A Decline in Jihadist Violence?

April 16, 2009

Here is an interesting piece by Nathan Field in The National:”Across the Arab and Muslim world, jihadists are beginning to renounce violence as a means to change their societies – and not just because they lost.”

I think he makes a good point here, but would point out that in Somalia it seems the trend is moving in the opposite direction. However, I think that an examination of that case would require an analysis by an expert on Somalia, which I am not.

“No Place to Hide”

April 1, 2009

Andrew Exum (a.k.a Abu Muqawama) has a great piece in the New Republic about President Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan counter-terrorism strategy, blowing up buildings, and jihad on the internet. He mentions some of the world’s foremost scholars on the issue, including Will McCants, formerly of Jihadica, and Thomas Hegghammer, currently of Jihadica. Hegghammer has some more comments about the piece here.

More Conspiracy Theories

December 11, 2008

I think I have mentioned before how popular conspiracy theories are in Egypt. Frankly, I am getting a little tired of hearing them. It’s not only that I find most of them offensive on many levels as well as completely unrealistic, but that a lot of people here really truly believe them.  They do not question these ideas. There is no academic or rational reflection.

So I try not to get into these conversations these days if I don’t have to, but the guy in the book store down the street said to me today “oh, you are American? Do you think Bin Laden was the one who brought down the towers?” He said that it did not make sense for Bin Laden to do this because he was a wealthy man, so why would he leave his riches and go live in the mountains? In addition, it is not in Bin Laden’s مصلحة, or interest.

And guess who’s interests it is in? America’s, because they do not have an enemy after the fall of the Soviet Union, “so they bring the towers,” and according to him, it’s as simple as that. In addition, surprise surprise, it’s in the Jews interest, because in order for Israel to survive there needs to be conflict in the Middle East. He said that if there is peace in the Middle East, then all the Jews will return to the countries from which they originally came (including Egypt) because they will not need Israel to protect them any longer. I really did not get that one.

I asked this guy where he got all of these ideas from, and he said “I read it in a book!”

Jihadica on the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

November 30, 2008

Will McCants at Jihadica has a simple yet poignant post about Jihadis trying to capitalize on the attacks in Mumbai to gain support, etc. In addition, he points out that what is most alarming about what happened this weekend is that it was an operation carried out with small arms, and although it seemed to be highly coordinated, was something that your every day Joe shmo could put together.

Jihadis use these attacks as propaganda to rally more support to their cause. What Will is getting at here is that there is no real way to stop these attacks other than to defeat the ideology that encourages them.