In 2001, American President George W. Bush declared The War on Terror following the events of 9/11; one of the most successfully orchestrate mass terror attacks in American history, killing 2996 civilians. The War on Terror varies from most other wars due to its non-discrimination, transnational nature. While other wars have targeted a state or an internal threat, Bush’s war often targets sub state groups and movement whom migrate and hide from authorities while launching attacks in the name of their cause. Consequently, while the war has not yet ended, it has evolved over time, with target combatants changing; as one threat diminishes, another surfaces. Targeted terror organisations have included al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS.
Global (mostly Middle East)
Deaths: Estimated between 1.3 and 2 million directly, many more from subsequent conflicts
Consequent Wars: Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Yemen Insurgency, Syrian War, War in North West Pakistan, Somali Civil War
Declared the War following a large-scale attack on the states. Leads many of the attacks and military efforts against combatants, often with the most troops or allied troops contributed to the cause.
The most well know terrorist group in the West during the 2000s. They launched the 9/11 terror attacks under the command of Bin Laden. They act under their Holy War against the United States, to raise awareness of the gross biases and lack of support for Muslims in conflict ridden countries.
The Iraq war was launched in 2003, and was commonly perceived as the main front of the war on terror for a prolonged period. The initial American presence in Iraq was justified through President Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and the governments alleged ties to terrorism. However, over time, this occupations legitimacy has been questioned; post Hussein’s Presidential rule.
In 2001, the USA lodged its initial war in Afghanistan titled Operation Enduring Freedom, under the war on terror. This aimed to hunt down and dismantle al Qaeda. However, this in turn also meant the destruction of the Taliban; an organisation in control of the state that works with and harbors well known terrorists for their own benefit. This war ended in 2014, with another being declared in 2015 titled Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, with NATO and a coalition of other countries in support of the cause. While America and its allies continue to politicize the decision to extract forces, these efforts remain verbal and yet to be acted upon.
An illegitimate body that seized control over Afghanistan in the 2001, utilizing radicalized extremism and terrorism. Taliban presence has been an ongoing excuse for Western Allies to maintain a heavy presence within Afghanistan.
Emerged internationally in 2013. However, it has since overtaken al Qaeda’s presence in the Western Media circle. This terrorist organisation is multifaceted and ever changing. It focuses on claiming lands in Iraq and Syria, further destabilizing and fueling violence in regional conflicts. However, in its terrorist oriented sectors, ISIS insights violence about all non-members; claiming their jihadist behaviors are for the appeasement of Allah and to raise awareness of their State’s legitimacy or claim to lands. Furthermore, this terrorist group participates in terrorism and warfare in a variety of other destabilized regions within the Eurasian continent, recruiting while seizing land and power whenever they can.
There is ongoing debate and disagreement surrounding Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the War on Terror. Saudi Arabians fund a variety of terrorist groups, and a variety of jihadists such as the plane hijackers of 9/11, who were Saudi nationals. Furthermore, due to its economic and geographical position, the state has been heavily involved in an array of bombings and proxy warfare in a variety of locations destabilized by the war on terror, including Yemen or Syria.
A long-term host to violence due to its location. However, with the increased terror presence in the region from both al Qaeda and ISIS groups, the state has become heavily destabilized. This has resulted in various other actors such as the USA launching Navy Seal raids in Yemen to locate groups al Qaeda under the war on terror. Due to the increasingly destabilized and insecure nature of Yemen, another Civil War broke out in 2015.
While the Syrian crisis arose from a political sphere, this state became the ideal incubator for the growth and expansion of Islamic terrorism. The destabilization within the state created a power vacuum and a variety of vulnerabilities, in particular towards radicalization. Consequently, Syria has now become the home of various sub state groups, from Rebels and Kurds to the fully-fledged ISIS terror cult. This centralizes the actions of the USA in this crisis to focus on the destruction of terror presence rather than the reconstruction of the Syrian government.
The US present of the day, George W. Bush, declares manhunt for the notorious AL Qaeda Leader Osama Bin Laden, which ended on the 2nd of May 2011 when the terrorist extremist ‘was shot in the head during a dramatic raid by US special forces in the Pakistan.’
The United States and Canada align in the launch of homeland security investigations.
A Pakistani delegation attempt to appeal to the Leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, for the hand over of Bin Laden. Omar however refused to hand over Bin Laden despite being warned that failure to do so would result in US military attack.
Described as ‘the charismatic spiritual leader of the Taliban,’ Mullah Omar’s refusal to hand over Bin Laden to the US pressured the US Government to follow through with the threat of war. At the time, Omar believed the Al Qaeda extremist ‘Bin Laden to be his honoured guest.’
Operation Enduring Freedom began on the 1st of October 2001 and ended on the 28th of December 2018. Operation Enduring Freedom came to be known as ‘the U.S. led war in Afghanistan.’ The Operation was launched in order to combat and eliminate the notorious Taliban regime and the sheltering of Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists by the Taliban. Here, CNN summarizes that ‘The Operation was launched to stop the Taliban from providing a safe haven to Al Qaeda and to stop Al Qaeda’s use of Afghanistan as a base of operations for terrorist activities.’
As a measure of protection and in response to the 9/11 attacks, Operation eagle assist was launched. The operation was strongly supported by US allies, as ‘in addition to participation in the war in Afghanistan, Nato’s response to the 9/11 attacks under Article 5, included Operation Eagle Assist, in which NATO aircraft helped patrol the skies over the United States for seven months between 2001 and 2002.’
The Operation ceased on May 16th 2002.
