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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
  • Author: Nelly Lahoud, Muhammad al-`Ubaydi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: ON FEBRUARY 2, 2014, al-Qa`ida released a statement declaring that "it has no connection" with the "group" called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The statement further highlighted that al-Qa`ida was not responsible for founding the ISIL and was not privy to the deliberations that led to its establishment. That is why, the statement continued, "The ISIL is not a branch of al-Qa`ida, the latter is not bound by organizational ties to it and is not responsible for the ISIL's actions."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil War, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Author: Fernando Reinares
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: ON MARCH 11, 2004, a series of coordinated bombings ripped through Madrid's commuter train system, killing 191 people. Although the attacks have been described as the product of an independent cell of self-radicalized individual sonly inspired by al-Qa`ida, the extensive criminal proceedings on the Madrid bombings refute this hypothesis. The network responsible for the Madrid attacks evolved from the remnants of an al-Qa`ida cell formed in Spain a decade earlier. It was initiated following instructions from an operative of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and included members of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), as well as two former members of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Although the network also included common criminals who radicalized into jihadists, this cell component was only a late addition.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Libya
  • Author: Derek Henry Flood
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: ON JANUARY 17, 2012, a rebellion began in Mali when ethnic Tuareg fighters attacked a Malian army garrison in the eastern town of Menaka near the border with Niger.1 In the conflict's early weeks, the ethno-nationalist rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA)2 cooperated and sometimes collaborated with Islamist fighters of Ansar Eddine for as long as the divergent movements had a common enemy in the Malian state.3 On March 22, disgruntled Malian soldiers upset about their lack of support staged a coup d'état, overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Amadou Toumani Touré.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Northern Mali
  • Author: Shadi Hamid, Steven Brooke
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: On february 11, 2011, Egypt had its revolution when President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down after 18 days of massive protests. With the military taking control and promising a transition to democracy, the question of what comes next has acquired a particular urgency. Specifically, Western fears of the Muslim Brotherhood stepping into the political vacuum have re-energized a longstanding debate about the role of Islamists in Middle Eastern politics, and the dilemma that poses for the United States.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, Egypt
  • Author: Bruce Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Confronted with the sudden death of a leader, terrorist groups become cornered animals. When wounded, they lash out. Not only in hopes of surviving, but also to demonstrate their remaining power and continued relevance. Al-Qa`ida is no different. As its statement issued on May 6, 2011 confirming Usama bin Ladin's death declared, “The soldiers of Islam, groups and individuals, will continue planning without tiredness or boredom, and without despair or surrender, and without weakness or stagnancy, until they cause the disaster that makes children look like the elderly!”
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, America
  • Author: Flagg Miller
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: As the world waits for the declassification of documents from Usama bin Ladin's Abbottabad residence in Pakistan, an earlier archive shedding valuable light on al-Qa`ida's formation under Bin Ladin is slowly being released. Acquired by the Cable News Network in early 2002 from Bin Ladin's Kandahar compound, more than 1,500 audiocassettes are being made available to public researchers by Yale University.Dating from the late 1960s through 2000, the vast majority of tapes in this collection are in Arabic and feature lectures, sermons and conversations among more than 200 speakers from across the Islamic world. At least 22 recordings feature Bin Ladin himself, only one of which has been published to date.After the tapes were reviewed by U.S. intelligence agencies shortly after their acquisition, the collection was sold to the Williams College Afghan Media Project run by American anthropologist David Edwards. This author began cataloguing and archiving the collection in 2003, as soon as the tapes arrived at the college, and is currently writing a book about the figuration of Bin Ladin's leadership and al-Qa`ida through the archive. The initial results of the findings are presented in this article.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Arabia
  • Author: Nelly Lahoud
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The central argument espoused by jihadist ideologues and leaders is that the Muslim world is plagued by grievances and injustices, many of which are caused by the West. According to their logic, the United States and corrupt, oppressive Muslim regimes are two sides of the same coin. Jihadist leaders warn Muslims not to fall for Western “deceptive” ideas such as democracy and human rights because they are designed to divert the umma (Islamic community) from jihad and ultimately paralyze it. Ayman al- Zawahiri, for example, asserts that the United States has only achieved its interests “by spreading oppression and terrorism at the hands of its [Islamic] allies.” According to al-Zawahiri, Western civilization sings the praises of human rights and liberties as long as such singing serves and benefits its interests. Jihadists have thus determined that jihad is the only path toward genuine change in this world and divine reward in the hereafter. Their jihad, they claim, is to fight to make God's Law supreme on earth. Only then can all Muslims, rulers and citizenry, be equally accountable to God's Law.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States