Al Qaeda

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A flag-waving Islamic State fighter takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province. Reuters/Stringer

Understanding Islamic State: where does it come from and what does it want?

How far back in history does one have to go to find the roots of the so-called Islamic State? The first article in our series on the genesis of the terrorist outfit considers some fundamentals.
No society is immune from the rise of ‘us and them’ intolerance expressed through anger and a desire for brutal revenge. EPA/Ian Langsdon

Is Islamic State evidence we are living in a ‘post-honour’ world?

Islamic State is symptomatic of a disturbed and troubled social order. The vast crisis of dislocated people and communities is being expressed in anger, intolerance and perverted notions of honour.
The dogmas of ruling and rebel groups in Africa conflate political conflict and spirituality. Reuters/Alain Amontchi

What lies behind the rise of jihadist movements in Africa

The failure of African states to adequately address their racial, ethnic, cultural, religious and economic differences provided the fertile ground on which rebel groups now prosper.
President Barack Obama and his inner circle follow the assassination of Osama bin Laden, which made headlines worldwide but is seemingly unimportant four years on. EPA/Pete Souza/White House handout

Osamacide, ‘justice’ and the deadly legacy of Bin Laden

Memories of the killing of Osama bin Laden are fading, but the legacies of al-Qaeda and the war on terror's many 'own goals' haunt us in the form of multiplying threats and lost civil liberties.
When Australians hear about Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s dire warnings and counter-terrorism raids, they could lose historical perspective on the threat posed by Islamic State. AAP/Mal Fairclough

With jihadists among us, is IS more of a threat than communism was?

Dire government warnings and counter-terrorism raids in our suburbs paint a picture of the worst threat Western nations have ever faced. A little historical perspective is in order.
When not employing the description ‘death cult’, Prime Minister Tony Abbott prefers to use the name Da'esh because the group ‘hates being referred to by this term’. AAP/Lukas Coch

Explainer: ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State or Da'esh?

The terrorist group now calls itself Islamic State, but the many names by which it is known reflect both its own evolution and the deliberate choices others make in how they refer to it.
Under the leadership of both Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda has failed to reproduce an event that has shaken the international order since 9/11. EPA

A global war for relevance: can al-Qaeda reclaim the jihadi crown?

Islamic State's rapid successes in Syria and Iraq stand in stark contrast to al-Qaeda's efforts at global jihad over the past decade.
‘Yemen is safe’ – for how long? Wadia Mohammed/EPA

Does Obama face the prospect of boots on the ground in Yemen?

Events in Yemen are moving fast: the US-backed president, Abd Rabbuh Manṣūr Hadi, has been deposed by Shia rebels, after a “slow coup” that saw the Iran-backed Houthi militia take effective control of…
Yemen faces an ongoing insurgency by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – one of al-Qaeda’s most active and dangerous branches. EPA/Abdul-Rahman Hwais

Explainer: what is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula?

As the dust settles on a series of terrorist attacks in France, people will now look to understand the broader players of this grim drama. From their own statements and from external sources, it appears…
French police storm the Jewish supermarket where hostages were held. Ian Langsdon/EPA

Charlie Hebdo attackers killed, now France seeks answers

The hunt for the two killers who attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo is over, after a three-day chase and a standoff at a warehouse outside Paris. The two suspects were killed, and the hostage they took…
The power of image. Charles Plattiau/Reuters

The best weapon against terrorists: oblivion

In 2009, communications scholars Esra Özcan, Ognyan Seizov and I wrote an academic paper on the Danish Muhammad cartoon controversy and its aftermath. We concluded that “visuals have to be taken more seriously…

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