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Nick Robins-Early
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Entries by Nick Robins-Early

État islamique : au cœur de la pensée apocalyptique de Daech

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 5:34 AM

En quelques années seulement, Daech est passé du stade de groupe activiste irakien, officiellement sous le contrôle d’Al-Qaïda, à celui d’insurrection internationale. L’organisation terroriste, sans doute la plus puissante de la planète, s’empare brutalement de villes importantes et se bat pour établir un califat au Moyen-Orient.

Sa brusque montée en...

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Airstrike Kills Member Of Syria's White Helmets Rescue Team

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 3:38 PM

An airstrike in northern Syria killed a member of the White Helmets, a well-known volunteer rescue...

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What Winter Will Mean For The Syrian Refugee Crisis

(1) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 11:57 AM

Every week, we bring you one overlooked aspect of the stories that made news in recent days. You noticed the media forgot all about another story's basic facts? Tweet @TheWorldPost or let us know on our Facebook page.

While warmer weather and calmer seas contributed...

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Russia Says Its Airstrikes In Syria Are Perfectly Legal. Are They?

(2) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 12:50 PM

Every week, The WorldPost asks an expert to shed light on a topic driving headlines around the world. Today, we speak with Marc Weller on the legality of Russian airstrikes in Syria.

Russia has carried out a series of airstrikes this week in Syria, justifying the bombings...

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What Putin's Airstrikes Mean For Syria

(5) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 1:23 PM

Russia carried out a series of airstrikes within Syria on Wednesday, in a dramatic escalation of Moscow's involvement in the deadly Syrian civil war. While Russia claimed the strikes were targeting Islamic State militants, analysts and officials say Russia is in fact targeting rebel groups as part of a calculus that helps bolster the regime of its ally President Bashar Assad. 

The strikes come after weeks of military build-up and a combative speech by Vladimir Putin at the UN in which the Russian leader vowed to increase his country's role in the fight against terrorism. Putin acquired unanimous parliamentary approval for military operations in Syria on Wednesday, and then rapidly mobilized jets already stationed in the country.

Contrary to Russian statements that Wednesday's strikes hit Islamic State targets, U.S. defense officials and NATO stated the areas hit were likely not under IS control and were actually territory held by rebels fighting the Assad regime.

The leader of the Western-backed opposition in Syria, Khaled Khoja, claimed the 36 casualties from the strikes were all civilians. "The area that was bombed today was free of ISIL," Khoja said during a press conference on Wednesday, using an alternative name for the group. "ISIL was defeated a year ago from these areas. It was free of ISIL, free of Nusra forces."

Geolocation expert Elliot Higgins also cast doubt on the site of the strikes, showing that the targeted area matched Google images of territory far from Islamic State control.

Rather than attempting to destroy Islamic State capabilities, analysts say, Russia showed with its air campaign that its real intent in Syria is to create a political situation that benefits Assad. 

Russia has staunchly supported the Assad regime both before and during the Syrian civil war.

"They are framing it as a war against ISIS as a way to justify their increased military involvement," said Islamic State expert Will McCants of the Brookings Institution. "Primarily it has to do with Russian worry about the collapse of the Assad regime."

If the strikes continue to target the rebel groups that are enemies of the Islamic State, then IS may benefit from Russia's air campaign rather than be degraded by it. This is a strategy that Assad has utilized for some time.

"There’s no ISIS in the areas that they hit, so it suggests they’re doubling down on the Assad regime’s tactics, which is to avoid ISIS, principally as a means to make them the only combatant in the conflict opposite the Assad regime to undercut the rebels,” Aaron Stein, a fellow at the Atlantic Council Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, told The World Post. 

Syria's government has almost exclusively targeted non-IS rebel groups in its airstrikes. Analysts say this is partly because these groups pose a more significant short-term threat to regime strongholds in areas of the country like Damascus, but also to give foreign powers no viable alternative to Assad holding power in Syria. 

Russia's military engagement also plays into Islamic State propaganda that frames its fight as one against foreign crusaders that will ultimately bring about the apocalypse. 

A Russian Orthodox Church statement on Wednesday that lauded the fight against terrorism as part of a "holy battle" also lent itself to Islamic State propaganda.

