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‘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…
Are these members of the Nusra Front fighting in Syria still loyal to Al-Qaeda? Hosam Katan/Reuters

Was Al-Qaeda a winner or loser from the Arab uprisings?

At first glance it appears that the Arab uprisings have strengthened Al-Qaeda and similar groups that fly the black banner. With the possible exception of Tunisia, the rest of the “Arab Spring” countries…
US President Barack Obama announces the start of a campaign of allied airstrikes against Islamic State forces in Syria. EPA/Win McNamee

Air power won’t finish off Islamic State, so what comes next?

Having secured some sort of tacit agreement with Damascus, the coalition bombing campaign inside Syria proper has begun in earnest. The US, France and an ambiguous array of allies is unleashing the bleeding…
The term ‘medieval’ is being used by politicians to denote others who do not observe modern ‘civilised’ rules and to whom these rules also do not apply. Flickr/Nuno Martins

‘Medieval’ makes a comeback in modern politics: what’s going on?

According to Hansard, in the parliament of John Howard’s first term of government the adjective “medieval” was used eight times. In the following term, however, it cropped up 46 times. What happened? Why…
Hoping for a comeback: al-Zawahiri. EPA/SITE

Al-Zawahiri hopes an Indian franchise will revive al-Qaeda

With Islamic State’s advance in Iraq and Syria gripping the world’s attention, al-Qaeda has been left on the sidelines. That all changed on September 4, as al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri released a 55-minute…
Tony Blair says Egypt was ‘rescued’ from extremism by military intervention. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Blair’s anti-Islamist crusade could play into al-Qaeda’s hands

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the strongest external support for a forceful response from the United States came from Tony Blair, the man who now again describes the struggle against…
After destroying towns and cities, Syria’s civil war is spilling into Lebanon. Christiaan Triebert

No end in sight as Syria misery spreads across region

The second round of the Geneva II talks on Syria have ended with no agreement and without even a decision on the date of a further meeting. The highly experienced UN mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, was clearly…
Iraq now faces an assault on its sovereign integrity from Islamic extremists that is testing the organs of the state. EPA/Mohammed Jalil

Iraq and its extremist problem: what now for the troubled state?

The number of deaths in Iraq from attacks by extremist groups operating under the banner of Islam has been growing steadily since the withdrawal of American troops in 2011. In 2013, nearly 8900 people…
Protesters take a break during demonstrations in Yemen. Al-Jazeera English

Arabian Al-Qaeda struggles for influence in Yemen

The deadly attacks on Yemen’s defence ministry that killed 52 people in early December have renewed speculation about the threat posed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP, which has claimed…
Martin E Dempsey warns the fallout of the Arab Spring will take a long time to clear. Glenn Fawcett

Recovery from the Arab Spring will take a generation or more

At a meeting at the Wall Street Journal this week, Martin E Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the United States' ability to exercise influence in the Middle East had significantly…
Twenty years later, the instability that began in Mogadishu still ripples through East Africa. TSGT Perry Heimer/USMC

Black Hawk Down returns: how local conflicts become regional

Twenty years ago, on 3 and 4 October 1993, the so-called Battle of Mogadishu, also referred to as Black Hawk Down, raged in the Somali capital. Two decades on, this region of East Africa still suffers…
The deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall demonstrates that a lack of security in Somalia has a direct impact on Kenya. EPA/Kabir Dhanji

Kenya mall attacks: Somalia’s anarchy spreads

The Somali-based Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab’s weekend attack on the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi - which has left at least 60 people dead - poses a significant security threat not just…
Devastating New Dawn raids in Fallujah, Iraq. Wikimedia Commons

Air strikes could keep hope alive for Syria and Middle East

Stand by - on a screen near you - for the all-too familiar televisual firework display which means that the US and its allies are forging ahead with the threatened air strikes on Syria. As politicians…

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