Forming an integral component of President’s Bush’s war Guantanamo Bay opened in early January 2002. Official records outline that ‘the first detainees arrived at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on January 11, 2002.’ The choice of location for the detention facility was purely strategic, as such enabled the facility to operate beyond the arms width of the law. Here, the Guardian Online reports that ‘the military prison at Guantanamo Bay… was intentionally established on a US naval base on the tip of Cuba [so] that Mr. Bush’s lawyers [could] argue that [it] was beyond the reach of usual law.’
The operation of the detention facility has attracted strong backlash from human rights bodies and the like. The Independent online reports that ‘Although it was claimed [that] the prisoners were being kept in humane conditions, within the first two years it was revealed that inmates were subjected to Abu Ghraib-style torture and sexual humiliation…’
Operative Active Endeavour was a joint USA-NATO maritime mission. The Operation aimed to prohibit the movements of both terrorists and Weapons of Mass Destruction within the Mediterranean Sea. With time, ‘ the counter-terrorism activities performed by NATO navels forces in the Eastern Mediterranean later expanded to the entire Mediterranean region.’
Operation ceased in 2016.
USA Patriots Act introduced, which was aimed at ‘improving homeland security by security’ through the tightening of security and surveillance protocol. Of the wide array of changes enacted by the legislation, the following are noted;
UNSC adopts Resolution 1390, which specifically targeted the operations of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. In a bid to cripple the terrorist cells functionality, the resolution sought to freeze funds, refuse the sale of arms and deny entry of all three parties.
Operations Mountain Lion, Operation Ptmargian and Operation Jacana strategy launched in April of 2002. The aim of operations, although separate, was to specifically targets and eliminate terrorist cells in in Gardez, Khots and Pakita province. More so specifically, ‘Operation Mountain Lion was designed to find enemy fighters in the Gardez and Khost regions, destroy those that were there and deny them control of the area and an opportunity to reorganize their forces.’
Operation Ptmargian has a stronger focus on combatant control. CNN world reports that ‘Operation Ptmargian is a combat mission in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, led primarily by a 45 Commando unit of the Royal British Marines.’
Bail bombings carried out by ‘members of extremist Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah.’ 202 lives were lost in the Bali terrorist attack, with hundreds wounded.
Resolution 1441 called for Saddam Hussein to cease Nuclear developments in compliance with the Nuclear Proliferation Act, allowing him a final opportunity to comply.
CIA begins drones strikes in Yemen and also the Saudi Arabian Sects which target Al Qaeda members.
The Al Qaeda orchestrated Mombasa attacks in Kenya kill 13 people and injure 80.
Protests organized globally against the Iraq War.
Colin Powell, Secretary of the State, addresses UNSC to declare that President Hussein has been attempting to obtain key components in order to build nuclear weapons.
American invasion on Iraqi soil commenced in March of 2003. The Council on Foreign Relations (Council) recounts that ‘In March of 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq vowing to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and end the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein.’ This war formally ended on the 18th of December 2011, with lives being lost on both sides. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that ‘nearly 4,500 Americans and well over 100,000 Iraqis were killed’ during this period. Whereas the economic cost of the invasion has been stated to be a staggering ‘$800 billion from the U.S. Treasury.’
Operations Vikings Hammer between the ‘American Green Berets and CIA commandos and [around] 7,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against the forces of the militant Ansar al-Islam group.’ The predominately fierce aerial combat reportedly resulted in the deaths of ‘250 enemy combatants.’
Official estimates report that the Casablanca terrorists killed 42 people and wounded over a 100. Whether or not the attacks were actually orchestrated by the Al-Qaeda remains unsettled. Moroccan intelligence did however identify that the attackers were adherents of extremist Islamic ideology. CNN online reported that ‘Moroccan police told CNN they believe the attackers were Morocaans who had trained abroad, and that some have links to a shadowy Islamic group known as Salifia Jihadia.’
Reports indicate that the terrorist attack was orchestrated by ‘Jemaah Islamiyah (Ji), an Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group suspected of carrying out similar attacks in south-east Asia.’ The suicide bombing which occurred killed 50 innocents and injured 150 others. The attacks targeted ‘Hotel Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott’ in the more so affluent and economically blooming sector of Indonesia. The attack on the Marriott bought into serious scrutiny the viability tightness of security procedures set in place.
The Leader of the Eastern Turkenstan Islamic Movement, Hasan Mesum, was shot dead by Pakistan forces ‘on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.’
It is estimated that the Al Qaeda orchestrated attacks killed over 60 people and wounded over 600. NBC news online reports that ‘The November 2003 bombings destroyed a British bank, the British Consulate and two synagogues.’
The attacks were orchestrated under the direction and command of the notorious Islamic Extremist terrorist ‘Loa’i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa.’ Commonly referred to as Al-Saqa, NBC News Online reports that he was responsible for ‘masterminding the attacks.’ His affiliation with Al Qaeda appeared to be both direct and strong with NBC News online further reporting that ‘he was accused of serving as a main point man between al-Qaida and homegrown militants behind the series of suicide bombings in Istanbul in 2003.’
US Forces successfully captured Saddam Hussein in Iraq during Operation Red Dawn.
Philippines terrorist group Abu Sayyaf (ASG) carryout the SuperFerry attack. The attacks inclued 14 bombings and killed 114 people.
Known as the ‘deadliest terrorist attack in Spain’s history’ the Madrid Train Bombings ‘killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800.’ The attacks were carried out by members of Al Qaeda.
The Al Qaeda orchestrated Khobar massacre in Saudi Arabia resulted in the death of 22 innocents. Indeed. New Zealand Herald online reports that ‘Al Qaeda militants killed 22 civilians and took dozens of foreigners hostage in a daring attack…’ The motive behind the attacks was informed by a strong feeling of hatred for Saudi Arabia’s strong foreign relations based dealings with the Western world. Here, New Zealand Herald online reports that ‘Al Qaeda wants to destabilize the country whose leaders it considers subservient to the West.’
