The way Afghanistan fell in Taliban’s hands represented a huge blow for the United States and its allies. Not only did it reflect the many flaws of a two-decade-long military campaign which resulted in huge human and economic costs for locals and foreign forces alike, but it also unequivocally stressed the superior will to fight of a foe, the Taliban movement, that, despite the huge blows it had to sustain, never relinquished its goal.
Russia and the CA states enjoy a “natural” long-standing cooperation in fighting irregular threats, considering shared concerns related to terrorism, extremism, separatism, and transnational organized crime, but also shared approaches to counter them. The collapse of the Afghan government and the return of the Taliban – designated as a terrorist organization by Russia – poses exceptional challenges of instability and uncertainty.
Recent investigations have uncovered an Italian group of anti-Semitic far-right extremists with an interest in Nazi occultism. According to investigators, they allegedly were involved in anti-vaccine campaigns, showed their willingness in planning acts of violence, and had contacts with Ukrainian ultranationalist forces.
The October 10th Parliamentary elections in Iraq certainly represent a litmus test for the interim government led by Mustafa al-Kadhimi, which only a year and a half ago took the helm of a country rocked by mass popular protests against the pervasive corruption, lack of economic opportunities, and a season of constant insecurity emanating from recalcitrant militia groups and the broader Iran-US geopolitical rivalry.
The August 15th events in Afghanistan caught off guard not only the Afghans but much of the rest of the world. Following intensified negotiations between the Taliban and the US government and Biden’s announcement to withdraw troops by 11th September 2021, many Afghans expected a major shift in the country's political landscape, especially the return of the Taliban in some form. However, no one anticipated what transpired on August 15th, which was largely precipitated by former President Ghani's escape.
Very few expected the Taliban to have reformed since they were deposed from their seat of power in 2001. Amid their two decades-long violent campaign to recapture power, the Taliban leaders themselves reached out to the international media describing how they are willing to forsake their earlier obscurantist image that made them unacceptable to the international community.
Last week was a bad week for the Islamic State. In just three days, the organisation lost two leading figures: one in the Sinai, where key commander Abu Hamza Al-Qadi surrendered to Egyptian security forces, and one in the Sahel.
Twenty years ago today, the US was struck by the World Trade Center attacks. Those attacks had a profound effect on many different levels and marked the beginning of the War on Terror — ushering in a US-led military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003. Two decades later, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has come to an end, as US President Joe Biden has announced the end of America's "longest war" while the Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan once again.
Twenty years have passed since the 9/11 attacks — an event that had wide-ranging implications from different perspectives: on policy-makers’ decisions in domestic and foreign policy; on collective imaginary and on society; and, not last, on the very jihadi movement and its evolution.
The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analyses and informed comments on the most significant developments in the MENA region and beyond, bringing together unique opinions on the topic and reliable foresight on future scenarios. Today, we turn the spotlight on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, one of the most significant terrorist acts in modern history and probably the single event that has had the most impact on the history of the 21st century, especially for the MENA region.
Why did jihadism go global? To answer this question, researcher Thomas Hegghammer has carried out a remarkable, decade-long, terrific effort, collecting sources and interviews while discovering new data. Such research began when most researchers were interested in analysing the latest jihadist group, and it led him to the historic and ideological paradigms of “the most transnational rebel movement in modern history”.
The fall of Kabul has taken Afghanistan and counterterrorism experts and non-experts alike by surprise. Commentators were quick to draw parallels with the Sahel and cast ominous premonitions on the fate of a region doomed to be next in the “Western clusterfucks agenda”.