Archive for the ‘International Conflict, Terrorism & Security’ Category

30
Aug

The peaceful co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Spain might be more harmonious right now than at any other time in its history. That could be, in fact, what Daesh is targeting.

The attacks in Barcelona on August 17, 2017, conducted by terrorists pledging their allegiance to Daesh, demonstrate that despite the loss of the Islamic State’s spiritual capital Mosul over the summer, its ideology still inspires violence.

The attacks also fit a wider pattern this summer of urban terrorism having returned to Europe this summer and over the last one year. However, unlike the attacks in the UK earlier this summer, the attacks in Spain have invariably evoked the nation’s Islamic history by the media, analysts, and terrorist themselves.

Whether it was the 2004 bombing of commuter trains in Madrid or these vehicular attacks in Spain’s Catalonia region in 2017, the terrorists legitimize their violence by invoking the eight centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula from 711 to 1492.

The symbolism of catalonia’s Islamic history

When reading about the vehicular attack on Barcelona’s pedestrian boulevard, Las Ramblas, I could not help but to analyze how a Spanish-Muslim terrorist was attacking part of Spain’s Muslim past. Barcelona was never under Muslim rule, although it was sacked by Muslim general al-Mansur in 985. Nonetheless, its most iconic thoroughfare, Las Ramblas comes from the Arabic word “raml” for “sand.” Las Ramblas was a wadi, a dry river bed. Read more…

Written on Aug. 30th, 2017 by Ibrahim-Al Marashi in http://www.trtworld.com
Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

24
Apr

Francia ha sido golpeada de nuevo por un ataque terrorista. Esta vez en el centro de París y a pocos días de la primera ronda de las elecciones presidenciales. Al margen de las graves consecuencias inmediatas, como la pérdida de vidas o los daños materiales producidos por el propio ataque, lo realmente preocupante es la posible reacción colectiva a estos incidentes. Solo a través de la manipulación del comportamiento colectivo pueden los terroristas infligir verdadero daño en nuestras sociedades. Si el ataque del jueves, o cualquier otro incidente análogo, facilitara la victoria de Marine Le Pen en las elecciones francesas, el daño producido a Francia y a la Unión Europea sería infinitamente superior al que IS, Al Qaeda o la totalidad de organizaciones terroristas podrían infligir de forma directa sobre Occidente.

Empecemos en todo caso por el principio. El telón de fondo es el siguiente: vivimos hoy en las sociedades más pacíficas y seguras de la Historia. El trabajo de Steven Pinker de la Universidad de Harvard demuestra que nunca había sido la violencia física tan improbable en los colectivos humanos. Esto es cierto a nivel global y en términos de muertos en conflicto armado inter-estatal, como a nivel nacional y en términos de criminalidad común. El fenómeno terrorista no ha cambiado la tendencia general. Sabemos, por ejemplo, que en EEUU es mucho más probable morir por las lesiones producidas en una caída grave en la bañera que en un atentado terrorista.

Sabemos también que los grupos terroristas rara vez logran sus objetivos políticos; ya sean estos reformas legislativas concretas o transformaciones más profundas del status quo político. Las cifras del Profesor Max Abrahms de la Universidad Northeastern son contundentes: de 28 grupos terroristas analizados en su ensayo “Why Terrorism Does Not Work” tan solo el 7% logra alguno de sus objetivos políticos. De hecho, los que menos éxito tienen son aquellos que optan por atentar contra civiles en vez de contra las fuerzas de seguridad. El público general percibe esa táctica como amoral y criminal, y no como la actuación de un movimiento revolucionario merecedor de apoyo. Por lo tanto, el terrorismo y, en particular el terrorismo islámico, no logrará una victoria convencional directa, sino tan solo de forma indirecta a través de la reacción a sus actos. No busca convencer sino debilitar a través de la sobrerreacción de las víctimas.

Por lo tanto, si sabemos que vivimos en sociedades eminentemente seguras y que la táctica terrorista es eficaz en tanto en cuanto produce miedo, es evidente que nuestro único enemigo somos nosotros mismos. Debemos desarrollar estrategias específicas para contener los efectos de ataques terroristas al igual que lo hacemos en relación a otras muchas amenazas. Esa estrategia pasa por acotar la descripción de terrorismo de forma estricta para no caer en el error de entender toda manifestación de inseguridad como un hecho terrorista, informar al público de la escala real del problema, calibrar correctamente la reacción de las fuerzas de seguridad así como acordar con los medios de comunicación estrategias de comunicación que permitan revelar los hechos sin producir pánico. En esencia la clave será el acotar la onda expansiva de estos acontecimientos que es donde realmente radica el potencial de daño.

La peor reacción posible es la que hemos observado por parte de la Administración Trump en EEUU. Donald Trump ha elevado el nivel de alerta sobre el terrorismo islámico posicionándolo en el centro de su estrategia de seguridad nacional y aprobando medidas legislativas, como por ejemplo la orden ejecutiva que prohíbe la concesión de visados de entrada en EEUU a siete países de mayoría musulmana, que afectan a millones de personas de forma innecesaria. En Francia la reacción más perjudicial sería un aumento de apoyo a Marine Le Pen y al Frente Nacional. Una victoria de Le Pen pondría en peligro la pertenencia de Francia al Euro, a la Unión Europea y a la Alianza Atlántica. De producirse semejante reacción el terrorismo islámico habría logrado que los europeos nos infligiésemos uno de las mayores daños posibles en un momento de gran debilidad e incertidumbre.

