Experts warn against ascribing too much influence to jihadists When US special forces tracked down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s hiding place in Syria last fall, it was not long before a new leader succeeded the “Islamic State” (IS).

Experts warn against ascribing too much influence to jihadists When US special forces tracked down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s hiding place in Syria last fall, it was not long before a new leader succeeded the “Islamic State” (IS).

Experts warn against ascribing too much influence to jihadists

When US special forces tracked down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s hiding place in Syria last autumn, it was not long before a new leader came up from the “Islamic State” (IS). After the death of the world’s most wanted and feared terrorist, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi became head of the terrorist militia. Awarded US bounty: Ten million dollars (8.44 million euros).

ISIS is weakened in its former rule in Syria and Iraq. To this end, he has opened new fronts in West, North and East Africa as well as in parts of Asia. The influence extends to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. There, offshoots swore allegiance. More than 250 people were killed in the Easter attacks on Sri Lanka in April 2019 on several churches and luxury hotels. The IS also claimed this attack for itself.

“There has been a dramatic escalation of violence”

In Africa, IS is trying to strengthen its presence, especially south of the Sahara. In West Africa in the Sahel zone, extremists find fertile soil: the region is characterized by an explosive mixture of poverty, weak governance, population growth and the consequences of climate change. The threat from militant Islamist groups is growing, warns Daniel Eizenga from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. “There has been a dramatic escalation in violence.”

Also interesting: “You can’t win a war against a phantom”: What is terrorism?

There are two main groups in favor of IS: The West African offshoot ISWAP, which has split off from Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, and the “Islamic State in the Sahel Zone” (ISGS) on the border between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Associating with IS – a name known around the world – has brought about good propaganda above all, says Eizenga. With around 3,500 fighters, ISWAP has more members than any other IS branch in Africa, as estimated by the Anti-Terrorism Center of the US military academy West Point in 2018.

On the northern edge of the Sahara, IS fighters are trying to exploit the civil war chaos in Libya, or they are carrying out attacks in the barren desert of Egypt. For years, Egyptian security forces have been fighting with the IS offshoot Vilayat Sinai in northern Sinai. Extremists often carry out suicide bombings there or attack with weapons. In one of the worst attacks by IS in recent years, more than 300 people were killed in a mosque there.

The caliphate no longer exists

Further east, in Afghanistan, the terrorist militia appeared in 2015. There and on Pakistani territory she wants to found the “province” IS-Khorazan.123helpme free essays The USA and the government in Kabul fought ISIS intensively from the start. In autumn 2019, President Ashraf Ghani then announced the military victory. Nevertheless, the terrorist militia repeatedly claimed devastating attacks for themselves.

A terrorist attack on a hospital in the capital Kabul, in which mothers were murdered with their newborns, caused horror in May. The US later blamed ISIS. There was also a major attack on a prison in Nangarhar Province, the former IS stronghold. According to a UN report, IS still has around 2,200 fighters in Afghanistan today. Experts fear that after a possible peace agreement between the government in Kabul and the militant Islamist Taliban, fanatical Taliban fighters could also join him.

Nevertheless, the so-called caliphate that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed in Syria and Iraq in 2014 no longer exists. ISIS has been significantly weakened in both countries and its influence has waned despite the new arenas of battle. “Your ability to move money, recruiting – everything we’ve seen since 2014 – has declined very, very, very much,” US special envoy to fight jihadists James Jeffrey said in June.

“The organization is in decline”

Terrorism expert Eizenga also warns against ascribing too much influence to IS today: “The organization is in decline. It is in their interest to pretend they have connections to all these satellite groups around the world.” The IS can only work with them to a limited extent. According to Eizenga, there is little evidence that there is a direct connection in the form of money or coordination between headquarters and branches.

This also applies to the supposedly newest front: Mozambique. Southern Africa was spared Islamist terror for a long time. Since 2017, however, extremists have been attacking people in Mozambique’s poor but gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado. Of more than 400 attacks, IS claimed at least 35 in its propaganda channels, says Jasmine Opperman. Beyond this “media jihad”, however, she saw no instructions or support from IS, says the analyst at the conflict institute ACLED. According to experts, the role of IS in Mozambique is overestimated.

Terrorism experts nevertheless remain vigilant – also because IS could gain a stronger foothold in Iraq and Syria. According to US analysts at West Point, IS carried out around 560 attacks in Iraq alone in the first three months of the current year – compared to 290 in the same period last year. The “recent pace of violence” is comparable to the situation in 2012, when the group was facing its “military breakthrough” in Iraq and Syria.

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Experts warn against ascribing too much influence to jihadists

When US special forces tracked down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s hiding place in Syria last autumn, it was not long before a new leader came up from the “Islamic State” (IS). After the death of the world’s most wanted and feared terrorist, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi became head of the terrorist militia. Awarded US bounty: Ten million dollars (8.44 million euros).

ISIS is weakened in its former rule in Syria and Iraq. To this end, he has opened new fronts in West, North and East Africa as well as in parts of Asia. The influence extends to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. There, offshoots swore allegiance. More than 250 people were killed in the Easter attacks on Sri Lanka in April 2019 on several churches and luxury hotels. The IS also claimed this attack for itself.

“There has been a dramatic escalation of violence”

In Africa, IS is trying to strengthen its presence, especially south of the Sahara. In West Africa in the Sahel zone, extremists find fertile soil: the region is characterized by an explosive mixture of poverty, weak governance, population growth and the consequences of climate change. The threat from militant Islamist groups is growing, warns Daniel Eizenga from the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. “There has been a dramatic escalation in violence.”

