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During the past week, the past few years, and the past few decades, terrorism has seen a drastic and disheartening rise – in North America, in the Middle East, in Europe, and around the rest of the world. But, what exactly is “terrorism”? Dr. Daniel Pipes asks that question in this thought-provoking piece, and argues that it is a term that should be clearly defined, in order to combat terrorism and the terrorists who perpetrate it:
Defining terrorism has practical implications because formally certifying an act of violence as terrorist has important consequences in U.S. law.
Terrorism suspects can be held longer than criminal suspects after arrest without an indictment.They can be interrogated without a lawyer present. They receive longer prison sentences. “Terrorist inmates” are subject to many extra restrictions known as Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs. The “Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002” gives corporate victims of terrorism special breaks (it is currently up for renewal) and protects owners of buildings from certain lawsuits. When terrorism is invoked, families of victims, such as of the 2009 Ft. Hood attack, win extra benefits such as tax breaks, life insurance, and combat-related pay. They can even be handed a New York City skyscraper.
Despite the legal power of this term, however, terrorism remains undefined beyond a vague sense of “a non-state actor attacking civilian targets to spread fear for some putative political goal.” One study, Political Terrorism, lists 109 definitions. American security specialist David Tucker wryly remarks that “Above the gates of hell is the warning that all that who enter should abandon hope. Less dire but to the same effect is the warning given to those who try to define terrorism.” The Israeli counterterrorism specialist Boaz Ganor jokes that “The struggle to define terrorism is sometimes as hard as the struggle against terrorism itself.”
This lack of specificity wreaks chaos, especially among police, prosecutors, politicians, press, and professors.
“Violence carried…Read More » Comments (5) »
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 at 8:10 AM | Stand for Israel
Yesterday’s terrorist shootings at Ottawa’s War Memorial and Parliament building, as well as this week’s earlier hit-and-run killing of a Canadian soldier, have horrified Canada and the world. But these attacks are very much in-line with the directives laid out by al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), and other terrorist organizations. The Times of Israel’s Michel Moutot writes that these attacks follow terror groups’ instructions for “individual jihad” against the West:
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These deadly acts appear to follow what al-Qaeda has been preaching for years through articles or videos posted online, calling on recruits and volunteers to go it alone without specific orders or training.
Members of the group founded by Osama bin Laden had always been scattered across parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan among other nations and were the regular target of US drone attacks, making it hard to group together all those who wanted to volunteer for jihad.
As a result, in late 2010, the English-language jihadist magazine Inspire, published from Yemen by American Muslim convert Adam Gadahn — known as “Azzam the American” — lauded individual jihad.
“Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders… So what are you waiting for?” he asked in a video posted some time later …
Online jihadi magazines have published recipe upon recipe for homemade bomb-making — “how to make one in your mother’s kitchen” being one of them — as well as lists of prime targets.
Any method goes: shooting or knifing them, planting homemade bombs, giving poison, or using a car or a truck as a weapon …
In an eerie echo, the Islamic State group also called on Muslims around the world last month to kill fellow citizens, particularly from countries that are part of an international coalition fighting the extremist organization that controls swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 3:33 PM | Stand for Israel
Following an earlier terror attack on Monday, The Daily Beast reports that there has been shooting today in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, leaving a soldier dead:
A fundamentally quiet and orderly town, Ottawa was rocked by the shooting of a uniformed Canadian soldier as he stood guard over the National War Memorial, located right across the street from Parliament Hill and the prime minister’s offices at Langevin Block.
It was the second attack inside Canada this week. The shootings come just two days after a 25-year-old man described by police as a “radicalized” Muslim drove his car into two Canadian soldiers in a city outside of Montreal, killing one and seriously injuring the other. Martin Couture-Rouleau, the suspect in that incident, was arrested in July while trying to travel to Turkey. Following his rampage, Courture-Rouleau was shot and killed.
On Wednesday morning, a man arrived by car, with a blanket concealing a rifle, and shot the soldier four times at the memorial, a witness told a Canadian news station.
The situation quickly escalated, with reports that Parliament itself was under attack and dozens of shots had been fired inside the legislature. Members of Parliament were caucusing in the building, and the building was promptly locked down. The Canadian Press reports that a gunman wounded a security guard on Parliament Hill before he was shot by the sergeant-at-arms.
We pray for all those harmed or targeted in this attack, and for God’s protection over His people in Canada and around the world.
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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 2:24 PM | Stand for Israel
Throughout Operation Protective Edge – and long before – IDF soldiers performed many amazing deeds. But the IDF’s blog brings us the incredible story of 20-year-old Corporal Lihi Meir, a brave young woman who has already helped thwart two terrorist attacks:
The IDF Field Intelligence Corps is responsible for monitoring Israel’s most sensitive borders. Hundreds of observers, most of them female soldiers, scan video monitors around the clock, searching for the smallest details.
These soldiers are the eyes of the nation, ensuring the safety of Israel’s civilians on a daily basis. Corporal Lihi Meir is one of the soldiers responsible for Gaza’s northern border. Pressure, adrenaline and speed – these are the words she used to describe when she spotted and thwarted a terrorist infiltration during Operation Protective Edge …
July 21, 2014 is a day Corporal Lihi won’t forget. Around 6:30am, as she was monitoring her surveillance screen, she detected 5 moving figures. They were five terrorists who had managed to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel from Gaza.
“The terrorists were lying on the ground, wearing IDF uniforms, equipped with body armor, helmets and weapons. I didn’t have time to think, I just acted,” she said, recalling those crucial moments.
Corporal Lihi immediately sent IDF soldiers to the site of the infiltration. The soldiers neutralized two terrorist cells composed of 9 members, who were planning to carry out kidnappings and attacks in Israeli towns near the border. They thought that by wearing IDF uniforms, they wouldn’t be detected.