Commonly known as ‘the drone air war,’ the CIA utilized unmanned drones to target, bomb and eliminate Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Pakistan. Foreign Policy online further reports that ‘The Obama administration dramatically expanded the air war, and intelligence officers believe the strikes succeeded in inflicting damage on Al Qaeda’s core leadership.’
The three day long siege was conducted by ‘armed Chechen rebels [who] took approximately 1,200 children and adults hostage at a school in Beslan Russia.’ The Guardian Online reports that ‘more than 330 people were killed, of which 184 were children.’
Australian embassy bombings in Jakarta kills 9 and injure 160.
The Guardian Online reported that on this day ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda, establishing the group in Iraq.’
US, Iraq and Kurdish forces fought to regain Mosul proceeding al Qaeda in Iraq lodging various ambushes and attacks on the city.
The operation was carried out on the borders of Syria, with the purpose of the operation being to secure and block terrorist group flows entering Iraq via Syria. The Operation was hailed to be a strong victory as it was reported that ‘the operation had cleared out the terrorist haven and killed more than 125 militants during the week long campaign against followers of Iraq’s most wanted terrorist Abu Musab-al-Zarqawi.’
The London bombings which occurred on the 7th of July 2005 came to be known as 7/7, was a systematically planned suicide bombings attack on London’s underground rail network and bus system. The attacks ‘killed 52 people and injured more than 700.’
The attacks catalysed major shifts in ‘British counterterrorism policy, which previously focused on foreign threats.’ BCC online has reported that ‘The bombings of three Tube trains and a bus- carried out by four bombers linked to Al-Qaeda,’ the Islamic Extremist Terrorist group. However, these attackers were actually ‘characterized as “ordinary British citizens” in the subsequent investigation [where is was found that the attacks were carried out using inexpensive readily available materials.’
Operation Sayeed begins. It was an umbrella operation in Iraq aimed at eliminating AQI’s presence in the region, led by the US.
On the 1st of October 2005 bomb blasts carried out by three suicide bombers in Bali resulted in the deaths of 26 civilians, with ‘hospital officials stating that the wounded numbered at 102.’
CNN online reported that ‘Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the bombings as an act of terrorism.’ It is unclear whether an extremist group is responsible for the attacks. However, CNN online has reported that ‘terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna told CNN that the attacks had the hallmarks of Jemaah Islamiyah- a Southeast Asian terrorist groups with ties to Al Qaeda.’
The string of bombings which occurred on the 9th of November 2005 in Amman Jordan, came to be known as ‘Jordan’s 9/11.’ The terrorist attack resulted in the deaths of ’57, with 93 injured.’ The attacks were carried out by Al-Qaida in Iraq affiliated terrorists. The guardian online has reported that ‘In its third statement posted on the internet, Al-Qaida in Iraq said that it had sent four Iraqis to Jordan to launch suicide attacks.’
Al Qaeda in Iraq has reported to have gained its stronghold of Diyala Governorate in April of 2006.
The fall of Diyala Governorate in November of 2007, which was heralded to be ‘an al Qaeda in Iraq sanctuary’ was made possible by the actioning of a tripartite offensive made possible by joint American and Iraqi cooperation. Of particular significance of these ‘three successive large scale military campaigns… was the second offensive [named] Phantom Thunder [whereby it was] the Corps offensive to clear al Qaeda sanctuaries in the belts around Baghdad from which the organization launched its most devastating vehicle bomb attacks.’
The first major stage of civil unrest in Somalia begin during the ‘June-July’ period, with a clear peak in Islamist insurgency. High level news sources have highlighted the June 2006 to be of particular significance as it is ‘in June 2006 [that] Islamist militia loyal to the Somalia Islamic Courts Council seized Mogadishu after defeating US-backed warlords.’
The notorious Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed on the 7th of June 2006 in a US ‘airstrike on a house 50 km northeast of Baghdad, in the province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital, Baquba.’ Aljazeera online reported that the death of al-Zarqawi was largely made possible by intelligence provided by civilians residing in the area. Indeed, it was further reported that ‘Iraq’s Prime Minister Al-Maliki said that the air strike was the result of intelligence reports provided to Iraqi security forces by resident in the area, and US forces acted on the information.’
This date marked a crucial turning point in the war against Islamist insurgents as US backed Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia to attack the Islamist insurgents.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq officially declared that Iraq as of October 2006 is the Islamic State of Iraq.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was formally sentenced to death by ‘an Iraqi Specialist tribunal’ for the brutal ‘deaths of more than 148 Shia Muslim men and boys in reprisal for a 1982 assassination attempt on the Iraqi leader in the town of Dujali.’
Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging on in the early hours of November 30th 2006.
Hussein’s execution was met with a mixed bag of reactions, with the Shia Muslim community who suffered at the hand of the dictator either engaging in celebration or expressing a strong ‘sense of hopelessness.’ Here, the Guardian Online reported that ‘one Shia taxi driver who gave his name as Shawkat said that “They can kill him 10 times but it won’t bring safety to the streets because there is not state of law.’ On the hand, the Sunni Muslim population have expressed anger and revolt at the dictator’s execution, with the Guardian online reporting that ‘In Iraq opinion was divided sharply along sectarian lines, with Sunni Muslims warning of “bloodbaths in the streets.”’
On February the 13th 2007 Algeria experienced ‘a wave of bombings [which] targeted mostly police.’ Islamic extremist militants have been suggested to be responsible for the attacks, as CBS news reported that ‘[the attack] bore hallmarks of the Salafist Group of Call and Combat, an al Qaeda-linked Islamic insurgency group.’
