How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? John Kerry, at the time a decorated but unknown veteran of the Vietnam War testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, famously posed this piercing question while calling for an end to the war in April 1971. The circumstances are vastly different, and my intention is not to draw a parallel between the war Kerry and so many other Americans opposed and the senseless violence we see in various parts of the world today. But I could not help think of Kerry’s question when […]
Radical Movements Archive
During his visit last week to northern Mali, Emmanuel Macron, France’s new president, announced that he would attend the next meeting of the G5 Sahel, a grouping of five countries—Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad—focused on mobilizing against extremist militants in the Sahel region. The G5 Sahel was originally created in February 2014, and plans for a multinational military force were announced the following year, at a November 2015 summit meeting in Chad. Since then, however, few details have been made available on the force’s composition and how it will operate. In an email interview, Nicolas Desgrais, a researcher […]
Islamist extremist groups that were once confined to slivers of territory in the most marginalized areas of West Africa are increasingly expanding their operational footprint in the region. Whether it is Boko Haram, which has rebranded itself as the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s West African affiliate, or the myriad al-Qaida offshoots that occupied northern Mali following a coup in 2012, insurgent operations are no longer confined by these groups’ countries of origin. The Islamic State’s West Africa Province, as Boko Haram now calls itself, has spread beyond its base in northeastern Nigeria into neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, which all have […]
As India tries to stem the flow of citizens joining the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the state of Kerala, on the southern coast, has emerged as an area of special concern. According to government statistics, more citizens have been arrested for Islamic State ties in Kerala than in any other state. In an email interview, Animesh Roul, executive director of the New Delhi-based Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict, describes what could be making Kerala—and India more generally—fertile ground for Islamic State recruiters, and how the government is trying to crack down on the problem. WPR: How widespread is […]
Why Is Trump Focusing on ISIS in Afghanistan, When the Taliban Is the Bigger Threat?
Earlier this week, Pentagon officials confirmed that Abdul Hasib Logari, the leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, had been killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation in eastern Afghanistan on April 27. That operation, in which two U.S. Army Rangers were also killed, followed an airstrike by U.S. forces in Afghanistan that dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or “MOAB,” on an Islamic State tunnel complex. The bomb is one of the largest conventional weapons in the U.S. arsenal and represented a dramatic escalation of American operations against the Islamic State affiliate, known as the Khorasan Province. […]
Can Abbas Use His White House Visit to Preserve His Power and Undercut Hamas?
On Barack Obama’s first day in office as U.S. president in 2009, he called Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank to discuss the war being waged at the time in Gaza between Hamas and Israel. The call came just two years after a devastating Palestinian civil war in which Hamas—the Islamist group that the United States, Israel and the European Union all designate as a terrorist organization—had expelled Abbas’ Fatah-led Palestinian Authority from Gaza. Back in 2009, in the midst of what the Israelis called Operation Cast Lead, Hamas was surging in popularity among Palestinians. For many in […]