Posts Tagged terror
Turns out the spurious-sounding rumours that I reported earlier were, in fact, incorrect – meaning that Alan Jones was wrong. Who saw that one coming?
The bombers were not actually radical leftists. It turns out to have been Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tzarnaev – two Muslim brothers from Chechnya.
As of writing, Tamerlan has been shot and Dzokhar is apparently holed-up in a house, surrounded by police and National Guard. There is not a huge amount of information out there about them, but it is coming in drips and drabs – and everything that I have seen so far points to homegrown terrorists.
One of the quickly cobbled-together reports comes from Foreign Policy‘s David Kenner (my bold):
Tamerlan was apparently a boxer who hoped to gain citizenship by being selected for the U.S. Olympic team: “Unless his native Chechnya becomes independent, Tamerlan says he would rather compete for the United States than for Russia,” Hirn wrote.
Other captions paint Tamerlan as a devoted Muslim. “I’m very religious,” he says at one point, noting that he does not smoke or drink alchol. “There are no values anymore,” he says, worrying that “people can’t control themselves.”
Tamerlan also appears isolated and bewildered by American life. “I don’t have a single American friend,” he laments, despite living in the United States for five years. “I don’t understand them.”
At the time the photos were taken , Tamerlan’s life did not seem all bad: Hirn writes that he was competing as a boxer, enrolled in Bunker Hill Community College and pursuing a career as an engineer, and had a half-Portuguese, half-Italian girlfriend that converted to Islam for him. “She’s beautiful, man!” he said.
At some point, though, it all went wrong. In 2009, Tamerlan was arrested for domestic assault and battery after assaulting his girlfriend.
Dzhokhar, meanwhile, was a second-year medical student.
I don’t have a link for this, but I just listened to an interview of their uncle and I picked up a couple of other facts. Their uncle claimed that it is likely that Tamerlan had been influencing Dzhokhar, and that Dzhokhar was a sweet boy but Tamerlan had problems. He also said that their parents worked extremely hard and were only concerned with putting food on the table, although they both returned to Russia a year ago.
Also of interest is Tamerlan’s social media page. There are not many posts, but one includes a video entitled “Chechnyan accents”, and another has this joke:
Inside a car sit a Dagestani, a Chechen and Ingush. Who is driving?
According to this photo by photojournalist Johannes Hirn – who did a series on Tamerlan – Tamerlan was not doing too badly for himself. At least according to the designer clothing and the Mercedes he was driving:
Finally (and most significantly), according to Adam Serwer at Mother Jones, Tamerlan had been consuming and distributing Islamist propaganda.
Putting this all together, we can build a profile of the two boys (well, more so for Tamerlan):
- Second generation immigrants (they both went to high school in the US, so more or less second).
- Relatively affluent.
- Devout Muslims with an Islamist bent.
- Well educated.
- Socially isolated – had trouble integrating into America and did not really feel as though they belonged.
- Viewed Western culture as amoral.
What you have right there is the textbook profile for homegrown terrorists. They tend to be young second or third generation Muslim immigrants feel like the don’t belong anywhere – they can’t relate to their new adopted country, but have grown up there, so don’t fit in back in their old country. They feel lonely and isolated, so begin searching for meaning – and find it in extreme Islamism. This requires that they are affluent/educated enough to read and understand the jihadi propaganda, and to navigate the complex online network that jihadi groups operate in.
The truth remains to be seen, but from what we do know, my bet is that this is more or less the story of the Brothers Tzarnaev.
So much for that neo-Nazi theory… French police raid house in school killings case – FRANCE 24.
AFP – A French police special forces unit hunting an anti-Semitic serial killer launched a pre-dawn raid Wednesday on a house where a man claiming al-Qaeda ties was holed up, a police source said. Two police were slightly wounded as the operation got underway, led by officers investigating three attacks by a lone gunman in which three off-duty soldiers, three Jewish school children and a rabbi were killed, he said. A source close to the inquiry told AFP that the suspect had exchanged words with the RAID team and had declared himself to be a member of al-Qaeda, the armed Islamist group founded by late Saudi extremist Osama bin Laden.