The 11th April terrorist bombings claimed the lives of ‘at least 23 people and wounded 162.’ The bombings were planned and executed across two specifically targeted locations; ‘a government building and a police station in Bab Ezzourar.’
The New York Times reported that ‘Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, North Africa’s most active terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attacks.’
December of 2007 is marked as the time period when Militant Group Tehrik-i-Taliban officially declared its’ Pakistan. Tehrik-i-Taliban is also noted to have been ‘founded in December of 2007.’
The brutal attacks reportedly ‘killed six people and injured more than 20’ on the 17th September of September 2008 in Islamabad Pakistan. The notorious terrorist group ‘Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Danish Embassy Attack… [with] Al Qaeda’s top leader in Afghanistan .’ Avenging the attack on the reputability of the Prophet Mohammad by the Danish media was the said motive driving the attacks. As such it has been reported that, ‘in 2004 several Danish newspapers published cartoon in 2004 which many in the Islamic world found insulting… The Mohammad cartoon triggered riots in early 2006 in several Muslim nations, including Pakistan. Danish newspapers then reprinted the cartoon in February 2008 on freedom of speech grounds.’
The attacks gave rise to a heightened sense of fear in Islamabad, particularly in the diplomat community.
Reporting for Washington Post Online Dana Priest and William Arkin reported that the a specialist ‘intelligence body [within] US Joint Special Operations Command shut down every Jihadist website they knew.’
This terror attack on the American Embassy in Yemen ‘killed 10 Yemeni police and civilians.’ The attack was highly coordinated with officials opining that these suicide car bombings ‘beared the hallmarks of an al Qaeda attack.’
France24 online has reported that Islamic extremist militant group ‘Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened similar strikes against the British, Saudi and United Arab Emirates missions in the Yemeni capital.’
The Mumbai terror attacks were orchestrated by the Pakistani based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. The attacks claimed the life of 164 people, however there are slight variances in the death toll reported with other credible news sources, such as BBC online reporting the death as standing at 166. The wounded numbered in the hundreds.
The attacks were carefully planned and systematically carried out across the 5 following specifically targeted locations; ‘Café Leopold, Cama and Albless Hospital, Nariman House, Oberoi-Trident hotel and The Taj Mahal Palace and Hotel towers.’ On the 26th of November the terrorists open fired at the Cama and Albless Hospital and also at Café Leopold. The attacks claimed the lives of 16 people in total. Here, CNN World online reported that ‘approximately 10 people were killed in the Café Leopold attack which lasted 10-15 minutes.’ Whereas, other avenues were subject to sieges which last from three to four days in duration. Here, CNN World online reported that ‘Nariman House and the Oberoi-Trident Hotel were subject to a three-day long siege.’ Further, ‘the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel where under siege for four day, during which 31 lives were claimed.’
Late February of 2009 marked a clear and strong shift in US war rhetoric with ‘President Obama [officially announcing plans] to withdraw most US troops from Iraq by the end of 2010.’ President Obama formally acknowledged the toll that the war in Iraq had on both American military personnel and Iraqi civilians. Nevertheless, Obama’s acknowledgement of the Iraqi experience was not made devoid of US politic rhetoric. Here, The Guardian online reported that ‘[President Obama] also had words for Iraqis, saying that the US had done its bit and now it was time for Iraqis to take responsibility.’
In 2009 the insurgent group Boko Haram officially began its rebellion in Nigeria. The Guardian online specifically notes that in ‘2009 Boko Haram launched its military campaign for Islamist rule.’ July of 2009 is especially imminent as it marked a spike in bloodshed with the militant group rapidly increasing its reign of terror. CNN world recounts that that in ‘July [of[ 2009 the Boko Haram uprising began in Bauchi, and spread to the states of Borno, Kano and Yobe.’
The twin bomb blasts in Jos Nigeria claimed the lives of ‘at least 44 people, with a further 67 wounded.’ Whilst no terrorist militant groups have come forth claiming responsibility for the attack, the ‘attacks have been blamed on the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.’
In early 2010, the members of the terrorist militant group proclaimed their allegiance to Al-Qaeda. This proclamation was made through the following statement whereby ‘the group vowed to “connect the horn of Africa Jihad to the one led by al-Qaeda and its Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.” However, it is important to note here that it was not until ‘February of 2012 that al-Shabab’s leadership formally declared allegiance to Al-Qaeda.’
Osama bin Laden was successfully located and killed by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad Pakistan.
The long running war in Iraq ended in late 2011, with Obama announcing the formal withdrawal ‘of all U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011, after the failure of negotiations of keeping some their as trainers.’ December 18th 2011 is of particular significance as it marks the closing of this war period. Here, Reuters online reported that on ‘December 18th, the last U.S. forces cross the border into Kuwait leaving just 150 troops attached to the huge U.S. embassy.’
January of 2012 marked the beginning of the Northern Mali conflict, which was born the gross instability of ethnic tension. The conflict in Northern Mali has continued to evolve over the years and is presently on foot in 2019. The mass displacement of civilians began in January of 2012.
The key consequence of events which unfolded in the first half of 2012 are as follows. It has been reported that the conflict itself was ignited by ‘the Tuareg ethnic rebellion in the north in January of 2012 which set off massive displacement as people fled the fighting.’
Al Qaeda’s prominent and ongoing influence in the region has proved problematic in the move towards peace.
February of 2012 has been formally noted to mark Al-Shabab’s formally swearing of allegiance to Al-Qaeda.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Qaeda’s chapter in Syria join forces which results in the formation of ISIL
The Reyhanli bombings in Turkey killed 53 civilians and injured in excess of 100 others. The attacks were executed by the use of ‘two bomb-laden vehicles which were detonated in the town centre.’
