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  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default ISIS & Russia: a connection?

    A Lithuanian writer asks 'Putin’s Russia. Do traces of KGB, FSB and GRU lead to Islamic State?' or:
    Is it really possible to fully understand the phenomenon of the Islamic state without paying attention to the alleged links between Russian secret services and Chechen terrorists?
    Link:http://en.delfi.lt/central-eastern-e....d?id=66856642

    There are many references to the Caucasus, Chechen a wandering and other places in Central Asia. Sadly there are no footnotes, although clues are given for some of the sources.

    Myth or reality? You decide.
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    Speculations: Putin has selected France as a target country for Russian terrorism as Hollande is a soft target in the EU.

    There is some speculation that a number of the weapons used in the Paris attacks came via Chechnya.

    More speculations: Why did Russia chose France as the target country for its international terrorism? Hidden factors? #Sarkozy

    Motive is extremely important to understand a crime. Who benefits from the attack on #JeSuisCharlie?
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 01-12-2015 at 05:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Speculations: Putin has selected France as a target country for Russian terrorism as Hollande is a soft target in the EU.

    There is some speculation that a number of the weapons used in the Paris attacks came via Chechnya.

    More speculations: Why did Russia chose France as the target country for its international terrorism? Hidden factors? #Sarkozy

    Motive is extremely important to understand a crime. Who benefits from the attack on #JeSuisCharlie?
    There's No Line Kadyrov Can't Cross, Analysts Say | News | The Moscow Times
    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/a...ay/514252.html

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    Chechen Islamists are fighting with IS, Chechen Islamists are fighting in the Ukraine for Russia and now both the IS and Russian troops share the same battle fatigues---connection?

    Islamic State fighters and Novorossiya rebels must be shopping at the same military fashion outlet:pic.twitter.com/uu5KK43Z8p

    [B]From #ISIS to Donbass #Ukraine, #Russia'n mil gear Gorka is trending among the terrorists. /B]
    pic.twitter.com/4OGYdaWhvz

    UKR MP @DmitryTymchuk reports 2 Chechnya's Internal Affairs men caught during intense fighting at Donetsk airport https://www.facebook.com/dmitry.tymc...21674831294509

    Who can explain sign on Kadyrov's chest? Resembles IS emblem. Used in other context too?
    pic.twitter.com/yBJmtDaKEb”

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    http://20committee.com/2014/06/10/ex...an-connection/

    That Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s right-hand man and the leader of the global jihad movement since bin Laden’s death in May 2011, spent almost a half-year in the mid-1990s in the custody of Russian intelligence is admitted by both sides and is a matter of public record.[3] Just as significant, Zawahiri’s Russian sojourn occurred at a pivotal point in the development of al-Qa’ida; the shift in strategy, resulting in attacks on the “far enemy” (i.e. the United States), the road leading to 9/11, occurred after Zawahiri’s imprisonment by the Russians.

    To this day, Russia has endured many attacks by Chechen militants, but no confirmed acts of terrorism perpetrated by al-Qa’ida Central. This vexing issue continues to offer more questions than answers, and needs additional research, particularly considering the state of relations between Moscow and the West.

    The Russian FM condemned the IS attacks in Paris yesterday---but strangely did not mention AQAP Yemen which claimed responsibility today in the same breath.

    AQAP takes responsibility for #ParisAttacks, says Dr Zawahiri ordered the hit on #CharlieHebdo
    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News...do-attack.html

    Of the two it has been IS that has threatened war in Chechnya and who the Russians inherently fear more if one takes their FM comments at face value.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 01-14-2015 at 12:15 PM.

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    Default Boko Haram, ISIS and al-Qaeda: How the Jihadists Compare

    Boko Haram, ISIS and al-Qaeda: How the Jihadists Compare

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    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Islamic State and Revolts from the Margins

    Professor Paul Rogers has a short commentary, via Oxford Research Group, that:
    There are indications that what has been seen as a narrow series of extreme Islamist movements is now evolving into a much wider phenomenon of generic revolts from the margins. If so, this represents a far more significant transformation of security challenges than the “war on terror” that followed the 9/11 attacks.

    (Later) What has recently become evident, however, is that there is something even more fundamental developing in a number of regions where extreme Islamist movements have taken root: they are being fuelled by a perception of marginalisation and exclusion which transcends Islamic State’s more narrow vision of defending Islam under attack from the Crusader forces of the West.
    Link:http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.u...evolts_margins

    I have long wondered whether the current US and Western allied focus on ISIS in Iraq-Syria, even if seemingly minus a strategy and impact, is a mistake.

