Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Tag

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: But first here’s my take. Once again an ISIS murder leads to fears that it is winning and calls to do more. FOX News’ Bret Baier captured the mood like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Horrific and barbaric, as well as calculating and skilled at high-tech propaganda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: The general feeling is that ISIS is gaining ground with its diabolical methods. But is it really? The video of the pilot’s killing was slickly produced, but it might have been a fancy cover to mask an operation that had gone awry. Remember, it began as a moneymaking scheme to get a ransom for Japanese hostages, then turned into a hostage swap for a forgotten failed suicide bomber, and finally ended with the emulation of the Jordanian pilot.

Certainly ISIS could not have imagined the response its actions have triggered in the Middle East. With Jordanians united against it, clerics across the region loudly and unequivocally condemning the emulation and with Japan ready to provide more aid and support against it. Meanwhile news on the battlefield has not been good for ISIS. Brookings Institution scholar Kenneth Pollock describes this stunning reversal it has faced in Iraq.

“The Washington Post” has reported on the growing discontent within its territories. All this might help explain the brutality of the latest murder video. The group well understands that the primary purpose of terrorism is to induce fear and overreaction. When modern Middle Eastern terrorism first appeared on the scene in the 1960s and ’70s, the historian David Fromkin wrote an essay in “Foreign Affairs” that is perhaps the best guide to understanding this phenomenon.

Fromkin provided two examples of terror tactics that worked and have important lessons. He recounted a meeting in 1945 with the leader of the Irgun, a group of about 1,500 Jewish militants in Palestine, which was then part of the British empire. The Irgun knew that they could not defeat the mighty British Army so they decided to blow up buildings and create the appearance of chaos.

This, the Irgun leader told Fromkin, would lead the British to overreact by garrisoning the country, join forces from across the empire, and that would strain British coffers and eventually London would have to leave Palestine. Fromkin noted that the Irguns, seeing that it was too small to defeat Great Britain, decided as an alternative approach that Britain was big enough to defeat itself.

ISIS’ strategy is surely some version of this. The targeting of America and its allies. The videos, the barbarism are all designed to draw Washington into a ground battle in Syria, in the hope that this complicated, bloody and protracted war would sap the super power’s strength.

Fromkin offered another example, the National Liberation Front, the group of nationalists trying to break Algeria free from France in the 1950s and ’60s. The Paris government argued that Algeria was not a colony but part of France, with all of its citizens treated as French men and women. So the FLN began a campaign of terror in order to provoke an overreaction from the French government, getting them to regard all Muslim and Algerians as suspects.

Quote, “The French thought that when the FLN planted a bomb in a public bus, it was in order to blow up the bus,” Fromkin noted. But the FLN’s true aim was to lure authorities into reacting by arresting all the non-Europeans in the area as suspects.

The many recent acts of terror committed in Europe can’t be said to have a strategy but they could make European governments and people treat all Muslims in Europe as suspicious and dangerous, and then the terrorists will have achieved an important goal.

Now these things do not have to happen. Fromkin concluded his essay by noting that, though terrorism cannot always be prevented, it can always be defeated.

You can always refuse to do what they want you to do.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1502/08/fzgps.01.html

 

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Fareed Zakaria “The conversation at Davos is often dominated by economics and this year is no different. But the shock of the Paris terror attacks lingers and discussion has often turned here this week to radical Islam.

The death of King Abdullah has underscored those concerns because of Saudi Arabia’s complicated relationship with Islamic fundamentalist ideology. I posited last week that the solution does not lie in more American military interventions in the Middle East.

But what, then, is the answer? The problem is deep and structural, as I wrote a few weeks after 9/11 in “Newsweek” in an essay titled “Why They Hate Us.” The Arab world has been ruled for decades by repressive, mostly secular dictatorship. That in turn spawned extreme, mostly religious, opposition movement. The more repressive the regime, the more extreme the opposition.

Islam became the language of opposition because it was the one language that could not be shut down or censored. Now the old Arab order is crumbling, but it has only led to instability and opportunities for jihadi groups to thrive in the new badlands.