Known as ‘the Reyhanli bombing mastermind’ the assailant named Yusuf Nazik was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Turkish Court. TRT world online reported that ‘Yusuf Nazik, a key plotter of the 2013 car bomb attacks in Turkey Hatay province, has been sentenced to 53 aggravated life terms by a local court- one sentence for each of the victims who died in the bomb blasts.’
On 21st September, 67 innocent civilians lost their lives in attacks coordinated by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. The wounded have been reported to be numbered in the hundreds. The attack began ‘at midday on the 21st of September [when] Al-Shabab militants stormed Nairobi’s premiere shopping centre, throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately at shoppers, [with] the subsequent siege lasting 80 hours.’
This brutal attack was reported to have been driven by Al-Shabab’s strong distaste for the Kenyan government’s support for and involvement in bolstering ‘Somalia’s UN-backed government.’ BBC online reported that ‘Somalia’s al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabab, said it had attacked the mall because Kenya sent troops to Somalia to bolster the UN-backed government.’
On February the 3rd 2014 ‘ Al Qaeda officially cut ties with ISIS.’
June 2014 is of particular significance to the ongoing war against terror as Iran formally announced its’ absolutist stand against Islamic Extremism in the region. As reported by BBC online Iraqi President Hassan Rouhani formally vocalized a strong commitment to cooperate with Iraq in the war against Islamic extremism in the region. President Rouhani’s following statement is a clear embodiment of this commitment, whereby it was proclaimed that ‘If the Iraqi government asks us for help, we may provide any assistance the Iraqi nation would like us to provide in the fight against terrorism.’
Further, Iran alluded to the possibility of joining forces with the United States as part of its strong commitment to eradicating Islamic extremism in the region. This nuanced shift in Iranian strategic rhetoric appears particularly promising as it demonstrates a willingness to put aside past differences in order to pursue the greater good. Here BBC online reports that ‘President Rouhani did not rule out co-operating with the United States, Iran’s traditional foe, in combatting ISIS.’
Iran, Iraq and the USA share a common goal which is the eradication of ISIS. In quoting the words of ‘Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’ BBC online highlights the forcefulness of this sentiment, as the honorary Prime Minister stated that “This is the beginning of the end of them [ISIS].”
The 22nd of September marks a significant turn in the tactic employed by the US in the Syrian war ‘as American jets began bombing ISIS targets in Syria [with] airstrikes [being] focussed on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.’
November of 2014 marks the date when ISIS formally ‘established its presence in Yemen… [following] Baghdadi’s acceptance of a pledge of allegiance from Yemen’s ISIS supporters.’
NATO officially ends combat operations in Afghanistan. This ends this phase in the Afghan War.
Egypt coordinated deadly airstrikes against ‘Islamic State (ISISI) targets in Libya.’ This offensive came in response to ‘the murder of 21 Christian workers by masked militants affiliated to the Islamic State.’ The brutality of the murders was met by widespread anger with a high-level ‘spokesman stating that [Egypt sought to] avenge bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers.’
It was reported that the ‘Egyptian airstrikes killed 64 ISIS fighters, including three from leaderships [ranks].’
Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines ended 24th February. The purpose of this Operation was to ‘fight Islamic separatists in the southern island- notably militant group Abu Sayyaf.’
Abubakar Shekau, leader of the notorious extremist militant group Boko Haram officially declared their allegiance to ISIS.
This protracted war was born by ongoing political instability, corruptions and ethnic division in Yemen. CNN online reports that ‘Yemen has been wracked by a bloody war between the Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.’
Referred to by The Atlantic Online as ‘The Ramadan Attacks’ the safety of civilians in the nation-states’ of ‘Tunisia, Kuwait and France’ were grossly compromised. Whilst it has been reported that the ‘Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Kuwait incident,’ the matter of whether the attacks on Tunisian and French soil are attributable to the Islamic state remains unsolved. Carnage and human toll were reported as follows ‘In Tunisia, at least 37 people were shot dead… Kuwait 25 were killed and more than 200 injured in a suicide bomb, [whereas] in France the victim was decapitated.’
The suicide bombings in Beirut Lebanon, organized by the notorious terrorist group ISIS, ‘killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 200 others in a predominately Shia area of Southern Beirut.’ The attacks appeared to have been racially motivated as The Guardian online reported that ‘In a statement, ISIS said that the aim of the attack was to kill Shia Muslims.’
Soon after the brutal attacks were orchestrated ‘Isis claimed responsible for the attacks.’
On the 13th of November 2015 the notorious terrorist group ISIS orchestrated a string of attacks across France which left ‘130 people died and over 350 injured.’ According to a formal statement issued by ISIS the attacks were driven and informed by political vengeance. Here, The Guardian Online reported that ‘A statement issued by Islamic State said it carried out the attacks in response to France’s airstrike’s in Syria and threatened further reprisals.’
Eight terrorists were carried out the attacks at six specifically targeted locations across France. Although news sources vary on this point, it has been noted that either six or seven of the attackers took their own lives by way of suicide bombing on the day.
The Bomb blasts which claimed the lives of ’32 people and injured 340’ targeted that ‘the departure hall of Brussels’ Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro Station in the Capital of Belgian.’
As regarding the matter of responsibility the ‘Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.’
