State of Emergency

Hollande_speech_FGiIn the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, France has declared a state of emergency that will last at least three months and Brussels has remained locked down for days on end, while the now oft-maligned Molenbeek district experiences a steady of diet of police raids. By 23 November, France had conducted over a thousand police searches, around 140 interrogations, and placed over a hundred people in custody. But is all this the answer? Admittedly, some of these activities are a long-overdue response to a festering problem, but it easily risks spilling over into a counterproductive campaign if it has not already done so. So what should be done? The answer to that question requires a clear understanding of what happened and the events that led to the Friday the 13th attacks. Continue reading

Birmingham Goes “To the Mountains”

In the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday night, it has gone relatively unnoticed that 16 ISIL-linked persons were arrested in a coordinated sweep by European police in the early morning of Thursday, November 12th. A total of 17 arrest warrants were issued, with 15 of the suspects being picked up immediately. Almost all of the suspects were Iraqi Kurds. The alleged leader of the ring, Najmuddin Ahmad Faraj—aka Mullah Krekar, received his arrest warrant in a Norwegian prison, where he was already serving an 18-month sentence for making death threats against a man and encouraging others to commit criminal acts in a TV interview. The other confirmed arrests took place in Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Finland. Two individuals remained at-large, one in Switzerland and the other in Iraq. Ostensibly, the individuals are accused of conspiring to kill Norwegian and British diplomats in the Middle East and Norwegian politicians at home, likely in response to Krekar’s ongoing incarceration (his lawyer claims he has been incessantly harassed by Norwegian authorities since being granted asylum and has been in jail for all of one month since 2012). They are furthermore alleged to function as a pipeline for European foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria. Continue reading