Check-points guarding the entrance to a village or road junction. In January and February, I crossed many of them in the southern regions of Egypt, on the Luxor-Aswan-Abu Simbel axis. The guards do not appear very attentive. Helmets are worn loosely, bullet-proof vests are laid on a mobile shield, coffee mugs lay around, vehicles are under canopies, and there are few mobile barriers. From a turret, the muzzle of a Kalashnikov emerges, but upon closer observation, there is no guard ready to embrace it. The rifle is instead fixed to a firing slit.
Amid the Philippines’ war on Covid-19, the spotlight points back to the tiny island of Sulu with the recent violent incidents that occurred in the province.
Despite being a pale shadow of its former self, the Islamic State group (IS) appears far from having been completely vanquished, or having been limited to a virtual dimension only.
Twenty-five years after the conclusion of the brutal Mozambican Civil War (1975-92), the insurgent group known as Ahlus Sunna wal Jamaa (local script; acronym: ASWJ) is causing havoc in one of FRELIMO’s strongholds—the province of Cabo Delgado.
The mid-May 2020 release of the Italian aid worker Silvia Romano, kidnapped and held hostage for nearly two years by the terrorist organization al-Shabaab, aroused great interest and strong emotion in Italy. The reactions occurred, in part, because of the way her release unfolded. We know, for example, that Romano was in Somalia at the time, about 30 kilometres from the capital, Mogadishu. She was freed after an undisclosed ransom was paid, reportedly amounting to millions of euros.
In times of uncertainty, the Islamic State (IS) has consistently sought to offer local populations stability and present itself as a cohesive and just community for the ideologically likeminded around the world.
As the novel coronavirus was spreading like a bushfire throughout China, Iran and Europe, the pandemic couldn’t go unnoticed by the media apparatus of jihadi groups like the Islamic State (IS). A first reaction by the group was to define it as divine punishment for crimes against Muslims. China was hit first, in IS’ view as punishment for its ongoing crimes against its Uyghur population. When Iran followed, the reaction was that it was the nation’s devious interpretation of Islam that led to this onslaught.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching political consequences throughout the West and beyond.
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has rapidly established itself as a game changer in our age. The current pandemic is affecting the world of extremism and terrorism, too: by imposing constraints and limitations, but also by offering new opportunities for propaganda and violence. Against this backdrop, how are jihadist groups responding?