Report

Belgian Manhunt for Islamic State Suspects Continues

The city of Brussels is in its third day of a terror alert that has placed the city on a partial lockdown. Officials are warning of a possible attack following up on the violence in Paris as security forces conduct raids to find a suspect from that attack still at large, as well as other ...

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The city of Brussels is in its third day of a terror alert that has placed the city on a partial lockdown. Officials are warning of a possible attack following up on the violence in Paris as security forces conduct raids to find a suspect from that attack still at large, as well as other Islamic State sympathizers connected to the attackers. At least 16 people have been arrested so far, but the suspect, Abdeslam Salah, remains at large.

European leaders are continuing to formulate their response to the Paris attacks. British Prime Minister David Cameron met with French President Francois Hollande today and offered increased intelligence sharing and the use of a British airbase in Cyprus for staging airstrikes in Syria. When he returns to Britain, Cameron is expected to request that Parliament authorize strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria.

Algerian Counterterrorism Official Goes on Trial

Algeria’s former top counterterrorism official, Abdelkader Ait-Ouarabi, better known as “General Hassan,” will be put on trial in a military court this week on charges of disobeying orders from the military and destroying sensitive documents. He was arrested in August and had been under surveillance since being forcibly retired in 2013 in an apparent bid by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to reassert control over the intelligence services. General Mohamed Mediene — the shadowy and influential head of the DRS intelligence agency, who was also removed from office earlier this year — has been asked to testify. If he does, it would be his first-ever public appearance.

Headlines

  • Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who was arrested by Iranian officials in July 2014, has reportedly received a prison sentence after being convicted of espionage last month.

 

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with Iran’s leadership to discuss the next round of international peace talks to end the Syrian civil war while in Tehran for a summit on natural gas exports; German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said yesterday that Russia is feeling “threatened” by recent events and is serious about diplomatic efforts to resolve the war.

 

  • Polls opened yesterday for the second round of voting in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, which will install an elected legislature for the first time since the parliament was dissolved in 2012; voting continues today but has been marred by low turnouts and boycotts.

 

  • Assad regime forces backed by Russian airstrikes reportedly captured the towns of Mheen and Hawwarin, southeast of Homs, from the Islamic State.

 

  • Yemeni authorities seized and burned a large shipment of qat — a narcotic leaf that is popular among Yemenis — when smugglers tries to bring it to the island of Socotra; officials issued a ban on qat in Socotra last week.

Arguments and Analysis

What is the driving force behind jihadist terrorism?” (Oliver Roy, BKA Autumn Conference 2015)

“And here start the first questions: Can we draw a general portrait of an Islamist radical? Can we define the conditions and circumstances under which he or she may become radical? Are there sociological, psychological, cultural patterns that could be identified as characterizing the radical? To sum up the conclusions: radicalisation is a youth revolt against society, articulated on an Islamic religious narrative of jihad. It is not the uprising of a Muslim community victim of poverty and racism: only young people join, including converts who did not share the ‘sufferings’ of Muslims in Europe. These rebels without a cause find in jihad a ‘noble’ and global cause, and are consequently instrumentalised by a radical organisation (Al Qaeda, ISIS), that has a strategic agenda.”

 

Inside the $100 Million Scheme to Send the Middle East’s Most Unwanted People to Africa” (Peter Salisbury, Vice News)

“El-Baghdadi’s experience isn’t new or uncommon for Middle East’s large and rapidly growing community of exiles and refugees. Palestinians have been expelled in large numbers from both Jordan and Kuwait in the past when they’ve rubbed those countries’ rulers the wrong way. What is new, however, is the way the Gulf States, intolerant even of critical tweets, are now punishing their own citizens by rendering them stateless. This, el-Baghdadi says, is part of a new, harsher interpretation of the social contract among the region’s oil and gas rich monarchies. ‘Being a citizen or a ‘local’ can potentially make you a lifelong recipient of government largess,’ he says. In return for a cradle-to-grave welfare system ‘you just need to be completely apolitical and quiet.’ Rocking the boat has become an increasingly risky business.”

-J. Dana Stuster

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

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