October 16th 2016 officially marked the beginning of the offensive against ISIS in the Iraqi City of Mosul. This offensive targeted Mosul specifically as it was an ISIS stronghold. And secondly, its downfall would also be of great symbolic and tactical value, as ‘In June 2014, when the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a global caliphate, he did it from Mosul.’ The offensive was supported by ‘a coalition of more than 30,000 troops drawn from Iraqi army forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shia militias, supported by airstrikes from the US-led coalition, and also Turkish forces despite Iraqi government opposition.’ At the end Iraq and its allies were victorious, however, this victory was not achieved without violence and bloodshed. It has been reported that whilst ‘progress was initially swift’ this was short lived. This is due Iraq and its allied forces ‘facing strong and fierce resistance from IS, including snipers, suicide bombers and shellfire.’ Further, BBC online has reported that ‘Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally declared victory over IS in the Mosul on 10 July 2017.’
The prolonger fighting proved detrimental to both Mosul’s infrastructure and to the lives of thousands of civilians. BBC online reported that ‘according to the International Organization for Migration more than 800,000 people fled their homes as a result of the fighting in Mosul.’ Further, the battle for Mosul and war against ISIS did not come free of strong civilian casualties. Here, it has been reported that ‘UN officials in late January of 2017 stated that almost half of all the casualties in Mosul were civilians. At least 2,463 have been killed and 1,661 injured across the Nineveh province since October.’
Civilian lives were not only lost as they attempted to escape the crossfire, in fact civilians were reported to have been specifically targeted and killed by IS militants during the battle. Here BBC online reported that ‘UN human rights officials said in June that they had received credible reports of hundreds of civilians being shot dead by IS militants as they attempted to flee fighting in western Mosul, with reports of other being used as human shield.’
President Donald Trump signs Executive Order 13769 Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. This order prohibited migration from several States, including the Middle East and Northern Africa. Syrian, Sudan, Somali, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Libyan refugee admissions were also suspended for months. However, later became blocked on the grounds of being discriminatory and unconstitutional. Also known as the Muslim Ban’.
United States Secretary of Defense announced that the US National Security Department would be refocusing towards Great Power Interactions rather than pursuing the War on Terror as heavily.
On February 25th 2020 a hard lined Iraqi court awarded the death penalty to 15 ISIS wives. As reported by CBS News online ‘An Iraqi criminal court … sentenced 15 Turkish women to death by hanging after finding them guilty of belonging to the Islamic State….’ The death penalty was awarded to these women for their act of ‘illegally entering Iraq [in order to] join their husbands who were heading to fight for the self-proclaimed “caliphate” straddling vast areas of Iraq and Syria.’
The decision is reflective of Iraq’s no tolerance-based law and legal policy. As reported by CBS News Online ‘Iraq’s anti-terrorism law empowers courts to convict people who are believed to have helped ISIS even if they are not accused of carrying out attacks.’ Further CBS News Online has also reiterated the hard line stance that Iraq has taken with regards to terrorism in the region by highlighting that Iraqi law ‘allows for the death penalty to be issued against anyone- including non-combatants- found guilty of belonging to ISIS.’
In line with Iraqi hard lined stance against terrorism in the region ‘an Iraqi court in Baghdad sentenced 19 Russian women to life in prison for joining [the] Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL) fighters in the country.’ In order to further provide context regarding the harsh nature of the ruling Aljazeera Online has explained that ‘Iraq’s anti-terrorism laws empower courts to convict people who are believed to have helped ISIL, even if they were not directly involved in fighting.’
However, as further reported by Aljazeera online the ruling maybe be unjustifiably harsh as ‘Most of the women on trial claimed to have been misled into making the trip to Iraq.’ If this is actually the truth then it appears that innocents have been sentenced to life behind bars.
The racially motivated terrorist attack on ‘the Tree of life synagogue in Pittsburgh USA claimed the lives of 11 Jewish worshippers and injured six others.’ The cold and calculated crime blind sighted American authorities as ‘at 9.50am Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue armed with an AR-15 and three Glock handguns’, and with clear and marked indifference to the lives of the Jewish Worshippers inside the synagogue. Indeed, Reuters Online has identified the attack to be the ‘deadliest attack ever on Jewish Americans in the United States.’
In order to further reiterate the strongly racially divisive beliefs which motivated this attack, it is important to note that as reported by BBC online ‘in accordance with an affidavit, Mr Bowers told police immediately after his arrest that “he wanted all Jews to die.”’
The racially motivated shooting which occurred on the 15th of March 2019 in Christchurch New Zealand claimed the lives of ’51 people in two mosques.’ The Guardian Online reported that ‘The horrific attack … is regarded as the worst massacre in the country’s history, as well as the country’s largest ever criminal prosecution.’
The Christchurch shootings have also called into question the role that social media platforms, in particular Facebook, played in the providing audience to this attack. As reported by NZ Herald online the ‘footage of the event was live streamed on one of the world’s biggest social media website’s … Facebook.’ Despite already having in place counter-terrorism measures it appears that the livestream of the Christchurch fell through the cracks as ‘Facebook has claimed that it failed to detect the Christchurch mosque gunman’s livestream because its contents was not “particularly gruesome.”’
On the 19th of February 2019, in a case which made global headlines, ‘the United Kingdom revoked the citizenship of Shamima Begum, a British teenager who travelled from London in 2015 to ISIL controlled Syria.’ The decision to strip Ms. Begum of her British citizenship was delivered in accordance with the ‘National, Immigration & Asylum Act [which] allows the Home Secretary to strip nationals of their citizenship on national security grounds, without prior approval from the courts.’ Furthermore, the ambit of the Act was broadened in ‘2006 [as the] British government [was accorded the power] to remove the citizenship of dual nationals who are considered “not conducive to the public good.’
The decision as argued by Ms. Begum’s lawyers appears problematic at international law. As highlighted by BBC News Online ‘Under international law, it is illegal to deprive nationals of citizenship if to do so would leave them stateless.’ Indeed, British authorities have reiterated that the decision to strip Ms. Begum of her citizenship rests in ‘her claim to Bangladeshi nationality through her mother.’ That said, ‘under British law, a person can have their citizenship revoked but they cannot be made stateless.’ To that end, Bangladeshi authorities and in particular ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Momen has told the BBC that Ms Begum has “nothing to do” with his country.’
