Germany’s Intelligence Chief Says At Least 550 Germans In IS Ranks

Coat of arms of Syria -- the "Hawk of Qur...

Coat of arms of Syria — the “Hawk of Qureish” with shield of vertical tricolor of the national flag, holding a scroll with the words الجمهورية العربية السورية (Al-Jumhuriyah al-`Arabiyah as-Suriyah “The Syrian Arab Republic”). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

November 23, 2014

The head of Germany‘s domestic intelligence agency says that some 550 citizens of the country have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Hans-Georg Maassen told the newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” in an interview published on November 23 that the number of Germans fighting alongside IS militants had risen from 450, the number German officials have previously been using.

Maassen said about 60 of those German citizens were killed in fighting, with at least nine killing themselves in suicide attacks.

Maassen said German authorities believe some 180 jihadists have returned after fighting in Syria and Iraq and since Germany is part of the alliance fighting the Islamic State extremist group, the country is “naturally” a target for the militants.

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Boko Haram Uses Female Suicide Bombers to Maximise Panic

Boko Haram Uses Female Suicide Bombers to Maximise Panic

A picture of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, some of whom are suspected to being coerced into suicide bombing. (Agence France-Presse)

Lagos, Nigeria Boko Haram is using female suicide bombers to sow wider panic and fear across Nigeria as well as gain greater publicity for its cause, experts said, after two fresh attacks in a week. The attacks, in Azare in the northeastern state of Bauchi and the Niger state town of Kontagora in the northwest, came after four attacks in a week in the northern city of Kano in July.

In June, another woman was said to have blown herself up in a twin bombing in the southwestern city of Lagos, although her involvement was never confirmed by the authorities. Continue reading

Is It Too Late For Libya?

Interviewee: Mary Fitzgerald, The Irish Times
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor
October 3, 2014

Three years after the fall of Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya is unraveling at a pace and scale few analysts expected, says Mary Fitzgerald, a Tripoli-based journalist. She says the violence which teeters on the brink of civil war, is rooted more in regional, economic, and social cleavages than religious differences. “Libya’s crisis is too often reduced to a narrative of Islamist versus non-Islamist,” she explains. “It’s less an ideological battle than a scramble for power and resources.” Meanwhile, she says that international efforts to stem the crisis, which are often viewed suspiciously in Libya, have achieved little.

Tripoli ProtestersSupporters of Operation Dawn wave Libyan flags in Tripoli as they demonstrate against the new Libyan parliament, September 2014. (Photo: Ismail Zitouny/Courtesy Reuters)

There are constant reports of violence in Libya. How bad is it?

Libyans talk of their country being at its most serious juncture since the uprising against Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011. The scale and speed of the unraveling this summer has taken many by surprise. The ensuing power struggle has deepened polarization not just in the political sphere but also on the street, and even within families. Many Libyans fear their country could tip into civil war. Continue reading

Bosnia and the Global Jihad Revisited

English: Kingdom of Bosnia in the XIV century....

English: Kingdom of Bosnia in the XIV century.Category:Maps of the history of Principality of Zeta and Kingdom of Bosnia(XIV th-century) Category:Maps of the history of Bosnia (XIVth-century) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 23, 2014

Back in 2007, my book Unholy Terror ruffled quite a few feathers by pointing out the unpleasant truth that, in the 1990s, Bosnia-Hercegovina became a jihadist playground and a major venue for Al-Qa’ida, thanks to malign Saudi and Iranian influences. This was off-message, to put it mildly, to critics eager to defend failed Western (especially American) policies in the Balkans, as well as the usual coterie of jihad fellow-travelers and Useful Idiots, plus those eager, for personal reasons, not to have anyone look too deeply into where Saudi money goes in Europe.

However, my essential message — that Islamist extremism, though a largely imported phenomenon in Bosnia, has put down local roots and is likely to metastasize further due to that country’s intractable socio-economic problems — has been proven sadly accurate over the last seven years. For years, the debate over Islamism in Bosnia, and Southeastern Europe generally, was divided between security practitioners on one side and academics and journalists on the other, with the former group, which actually understood what was happening on the ground, being concerned about growing radicalism, while the latter bunch was generally happy to avert eyes from obvious signs of trouble, and to hurl accusations of bias and “Islamophobia” at those who pointed out what was happening. Continue reading

The New Islamists

How the most extreme adherents of radical Islam are getting with the times.