“They will see the gathering of Russian forces as a fulfillment of prophecies about the end times,” McCants explained. "Any rhetoric from the Russian side that suggests this is a religious war will only give more credence to that."

Analysts say other beneficiaries from Russia's airstrikes are likely to be extremist groups such as the al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al Nusra, which may attract smaller groups to join them to increase their security and become more formidable. 

"Some of the harder-line jihadist groups are going benefit from Russian involvement," McCants said. "I’ve seen two reports today of militant groups joining forces formally with Nusra, and we’ll probably see more of the same."

"The fear now with the Russian escalation, the Russian aggression, is that more troops might become radicalized and might be mobilized," Dr. Najib Ghadbian, the Syrian National Coalition representative to the U.S., said in a press conference on Wednesday.

In the immediate term, McCants said, Wednesday's strikes are a powerful propaganda tool and a way for the Russian leader to highlight what his supporters consider to be American dithering and cowardice. 

The long-term results of Putin's increased involvement in Syria are murkier, though analysts say the conflict could be made longer and bloodier due to Russia's strikes.

Jessica Schulberg contributed reporting from the United Nations.

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The Refugee And Migrant Crisis In Calais Never Really Stopped

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 10:39 AM

The death of an unnamed 20-year-old Iraqi man at the border tunnel between France and Britain is the latest tragedy in a long-standing refugee and migrant crisis at the French port of Calais. 

The young man's crushed body was found in the back of a heavy goods...

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What Happened The Last Time Putin Spoke At The United Nations

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2015 | 1:03 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, where he returned to the stage after a decade hiatus. A tremendous amount has changed in the world since his address in 2005, but as a look back on that speech shows, much of Putin's...

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Inside The Islamic State's Apocalyptic Beliefs

(10) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 3:29 PM

Every week, The WorldPost asks an expert to shed light on a topic driving headlines around the world. Today, we speak with Will McCants on the apocalyptic views of the Islamic State. 

The Islamic State has shifted in just a few short years from a militant group nominally under the...

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Hajj Has A Long History Of Tragic Safety Issues

(1) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 10:23 AM

After a stampede in the Saudi city of Mina killed over 700 people and injured hundreds more on Thursday, the hajj's safety risks are back in the spotlight. 

Each year, the pilgrimage brings millions of people to Saudi Arabia on a five-day Islamic pilgrimage...

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Saudi Arabia Slammed For Plans To Execute Man Convicted As A Teen

(2) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 4:42 PM

Saudi Arabia's plans to execute a young man who was sentenced to death in 2012, when he was a child offender, have this week led human rights advocates to condemn the Kingdom's justice system.

Ali al-Nimr was convicted at the age of 17 on charges relating to...

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How Hungary's Viktor Orban Became The Villain Of Europe's Refugee Crisis

(5) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 3:47 PM

As European leaders meet Wednesday for an emergency summit on the region's urgent migrant and refugee crisis, the man to watch is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The populist prime minister has been one of the most prominent political voices arguing for Europe to fortify its borders,...

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Syrian War Causes The Global Doomsday Seed Vault's First Withdrawal

(1) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 9:08 AM

The doomsday seed vault on Norway's remote Svalbard archipelago houses the world's back up supply of seeds to ensure crop diversity. It contains deposits of nearly 865,000 varieties of seeds buried within a mountain in case of catastrophe. Due to Syria's civil war, it will now allow...

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New Report Reveals Why Fighters Are Quitting ISIS

(3) Comments | Posted September 21, 2015 | 9:31 AM

Tens of thousands of people have journeyed to Iraq and Syria to join Islamic State militants in the past few years, but after experiencing the reality of life in the group's territory many have come to regret that decision.

In a new report published this week, the International Center for the Study of Radicalization sheds light on what it calls a "growing phenomenon" of defectors, who are beginning to speak out about why they left the militant organization.

ICSR looked at 58 different instances when people have spoke publicly about defecting from the Islamic State, using the accounts as case studies. The defectors whose stories were analyzed are from seventeen countries, and include seven women. The report finds several consistent narratives about what caused the former fighters to quit.

In some cases, the rationale for leaving the group is disillusionment with the way that the Islamic State is run, rather than a rejection of the militants' ideological extremism that brought the recruits to Iraq and Syria in the first place.