Ms Begum’s case will undergo the appeals process.
On Easter Sunday the 21st of April 2019 a string of terrorists bomb blasts claimed the lives of at least ‘321 and wounded about 500.’ As reported by The Guardian Online ‘the wave of bombings on [Easter] Sunday targeted churches as luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.’
As reported by BBC News Online in the days following the attack ‘The Islamic State (IS) claimed [responsibility’ for the [bombings] on Tuesday via its news outlet.’ However the official consensus as per ‘the Sri Lankan government [is that] local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) [are responsible] for the attack.’
Known to be ‘one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists’ al-Baghdadi died in the Syria during a ‘raid by US special forces on his Syrian safe house.’ Al-Baghdadi’s death by suicide was enacted as a means of ‘avoiding capture by U.S. forces.’ In outlining the particulars al-Baghdadi’s death The Guardian Online has reported that ‘Cornered, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest and killed himself and three of his children.’
As reported by The Guardian Online this mission has a strong symbolic significance as ‘the operation to kill the ISIS leader had been named after Mueller, a humanitarian worker who was imprisoned by the group, tortured and repeatedly sexually abused by Baghdadi. She died in ISIS confinement at the age of 26.’
Following the recent death of notorious terrorist militant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ‘the Islamic State [has acted swiftly by] naming Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as his replacement.’ As reported by BBC Online news of this recent appointment was broadcast via ‘an IS outlet [which] announced on the messaging service Telegram that Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi was the group’s new leader and “caliph.”’ As has noted by multiple news sources there remains a great deal of ambiguity surrounding al-Qurayshi’s background and persona.
In a bid to justify the appointment of al-Qurayshi BBC online has highlighted that ‘IS has claimed that Hashemi was a veteran jihadist fighter who had fought against the US in the past.’
On December 2019, two assailants in a senseless act of gun violence claimed the lives of 4 four Americans- three of those that were tragically murdered were of the Jewish Faith. As reported by CNN Online the attack ‘Killed… Jersey City police Detective Joseph Seals and three people in the market.’ In what appears to have been a pre-planned and calculated attack the two assailants first ‘killed a police detective near a Jersey City cemetery and then stormed a nearby Jewish market, shooting and killing three people there… .’
In accordance with President Donald Trump’s orders a high profile and well revered Iranian General was assassinated on the 3rd of January 2020. In further highlighting that details of the attack and the negative follow-on effects of it The Telegraph online reported that ‘Soleimani head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in the US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport… a move that has provoked a major escalation in the US-Iran tensions.’
Nearly a year after the British Government made the ‘decision to strip Shamima Begum of her citizenship’ Begum’s remains barred from returning to the UK as ‘Begum has lost the first stage appeal.’ As reported by The Guardian Online in ‘An unanimous judgement [delivered] by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Begum [was found] not to have been improperly deprived of her citizenship.’ The issue of whether Shamima was made stateless due to the British Government’s hard lined decision to strip her of her British Citizenship has served as point of heated debate, and one which the lawyers of Begum have strongly stood by. However, in delivering their judgement the tribunal reasoned ‘that the decisions to strip Begum of her citizenship did not make a her stateless because she was entitled to, or in effect held, Bangladeshi citizenship.’
Begum’s lawyers will be appealing the decision.
Led by INTERPOL, Operation Maharlika III included the cooperation between police from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines to be deployed along transit routes in Southeast Asia favored by terrorists. Among those arrested mainly included organized crime groups and one suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf. More than 134 victims of human trafficking were rescued, along with various illegal explosives and firearms, drugs, and cash. The routes were set around the Celebes and Sulu seas.
Notorious terrorist militant group Boko Haram ambushed ‘an Island Army base in … Boma Peninsula in Lac province, which borders Niger and Nigeria.’ This attack which claimed the ‘lives of 92 Chadian soldiers [has been heralded to be] the deadliest assault yet on the country’s armed forces.’
As reported by Sierra Leone Times Online the attack has been recognized to be of great symbolic value in reiterating Boko Haram’s growth and stronghold in the region ‘as the attack [was] part of an expanding jihadist campaign in the vast, marshy Lake Chad area, where the border of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria converge.’
Suicide bombers and other ISIL militants attacked a Sikh shrine in Kabul and killed 25 worshippers. The main perpetrator, ISIL-Khorasan leader Abdullah Orakzai stated the attack was in response to the Indian governments actions in the Kashmir conflict. He was later captured by the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, on April 4th.
Islamic State soldiers attack a maternity ward in a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 24 and injuring 16. The same day in the neighboring Kuz Kunar District, a suicide bombing kills 32 and injures over 130 people at a funeral for a police chief. The IS claimed responsibility for the Kuz Kunar attack and is thought to be responsible for the mass shooting in Kabul, but the Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the attack in the capital. These events are a continuation of the War in Afghanistan.
The raid, carried out in Mali’s northern Kidal Region, killed ‘Al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb’ (AQIM) leader Abdelmalek Droukdel, three other terrorists, and captured one. AQIM holds significant power in Northern and Western Africa, and the New York Times states how “the death of Droukdal removes one of the most senior and most durable leaders off AQIM, a longstanding Al Qaeda affiliate”. Droukdel was a university graduate who led the group for more than a decade. His death comes after AQIM claimed responsibility for three separate attacks in popular North African sites for expatriates, as well as hostages being kidnapped throughout the region in 2020.