    I do not doubt that ISIS and its concept of the Caliphate is dangerous to many in the region and beyond, we seem to be ignoring the impact elsewhere. So back to Paul Rogers:
    In many countries, the marginalised majority has disproportionally large Muslim populations frequently aggrieved and amenable to proselytization. The Economist listed Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda as countries facing jihadist groups and identified an endemic issue.
    Citing The Economist article 'Jihafrica':
    from Mali and Nigeria to Kenya and Tanzania the story is the same: extremists emerge from and woo Muslim populations on the national periphery who are fed up with decades of neglect, discrimination and mistreatment by their rulers. Jihadists are able to exploit existing religious tensions and latch on to disgruntled Muslim communities.
    Bill Moore has recently posted a cautionary note about developments in South-East Asia, see Post 14:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5635

    So far ISIS has shown no intention of making alliances outside the Muslim faith (I exclude the few "willing fools" who appear), that does not mean local movements could.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-07-2017 at 08:37 AM. Reason: 20,067v before merging
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    from ISIS and Islam, beyond the dream

    "Modern states and modern politics (not just all the complex debates about how power should be exercised, who exercises it, who decides who exercises it etc., but also the institutions and mechanisms that evolved to manage modern states and modern politics) mostly reached their current form in Europe. They did not arise from nothing. Many ancient strands grew and intersected to create these states and their political institutions. And there are surely things about this evolution that are contingent and would have been different if they had happened elsewhere. But there are also many features of modern life that are based on new and universally applicable discoveries about human psychology, human biology and human sociology. They have made possible new levels of organization and productivity and in a globalized world (and the Eurasian landmass has had some sort of exchange of ideas for millennia, but this process has accelerated now by orders of magnitude) it is impossible for any large population to ignore these advances and suvive unmolested by those willing to take advantage of these advances.

    The modern world that has been created is not just one random "civilization" among many. It is the cutting edge of human knowledge and the human ability to apply that knowledge to good and evil ends. Whatever else it may be (and there is no shortage of people who feel it is too oppressive, too unfair, too fast, too anxiety-provoking, too inhuman, etc etc.) it is an extremely powerful and progressive culture. You can reject it, and countless people (including, it seems, many of the most privileged intellectuals of this very civilization) do reject many aspects of it. But it should also be noted that there are degrees of rejection. Most of the critics (but not all of them) are either critics-from-within, who only reject certain aspects of it, or non-serious critics whose wholesale contempt for the project is not matched by any equivalent personal commitment or serious consideration of alternatives. Most of them also seem unable to do without critical aspects of modernity. Aspects you cannot have without having far more of the rest than they seem to care for. To give two random examples, I have never met a multiculturalist liberal or leftist in the West (including those of Desi origin) who is willing to himself or herself live under the restrictive sexual morality and the community-centric balance of community vs individual rights characteristic of "traditional cultures'. And I have NEVER met an Islamist who did not want an air-force (you can work out for yourself all the other innovations and institutional mechanisms that would be needed in order to have a competitive indigenous air-force).

    In fact, forget traditional cultures, just look at Maoist China and the Khmer Rouge, both of whom explicitly rejected modern individualism and mere meritocracy and insisted they wanted to be "Red rather than Expert". One ended up honoring the legacy of Liu Bocheng and Deng Xiaoping over Mao, the other ended up on the proverbial "dust heap of history". There is a lesson (or several lessons) in those choices and their spectacular failure.

    In short, the only people who can realistically stay outside of "our universal civilization" are either museum communities permitted to survive as quaint exemplars of bygone days (like the Amish) or VERY tiny communities that are so isolated and remote that they have escaped the maw of the Eurasian beast until now. Our universal civilization does not have to be seen as positively as Naipaul famously saw it, but it still has to be seen for what it is, a gigantic human achievement and a work in progress; all criticism and resistance being included within it (dialectics anyone?)

