PARIS (AP) — Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.
In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins. Read the rest of this entry »
By Feroz Hassan Khan and Emily Burke for National Defense University Press
Since India and Pakistan conducted their nuclear tests in 1998, every danger associated with nuclear weapons – proliferation, instability, and terrorism – has been linked to the region. And despite nuclear deterrence and the modernization of nuclear forces, South Asia is a far cry from achieving stability. Indeed, the security situation in South Asia has deteriorated and violent extremism has surged to unprecedentedly high levels. In the past decades, both states have operationalized their nuclear deterrent forces, increased production of fissile material and nuclear delivery means, and developed plans to field a nuclear capable triad. Concurrently, both countries are expanding civilian nuclear facilities in their quests for a cleaner source of energy to combat current and future energy shortages. As tensions and violence in the region have increased, both states blame the other’s policy choices for the scourge of terrorism that has seized the region. New leadership in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan however, creates an opening to tackle the immediate scourge of violent extremist organizations and unresolved historic conflicts. Ironically the traditional stabilizing force in the region – the United States – is drawing down in Afghanistan and shifting its focus to the Asia-Pacific region and to Russia where new tensions have erupted. Within this security context, India and Pakistan will be left on their own to devise mechanisms to mitigate and eliminate the regional risk of terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »
Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev raised eyebrows this week while promoting his new book “After the Kremlin.” The 83-year-old told The Daily Mail that Russian President Vladimir Putin “thinks he [Putin] is second only to God.”
“He has started picking up the same illness which I suffered from earlier – self-confidence,” states Gorbachev in the Daily Mail’s report, further warning Putin: “Don’t get a big head. That is what ruined me.”
Gorbachev lamented that former KGB spy Putin avoids substantial one-to-one meetings with the elder statesman.
“I need to participate, and I will. Nobody will shut my mouth, even though people wanted me to emigrate,” stated Gorbachev, who warned earlier this month of a possible new Cold War. Read the rest of this entry »
A Europe-wide police operation has been launched in an effort to detect, detain and potentially deport tens of thousands of so-called “irregular” migrants; people living clandestinely, without official documentation permitting them to stay.
It is a controversial move. While Europeqn Union officials say the operation is integral to the combat of human smuggling rings, rights groups have denounced it as inhumane. Read the rest of this entry »
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Diana Timmerman, and Marie Donovan.
(E) = Article in English
Military and Security
- Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Haji Zadeh said:
- On Iran’s downing of an Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): “After this action, some large countries sent us messages of congratulations… the Israeli aircraft did not post information online; but the information was stored in it, so by destroying it, [the UAV] did not send any information.”
- “This is a spy plane, and usually countries do not comment on these UAVs, but given what we know of them in Syria and in some other places such as Karabakh, we are already familiar with this type of aircraft…”
- “Fighter aircraft are created for carrying out military operations and targeting certain parts of the country, and if we can discover them, we can see the damage; but the spy planes are primarily small and secretive… detection, interception, and destruction of these aircraft is very, very difficult.” (Sepah News) Read the rest of this entry »
(Reuters) – Explosions caused by a fire killed at least 10 people at a munitions depot in eastern Siberia and temporarily closed a section of the Transsiberian railway, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
Engineers found a truck with 10 corpses in the early hours of Wednesday, a Defense Ministry spokesman told Rossiya-24 television, which carried pictures of flames swirling high in the night sky and turning it red.
The blaze broke out on Tuesday at the depot near Bolshaya Tura village, some 6,200 km (3,852 miles) southeast of Moscow, caused by a wildfire raging nearby. More than 1,000 residents were evacuated, the local Emergencies Ministry said. Read the rest of this entry »
Location map of Qatar Equirectangular projection, N/S stretching 110 %. Geographic limits of the map: N: 26.3° N S: 24.4° N W: 50.3° E E: 52.5° E (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Published 20 March 2014
Qatar bribed FIFA officials so they would vote to award it the 2022 Soccer World Cup. In addition to the likely corruption investigation, FIFA is also grappling with the question of the temperature in Qatar in the summer. Several state football associations, and many medical specialists, said that the summer heat in Qatar is such that it would be dangerous for players to play for ninety minutes, and risky for spectators to sit in the stands during games. Now news has emerged that leading figures inthe Qatar World Cup committee are supporters of terrorism, contributing millions of dollars to al Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
As Russian forces begin exercises on Ukraine’s border and continue their hold on Crimea, I worry about military escalation—unintentional and intentional. What fuels my concern about unintentional escalation is a disconcerting interaction I had last year with a Russian general at a NATO conference in Europe. I was leading a breakout session with a dozen generals and admirals from the region. I was taken aback as many of the Western European NATO officers began lamenting their individual countries’ declining defense budgets and their inability to keep up with American military capability. As complicated as things might be inside NATO, and as difficult as it is to rally collective action at times, NATO is still the premier military alliance in the world. No one is giving up on it, I assured them.
When the Russian general spoke, he leaned into the table and said, “When I was a young soldier in the Soviet Army during the Cold War, I thought of NATO like this…” and he held his hand into a powerful fist. “But now that I am serving with NATO as a liaison, I am thinking, this…” and his hand went limp and wobbly with a whiny sounding sigh. If this small interaction reflects in any way a wider view of NATO by Russian civilian and military leaders, NATO has its work cut out for it in demonstrating to Vladimir Putin that continued military aggression in Ukraine will be challenged. Read the rest of this entry »
Edited time: March 06, 2014 13:03
An anti-government protester sit near the bodies of two demonstrators killed by a sniper during clashes with the police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.(AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.
“There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Urmas Paet said during the conversation.
“I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.
The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25, following the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.
By Eli Lake March 2, 2014 4:40 PM The Daily Beast
The last time Russian troops invaded one of its neighbors, the U.S. intelligence community was also caught off guard.
The year was 2008 and the country was Georgia instead of the Ukraine. And just as in 2014, back then there were early signs that Moscow was serious—it was issuing visas to ethnic Russian speakers inGeorgia, like it’s doing now in Ukraine. U.S. analysts just didn’t believe Russia would go as far as it did.
Today, as in 2008, American policy makers have found themselves burned after trying to make Vladimir Putin a partner when Putin himself sees America as a rival. This has often led Republican and Democratic led administrations to find themselves flat footed in the face of Russian aggression and U.S. intelligence analysts racing to explain how they misread Putin’s motivations.