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James M. Dorsey (Your Middle East) — Founders of many modern states, including stalwarts of anti-terrorism like Israel and allies in the war on terror like the Kurds, achieved goals with political violence that killed innocent people and would be classified today as terrorism.
Political violence should be recognised as a reflection of deep-seated social, economic and political problems – rather than demonised through terms like terrorism or evil, argues James M. Dorsey.
Recent documents uncovered by German magazine Der Spiegel trace the rise of the Islamic State to a network of former Iraqi intelligence officers loyal to toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
AFP — The leader of an exiled Iranian opposition group addressed US lawmakers for the first time Wednesday and warned of the links between Shiite Iran and the Sunni Muslim Islamic State (IS) militants.
"It was the mullahs' regime who helped the creation of ISIS... and the killing of Sunnis in Iraq helped the emergence of ISIS," Maryam Rajavi told House lawmakers, using another acronym for the IS jihadist group that has captured a swathe of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Rajavi is the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a political umbrella coalition of five Iranian opposition groups that includes the once blacklisted People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).
Micah Zenko (Foreign Policy) — The White House released a statement today acknowledging the deaths of three U.S. citizens and one Italian citizen in recent U.S. counterterrorism operations.
The statement and accompanying remarks by President Barack Obama are consistent with prior administration policy of admitting to the deaths of (most) American citizens by drone strikes, while refusing to provide transparency equal to that provided for almost all others killed.
Under pressure from then-Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), then-Attorney General Eric Holder submitted a letter on May 22, 2013, that named four U.S. citizens killed in counterterrorism operations, with the caveat that three “were not specifically targeted by the United States.”
Lina Khatib (CNN) — The jailing of four Blackwater security guards, eight years after they killed 17 Iraqi civilians in a shooting in Baghdad, is a positive step for justice—but is also not enough.
The kind of horror represented by the Blackwater case and others like it—from Abu Ghraib to the massacre at Haditha to CIA waterboarding—may be largely absent from public memory in the West these days, but it is being used by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to support its sectarian narrative.
In its propaganda, ISIS has been using Abu Ghraib and other cases of Western abuse to legitimize its current actions in Iraq as the latest episodes in over a decade of constant “Sunni resistance” to “American aggression” and to “Shiite betrayal”—as phrased in an ISIS publication from late 2014 titled “The Revived Caliphate,” which chronicles the rise of ISIS since 2003.
Jane Greenway Carr (New America) — In November of last year, news broke of President Obama’s order to conduct a comprehensive review of how the U.S. government handles hostage situations involving Americans taken by terrorist groups abroad.
The policy review, which is still underway, launched in the midst of frustration and criticism from the families of American hostages—some of whom ISIS held and murdered—over the government’s response to the plight of their loved ones.
After the horrific deaths of (among others) journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and human rights activist Kayla Mueller, critics have pointed to the fact that several other—mostly European—hostages were recovered from ISIS after officials paid ransoms for their safe return.