Reports are coming out on Twitter that the suspect is claiming that he was “avenging Palestinian children”. This goes to show yet again that our enemies do not distinguish between “Jews”, “Zionists” and “Israelis” at all (or, for that matter, between “civilians” and “combatants”, or “adults” and “children”…).
Meanwhile, there may be a reason why everyone was so gleefully jumping on the idea that it may not have been Islamists. Again linking into the third-worldist dynamic, a number of Jews (and other members of the Western intelligencia) seem want to do everything they can to deny that Muslims may sometimes be antisemitic. Jonathan Tobin made this point: Neo-Nazis Versus Jihadists? « Commentary Magazine.
However, if we are discussing what Jews and other civilized persons should be worrying most about today, the idea that there is any comparison between the danger posed by the scattered bands of neo-Nazi extremists and that of Islamism is not a serious proposition. The neo-Nazis are a nasty bunch and capable of violence. But Islamist terror has at its command, terrorist armies, control of sovereign territories (Gaza, Lebanon and a major state such as Iran) as well as the resources to finance a nuclear weapons project. While the persistence of Nazism, even in its current truncated form is upsetting and makes us wonder whether Western civilization really is in trouble, Islamism is a real threat, not a symbolic one. While we may dismiss this argument as the sort of thing that is … for people with nothing better to do, the fact is, a lot of liberal Jews really are more scared of the dangers that existed in the past than they are of their people’s current foes. For many liberal Jews … raising the question of Islamist hate for Jews — something that is the source of the rising tide of anti-Semitic agitation around the globe — is somehow in bad taste if not evidence of the dread charge of Islamophobia. They are so conditioned to believe that Muslim distaste for Israel’s actions is the reason for enmity that they ignore the vicious stream of Jew-hatred coming out of the Middle East and prefer to worry about an altogether mythical post 9/11 backlash against Muslims. Instead, they prefer to dwell on the far less potent danger posed by the tiny groups of Hitler-lovers who are generally too weak and isolated to do anything more than disturb the peace. While such groups are despicable and deserve the attention of law enforcement, to focus on them is to re-fight the last war.
Matthew Ackerman makes a similar point, but stresses the need for Jews to stop making the claim that Israel is the source of antisemitism – recognising that Israel was originally envisioned as the answer to antisemitism. The take-away point: antisemitism existed before Israel and it still exists today, but Israel is a source of pride and strength for the Jewish people that allows us to face this evil in a way that we were not able to before. ; Toulouse a Reminder of the Need to Refute Jewish Cowardice « Commentary Magazine.
There is one Zionist truth that Judt and his ilk pin their hat on, which is that the goal of the Jewish state is indeed and always has been, since Leo Pinsker put pen to paper, to change the way the world looks at Jews. For Pinsker, it was the unique quality of Jewish statelessness that prevented “a certain equality in rank” between Jews and non-Jews, a condition that fostered Jew-hatred and led to the terrible violence of Russian pogroms. For Theodor Herzl, his far more famous successor in Zionist pamphleteering, it was simply the presence of Jews that enraged the masses. He wrote, “We are naturally drawn into those places where we are not persecuted, and our appearance there gives rise to persecution.” The thing Pinsker, Herzl, and their followers got sadly wrong was the idea that Jews could be saved from Jew-hatred by creating a state of their own, either by “normalizing” the Jewish condition or by providing completely for their physical security. No state, though, can provide for the complete safety of all its citizens, let alone its ethnic kin abroad. And hatred of Jews, as should be beyond plain by now, clearly draws from deeper waters than the Jewish political condition, whatever it may be. We should call the fantasy that Jews would be able to live in peace if only they gave up their claim to independence cowardice because that is the term we reserve for those who willingly give up what is theirs in the hope that by so doing that may be freed of physical danger. The Jewish state may not be able to resolve the non-Jewish problem of hatred of Jews, but it can – as has been the case these last ten years in an Israel that has woken up to the truth that many of its enemies can be appeased only by its death – cure the Jews of their fascination with weakness. That is, if we have the courage to stand united against the irrational attacks launched against us and our children.
So not only was he Using Zionist methods of communication, he was watching some porn action. Talk about “do as I say, not as I do”!
