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  • Author: Buddhika Jayamaha
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has created an area where Turkish and Kurdish interests overlap: both parties are thoroughly alarmed at ISIL\'s expansion. However, delicate and sensitive cooperation against ISIL has to take place in the broader context of the complicated and evolving Kurdish-Turkish relationship. While Turkey develops its response to the ISIL threat and the Syrian crisis, it is also managing Kurdish relations as part of its effort to redefine the Turkish state and Turkish national identity. On their side, the Kurdish leaders — especially the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq — are compelled to deal with a complex and sometimes competing array of Kurdish organizational alliances and interests that cross international borders, while trying to deepen their relations with Ankara. Despite the complicated nature of the situation, there are reasons to be hopeful.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: We are happy to publish Volume 7, Issue 1 (January/ February 2015) of the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis (CTTA) by the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. From a terrorism and counterterrorism perspective, the year 2014 was particularly significant. This was due as much to the potential impact of drawdown of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) from Afghanistan as to the declaration of the establishment of a so-called Islamic Caliphate by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). While the former has emboldened old and established groups like Al Qaeda Central, the Afghan Taliban, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, among others, the claim of the establishment of the “so called Islamic State” by ISIS seem to have galvanized disparate elements within the Muslim world, drawing fighters in thousands to Iraq and Syria and spurring radicalization and extremism in many countries in an unprecedented scale.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria, Singapore
  • Author: Arabinda Acharya
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: ISIS is fighting an insurgency deeply influenced by the principles of Maoist protracted political warfare and moreover informed by the successes and failures of previous Al Qaeda movements in Iraq from 2006-2008, and of other jihadist groups attempting to seize and hold territory in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Mali. This analysis argues that, whether it survives or not, ISIS has set a political separatist precedent, the effects of which are yet to be fully understood and addressed by the international community.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In the Middle East today there are armed groups that have no respect for the humanitarian imperative. What challenges does this present to the Red Cross? I see two key challenges. The first one is very basic. We want to maintain a very close relationship with people affected by conflict, and access these days is more complex because we are in a very polarized environment. Look at the Iraq front–the problem is not new but it is exacerbated. The second issue is to be able to engage governments and non-state armed groups on a very pragmatic basis on issues related to people under their control. That normally works rather well. What I have found more complex these days is to engage them on issues related to international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Islam
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Gerard Russell
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Iraq is being denuded of its ancient communities, and both it and the world are the poorer for it. As the jihadists of Islamic State try to entrench their rule, it is an open question whether Iraq's religious minorities will survive, and if so, how they can be protected. There is another, deeper question, however. How did Iraq come to have so much religious diversity in the first place, and what does this this say about the type of Islam that prevailed there until the 21st century?
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Abdul Basit
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The rise of ISIS-like terrorist groups in the Syria and Iraq conflicts and their ability to attract foreign fighters has created new challenges for global peace. While the return of these foreign fighters to their home countries is a threat to be monitored, it is imperative to understand the factors luring them to fight in Syria and Iraq to formulate counter-strategies. The desire to live in and defend the so-called 'Islamic state', participate in the 'end times battle', sectarian motivations and the search for an Islamic identity are some of the factors attracting foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Arabinda Acharya
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS, which is at centre stage of terrorist movements today, claims to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. This is however deeply contested as the information on him is mostly from various online sources, the genealogy is unverifiable, and there are inconsistencies in publically shared information. A review of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's background and atrocities committed by the group under his leadership also show the contrast between ISIS ideology and the real teachings of Islam.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In 2003, HarperCollins published Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America. The book is as relevant today, if not more. At the beginning of Terrorist Hunter the anonymous author, since outed as Rita Katz, has infiltrated a conference for radical Muslims. She asks herself why she is in a place where she (and her unborn baby) will probably die if anyone finds her recording equipment. Recalling her past, she goes on to answer that question. Katz was born into a wealthy family of Jews living in the then-prosperous Iraqi city of al-Basrah. Her happy childhood changed dramatically after Israel soundly defeated the Arab nations that attacked it in the Six-Day War of 1967. Unable to match Israel\'s military power, many Arabs began to take revenge on the Jews within their own borders. After the Ba\'ath Party of Saddam Hussein and his cousin Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr seized power the year following the war, they came for Katz\'s father, falsely accused him of being a traitor and a spy for Israel, and began torturing him to extract a confession. Meanwhile, Katz\'s family was moved into a small, guard-surrounded stone hut from which her mother would leave each day to beg for her father\'s release—and to which she would return with fresh bruises bestowed by her husband\'s captors. Sadly, her valiant effort was in vain. Katz\'s father was well known, and his trial was scheduled to be shown on television. The Iraqi tyrants were determined to quench their Arab citizens\' thirst for vengeance by reaching a guilty verdict. Because no amount of torture had hitherto pushed Katz\'s father to confess to the crimes he had not committed, Ba\'ath party agents invited his pregnant wife into a room he knew well—one in which, just the day before, another prisoner\'s wife was beaten and gang-raped by many guards. The agents told Katz\'s father that, if he refused to confess, they would immediately walk into that room, cut open her belly, and bring his unborn child to him on a tray. Later that evening he walked to the stand and “in a clear, unwavering voice, confessed his crimes as an Israeli spy and a traitor to the Iraqi nation” (p. 25). He was hanged soon thereafter in Baghdad\'s central square—to the cheers of a half million Iraqis. Katz goes on to tell the story of her family\'s daring escape from Iraq, which required her mother to drug the guards with Valium bought surreptitiously and then pretend to be the wife of a general in order to get a car ride to a town where they could be smuggled to safety. The remainder of their trek to safety involved hiding in the secret compartment of a chicken truck and walking across mountains with duct tape on their mouths to ensure that nobody made a sound. All this is told with the drama of a good novel. In fact, when Katz and her family are on the plane to Israel, and her little brother musters the courage to ask if it is finally OK to tell people they are Jews, you are likely to cry—just as everyone on that plane did. . . .
