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Inspired, Networked & Directed – The Muddled Jihad of ISIS & Al Qaeda Post Hebdo

Place de la Bastille in Paris during a demonstration in memory of the journalists killed in a terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. Laurent Tine/flickr

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 12 January 2015.

The jihadi movement may have finally become what its original luminaries always wanted it to be – and in Paris of all places. The amorphous connections between the Charlie Hebdo attackers, the Kouachi brothers – who attributed their actions to “al Qaeda in Yemen” – and kosher market attacker Amedy Coulibali – who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a recently released online video – may reflect exactly what some early jihadi strategists intended: broad based jihad via a loose social movement. Terrorism researchers, obsessed with the writings of their academic adversary in jihad, Abu Musab al Suri, have for years suggested the social movement approach represented the ultimate vision of al Qaeda’s founding leadership. » More

Occupy Shines a Light Amidst Ongoing Sandy Disaster

Damage from Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast, Oct. 30, 2012. Photo: US Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

“Thank God for Sandy!” said Leviticus Sumpter, a supervisor of a mold clean-up team in New York City, to The Brooklyn Bureau.

“I’m not going to say that,” said Albert Gibbs, Sumpter’s nephew and also part of the crew. “I’m going to say, ‘Thank God for employment.’ […] One person’s mishap is another person’s blessing.”

The tragedy of thousands of lives overturned in the wake of Hurricane—later superstorm—Sandy has become a success story for the Occupy movement, bringing the group national recognition for its efforts to help their fellow man recover from a disaster with a far-reaching level of destruction (somewhat less than the infamous Hurricane Katrina). » More

Occupy Eyes the Drones

In Front of the Left Forum

In front of the Left Forum. Photo: World Can’t Wait/flickr.

A hallmark of U.S. President Obama’s foreign policy has been a scaling down of troop presences in conflict areas, but without scaling down efforts in the War on Terror. Obama has pursued this as vigorously as his predecessor, but he has more strategically come to rely on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)–commonly referred to as drones–to target individual terrorists and terrorist camps.

From the beginning of this program, some groups have expressed concerns over the civil liberty implications of the use of UAVs. Privacy concerns, since UAVs are largely used in reconnaissance, were forefront in the minds of activists–until Anwar al-Awlaki. » More

Occupy’s Middle East Potential

Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Seattle

Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Seattle. Photo: tofuguns/flickr.

On September 17th, Occupy Wall Street will celebrate one year of protests in a National Day of Action, dubbed #S17. That this date also happens to coincide with Rosh Hashanah is symbolic of the relationship Occupy has had with American and Israeli Jews since the first days of the movement.

The Jews of Occupy Wall Street and side group Occupy Judaism were extremely energetic and involved during the Zuccotti Park era, when Jewish protestors celebrated the Occupy version of the High Holidays in the open space. Although Occupy Judaism has waned since the evictions, organizers are hoping to see a resurgence in activity with the one-year anniversary. » More

Occupying the Patriarchy: Women Seek to Remake Occupy in their Image

Women say no to war

Women at Occupy Wall Street, New York, 30 September 2011. Photo: Cedrus.k/flickr.

Since its inception, feminism has sparked controversy, and eventually developed an image of militancy and extremism. As a result, women who may otherwise agree with feminism’s goals shy away from adopting the label, leading some to argue that feminism was no longer a relevant school of thought for young women. And yet, issues important to the lives of these young women only grew in importance during the recession: gender disparities in wages continue, while women’s unemployment rate stays stubbornly higher than men’s; controversy over the Affordable Care Act targeted women’s basic health care. Suddenly, something changed. Feminism was no longer about burning bras and unshaved legs; young women began rallying—against victims of rape being called sluts, against the scorn of the political right and the savior complex of the political left, and for a complete systemic re-analysis. » More

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