22 de abril de 2017, el.mundo.com

1
Feb

 

 

On January 30th, students from the Bachelor and Master in International Relations had the unique opportunity to dialogue with a true man of peace, former President of Timor-Leste (2007-2012) José Ramos-Horta. On his way to Bogota, where he had been invited by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, to help him in the process of building peace after decades of conflict, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1996) and member of the Club of Madrid José Ramos-Horta stopped by Madrid and visited IE School of International Relations.

José Ramos-Horta is a journalist and political activist who, along with Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, received the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to lead Timor-Leste, a former Portuguese colony that was under Indonesian control from 1975 to 1999, into a peaceful transition to independence. “Today, there are no countries in Asia that have a better relationship than Timor-Leste and Indonesia”, a relationship that has impressed everyone, even Shimon Peres, former President of Israel.

How was that possible? By “making prevention a doctrine”, by having humble leaders who listen their people, make education a priority and managing the country’s resources in a reasonable way. José Ramos-Horta served as Prime Minister of Timor-Leste from 2006 to 2007 and as President from 2007 to 2012, a period of time in which several oil and gas reserves were discovered in Timor-Leste, bringing rapid economic growth to the country. “One of the smartest things we did, explained José Ramos-Horta, was the national sovereign fund, where all oil and gas revenues go”. In 6 years, Timor-Leste collected $16 Billion, divided into 1.000 portfolios.

In 2013, José Ramos-Horta became the United Nations’ special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). A year later, he was appointed by Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to chair the United Nations High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. The Panel drafted a comprehensive report in 2015, providing observations and recommendation to keep building Peace. Some of these recommendations have certainly inspired the Colombian President José Manuel Santos in his negotiations with the FARCs. But José Ramos-Horta warns us: “each country is different and has to find its own peace.” His advice to Colombia: “it’s time to forgive, not to forget”.

Written by Soizic Belliard, Associate Director of Admissions, IE School of International Relations

 

12
Jan

ERIC ROSAND is Director of The Prevention Project: Organizing Against Violent Extremism and former Senior Counterterrorism Official at the U.S. Department of State.

The United Nations is not only imperfect, it is also misunderstood. Somewhat predictably, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans unleashed a torrent of criticism against the UN Security Council’s adoption of a resolution [1] on December 23 condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. To express his disapproval, Trump described the institution as “just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time [2]” and went on to suggest that “if it is causing problems rather than solving them … it will be a waste of time and money [3] if it doesn’t start living up to its potential.” Several U.S. lawmakers [4] have since demanded that the United States restrict its funding for the global body over the Security Council vote and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin even went as far as to call on the United States to leave the UN.

The United Nations’ failures, of course, are well known. Less known is what it gets right, and on this score even Trump should find much to love in the institution. Indeed, if his administration hopes to, as he says, work with all “freedom loving partners [5]” to eradicate terrorism, he will need the UN, warts [6] and all.

In the post–9/11 era—and often at the behest of U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama—the UN has played a central role in globalizing the fight against terrorism and strengthening international cooperation and capacities to defeat al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS), and other terrorist groups. Less than three weeks after 9/11, Bush relied on the UN Security Council to require [7] all countries to reboot or upgrade their counterterrorism laws. As a result, dozens of nations put in place new legal measures to crack down on terrorists and their financiers. Obama likewise went to the UN when he sought [8] to tighten sanctions against and cut off financial flows to ISIS and to push the White House agenda to counter violent extremism around the world [9]. Critical U.S. partners, including China, India, and Russia, and Muslim-majority countries ranging from Egypt to Indonesia, now generally insist that all nonmilitary counterterrorism measures (such as the tightening of border controls, investigating and prosecuting terrorists, or countering radicalization at home) be grounded in some way on the UN counterterrorism framework that evolved rapidly after 9/11. This framework is seen as being in compliance with international law and therefore carries broad global legitimacy, in large part because it is derived from the UN Charter itself. Read more…

www.foreignaffairs.com

10 Jan. 2017

26
Oct

A thundercloud, heavy and dark gray. That is what it looks like from a distance. But the closer you get to Mosul from the south, the bigger and darker this cloud becomes. Instead of floating in the sky, it grows out of the ground, ultimately becoming a towering, opaque wall that swallowing entire villages, making them disappear into the darkness.

 Driving to Mosul is a drive into the apocalypse. Or at least that’s what it feels like, with the gigantic clouds of smoke coming from burning oil wells, reservoirs and ditches — laid out by Islamic State over the last two years and now set alight one after the other. Although it would normally be a sunny midday in fall, the military jeeps coming from the other direction have their lights on.

The dark curtain is meant to keep the attackers’ jets and helicopters at bay; the smoke irritates the throat and causes headaches. An armada of over 30,000 soldiers and fighters from at least a half-dozen countries began a major offensive against the de-facto capital of the “caliphate” in northern Iraq last Monday. It is not only the biggest coalition to have assembled in the fight against Islamic State (IS), it is also the least predictable. Read more…

 

http://www.spiegel.de/; By Christopher Reuter; Oct. 22nd

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