Posts tagged "al-Qaida"
Why One of Syria’s Biggest Rebel Groups Reordered Its Leadership

Why One of Syria’s Biggest Rebel Groups Reordered Its Leadership

Ahrar al-Sham’s decision to replace its top command this week offers a glimpse at how the outgunned rebel group is adjusting to the ascendancy of al-Qaida-linked factions in Syria, and the changing nature of the insurgency against president Bashar al-Assad. More»

ISIS and the American Mind

ISIS and the American Mind

It would be difficult to name anything that has so overwhelmingly occupied the American public mind in the last two years as the Sunni terrorist movement that styles itself the Islamic State. More»

Mali and the Sahel

Mali and the Sahel

“You want to cut hands? Here are two! Cut them!” So dares a fishmonger to the occupiers of her hometown, theatrically presenting the officer leading them with her fileting knife. The scene is one of the most memorable from the Franco-Mauritanian Timbuktu, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako, released in December 2014. More»

No True Islam

No True Islam

Senior Muslim scholars are beginning to push back against Islamic State propaganda. Britain’s Faith Associates consultancy organized a four-minute video in July featuring many leading Sunni and Shia imams. More»

War on Terror 2.0

War on Terror 2.0

Last Sunday I walked past the Tower of London with friends from abroad. What we saw there compelled (rather than inspired) a lap of the place out of us. Half of the old grassed over moat was filled with ceramic red poppies. Their green stalks being driven into the ground by flocks of volunteers, including army cadets and children. More»

Jihadist Civil War

Jihadist Civil War

When Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden in his Abbotobad compound, they also seized a number of important documents. Among them were communications between senior members of al-Qaida, discussing everything from press releases to financial affairs. Some (not all) of these files were declassified, and seventeen were included in a study by the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point. More»

Careful What You Wish For

Careful What You Wish For

If you live outside the United States, let me begin by saying that I am very sorry for what is about to happen. Despite the damage that the Republican Party and their right-wing fellow travelers have done to this country and, worse, to the rest of the world, it seems the American public is once again leaning in their direction. More»

Qutb's Communism

Qutb’s Communism

For all his shortcomings, I find Sayyid Qutb to be treated somewhat unfairly. This was probably inevitable. After all, Qutb’s prison writings as a disenchanted member of the Muslim Brotherhood helped inspire two of the region’s most fear-inducing ideologies: Islamism, and Salafi jihadism. More»

Forget 911

Forget 911

The cars and trucks that draw my eye usually display an excess of public expression, with an array of bumper-stickers telling a complex and sometimes contradictory story of political and cultural allegiance. But sometimes I’m stopped short by a different kind of message, elegant as one of Ezra Pound’s Imagist couplets. Like this formulation: “Forget 911. I dial .357.” More»

Fallujah Hysteria

Fallujah Hysteria

There is a great deal of hysteria about al-Qaida militants taking over Fallujah. Is the organization resurgent in Iraq, or is the allegation unfounded? More»

Yemenis in Conflict

Yemenis in Conflict

I took a photo while the soldiers weren’t looking, and posted it on Facebook. I saw something that looked familiar, as a Pakistani.  It was on 26th of September Street in Sana’a. A truck with a machine gun, and three infantrymen, sat quietly. I titled it, “War in the City.” A teacher at my college commented, “Are you serious??” More»

Before the Law

Before the Law

Somalia is a security problem. Without a doubt. For its neighbors, and for the international community, whose vessels frequently find themselves preyed upon by pirates working from its shores. Press a little harder, and you’ll find more reasons for discomfort, though. The objections are as much cultural as anything else. More»