    And it is important to note that this universal civilization is no longer exclusively European (and never was exclusively European for that matter). Soon, this universal civilization may be dominated by non-European people, a fact that Eurocentric PostMarxist intellectuals seem to have very great difficulty assimilating into their worldview. The institutions and ideas that developed in Europe (from earlier sources that came from all over Eurasia) in the last 400 years have been adopted and adapted already by several Asian nations (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan), with China not far behind and India set to follow. Muslims are not special enough to escape that fate. The only thing truly remarkable about the Muslim core region is the widespread desire to integrate huge elements of modern civilization while remaining medieval in terms of theology, law and politics. Of course we are not unique in this desire; there are Indians and Chinese and Japanese who "reject modernity" as being too European, and who insist they have an alternative path. Whether they do or do not is to some extent a matter of semantics, but Muslims are not unique in claiming that "we are a fundamentally different civilization". Where we are unique (for now) is only in our inability to generate a genuinely open debate on this topic; the tendency in the Islamicate core is for almost everyone in the public sphere to pay lip-service to delusional or formulaic and practically meaningless Islamist ideals and to avoid direct criticism of medieval laws and theology. This is unlike how it is routine for Indians to criticize Indian "fundamentalists" or Christians to criticize Christian ones. And for that we have to thank the blasphemy and apostasy memes more than any intrinsic unchangeability of Islamicate laws and theology.

    - See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksd....C5fl9Zlx.dpuf

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    More on this theme. "Why do Muslims Blow Stuff Up"?

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...-stuff-up.html

    Relevant Excerpt:

    But here is the point I really wanted to make:
    I heard (more than 10 years ago) from an Islamist historian (PhD U Chicago) that the correct way of looking at lack of Hindu or African Pagan blowback is to regard them as weaker civilizations, unable/unwilling to contend for world-beater status (Hindutvadis are trying, with limited success, to alter this perception btw). His point was that Islamists sending terrorists and throwing bombs maybe wrong (in his opinion, it was wrong) because it may be tactically harmful to their cause or it may be morally unsound (he was not in favor of indiscriminate slaughter), but on the general point of fighting against the West, he thought the crucial difference is that the Islamic world represents real civiliazational competition; challengers who think they can and SHOULD fight in the big leagues...while Hindus and Africans are just waiting to be converted to more successful ideologies and are "not even invited to the party".
    In short, that Muslims are different, but not in the way you think: they are not different in being more bloodthirsty (he believed, as a historian, that ALL great powers and dominant civilizations have been blood thirsty) but in thinking of themselves as a potential world power, not just "subalterns".

    I think he was wrong (i.e. the world is not best described by the kind of clash of civilizations he subscribed to, and the Muslim world is in no position to challenge as some sort of outsider civilization, distinct from what Naipaul famously dubbed "our universal civilization").

    But one should not think that sophisticated Islamists themselves have no such ambition.

    Finally, the oil-kingdom and wahabiism are indeed proximate causes of the Jihadi upsurge, but they succeeded not just because they paid people (the US has paid billions for "counter-jihadist" propaganda, with little noticeable impact) but because their ideology could be presented as the logical culmination of classical Islamic themes. Which is why educated (therefore more susceptible to "logic" and rational argument) believing Muslims in Pakistan so frequently gravitate to Maudoodi-like figures, even if their own families were Barelvi/Sufi/grave-worshipping/Indian-inflected "moderate Muslims" just one generation ago.

    I hope to write more later to expand on this point.

  12. #12
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Explaining ISIS by Will McCants

    A short podcast (16 mins) of a SME William McCants @ Chicago speaking on 'The Power of an Idea' as part of an event on Terrorism: Behind the Headlines.

    Link:https://www.chicagoideas.com/videos/876

    His very slim bio:
    William McCants directs the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at The Brookings Institution. McCants is the author of 'The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State'.
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    Default ISIS and the Use and Abuse of Early Islamic History

    A month ago Professor Hugh Kennedy (SOAS, London) and an acknowledged SME on Islamic history gave a lecture @ Birmingham University - it was excellent. From the organisers summary:
    Hugh’s lecture interrogated the rise of ISIS, breaking down the often-quoted notion that Western intervention in the Middle East was the sole cause of the rise and popularity of IS. Instead, he linked this as one contributing factor with the failure of Middle Eastern nationalism and socialism. IS seeks to break both of these down; national borders won’t matter in the Caliphate, and neither will the will of the people – only the will of Allah.
    Link:https://cesmabirmingham.wordpress.co...lamic-history/

    Now there is a YouTube video (51 mins):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoYAPFPYqgw
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    Default ISIS: a rhetorical pillar for the “theology” of jihadism.