WASHINGTON — The enormous cache of computer files taken from Osama bin Laden’s compound contained a considerable quantity of pornographic videos, American officials said on Friday, adding a discordant note to the public image of the Islamist militant who long denounced the West for its lax sexual mores.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity about classified material, would not say whether there was evidence that Bin Laden or the other men living in the house had acquired or viewed the material.
Now that the celebrations are dying down (and it’s not often that a death is such cause for celebration), we need to be a little more grounded about the implications of this assassination. There have been a lot of claims thrown-around recently – verging from a little naive to downright stupid. Let’s set a few of the facts straight here:
(Note: I’m not going to bother proving that Bin Laden was behind 9/11. If you believe this to be false, please seek help).
1) al-Qaeda is not finished
This is the unfortunate reality that we have to face. Bin Laden was the co-founder and leader of Al Qaeda, but he was not directly behind every terror attack in the world.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done already. Bin Laden’s “contribution” to the Islamic world was the idea of distinguishing between the “enemy nearby” and the “enemy far away”. To summarise a very complex history, Nazi propaganda attributing all of the world’s ills to the Jews was translated into Arabic and given Koranic justifications by the Grand Mufti of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s as part of his alliance with Hitler. This formed what is now Islamic Antisemitism – previously in the Islamic world, Jews had been viewed as weak and cowardly, but combined with Nazi ideology, there was now a European-esque notion of a global conspiracy to destroy Islam being orchestrated by a malicious cabal of Jews (for more on this, see The Flight of The Intellectuals by Paul Berman.)
These ideas then permeated the early Islamist ideology and gestated to the point where half a century later, Bin Laden used them to boost his ailing organisation by declaring a Jihad on the West (see al Qaeda In Its Own Words by Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli). He imagined a “Zio-Crusader alliance” controlling the (as he saw them) “infidel” regimes in charge of the Muslim states. He spread the idea that to truly re-establish the Caliphate (Islamic superstate), Muslims must strike not at their immediate enemies, but those allegedly pulling the strings – the US and their allies.
Al Qaeda has been decimated as an organisation since 9/11 and for many years has not been a centralised structure, but rather a “franchise” with offshoots in various regions (for a discussion of this, see How al-Qaeda Works by Leah Farrell for Foreign Affairs). The reality is that Bin Laden can be quickly replaced by his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Al Qaeda can continue to inspire and fund various partner organisations around the world.
So while this is a great symbolic triumph and may have some long term impact, we can’t start packing-away the metal detectors and arranging flights out of Kandahar just yet. In fact, in the short term, this assassination could well spark a series of reprisals around the world. We need to be weary.
2) Pakistan is dangerous
As Bruce Loudon observes in The Australian.
But after years of the ISI double-dealing with terrorists and now the revelation that bin Laden was living in the heart of a garrison town virtually next door to the nation’s military academy and only a couple of hours’ drive north of the capital, Islamabad, Pakistani authorities cannot expect to escape the sort of questions that are now being asked.
There are conflicting opinions over whether or not Pakistan was actively harbouring Bin Laden, but I am pretty convinced that this is the case. Again from The Australian‘s excellent analysis, Greg Sheridan observes that:
Obama naturally praised Pakistan for its co-operation in the operation against Osama. Frankly, what else could he do? The Pakistanis have perhaps a hundred nuclear weapons. No US president can afford to alienate them altogether.
…It is utterly implausible that any international figure of note could hide in a mansion near Islamabad without the knowledge of the Pakistani intelligence services. Completely impossible.
If the Pakistani government did not know, it is the most incompetent government in the world. If it did know, then it was intentionally sheltering the most dangerous and infamous terrorist of our time.
The double-game being played by Pakistan is a major problem in the world today – it may even be the biggest threat to global security, given that Iran has not yet developed a nuclear weapon and America has not quite lost its dominant position. Pakistan is a nuclear power, so must be dealt with very carefully – but it seems to be slipping further and further into Islamism. If the Pakistani Taliban get hold of a nuclear weapon, the consequences don’t bear thinking about.