Over the last few decades this radical Islamist ideology has been globalized. Initially fueled by Saudi money and Arab dissenters, imams, and intellectuals, it has taken on a life of its own. Today radical Islam is the default ideology of anger, discontent and violent opposition for a small number of alienated young Muslim men around the world. Only Muslims and particularly Arabs can cure this cancer.

That doesn’t leave America and the West helpless. Washington and its allies can support Muslim moderates, help these societies modernize and integrate those that do into the world. But that’s for the long haul. Meanwhile, they must adopt a strategy that has four elements — intelligence, counterterrorism, integration, and resilience.

Intelligence is obviously the first line of defense, but also attack. We have to know where jihadis and potential jihadis are and what they are planning. That means using sophisticated technology, yes, to search through various kinds of communications. But it also and crucially means developing good relations with Muslim communities. Because only they can early on identify the potential troublemakers.

Counterterrorism is the natural follow-on to intelligence. When you know where the bad guys are, capture or kill them. It’s easier said than done, of course, but the United States and other Western nations have had considerable success with this tactic, not only in war zones like Afghanistan and Pakistan but also in intercepting plots on their way to cities likes Paris and London.

We must always remember, though, counterterrorism has its down sides. For instance, while drone attacks look seamless from the skies, they inevitably produce civilian casualties.

Integration is third. It’s something America does well and with which Europe struggles. One of the chief reasons that America has not had as many problems as many predicted after 9/11 is that its Muslim community is well integrated, largely loyal, and believes in American values.

Finally, resilience. Terrorism is an unusual tactic. It doesn’t work if we are not terrorized. Bouncing back, returning to normalcy, these are all ways of ensuring that terrorism does not have its desired effect. We’ve not always managed to do this. In recent months, we have massively overreacted to the ISIS execution videos, which is why they were produced in the first place. The Paris attacks were barbaric, as were those in Ottawa, Sydney, London, Madrid and Ft. Hood. But one way to gain perspective might be to keep in mind the numbers. According to the global terrorism database, in the 12 years between September 12th, 2001 and 2013, the number of Americans who have died on U.S. soil due to terrorism is 42.

Meanwhile in one year alone, 2011, the CDC reports that 32,351 Americans died because of firearms in one year. The number who died in car and truck accidents in that same year was 33,783. So keep calm and carry on is more than a slogan to wear on a T-shirt. ”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1501/25/fzgps.01.html

 

Posted January 26, 2015 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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The satirical weekly newspaper that was the target of Wednesday’s attack will be published on its usual schedule next week, a lawyer for the paper told Agence France-Presse.
 
“The Charlie Hebdo newspaper will come out next Wednesday,” the lawyer, Richard Malka, said. 
 
Mr. Malka said that one million copies would be printed, far more than the normal press run of under 100,000 copies.
 
Patrick Pelloux, a columnist for the paper, said that the staff would meet soon.  “It’s very hard,” he told Agence France-Presse. “We are all suffering, with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway, because stupidity will not win.”

Posted January 11, 2015 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) emerged as one of the most notable progressive defenders of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance programs on Monday when he expressed a “high level of confidence” that the federal government’s collection of phone and Internet data has been effective in thwarting terrorism.

“I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people,” Franken told Minneapolis-based CBS affiliate WCCO. The junior Minnesota senator, who’s only been in the Senate since 2009, said he was “was very well aware of” the surveillance programs and was not surprised by a recent slate of bombshell reports by both The Guardian and The Washington Post.

“I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism,” Franken said.

Posted June 15, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Fareed Zakaria (CNN):

But first, here’s my take. The sheer barbarism of the attack on a British soldier in Woolwich is really beyond comprehension.

The alleged murderers are said to have hacked the victim to death, waited for the police to arrive, and seemed to encourage people to videotape their brutality.

And yet, we have to search for some way to think about what appears to be our future.

You see, terrorism used to be about something big and dramatic, but perhaps because groups like al-Qaeda are on the run, their people hunted, their money tracked, their hideouts bombed, this, Woolwich, Boston, have become the new faces of terror; a few people, disturbed or fanatical, radicalized by things they have read or watched, who decide to commit evil.

How do you detect this kind of danger? It seems impossible. Now keep in mind, this was the first terrorist killing on British soil since the London bus and subway bombings in 2005.