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Arabia
  • Author: Jessica Stern, Marisa L. Porges
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Ismael Sheikh Hassan, Sari Hanafi
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This article examines the intersection of the Lebanese state's post-conflict security policy in Nahr al-Barid refugee camp and the reconstruction of the camp, which was destroyed in a battle between the Lebanese army and the militant group Fatah al-Islam. The significance of the government's security focus derives from its intention to make Nahr al-Barid a “model” for all the other camps in the country. After discussing the Lebanese security context, the characteristics of the pre-conflict camp, the arrival of Fatah al-Islam, and the ensuing battle, the authors focus on the urban planning process for a reconstructed Nahr al-Barid, highlighting both the state's militarization of the process and the local grassroots planning initiative which, in partnership with UNRWA, managed to secure some concessions. Also analyzed is the government plan submitted to donors, which conceives of “governance” as community policing without addressing the status of the Palestinians in Lebanon. IN THE SUMMER OF 2007, the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Barid, the second largest of the fourteen United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) camps in Lebanon, was totally demolished. This was a result of a battle between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, an Islamist fundamentalist group, predominantly foreign, that had implanted itself in the camp only six months earlier. After its destruction, the camp remained a strict militarized zone, imposing additional hardship on a post-disaster community of refugees struggling to rebuild their lives. Various security-based projects and policies affecting the camp's urban form, governance structure, and legal status that were planned, negotiated, or approved by the Lebanese government signaled a new era in Lebanese-refugee relations. With the events of Nahr al-Barid, the Lebanese state entered the realm of the camp, and security concerns and practices assumed new forms that would potentially affect the future lives of Palestinian refugees in all Lebanon. The camp remains a military zone to this day. More importantly, the Lebanese government's plan to make Nahr al-Barid a security model for the other Palestinian refugee camps in the country brings the issue of security more urgently to the forefront of the debate about Palestinians in Lebanon. Nahr al-Barid also fits into a wider security discussion relating to Palestinians in the host countries in the context of the “war against terror,” with issues relating to the status of camps becoming intertwined with the correlative themes of good governance, refugee rights, human security, and integration for the benefit of international donors and development agencies, even as policies on the ground disregard and sometimes contradict these concepts. This article is based on two years of fieldwork and action research in Nahr al-Barid camp. Our involvement included participation in local community post-conflict initiatives, in-depth interviews with Nahr al-Barid residents and community leaders, and up-close observation of various Palestinian and Lebanese actors in the reconstruction planning process. Our aim is to contribute to the debate on the role of “security” in dictating state policy and actions during and after the battle. The fact that government policies are still in flux makes reflection and debate on these events all the more urgent. CONTEXTUALIZING SECURITY WITHIN PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS A variety of themes and discourses at the local, regional, and global level intertwine as a backdrop to a discussion of the heightened security measures for Palestinian refugee camps in general and Nahr al-Barid in particular. One of these is the state's traditional fear of refugees as a potentially threatening and disruptive political force. Ironically, this fear—and the security measures it engenders—is shared by those who produced the refugee problem and the host states that suffered its consequences; indeed, some disturbing parallels have been drawn, mutatis mutandi, between measures against Palestinians enacted by Israel and Arab states in the name of security. Thus, whereas historically the violent conflicts between the Palestinian movement and various Arab regimes were attributed to ideological differences and power struggles, the current situation seems to be heading in new directions. Today, what has become a seemingly universal obsession with security and fighting terror increasingly infiltrates Arab slogans to validate various practices against Palestinian camps and neighborhoods (not to mention against their own citizens). These practices affecting citizens/refugees and cities/camps alike are empowered by largely uncritical international military, financial, and political support for the “war on terror.” As a result, massive urban destruction has been wreaked on densely populated communities with scant consideration for civilian populations, with the suspension of civil liberties and imposition of siege now standard procedures validated by security-based arguments for Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Jenin/Nablus in the West Bank (2002), Lebanon (2006), Nahr al-Barid (2007), Gaza (2008), and Yemen (2009).
  • Topic: Islam, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, Lebanon
  • Author: Richard N. Haass, Martin Indyk
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To be successful in the Middle East, the Obama administration will need to move beyond Iraq, find ways to deal constructively with Iran, and forge a final-status Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Rafael Bardaji
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: MADRID-Spain was attacked by Islamists on March 11, 2004, but the new government that emerged from the polls three days later never learned the right lessons from that massacre. Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his Socialist government argued that Spain had been attacked because of its presence in Iraq and because of the conservative government's cooperation with the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. Based on this notion, they concluded that by pulling out of Iraq and distancing itself from America, Spain could insulate itself from Islamic terrorism.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Spain