Tag Archives: Islamic State

ISIS Is Wreaking Afghan Terror

The bomb tore through an examination hall in Kabul on Friday, where students – mostly minority Hazara, mostly young women – were sitting a practice test in preparation for university. Thirty-five were killed, dozens more injured. An unspeakable human tragedy. 

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Liberators or Occupiers?

The fourth anniversary of the start of the battle for Raqqa has just passed, during which time the city was recaptured from the Islamic State (IS).

Raqqa had been IS’ Syrian capital, and it took over four months for the liberators, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to wrest back control of the city in October 2017 with international support.

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Yemen’s Sham Ceasefire

Yemen’s civil war is commonly described – not without reason – as having given rise to this century’s worst humanitarian disaster. United Nations officials and national leaders condemn the killing it has seen, the displacement it has caused, and the hunger and disease its continuation has allowed to spread. Whenever they are asked, foreign politicians without a stake in events intone that a ‘political solution’ is necessary and that peace must be achieved through dialogue.

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Syria’s Civil War at Ten

Syria’s unending civil war is now a decade old. It has revealed the how willing and capable the regime of Bashar al-Assad is to use the fruits of cruelty to retain power. The war continually sinks to new depths. The catalogue of human suffering, affecting so many millions, becomes harder to hear and time goes on. Upon being told about this war, some become restless, while other eyes glaze over.

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Syria’s War, on Drugs

If modern war often seems like a racket, that may be because in some respects it is. Wars are now rarely fought between states. Instead, parties to contemporary conflicts are often scattered armed groups, operating without the constitutions and defined rules of engagement which bind the militaries of nations.

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On a Biden Presidency

If the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden could soon be elected president of the United States. Internationally, there is no shortage of leaders hoping to see Mr Trump become a one-term president, putting an end to America’s experiment with uncontrolled chaos in government so that business as usual can once again resume.

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France, Mali and Military Coups

It was difficult to disagree with France’s intervention in Mali’s civil war in 2013, and hard to dispute its effects.  Various jihadist factions including al-Qaeda, after first allying with and then repudiating the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), had begun to capture great territory and impose barbaric rule on millions.

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The Right Thing to Do?

Review – For the Record by David Cameron

The premiership of David Cameron was dominated by stories of radicalisation, be it political or religious. While he was prime minister of the United Kingdom, Cameron did not experience an emblematic terrorist attack or series of outrages by jihadists, unlike his predecessor Tony Blair and successor Theresa May; but his term in office did see the rise and apogee of the Islamic State, the debate about British Muslims who travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight in those countries’ wars, and more of the perpetual debates Western societies have about radical religion and radical politics, far-right and far-left, immigration and the suitability of various divergent cultural practices. Continue reading

The Death of Qassem Soleimani and the Survival of Iraq’s Protests

So surprising was the death of Qassem Soleimani, former leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps—Quds Force (IRGC—QF), that it was fair to suspect – at least initially – that he was killed by mistake. Perhaps America had meant to kill his travelling companion, the leader of Kataib Hezbollah Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, instead, with Soleimani merely (in that odd euphemism) collateral damage. Continue reading

Counter-terrorism for Hire in the UAE

Great men are rarely good men, but most people – even those with power – tend to consider themselves good. Even those whose works are used to bad ends.

This problem afflicts politicians most obviously, but it affects public servants just as much, especially when they begin offering their services on a freelance basis. Continue reading