Bin Laden’s assassination had many benefits – it was a strong warning to all terrorists that the US can get them anywhere at any time. It was a symbolic victory for the West in general and the US in particular and will raise morale in dark times and vindicate our efforts to rid the world of the ideological plague that Bin Laden spread. Most importantly, justice has been served. That said, we can’t lose sight of the dangers still facing us and must continue to fight Bin Laden’s ideology of hatred and violence wherever it may be found.
(Photos: Foreign Policy)
Since we are all celebrating the triumph of liberty today, I took the liberty of preparing a playlist in honour of the occasion:
So according to some “Keith Urbahn”, who apparently is not a country singer (but I’m suspicious), the US has the body of the world’s number 1 most wanted.
Obama will make a statement soon, but if true, this is the biggest news for about a decade and Obama is pretty much guaranteed that second term.
THE United States is expected to announce that Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Rumours of Osama’s death were reported on Twitter before the official statement.
Shortly before 12:30am Keith Urbahn, Chief of Staff, Office of Donald Rumsfeld tweeted: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”
Minutes later a CBS news reporter tweeted: “House Intelligence committee aide confirms that Osama Bin Laden is dead. U.S. has the body.”
According to Jared Malsin in Foreign Policy, the recent murder of an Italian in Gaza has created some new scrutiny on Salafi (ultra-conservative literalist Islam-ism) Islam in Gaza. Fair enough.
Now try and guess what’s wrong here:
At the root of these dynamics is the Israeli and Western policy of isolating Gaza and ignoring Hamas. The crippling four-year-long blockade of Gaza has created the conditions of human misery and desperation in which a handful of people have turned to extremism.
Did you get it?
The premise here is that there was no extremism in Gaza before the blockade. So apparently, thousands of suicide bombers willing to end their own lives and kill room-fulls of civilians weren’t extreme. I guess they were just misunderstood.
Perhaps realizing that a heavy hand can create further radicalization, Hamas has also recently taken a more nuanced approach to the Salafis, including sending religious scholars into prisons in hopes of nurturing a more tolerant outlook among them.
So Hamas clerics are the moderate ones now? Let’s lok at something one of them said once:
[The Jews] want to present themselves to the world as if they have rights, but, in fact, they are foreign bacteria – a microbe unparalleled in the world. It’s not me who says this. The Koran itself says that they have no parallel: “You shall find the strongest men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews.”
May He annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience. I condemn whoever believes in normalizing relations with them, whoever supports sitting down with them, and whoever believes that they are human beings. They are not human beings. They are not people. They have no religion, no conscience, and no moral values.
Sounds pretty moderate to me, right?
Ironically, Malsin did stumble across the point somewhere, but seemed to look past it and try to find it somewhere else.
This is the crux of Hamas’ dilemma: if it allows attacks on Israel, it risks massive retaliation from the Israelis; if it imposes too strict a ceasefire, it risks eroding its credibility among its political base in Gaza, particularly among its armed cadres. A U.N. diplomat, quoted anonymously by Crisis Group explained the problem: “How long can Hamas sustain a policy of not engaging in resistance, while this non-engagement doesn’t produce any results in terms of liberating Palestine, easing the blockade, or any other political goal for which the movement exists?”
Hamas here is reaping what it has sown. They have been spreading and practising this kind of extremism for years. The problem for them is that now they control Gaza, they have more responsibility than they had when they were just a militia and their policy determines what happens to the Gazans. If they continue to randomly target civilian populations, they will only escalate tensions and cause more harm to come to everyone – so they are finally beginning to realise that this is not an effective strategy, or finally starting to think at all strategically.
These Jihadi groups that they can’t control are Hamas’ legacy to the Palestinian people. Hamas paved the way for the extreme thought, the violent rhetoric, the weapons smuggling and the kidnapping of foreigners. They brought the idea of violence as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end, to Gaza.
To reign-in these groups, Hamas would have to cooperate with Israel to a degree – as the PA have done to reduce terror in the West Bank. This, however, will be a complete reversal of everything that Hamas stand for – so unfortunately, I can’t see it happening.
Want to talk to me about “resistance”? Read this:
Before entering the house, the suspects noticed Yoav and Elad Fogel in the home’s window. Yoav [age 11] and Elad [age 4] were the first to be stabbed after the suspect entered the home. The suspects then entered the parents’ room. Ehud and Ruth tried to fight off the attackers, but were eventually overcome and stabbed to death. Ruth was also shot, but due to the weather at the time of the murder, the gunshots were not heard. The suspects fled the home, fearing that the gunshots had been heard.
