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.
Hundreds of fighters flocked from all over the world to join Islamic State (ISIS), lured by the promise of a utopian society. But now they find themselves in squalid jails and refugee camps while the world worries about what to do with them. Continue reading →
Syria’s war, perhaps unlike any other civil conflict this century, has been uniquely influenced by propaganda. That propaganda has exerted a crucial influence over the course of the war. Continue reading →
The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the course of an American operation can only harm the Islamic State. Not only did Baghdadi claim religious authority, which failed to protect him from the Americans; he was also, far more than al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, a field commander, issuing orders to subordinates on the ground on which they fought, and directing his organisation in war. Continue reading →
The war crimes of Syria’s conflict have been obfuscated and lied about on a vast scale and with great success, but they have never been effectively hidden.
Not hidden from those whose spells in regime prisons included torture and the possibility of execution, not hidden from those whose experience of regime bombardment was a little more than theoretical. Continue reading →
The speed with which the Islamic State conquered territory after its advent in 2014 and in the years that followed cannot be denied. Nor can the ferocity and threat of its rule. The apparent self-confidence of its theology and the devotion with which fighters – foreign and local – flocked to its cause made it a threat seen across the world. Continue reading →
The death of Abdelbasset al-Sarout has elicited a great tide of grief in Syria which has been echoed and felt across the world. At his death, Sarout was 27 years old. He had fought against the regime of Bashar al-Assad for almost a decade, and had served as a symbol of defiance and hope for as long. Continue reading →
When, four years ago and at the age of fifteen, Shamima Begum first left her family and her country to join a group of religiously-inspired murderers in the Levant, I doubt she expected that her future life would include so many TV interviews. Continue reading →
The conflict between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its enemies has slowed in Idlib, halted by a precarious ceasefire. But fighting between groups in the province is subject to no such regulation. Rebel factions and jihadists continue to tussle for control of the province. Continue reading →