One of the four main reasons former members defected was that they became fed up with the level of corruption from individual commanders, and what defectors referred to as "un-Islamic" practices. This included instances of racism against fighters within the group, according to the director of ICSR and author of the report, Peter Neumann, such as one incident when an Indian foreign fighter was forced to clean toilets.

Another reason fighters say they defected is dismay that Islamic State militants kill civilians, including women and children -- notably they only cited the killings of Sunni Muslims. The Islamic State's war crimes against minority populations, like the Yazidi, which include widespread massacres, enslavement and rape, weren't mentioned in the accounts that ICSR surveyed.

Conflict between the Islamic State group and other militants -- instead of focusing on fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad -- was also cited as a reason defectors left. They also complained about the quality of life in areas controlled by Islamic State. The group's propaganda often makes false promises of a fully functional society based on its interpretation of Islamic law, replete with wealth, socials services and even its own currency.

The Islamic State's propaganda machine has been extremely effective, contributing to luring at least 25,000 foreign fighters into the group's ranks, according to a UN report published in April. There have been numerous stories detailing the circumstances that drove individuals to join the group or of how people were targeted online as potential recruits, but there have been relatively few accounts from defectors.

One possible reason for this could be because it is extremely dangerous to defect, as the ICSR report outlines. Many fear reprisals against family members. Foreign fighters may also face legal repercussions and charges when they return to their home countries, as many states have made moves to revoke passports or criminalize travel to Islamic State-controlled areas.

Those who have managed to escape the group offer a unique perspective and potential antidote to its rhetoric, the ICSR report states. Their accounts present a counter-narrative to Islamic State propaganda, and show how the group can lose appeal even for those with similar extremist views.

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ギリシャ総選挙、チプラス前首相の与党が勝利 連立政権作り、難民問題など課題山積

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2015 | 7:57 PM


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Καταρρίπτουμε πέντε μύθους για την προσφυγική και μεταναστευτική κρίση

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2015 | 6:17 PM

Εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες άνθρωποι εγκατέλειψαν φέτος τις πληγείσες από τον πόλεμο χώρες τους για να έρθουν στην Ευρώπη. Πρόκειται για την μεγαλύτερη προσφυγική κρίση μετά την τον B' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο. Η ξαφνική εισροή έχει προκαλέσει συζητήσεις μεταξύ των εθνών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης προκειμένου να βρεθεί λύση στο πρόβλημα. Την ώρα που...

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Tsipras' Syriza Party Wins Greek Election

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 5:12 PM

Greece's Syriza party is set to win a convincing victory in the national election, as the last of the votes are still being tallied. The projected result marks a degree of vindication for leader Alexis Tsipras, who looks set to return to the post of prime minister that he...

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Greece Votes In Its Second Election Of 2015

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 11:06 AM

Greek voters may be feeling déjà vu Sunday as they head to the polls to cast their ballots in the country's second election and third national vote of this year. 

The two previous votes, the first of which brought former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party to...

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Τι έχει γίνει γνωστό για τον θάνατο των 8 Μεξικανών τουριστών στην Αίγυπτο

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 2:00 PM

Το τι συνέβη κατά το αιγυπτιακό αεροπορικό πλήγμα εναντίον ομάδας τουριστών, με αποτέλεσμα τον θάνατο τουλάχιστον 12 ατόμων, περιέγραψαν Μεξικανοί επιζώντες.

Τα μέλη της ομάδας είπαν στον πρεσβευτή του Μεξικού στην Αίγυπτο ότι στρατιωτικά ελικόπτερα και ένα αεροπλάνο βομβάρδισαν το κονβόι τους, που ταξίδευε στη δυτική έρημο...

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5 Major Myths Of Europe's Refugee And Migrant Crisis Debunked

(3) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 11:35 AM

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to Europe from repressive and conflict-laden countries this year in the largest refugee crisis since World War II. The sudden influx has sparked an urgent discussion among the European Union nations over what response is necessary to mitigate the crisis. While...

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A Brutal Reminder Of Why Syrians Are Fleeing To Europe

(1) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 2:32 PM

Two car bombs exploded in the Syrian city of Hasaka on Monday, killing Kurdish forces, regime soldiers and more than a dozen civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

The bombings were part of an ongoing conflict in the city, the majority of...

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