Outside of the home, the suspects realized that their gunshots had gone unnoticed and they had not yet been discovered. Amjad Awad subsequently reentered the home in order to steal an additional M-16 rifle that was there. Back inside the parents’ room, Awad noticed three-month-old Hadas and stabbed her to death. While leaving the home once more, the suspect noticed that there were more children but apparently figured that he was running out of time. The lives of Roi Fogel, 8, and Yishai Fogel, 2, were spared.
I’m actually speechless. All I can do is read-over that sentence again.
“Back inside the parents’ room, Awad noticed three-month-old Hadas and stabbed her to death. ”
And as if that wasn’t bad enough:
According to a senior Shin Bet official, despite the suspects’ young age, Hakim and Amjad “described what they did with self-control and did not express regret over their actions at any stage of the investigation.”
I say in all seriousness that these are not the actions of human beings. There is no humiliation or provocation imaginable to justify murdering children in person and in cold blood. It takes an inhuman bloodlust to stick a knife into a three-month-old baby.
For those of you who aren’t squeamish, the family decided to release photos of the victims so that the crime could not be downplayed as these things usually are.
This is just sad, really. The guy may have been misguided, but he didn’t deserve this.
The body of an Italian pro-Palestinian activist was found hanging in the home of a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip early Friday, hours after he was reportedly kidnapped.
Hamas officials reported that the body of Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, was discovered in the home of a member of the Monotheism and Holy War group that claimed responsibility for the abduction in a video released Thursday.
The last foreigner kidnapped in Gaza was British journalist Alan Johnston in 2007.
A group that claimed to have kidnapped and held BBC correspondent Alan Johnston in Gaza for 114 days in 2007 at one point announced it had killed its Western hostage.
Mercifully the claim turned out not to be true. Mr Johnston was in the hands of a different extremist faction but the hoax showed clearly that Gaza was becoming a hotbed of al-Qaeda linked extremists.
Hamas actually managed to secure Johnston’s release.
That said, there’s still an deep, sad irony in this case – Arrigoni was in Gaza working for the International Solidarity Movement, which has constantly attempted to justify Palestinian violence by saying that it is just a result of the “occupation” and are always denying that there are genuine terrorists operating in these areas motivated by hatred and wanting nothing but to kill Israelis.
Now one of their members has unfortunately suffered the result of their mistake. A video released of him before he was killed said that “the Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption” and it described Italy as “the infidel state”.
The video also demanded the release of on of the kidnappers’ leaders, who is being held by Hamas in prison. Again, ISM have supported, or at least refused to condemn, Hamas’ tactic of kidnapping Israelis in order to have a bargaining chip to try and secure the release of convicted terrorists – the most recent example being Gilad Shalit, who is still being held illegaly in Gaza. Tawhid wal-Jihad was following Hamas’ example when they abducted Arrigoni.
I would hope that this incident will cause these groups to reflect on who and what they are really supporting. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t place a lot of value in the prospect of that happening.
The video can be seen below. There’s nothing too graphic, but I would not recommend watching it if you are easily disturbed:
Reports came out last year of a bizarre theme park created by Hizballah, but now some genius from Vice Magazine has photographed it and provided some pretty funny commentary.
I took the liberty of thinking up some rides for their expansion:
- Beauty and The Bomb – Live On Stage
- Cinderella’s Crater
- Honey I Shot The Kids
- The Many Adventures of Whinnie The Prophet (peace be upon Him)
- Beirut Lightyear: Space Ranger Spin
- Slaying Private Ryan
- Space Madrassa
- Flaying Nemo – The Musical
- Harry Potter and the Adulterers Stoned
- Pirates of the Gulf of Aden
- Rock ‘N Rollerkatushya – Strring Aerosmith
- It’s A Shiite World After All(ah)
- Snow Shiite’s Terrifying Adventures
Click here to see the actual park:
ATLAS HOODS AT JIHADLAND: HEZBOLLAH’S WAX MUSEUM THEME PARK – Viceland Today.