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Posts Tagged terrorism
“Why the Boston Bombers Succeeded is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis
When seeking to place an attack like the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing into context, it is helpful to classify the actors responsible, if possible. Such a classification can help us understand how an attack fits into the analytical narrative of what is happening and what is likely to come. These classifications will consider factors such as ideology, state sponsorship and perhaps most important, the kind of operative involved.
In a case where we are dealing with an apparent jihadist operative, before we can classify him or her we must first have a clear taxonomy of the jihadist movement. At Stratfor, we generally consider the jihadist movement to be divided into three basic elements: the al Qaeda core organization, the regional jihadist franchises, such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and grassroots operatives who are radicalized, inspired and perhaps equipped by the other two tiers but who are not members of either. Read the rest of this entry »
“Beyond the Post-Cold War World is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By George Friedman
Founder and Chairman
An era ended when the Soviet Union collapsed on Dec. 31, 1991. The confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union defined the Cold War period. The collapse of Europe framed that confrontation. After World War II, the Soviet and American armies occupied Europe. Both towered over the remnants of Europe’s forces. The collapse of the European imperial system, the emergence of new states and a struggle between the Soviets and Americans for domination and influence also defined the confrontation. There were, of course, many other aspects and phases of the confrontation, but in the end, the Cold War was a struggle built on Europe’s decline.
Many shifts in the international system accompanied the end of the Cold War. In fact, 1991 was an extraordinary and defining year. The Japanese economic miracle ended. China after Tiananmen Square inherited Japan’s place as a rapidly growing, export-based economy, one defined by the continued pre-eminence of the Chinese Communist Party. The Maastricht Treaty was formulated, creating the structure of the subsequent European Union. A vast coalition dominated by the United States reversed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Read the rest of this entry »
“The Acute Jihadist Threat in Europe is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By Scott Stewart, Vice President of Analysis, and Sidney Brown
On March 26, the Belgian federal police’s counterterrorism force, or Special Units, conducted a felony car stop on Hakim Benladghem, a 39-year-old French citizen of Algerian extraction. When Benladghem reacted aggressively, he was shot and killed by the police attempting to arrest him. The Special Units chose to take Benladghem down in a car stop rather than arrest him at his home because it had intelligence indicating that he was heavily armed. The authorities also knew from their French counterparts that Benladghem had been trained as a paratrooper in the French Foreign Legion.
Additional intelligence showed that Benladghem had traveled extensively and that, through his travels and email and cellphone communications, he appeared to be connected to the international jihadist movement. Rather than risk a confrontation at Benladghem’s apartment, where he had access to an arsenal of weapons as well as a ballistic vest and helmet, the police decided to arrest him while he was away from home and more vulnerable. The Belgian authorities did not want to risk a prolonged, bloody siege like the one that occurred in April 2012 in Toulouse, France, when French police attempted to arrest shooter Mohammed Merah. Read the rest of this entry »
From Freedom Outpost:
In the latest edition of Inspire’s, al-Qaeda’s English-language magazine, a feature post on page 10 reads “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” Critics of radical Islam are listed, among them is Florida pastor Terry Jones, who gained recognition for burning Korans and an Obama effigy.
This was posted to Slashdot on Feb. 25th:
“Days after the killing of leftist blogger Thaba Baba, mosques throughout Bangladesh called for a popular uprising to demand the killing of other bloggers who had held a rally calling for the death of Jama’at-e-Islami leaders convicted of war crimes. This happens in an atmosphere of ongoing tension between Left and Right, with the leftist government threatening to outlaw rightist parties while the right uses violence to quiet selected enemies.”
Former press secretary Robert Gibbs was told to deny that the drone program even existed, from day one:
“Soft Targets Back in Focus is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis
From time to time, I will sit down to write a series of analyses on a particular topic, such as the fundamentals of terrorism series last February. Other times, unrelated events in different parts of the world are tied together by analytical threads, naturally becoming a series. This is what has happened with the last three weekly security analyses — a common analytical narrative has risen to connect them.