“The terrorists were neutralized and the incident was considered over, but my mission was far from being over,” said Lihi. “After the event, I went right back to my screens to keep monitoring the area, searching for threats.”
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 2:56 PM | Stand For Israel
We here at Stand for Israel appreciate the bravery and determination shown by the brave men and women of the IDF who protect Israel and her people, and today they proved themselves heroes once again. The Algemeiner reports that alert IDF members stopped a terrorist attack in the West Bank on Thursday afternoon:
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Alert army and Border Police forces foiled a planned terror attack by two Palestinians, as they tried to get through a busy Samaria junction, in the northern West Bank Thursday afternoon, according to Israel’s 0404, News.
Border Police inspectors at the Tapuach Junction, who stopped the pair to check their bags, found they contained three small explosive devices, an improvised gun, and a box cutter …
The checkpoint, near the large Palestinian-inhabited city of Nablus, is frequented by both Israelis and Palestinians, has often been the site of attempted attacks against both Israeli troops and civilians.
In early June, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at Israeli soldiers at the junction, just three days after soldiers apprehended another Palestinian terrorist wearing a suicide belt at the same location.
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 1:31 PM | Stand For Israel
Ever since the video of American journalist Steven Sotloff’s beheading became public, I have not been able to shake the image of Steven kneeling before the camera in an orange jumpsuit, as a knife-wielding psychopath dressed in black threatens the free world before murdering an innocent man against the backdrop of a desert landscape. I was shocked and deeply disturbed when the beheading of the other American journalist, James Foley, came out, but something about the images of Steven Sotloff’s murder at the hands of ISIS refused to leave my mind.
I had this gut feeling that I must have met Steven at one time, but I couldn’t remember where or when. The truth is, though I’m certain I never met James Foley, I feel like I know him. We both grew up in the U.S., probably listened to the same rock ‘n’ roll bands, most likely enjoyed Sundays at a Six Flags with our friends, and I assume he shared my deep appreciation of the freedoms and liberties which are synonymous with the USA. In fact, every time I see James’ photo and his contagious grin, I think of dozens of college and high-school friends he reminds of.
Yet something about Steven was even more familiar, more personal, and I could not figure out what, until I read that he had gone to the same college in Israel as I did. I figured I must have crossed paths with Steven on campus and that’s why he looked familiar, but that was years ago and I could not remember ever meeting him.
I don’t have a Facebook account to keep in touch with my old college buddies, and I only have one contact in my phone from my college days. He often travels and is hard to reach, but the other day, he and I finally got on the phone for a chat, and what he told me really shocked me. It turns out Steven and I were in the same class, and although it was a…Read More » Comments (5) »
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 8:40 AM | Stand for Israel
The Islamic State (IS or ISIS) uses military equipment it has seized during its spread across Iraq and Syria, much of it leftover American materiel. To pay for its “organization,” however, The Jerusalem Post reports that IS has many sources to fund its terrorist activities:
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Months before they took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, Islamic State militants were already busy collecting money to finance their campaign of setting up a 7th century-style caliphate …
“The tax system was well-organized. They took money from small merchants, petrol station owners, generator owners, small factories, big companies, even pharmacists and doctors,” said the shop owner who, out of frustration and fear, closed his store and is now trying to make a living as a taxi driver.
Learning from their previous incarnation as the Islamic State of Iraq, when they received money from foreign fighters, Islamic State has almost weaned itself off private funds from sympathetic individual donors in the Gulf. Such money flows have come under increased scrutiny from the US Treasury.
Instead the group has formalized a system of internal financing that includes an Islamic form of taxation, looting and most significantly, oil sales, to run their ‘state’ effectively.
This suggests it will be harder to cut the group’s access to the local funding that is fueling its control of territory and strengthening its threat to the Middle East and the West.
Nevertheless, financing from Gulf donors may prove more critical in months to come, if US President Barack Obama’s mission to “degrade and destroy” the group succeeds and the group loses territory and finds itself looking abroad for funds …
In the end, squeezing the group’s finances will involve a mixture of intelligence and force. Ending the group’s control of a given area using military might would remove its ability to raise local taxes, for example. Tracking smuggling routes or Gulf donors, in contrast, would involve local informants.
Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Stand for Israel
Yesterday we remembered the 2,977 victims of the September 11 attacks thirteen years ago. Yet we also must realize that threats remain, and that terrorist groups still wish to do harm to those who stand for good and for freedom. Veteran newsman Izzy Lemberg writes at the Times of Israel’s blog that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), Hamas, and their ilk are part of a cult of death that only wishes to wage war:
When 29 year-old Medhi Nemmouche shot and killed four Jews in the Jewish Museum in Brussels last May 24th, we were horrified. But now we know that he had much worse in store. Nemmouche was about to become the next Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 masterminds. A member of the Islamic State, Nemmouche was planning a much larger attack on the Champs Elysees in Paris, on Bastille Day. The attack could have been a devastating version of 9/11 for the French.
The horrifying video footage of the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff (both carried out by a masked man dubbed “Jihadi John” by the British press, who speaks with a distinctive, clipped London accent) makes clear that the Islamic State and their Jihadi ideals are a cult of death. As are their Jihadi brethren, Hamas.
While journalists and Western public opinion were not yet over being outraged by the alleged civilian death toll in the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Hamas lived it up, with wild victory celebrations in which children were given candy and posed with guns. For the press, the Islamic State and Hamas are in different categories, but in practice they are the same. The celebrations in Gaza revealed the mindset of Hamas, who do not mourn as much as they glorify death. Much like the Islamic State.
Despite their collective fantasy, