Since the terrorism wave in Europe started with Charlie Hebdo and the Paris attacks in November, Brussels has been presented as the crib of foreign fighters in Europe. The attacks of yesterday morning in the city, which is the heart of the European Institutions, have demonstrated that Brussels is not just the nest where the eggs are brooded, on the contrary it could be the vulnerable theatre of terrorism and fear.
The Islamic State (IS, or ISIS or ISIL) in Libya controls the coastal strip around the central city, Sirte, from Bu’ayrat al Hasun to Bin Jawad and down south to the vicinity of the Jufra oasis. In Benghazi the battle-hardened jihadists are part of the backbone of the resistance against General Heftar’s Operation Dignity. The group is also present in training camps to the south of Sabratha. Several smaller cells exist in Tripoli, Khoms and other coastal cities of Tripolitania.
Pope Francis will be in the Central African Republic (CAR) at the end of November.
Belgium is the main center of homegrown jihadism in Europe. Having been the base of the terrorist cell Sharia4Belgium, it witnesses a constant growth of foreign fighters coming back from Syria with strong and extremist ideology. It is not a case that this phenomenon regards mostly the 3rd generation of migrants: there are concrete problems of unemployment, discrimination and housing, that concern many neighbourhoods of the main cities in Belgium.
Police infiltration of political groups posing a threat to the British State and society has been the subject of intensive coverage by national media outlets for the past four years. Central to media stories have been some unethical techniques employed, and several controversial activities carried out, by two units working for the Metropolitan Police Service, namely the Special Demonstration Squad (1968-2008) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (1999-2011).
Social media, videos, online magazines, local radios, pamphlets and posters: ISIS has proven capable of adapting its communication strategy to strengthen its power locally, recruit new fighters or influence public opinion in Western and Arab nations. Not just images of war and summary executions but also constant propaganda to show that it controls its territory and is able to provide for its inhabitants’ needs.
This book analyzes the propaganda of the Islamic State, thanks to articles by researchers, communication experts and journalists. The purpose is to paint an exhaustive picture of the subject, combining meticulous examination of the historical and symbolic references in ISIS videos with careful analysis of editing and post-production techniques.
In addition, the book contains materials coming from the territories controlled by the so-called caliphate. These documents provide a better understanding of the internal propaganda of the Islamic State and the strategy it uses to create a narrative of the enemy serving its ideological designs.
At this year's Security Conference in Munich, the European Union's High Representative Federica Mogherini named Ukraine and Libya as her top priorities. She explained, "In Libya there is the perfect mix ready to explode and in case it explodes, it will explode just at the gates of Europe. […] The combination of elements present there is extremely dangerous for us and for the security of the region"(1).
As the dust and emotions still settle over the attacks by jihadists in Paris, there has been a great deal of commentary on the lessons we should derive from this tragedy. The focus has largely been on free speech, integration, intelligence failures, and the competing claims of responsibility by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). So what lessons should we draw?
A Matter of Integration?