The ‘Islamic State in West Africa Province’ (ISWAP) were responsible for massacres in Monguno and Nganzai, part of the Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. In both cities, Boko Haram insurgents killed over 60 people and injured more than 100. In Monguno, attackers used rocket launchers, set fire to buildings including the United Nations headquarters, and according to the Guardian, “distributed letters to residents warning them not to work with the military, white Christian westerners or other ‘non-believers’”. In Nganzai, insurgents in trucks and motorcycles drove through the city to conduct indiscriminate mass shootings.
Philippine’s President Duterte’s bill replaced the Human Security Act of 2007 and has been challenged by various international and national organizations such as Amnesty International, the US Supreme Court, and the United Nations. Local organizations such as the Bangsamoro Parliament (representing the Muslim population in Mindanao), the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and other groups have also denounced the bill.
Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin explains how the “law [is] so vague on the definition of terrorism [it] can only worsen attacks against human rights defenders. The approval of this law grants the government excessive and unchecked powers”. Opposition to the bill also emphasizes how it grants unrestrained powers to the police and military by allowing warrantless arrests, the removal of safeguards against wrongful detentions, and permits offenders to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The bill undermines the democratic power of Filipino’s and is a continuation of Duterte’s fight against drugs and terrorism in the Philippines, which has killed over 28,000 civilians since coming to power in 2016.
At an internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camp in Nguetchewe village, Boko Haram militants conducted a grenade attack that killed 18 and injured 7. Nguetchewe is part of Cameroon’s Far North region, which borders Chad to the east and Nigeria to the west, both of which are heavily targeted by Boko Haram attacks. The UN Refugee Agency states how Boko Haram has affected over 26 million people in the Lake Chad area and displaced around 2.6 million. Lake Chad resides on the northern border of the Far North region, a crucial source of water for Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria.
ISIL claimed responsibility for attacking and seizing a prison in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 29 people. 70 miles from Kabul, the prison attack does not have a clear motivation, but the Guardian reported that hundreds of the inmates at the Jalalabad prison were ISIL members.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack in the Koure area southwest of Niger’s capital, Niamey. The attack took the lives of 6 French aid workers and their Nigerien driver who were working for the non-governmental organization ACTED and IMPACT Initiatives, both of which support humanitarian efforts in the region. Other than the Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda are known to carry out attacks throughout the country and neighboring states of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria, and Libya. To help combat the growing insurgency in the region, France had deployed 5,100 soldiers to work with local forces.
On the busy streets of the Jolo municipality in Sulu, Philippines, the first bomb explodes and kills at least nine people and injuring many more. Around an hour later, a second bomb is detonated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and kills five, injuring at least 75 people. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Sulu region is known to be a stronghold of the armed Abu Sayyaf organization. The site of the 2020 bombings is close to the two explosions that occurred in 2019, carried out by Abu Sayyaf. AlJazeera explains how Abu Sayyaf has been fighting for independence in the Mindanao region of Philippines, a collection of mainly Muslim populated islands in the dominantly Catholic country. Abu Sayyaf in Philippines is allied to ISIL and has ties to the ‘Jeemah Islamiyah’ (JI).
After gaining information about an attack to occur in Istanbul, Turkey, authorities detain a group of Islamic State soldiers in the southern region in the country. Among the militants was Mahmut Ozden, a top IS member who continually received orders from IS leaders in Iraq and Syria. Leading a group of 10-12 people, the arrest comes a month after the US military stated Turkey to be a “major facilitation hub” for ISIL members, funding, and weaponry.
A bombing in southern Somalia kills 3 people and wounds 3, those affecting being Somali soldiers with one American military officer injured in the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the bombing occurred just days after Somali and US forces successfully reclaimed the area in the Lower Juba region from Al Shabab. The group is a branch of Al Qaeda in Somalia and a New York Times article states the site of the bombing “had been used by the group as a hub to raise funds by taxing and extorting civilians moving across the region”.
Senior vice president, Amrullah Saleh, is a fierce opponent of the Taliban and survived the second deadly attack targeting him in a year. The bombing in Afghanistan’s capital killed at least 10 people and injured 15 and no group has claimed responsibility. The Taliban deny blame over the attack, but Afghan officials state how the group continued to carry out violence in the country without claiming responsibility. This is significant as it follows consistent attacks and threats from Islamic State offshoots as well as organized crime gangs in Afghanistan.
Saleh had survived a bombing in July last year that killed around 30 people, including a number of his closest aides and family members. That bombing was carried out by a group of Taliban suicide bombers hours after Saleh declared his candidacy as the Afghan vice president.
President Trump signs a decree that would cut the number of US troops in Iraq by half, to just 3,000. This allows the US to maintain influence in counterterrorism actions in the country and is a continuation of Trump’s goal to reduce overseas deployments.
Alexanda Kotey and Shafee ElSheikh were arrested in Virginia and charged with the gruesome torture and deaths of Western hostages in Syria. Part of the Islamic State, the two British men were part of a group that filmed and released footage of the torture and beheadings of aid workers, journalists, and other hostages. Through the form of Islamic State propaganda videos, the violent deaths of the hostages, including 4 Americans, sought the men to be held in US military custody since October 2019.
The spokesmen, Zabihullah Mujahid among others, expressed their support for Trump’s reelection in the upcoming presidential election, stating how “we hope he will win the election and wind up US military presence in Afghanistan” The Trump Administration has since rejected the support. This follows the Administrations’ signing of a historic pact with the Taliban in February in which the US and its allies’ troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by spring 2021. Moreover, the deal required the Taliban to cut off ties to Al Qaeda and negotiate power-sharing deals with the Afghan government. The Obama administration was unsuccessful in its attempts at diplomatic deals with the Taliban.