Stories about ISIS

Omran, we can all play together

He looks well. Well-dressed, well-fed and well-rested, his face is not covered in the debris of a house demolished by shrapnel. He sits in peace and quiet, not against a backdrop of blood-curdling screams of humans in pain or the earth-shattering sound of rockets hitting targets. His eyes sparkle, not with tears but with hope and promise. His aura reflects confidence that comes from living in a safe home not by living under the real threat of death every day. This is Alex from Scarsdale, New York, the subject of yet another emotionally moving video in which a child ...

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The onus to end the Syrian crisis now lies on Russia and the US

The Syrian crisis is becoming increasingly complex and intractable due to the civil war – which was triggered by a repressive government led by Bashar al Assad – who let loose a reign of terror on protesters fighting for civil liberties and democratic reforms. Eventually it escalated into an armed conflict, one that was subsequently upstaged by two powerful superpowers – Russia and the United States. The whole narrative of the civil war changed when Russia helped out their ally, Assad, (who was facing defeat at the hands of the rebels) by supplying him with artillery, tanks and strike aircraft. Iran, on the other hand, sent Hezbollah fighters to augment the Syrian ...

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In the Skin of a Jihadist: Investigative journalism gone wrong

In the Skin of a Jihadist is a book about a young French journalist’s fascinating look at how contemporary terrorists use social media and technology to reach disillusioned youth. This is witnessed through the undercover investigation that led to the journalist’s deep involvement with a key member of ISIS. On Facebook, Melodie – a 20-year-old convert to Islam, living with her mother and sister in Toulouse – meets Bilel, a French-born, high-ranking militant for the Islamic State in Syria. Within days, Bilel falls in love with Melodie, they Skype repeatedly, and he adamantly urges her to come to Syria, marry him, and take part in jihad. ...

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Can the world stop the Syrian chemical genocide?

My experiences in life and close encounters with death have taught me one extremely important lesson – politics, money and power don’t know any faith, humanity or values. All that matters in the end are geographical interests, control and money. People are disposable commodities – pawns in a dirty game where loyalties are suspect and human life is not sacred. Bashar al Assad is a leech of the highest order and the war that he has waged against his own people has only consolidated his hold on power. Despite a huge fuss the world powers supposedly committed to end the ...

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Are American airports justified in their paranoia?

I keep wondering, scratching my head in awe. Is it paranoia? Is it a schizophrenic existence that we have come to accept as a way of life? Or, is this edginess just something that has incrementally increased over a period of time and has now become a part of our national DNA? Yes, I’m talking about life in the US of America where, of late, it literally needs a mere drop of a hat to trigger local, regional and, at times, national panic attacks followed by unstoppable seizures that scare the hell out of people. Beyond the September 11th attacks, America has been at ...

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The World Wide Web of terrorist infrastructure

The past 12 months have been a difficult period for many around the world. If before it was possible to believe that terrorist attacks were rare and isolated incidents aimed specifically at those Western powers that intervene militarily in troubled majority Muslim territories, that theory no longer stacks up. The wave of attacks over the past year has been thick, fast and brutal and it has targeted countries across Europe, the Middle East and Asia for reasons wider than simple military revenge. Since the start of August alone, there have been three vicious attacks in countries outside the western states ...

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Was Quetta an ISIS job or a JuA job? Or was it a joint effort?

I found out about the Quetta bombing the way I do about most breaking news – through Facebook. My heart sank as I saw an article a friend had posted about a cameraman who worked for one of the same publications as I do. He was a father of four children and legal guardian to three others. On Tuesday, while filming a protest of lawyers outside a Quetta hospital he was killed in a suicide attack alongside 93 others. The attack – yet another in the violence-plagued south-western province of Balochistan – is said to have taken out an entire generation of ...

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Taste of Cherry is to the post-ISIS generation what The Stranger was to the post-World War generation

Meursault is numb to the news of his mother’s death. It arrives to the central character of Albert Camus’ The Stranger via telegram and the information written on the piece of paper doesn’t bother him as much as it bothers us as readers. The absurdity of the situation pinches you, makes you look for some sort of resolution to this wildly unreasonable situation, until you realise that there isn’t one. What Meursault is looking for is not the absurd, he himself is the absurd. Similarly, in Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry, the elegant Iranian man Mr Badii drives around the outskirts of Tehran, looking ...

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Erdogan is to Turkey what Ziaul Haq is to Pakistan

When Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited the following verses whilst serving as the Mayor of Istanbul back in 1999; “The mosques are our barracks, The domes our helmets, The minarets our bayonets, And the faithful our soldiers…” Turkish citizens should have known better than to vote him in as prime minister for 11 consecutive years, and eventually, the president of Turkey. Known to the world of politics since decades, Erdogan isn’t a stranger to how the political clock ticks. He created the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001, which raised him to unprecedented heights. To date, his status within the party remains ...

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The only country ‘sponsoring terrorism’ is the United States of America

News is meant to be serious and, apparently, so are the legal proceedings attended by lawmakers. Unfortunately, in our country, parliamentary proceedings are exceedingly boring but funny; not because of the content but because of the kind of characters who inhabit our parliament. A great example is Shah Sahib’s sadness at the murder of Junaid Jamshed which sparked a round of hilarious memes. What tickles my funny bone even more is when lawmakers abroad have long discussions about something absolutely absurd or condemning actions which their country is itself involved in. A recent example of this happened last week ...

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