First, we discussed how the Jan. 16 attack against the Tigantourine natural gas facility near Ain Amenas, Algeria, would result in increased security at energy facilities in the region. Second, we discussed foreign interventions in Libya and Syria and how they have regional or even global consequences that can persist for years. Finally, last week we discussed how the robust, layered security at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara served to thwart a suicide bombing.
Together, these topics spotlight the heightened and persistent terrorist threat in North Africa as well as Turkey and the Levant. They also demonstrate that militants in those regions will be able to acquire weapons with ease. But perhaps the most important lesson from them is that as diplomatic missions are withdrawn or downsized and as security is increased at embassies and energy facilities, the threat is going to once again shift toward softer targets. Read the rest of this entry »
From Time’s Battleland Blog:
For now, the only club whose membership can earn you such a “pre-crime-sentence” is al-Qaeda, but how many dangerous organizations (you tell me where to put the sarcastic quotation marks on that phrase) will be added to this list in the years and decades ahead?
Ask yourself that, Mr. Obama.
From: The Guardian
Britain is prepared to take the risk of sending a “sizeable amount” of troops to Mali and neighbouring West African countries as David Cameron offers strong support to France in its operation to drive Islamist militants from its former colony.
From the FBI:
David Coleman Headley, a U.S. citizen partly of Pakistani descent, was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for a dozen federal terrorism crimes relating to his role in planning the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, and a subsequent proposed attack on a newspaper in Denmark. Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to all 12 counts that were brought against him following his arrest in October 2009 as he was about to leave the country. Immediately after his arrest, Headley began cooperating with authorities.
“The Unspectacular, Unsophisticated Algerian Hostage Crisis is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis
The recent jihadist attack on the Tigantourine natural gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria, and the subsequent hostage situation there have prompted some knee-jerk discussions among media punditry. From these discussions came the belief that the incident was spectacular, sophisticated and above all unprecedented. A closer examination shows quite the opposite.
Indeed, very little of the incident was without precedent. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who orchestrated the attack, has employed similar tactics and a similar scale of force before, and frequently he has deployed forces far from his group’s core territory in northern Mali. Large-scale raids, often meant to take hostages, have been conducted across far expanses of the Sahel. What was unprecedented was the target. Energy and extraction sites have been attacked in the past, but never before was an Algerian natural gas facility selected for such an assault.
A closer look at the operation also reveals Belmokhtar’s true intentions. The objective of the attack was not to kill hostages but to kidnap foreign workers for ransom — an objective in keeping with many of Belmokhtar’s previous forays. But in the end, his operation was a failure. His group killed several hostages but did not destroy the facility or successfully transport hostages away from the site. He lost several men and weapons, and just as important, he appears to have also lost the millions of dollars he could have gained through ransoming his captives. Read the rest of this entry »
Here is an in depth analysis of North African history and how it affects current issues from SOFREP.
…there is this strange gap where political science, history, and journalism do not quite merry up with each other.
Journalism doesn’t care about history very much. Political Science often ignores historical precedents and anecdotal evidence on the ground, and history is by its nature going to be 20 years or more behind the power curve because someone has to write white papers and PhD dissertations before the information can be cited as a source.
From the FBI:
A Pakistani native who operated a Chicago-based immigration business was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist plot in Denmark and providing material support to Lashkar e Tayyiba, a terrorist organization operating in Pakistan that was responsible for the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India. The defendant, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, was convicted of the charges on June 9, 2011, following a three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
The Washington Times has the full story:
The center — part of the institution where men and women are molded into Army officers — posted the report Tuesday. It lumps limited government activists with three movements it identifies as “a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.”
From the Washington Post:
Algerian forces have surrounded the complex and the state news agency reported a bit more than 20 people were being held, including Americans, Britons, Norwegians, French and Japanese, citing the local authorities.