People all over the world were hoping that the two great wars of the twentieth century, which were real calamities, with millions of deaths and untold number of injuries, and the loss of a great deal of wealth, that those calamities would be the end of war but man is a very strange creature. Man doesn’t seem to have learned the lessons which history provides, because in less than fifty years the world is once more plunged into a very bloody conflict. Alas a very different brawl this time, a war, with very different origins and motivations. It is not about borders and assets, it is a clash between ideas and modes of life which is directed at the Christian west which is run by some extremely militant, fundamentalist Islamic groups, who claim that they are fighting god’s war, [jihad ], against the Christians infidels. A battle during which they use pretty indiscriminately every lethal weapon they have at the time, with which they have been able to deliver some very big hits to their victims, like the one they have recently engineered in France during which seventeen people were killed in several attacks which started with a massacre at the offices of the satiric Parisian newspaper, Charlie Hebdo during which 12 people including five senior editors were murdered in their office on Friday January 9. A tragedy which shocked the whole country, and the world, a tragedy to which I will come back again shortly. I am going to talk about the origin of these murderous organizations and some of their most famous or rather infamous members, and few of their major atrocities.
This ugly war which is in full swing now, was started by al-Qaeda, a radical group which was created by Osama bin laden. Its origin goes back to the decade-long conflict that plagued Afghanistan from 1979-1989. After its invasion by the Soviet Union. The Afghan Islamist extremists found a rallying call for their cause, as young Muslims from around the world came to Afghanistan to volunteer in what was being called a "holy war," or jihad, against the invading Soviets. One of these the young bin-laden, the son of a wealthy construction magnate, Osama had taken to the religious sermons of one Palestinian Islamic fanatic, Abdulla-Azzam, but while Osama participated in few actual battles in Afghanistan, he was in reality the conduit of Saudi money to the Islamists who were fighting the Soviets. When the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in early 1989, bin Laden and Azzam decided that their new organization should not be dissolved. They established what they called a base (al Qaeda) as a potential general headquarters for future jihad, and Osama bin-laden returned home, but the Saudis did not fully agree with his plans, so they exiled him to Sudan, and with him went the base of operations for al Qaeda, and from his sanctuary there he began synching up with groups from all over the Middle East and northern Africa, and began laying the groundwork for his jihad against the West, mainly against the United States, to which he directed several attacks including the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Due to mounting international pressure against him and his organization he returned to Afghanistan, but it was not until the rise of the Taliban that bin Laden had al Qaeda working again, when by this time, al Qaeda had merged with the Egyptian Islamist Jihad, headed by Ayman al-Zawahri, who would become number two in command to bin Laden. Al Qaeda was now the general headquarters for international terrorism. And in 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked by terrorists, yet this time, it was planned, directed and executed solely by al Qaeda and bin Laden. Al Qaeda would also be responsible for the 2000 strike against the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, which left 17 American sailors dead, and that was to be followed on September 11, by its most devastating attack against the United States, killing nearly 3,000 civilians. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, by a United States special Navy team, he was succeeded by his second in command, who lacked the Saudi’s charisma and intelligence so the group started to decline, which allowed new more aggressive groups to emerge like ISIS.
ISIS was founded in 1999 by the Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi , In October 2004, al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and gave his group the name, "The Organization of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia", commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006. In 12 October 2006, several more factions merged and established Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which expanded into Syria, and later on acquired a new name, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and then on 29 June 2014, ISIS renamed itself the Islamic State (IS) and declared itself to be a worldwide "caliphate".
I have talked about this group in my last two updates, I would only like to stress here and now again, that these are the most aggressive and violent jihadists we have been so unfortunate to have. I would also like to emphasize again that the way the west is dealing with them, namely by military means is not going to bring any final victory upon them, because the gun is not enough to bring the hoped for victory, and I want to end this of work by saying few words about the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
On Wednesday morning, January 7, local time, the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo tweeted a cartoon of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. "Best wishes and good health," the caption read. Minutes after the tweet was published, three armed and masked gunmen stormed the paper's offices and opened fire, killing ten of its staff and two police officers. Charlie Hebdo has been a target for a long time, thanks to a long history of intentionally controversial and provocative cartoons and covers. Charlie's stance is vocally left, anti-authoritarian, anti-religious, and anti-institutional, but it tends to get the most attention when it undertakes one of its yearly-or-so projects illustrating Muhammad cartoons.
The following day, as police continued their search for the Charlie Hebdo attack suspects who have escaped after their attack, a lone gunman shot two people in the southern Paris suburb of Mont rouge. On the next morning, the manhunt entered its final phase as police closed in on the Charlie Hebdo attack suspects who have been by then been holed up in a printing firm located on an industrial estate on the outskirts of a small town 22 miles from Paris. They were surrounded by elite forces for eight hours, but the impasse finally ended when the two brothers, who had told local media they would die "martyrs'" deaths emerged from the building, when they were killed and two police officers were injured.
Meanwhile, in Paris, another siege was under way while the two brothers were surrounded at the print works. A gunman took several people hostage at a kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes in the east of Paris after a shootout. Police quickly surrounded the building looking Amedy Coulibaly who was identified as the hostage-taker in the supermarket, who was threatening to kill people unless the two brothers were allowed to go free, but at about 17:15 local time, special forces moved against Coulibaly, commandos stormed the supermarket, shooting the gunman dead and found four dead hostages, and then they freed the remaining 15 hostages. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, saying it was ordered by the Islamist militant group's leadership for insults to Muslims especially the Prophet Mohammad.
France and the whole world are emerging from one of the worst international security crises in decades. The EU's 28 foreign ministers met in Brussels ahead of a summit of EUs’ leaders on 12 February. After the meeting, the EU's 28 foreign ministers met in Brussels ahead of a summit of leaders on 12 February. After the meeting, EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that Security officials would be appointed at some EU foreign missions and Arabic-language capacity would be boosted, in collaboration with Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria and Gulf states. The future is extremely worrying.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015