In fact, since the Madrid and London bombings, there have been just three Islamic terrorist attacks that have killed people in Western Europe; Woolwich, the equally gruesome 2012 murders in France that killed French soldiers and children and a Rabbi, and the killing of U.S. soldiers in Frankfurt.

Europe’s governments have been doing a good job with police and counter-terrorism work and that might explain the relative calm of recent years.

They have also done a much better job than in the past at reaching out and helping to integrate their Muslim communities. And the communities have been responding much more strongly against these isolated acts committed by murderers in the name of Islam.

The Muslim Council of Britain issued an unequivocal statement condemning the latest killing, supporting British soldiers, and urging the police to do whatever it needed to, unhindered and unhampered.

That is precisely the kind of statement all leaders of Muslim communities need to make whenever one of these kinds of attacks takes place.

I understand the feeling that some have that they should not be held responsible for the actions of a few perverted madmen. But the trouble is that these madmen claim that they are killing in the name of Islam and someone has to refute their claims as often as they make them.

Now, the alleged murderer in Woolwich claimed that he was retaliating against British soldiers killing Muslims in Afghanistan.

I wish Muslim leaders would make the point that British and American and other allied soldiers are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected government of that country.

They are defending that government and Muslims every day from terrorist attacks and insurgent warfare.

If these people want to protest the killing of Muslims, they should direct their wrath at the Taliban and al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups because they are the ones who are killing Muslims and many others.

We need to hear this message more often and more loudly.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1305/26/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria “But first, here’s my take. We’re learning a great deal about the two men who planted bombs at the Boston Marathon. The brother Tsarnaev. And we will learn more, including on this program today and in the weeks ahead and better understand a terrible story of alienation, radicalization and brutal murder.

Were these men an unusual case, loners, or are they part of something larger? How and when did they turn?

In one important sense, however, this was textbook terrorism. The plan was to frighten us. Terrorism is an unusual tactic in that it depends for its success on response of the onlooker, that’s why people have often said about terrorists they want a few people dead and a lot of people watching.

But if we who watch are not terrorized, then almost by definition it didn’t work.

On that count, how did we do? Pretty well. The people of Boston handled the crisis with calm and determination. The authorities did shut down most of the city on Friday for the manhunt, a decision that could be debated, but the people of Boston stayed steady and are already getting back to normal.

I spent seven years living in Boston. And I was always struck by the city and its people’s strength of character. They have a tough New England spirit, a Puritan ethic that prizes doing one’s job and not making a fuss.

But beyond Boston, we Americans may have come to realize, finally, that the most important counterterrorism program out there is resilience. Things were different after 9/11, that was a much larger attack raising much larger concerns. Many of the things that followed: security measures, the overthrow of the Taliban, were necessary. But others in retrospect were not. The vast new homeland security bureaucracy, shutting down travel, turning counterterrorism it into an ill-defined and ever expanding war on terror. Osama bin Laden saw the rational for 9/11 in precisely the overreaction it produced among Americans and he said so on several occasions.

Resilience is partly a matter of character, but it’s also one of public policy. Steven Flynn, a scholar at Northeastern University who has written widely about this, argues that despite the billions spent, we never made it a priority. In written testimony given last July to the Senate committee on homeland security and governmental affairs, Flynn predicted that small attacks carried out by one to three operatives particularly if they reside in the U.S. can be carried out with little planning and on relatively short notice. As such, they are unlikely to attract the attention of the national intelligence community and the attacks once underway are almost impossible for the federal law enforcement community to stop.

So how to make ourselves more resilient? The steps we need to take are not that sexy. We need to upgrade our transit systems and infrastructure so as to make them less vulnerable to attacks. For example, Flynn notes, the U.S. Navy has invested more in protecting the single port of San Diego that is home to the Pacific fleet than the Department of Homeland Security has invested in the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma combined, upon which a bulk of the U.S. economy relies.

We must strengthen public health rapid recovery in the event of a biological attack, which is still the most worrying threat out there.

We need to make sure that the public understands the nature of these threats and how it can help identify and respond to them.

Above all, it needs to understand how not to respond to them. When bad things happen, it’s easy to react out of fear, emotion and anger. Let’s hope that in Boston this week we begin to chart a different course.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1304/21/fzgps.01.html