Also interesting: “You can’t win a war against a phantom”: What is terrorism?

There are two main groups in favor of IS: The West African offshoot ISWAP, which has split off from Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, and the “Islamic State in the Sahel Zone” (ISGS) on the border between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Associating with IS – a name known around the world – has brought about good propaganda above all, says Eizenga. With around 3,500 fighters, ISWAP has more members than any other IS branch in Africa, as estimated by the Anti-Terrorism Center of the US military academy West Point in 2018.

On the northern edge of the Sahara, IS fighters are trying to exploit the civil war chaos in Libya, or they are carrying out attacks in the barren desert of Egypt. For years, Egyptian security forces have been fighting with the IS offshoot Vilayat Sinai in northern Sinai. Extremists often carry out suicide bombings there or attack with weapons. In one of the worst attacks by IS in recent years, more than 300 people were killed in a mosque there.

The caliphate no longer exists

Further east, in Afghanistan, the terrorist militia appeared in 2015. There and on Pakistani territory she wants to found the “province” IS-Khorazan. The USA and the government in Kabul fought ISIS intensively from the start. In autumn 2019, President Ashraf Ghani then announced the military victory. Nevertheless, the terrorist militia repeatedly claimed devastating attacks for themselves.

A terrorist attack on a hospital in the capital Kabul, in which mothers were murdered with their newborns, caused horror in May. The US later blamed ISIS. There was also a major attack on a prison in Nangarhar Province, the former IS stronghold. According to a UN report, IS still has around 2,200 fighters in Afghanistan today. Experts fear that after a possible peace agreement between the government in Kabul and the militant Islamist Taliban, fanatical Taliban fighters could also join him.

Nevertheless, the so-called caliphate that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed in Syria and Iraq in 2014 no longer exists. ISIS has been significantly weakened in both countries and its influence has waned despite the new arenas of battle. “Your ability to move money, recruiting – everything we’ve seen since 2014 – has declined very, very, very much,” US special envoy to fight jihadists James Jeffrey said in June.

“The organization is in decline”

Terrorism expert Eizenga also warns against ascribing too much influence to IS today: “The organization is in decline. It is in their interest to pretend they have connections to all these satellite groups around the world.” The IS can only work with them to a limited extent. According to Eizenga, there is little evidence that there is a direct connection in the form of money or coordination between headquarters and branches.

This also applies to the supposedly newest front: Mozambique. Southern Africa was spared Islamist terror for a long time. Since 2017, however, extremists have been attacking people in Mozambique’s poor but gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado. Of more than 400 attacks, IS claimed at least 35 in its propaganda channels, says Jasmine Opperman. Beyond this “media jihad”, however, she saw no instructions or support from IS, says the analyst at the conflict institute ACLED. According to experts, the role of IS in Mozambique is overestimated.

Terrorism experts nevertheless remain vigilant – also because IS could gain a stronger foothold in Iraq and Syria. According to US analysts at West Point, IS carried out around 560 attacks in Iraq alone in the first three months of the current year – compared to 290 in the same period last year. The “recent pace of violence” is comparable to the situation in 2012, when the group was facing its “military breakthrough” in Iraq and Syria.

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More on this ▶

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So close yet so far? What do you know about Slovakia – except that the capital is Bratislava? The small neighboring country of Austria has a lot to offer despite its small size. And the best: it’s not far away. Here are a few tips for a trip to Slovakia away from Bratislava.

Vysoké Tatry / High Tatras

The High Tatras are the highest mountains in Slovakia in the northeast of the country. This wonderful landscape is great for hiking and enjoying nature. There are numerous hiking trails, a cable car and also beautiful waterfalls (vodopády studeného potoka). Many traditional huts offer food and accommodation, and picturesque mountain lakes – the most famous of which is the Strbské Pleso – characterize the landscape.

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Dobsiná ice cave

A visit to the Dobsiná Ice Cave (Dobschauer Ice Cave), a World Heritage Site, is definitely fascinating. The cave is one of the largest and most interesting of its kind in Europe. The layers of ice here are sometimes 25 meters thick and impress with their various shapes. The cave is located on the southwestern edge of the Slovenský raj National Park. Attention: It’s freezing inside – so dress warmly in summer too.

Pieniny National Park

This beautiful national park is located on the border with Poland, where it continues. Here you can hike wonderfully, marvel at rare plants or one or more of 766 species of butterflies. You can also experience the whole thing on an impressive raft trip on the Dunajec River. The highest peak, Tri koruny, is on the Polish side of the park and is also worth a visit.

Kosice

Kosice is the second largest city in Slovakia, but not nearly as well known as the capital Bratislava. Nevertheless, it is an insider tip and definitely worth a visit. There is a beautiful cathedral to be marveled at in the east of the city, but a synagogue is actually worth strolling through the city and viewing it as a “total work of art”.

Spiš Castle

It is one of the largest castles in Central Europe (the second largest according to the Guiness Book) and is really impressive. The Spiš Castle in the northeast of the country in the municipality of Žehra is located in the middle of fairytale hills on a cone at a height of 630 meters with gigantic outer walls. Today it is a world heritage site.

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle is certainly not an insider tip in Slovakia, but rather a much-visited attraction. But there is also a reason for that. The castle looks like a fairytale castle and was built on a rock in the middle of the 14th century.