for both the expert and the uninitiated in the world of radical Islamism” and is said to “encompass all the intricate and often sensual facets of Quranic-inspired terrorism”. A key selling point of the book, and anticipated to be of particular interest to keen younger readers, is a racy epilogue which graphically describes the various sexual encounters a martyr will experience when he meets his 72 virgins.

13 December 2017

Controversial Indian Salafist a Litmus Test for Malaysia on Counterterrorism

By Joseph Hammond

Controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik is vowing to fight an extradition request sent to Malaysia regarding terrorism-related charges. India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed terrorism charges against Naik accusing him of influencing Indian Muslims to join the Islamic State (ISIS). It also declared his Mumbai-based NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), an unlawful organization.  “Naik is accused of a number of offenses including spreading communal hatred,” said Animesh Roul, executive director of the New Delhi-based Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict.

Jerusalem: A Decision of Regional Consequence


Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will give jihadist groups a rallying cry to galvanize supporters and recruit new members. By dimming the prospects for a two-state solution, the move will push Israelis and Palestinians alike toward a one-state model, however reluctantly. Though the change in Jerusalem's status will present a challenge for most countries in the region, Iran and Turkey could turn it to their advantage. 

The Bloody Split Within ISIS Inside the Group's Crackdown on Ultra-Extremists

By Vera Mironova, Ekaterina Sergatskova, and Karam Alhamad

In 2014, as life in the Islamic State (ISIS) began to stabilize, many of its foreign fighters adopted an almost civilian routine. They spent their time reading, discussing religion, and giving lectures on their visions of a utopian Islamist state. But not all of these fighters’ ideas matched ISIS’ official positions. Many began to disagree with the group’s interpretation of Islam. Even by ISIS’ standards, these dissidents were extreme. They denounced some of their leaders and fellow militants as kaffirs, or infidels—in ISIS’ thinking, a charge that merits death. By doing so, several thousand fighters turned ISIS’ strongest weapon—its ideology—against the organization itself.

Erdogan: No Moderate Islam

by Burak Bekdil

"Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.' Islam can only be one thing," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) said last month, two weeks after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) pledged to promote a "more moderate Islam" in his kingdom.
Turkey's strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have exhibited all possible features of political Islam since he came to power fifteen years ago, but at least he has been bold and honest about his understanding of Islamism: There is no moderate Islam, he recently said again.

12 December 2017

Recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel and Palestine

Ghanem Nuseibeh

Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a grave mistake. Whenever there is a conflict in the Middle East, the city features prominently, whether or not the dispute is between Israel and its neighbours. Jerusalem has been targeted many times by warring parties seeking to draw the country into a wider regional conflict. Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi president, tried to do so during the first Gulf war of the early 1990s.

The Defeat And Survival Of The Islamic State


Several people have asked me lately whether I thought the Islamic State will become a "virtual caliphate" now that it has lost most of the terrain it once held, including the strategic cities of Mosul and Raqqa. At the same time, I've talked with people who claim that the Islamic State has been destroyed. Both viewpoints have some truth to them, but neither is the whole truth. Both miss where the Islamic State is really headed.

Why Syria Could Become the Black Hole of the Middle East

Daniel R. DePetris

Last week, representatives of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and members of the Syrian opposition met for the eighth time in Geneva for what UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura billed as the best opportunity the parties have had to discuss a political transition for the country. Unfortunately, there is very little—if anything—to talk about; both sides remain so attached to their absolutist demands and negotiating positions that even mild compromise on Syria’s political future is beyond reach.

An Emboldened Iran Has Begun to Seek out the Geopolitical Spotlight

Geneive Abdo

Iran’s political elites are endorsing the assassination of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and signalling that Tehran’s expansionist aims in the region are widely supported across the Iranian political spectrum. The assassination, presumably carried out by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on December 4, was condoned by Iranian president Hasan Rouhani, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohammed Ali Jafari, and the editor-in-chief of Kayhan, a newspaper close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In referring to the killing, Jafari went as far as to declare that the benefits Iran sees in the aftermath of Saleh’s assassination are a step toward fulfilling the goals of the 1979 Islamic revolution. “Iran’s allies in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain have taken inspiration from the experiment of the Iranian revolution,” he was quoted on the website Tasnim, a news agency close to the IRGC.

An Emboldened Iran Has Begun to Seek out the Geopolitical Spotlight

Geneive Abdo

Iran’s role and aims in the Middle East—often described as expansionist—are more complicated than what typically appears on the surface. Iran’s political elites are endorsing the assassination of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and signalling that Tehran’s expansionist aims in the region are widely supported across the Iranian political spectrum. The assassination, presumably carried out by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on December 4, was condoned by Iranian president Hasan Rouhani, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohammed Ali Jafari, and the editor-in-chief of Kayhan, a newspaper close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In referring to the killing, Jafari went as far as to declare that the benefits Iran sees in the aftermath of Saleh’s assassination are a step toward fulfilling the goals of the 1979 Islamic revolution. “Iran’s allies in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain have taken inspiration from the experiment of the Iranian revolution,” he was quoted on the website Tasnim, a news agency close to the IRGC.

10 December 2017

The Implications of Iran´s Expanding Shi`a Foreign Fighter Network

By Colin Clarke and Phillip Smyth

According to Colin Clarke and Phillip Smyth, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is transforming Shi’a foreign fighters from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan into transnational proxy forces capable of fighting asymmetric and conventional wars. While they suggest that these forces have already participated in conflicts throughout the region, they warn that the continued formalization and expansion of these networks could 1) further Iran’s strategy for regional hegemony; 2) exacerbate geopolitical and sectarian tensions in the Middle East; and 3) threaten US interests in the region and beyond.

Shi`a Iran has been steadily recruiting, training, and equipping Shi`a foreign fighters from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and their capabilities are growing. Shi`a foreign fighters have participated in conflicts throughout the region, including in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. There is evidence the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is providing the training to transform these fighters into a professional transnational militia proxy force modeled after Lebanese Hezbollah. The formalization and expansion of these networks risks exacerbating geopolitical and sectarian tensions throughout the region.