    An excellent article on the arguments used by ISIS to justify their jihad against:
    ...the primary target of Isil and similar groups is not the West. It is other Muslims. Above all, Shia Muslims.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...fantasist.html

    The full title and sub-title are:
    Anyone who thinks Westerners are flocking to Isil because of the Iraq war is a fantasist; Isil and its jihadist ideology uniquely exploit underlying conflicts and offer the conspiracy theory solution: none of this is your fault.
    On radicalization:
    Radicalisation is complex phenomenon. There are as many reasons for radicalisation as there are radicalised young Muslims. Each one of them has their own story with a complex mix of reasons, more or less rational, for why they have come to have the radical world view. Nonetheless, we can also observe some strong patterns amongst those radicalised emerging from the increasing body of interdisciplinary research on radicalisation. For example, most come from unsafe, unstable social environments and have histories of petty crime, as well as drink and drugs problems. It is also notable that this tendency is especially acute amongst white Western converts. They may feel that their lives lack direction, but also feel disempowered and disenfranchised. They feel that they are not in control of their own destinies.
    What an organisation like Isil offers them is instant reception. And moreover, a purpose. A direction in life.
    Author's slim, UK bio:http://www.rai.ox.ac.uk/fellows/ibrahim
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    Default ISIS: two essential reads

    First a "one stop" explanation from the BBC 'Islamic State group: The full story' and then a Salon article, which includes a Q&A with Will McCants; with a sub-title:
    Simple-minded analysis of religion, history and our challenge in the Middle East leads to the wrong policy choices
    The BBC:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35695648

    Salon:http://www.salon.com/2016/03/19/the_islamic_state_would_not_be_with_us_today_if_th e_united_states
    _hadnt_invaded_iraq_islam_religion_and_the_intervi ew_donald_trump_and
    _ted_cruz_must_read_now/

    Thread created for maximum visibility; there is a main thread already on watching ISIS.
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    Default Malcolm Nance on defeating ISIS

    Two options to learn Malcolm Nance's viewpoint, a short written article and a 48 minute podcast. He is an expert and author of akey book on Iraq; see an old, closed 2015 thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=22337

    A slim bio:
    ...former Arabic speaking naval intelligence counter-terrorism and intelligence officer Malcolm Nance. After spending 35 years participating in field and combat intelligence activity including both covert and clandestine anti & counter-terrorism support to national intelligence agencies...
    The article which was written after Brussels:http://www.politico.eu/article/five-...evastate-isil/

    Podcast via the Intl Spy Museum:http://s3.amazonaws.com/spy-museum/f...3_18_nance.mp3
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    Default Moderator's Note

    Six substantial threads have been merged here; they all refer to defeating ISIS beyond and on the battlefield. Several were "stand alone" threads and one had several posts in response.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-28-2016 at 08:31 PM. Reason: 24.3k views to date.
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    Default What next?

    Jason Burke's column after Brussels has the headline 'The tyranny of Isis terrorism will not always be with us. But history shows that a new militant threat will emerge' and sub-titled:
    Is this now the new normal? In the capitals of the west, should we simply get used to living with routine fear? Jason Burke sees cause for hope in a weakening of Isis, but cautions that Islamic militancy does not begin nor end with that group’s savagery. He traces the shifts in extreme factions and twisted ideologies, and ponders how terror might next mutate
    Link:http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...eat-what-next?
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    Default Changes in modus operandi of IS terrorist attacks

    A short (8 pg PPT) from Europol, the full title being:
    Changes in modus operandi of Islamic State terrorist attacks
    Link:https://t.co/5mthVAPQDA

    It was written after the latest Paris attacks and on a quick skim has few surprises. It does have some interesting passages on radicalisation after the Europol meeting's review:
    (Pt.6) An increasing phenomenon is that of Islamist “brotherhood gatherings”, analogous to other faction camps that have existed for decades with other religious movements. This is a relatively new concept for Muslims, which first surfaced only a couple of years ago.

    (Pt.8) In view of this shift away from the religious component in the radicalisation of, especially, young recruits, it may be more accurate to speak of a ‘violent extremist social trend’ rather than using the term ‘radicalisation’.
    (pt.9) A significant proportion of foreign fighters (20 per cent according to one source, even more according to another) have been diagnosed with mental problems prior to joining IS. A large proportion of recruits (estimates are as high as 80 per cent) have criminal records varying from petty crimes to more serious offences. Rates and types of offences seem to differ between countries. It may be that recruiters specifically target criminals with an inclination for violence, or that some criminals find that, in joining IS, it provides the opportunity to give free rein to their violent impulses.
    I will copy this post to the thread on radicalisation:Studies on radicalization & comments
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-07-2017 at 08:34 AM. Reason: 17,112v before merging
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    Default A New American Leader Rises in ISIS

    A New American Leader Rises in ISIS

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