BY OLIVIER ROY | APRIL 16, 2012

The following is an excerpt from the book The Islamists Are Coming: Who They Really Are,  which will be released on April 18 by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The longstanding debate over whether Islam and democracy can coexist has reached a stunning turning point. Since the Arab uprisings began in late 2010, political Islam and democracy have become increasingly interdependent. The debate over whether they are compatible is now virtually obsolete. Neither can now survive without the other.

 

In Middle Eastern countries undergoing political transitions, the only way for Islamists to maintain their legitimacy is through elections. Their own political culture may still not be democratic, but they are now defined by the new political landscape and forced in turn to redefine themselves — much as the Roman Catholic Churchended up accepting democratic institutions even as its own practices remained oligarchic.

At the same time, democracy will not set down roots in Arab countries in transition without including mainstream Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ennahda in Tunisia, or Islah in Yemen. The so-called Arab Spring cleared the way for the Islamists. And even if many Islamists do not share the democratic culture of the demonstrators, the Islamists have to take into account the new playing field the demonstrations created.

The debate over Islam and democracy used to be a chicken-and-egg issue: Which came first?  Democracy has certainly not been at the core of Islamist ideology. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has historically been strictly centralized and obedient to a supreme guide, who rules for life. And Islam has certainly not been factored into promotion of secular democracy. Indeed, skeptics long argued that the two forces were even anathema to each other.

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Meet The Brotherhood’s Enforcer: Khairat El-Shater”

Logo Muslim Brotherhood

Logo Muslim Brotherhood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Egyptian media outlet Ahram Online has published a profile of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater titled “Meet the Brotherhood’s enforcer: Khairat El-Shater.” The article begins:

The name and face of the Muslim Brotherhood leader, businessman Khairat El-Shater, has dominated the political sphere for weeks now, and for good reason.The multimillionaire has unrivaled leverage within the organisation and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, and enjoys enormous influence over the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau and Shura Council, the two highest bodies within the group. But what has really gripped the attention of pundits and the media have been the slew of leaks from the Brotherhood that El-Shater may be the organisations’ candidate for president, despite earlier promises that it would not be fielding a nominee. The obsesion is justified. At 62 it is El-Shater, and not the Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei, who really runs the Muslim Brotherhood. Ask anyone in the organisation why the leadership is at war with Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, one of the group’s most popular figures until he broke rank, announced his candidacy for the presidency and was immediately expelled, and the answer is El-Shater. Why did the Brotherhood punish Abul-Fotouh’s supporters within the organisation and expel those who joined his presidential campaign? Because of El-Shater. Who has been the driving force behind the Brotherhood’s tactics and public discourse since Mubarak’s ouster? It is El-muhandis – the engineer – as El-Shater likes to be called. He was, after all, once an assistant professor at El-Mansoura University’s Faculty of Engineering.

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Morocco Islamists poised to win parliamentary vote

Istiqlal office of the Al-Fida Derb-Soltane di...

Image via Wikipedia

By Souhail Karam

RABAT | Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:59am IST

(Reuters) – Morocco‘s moderate Islamist PJD party is on course to win a parliamentary election, partial results showed on Saturday, in what would be the second victory for Islamists in the region in the wake of the “Arab Spring” uprisings.

Incomplete results from Friday’s vote indicate that PJD will lead a coalition government in partnership with the secularist party of the outgoing prime minister and two other groups.

Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab Spring, sent ripples through the Middle East last month when a moderate Islamist movement won the country’s first democratic election.

Morocco has not had a revolution of the kind seen elsewhere in the region, with its ruler, King Mohammed, still firmly in charge. But it has witnessed some protests inspired by Arab uprisings, mostly to demand fewer direct powers for the monarchy and an end to corruption. In response, the king has introduced limited reforms.

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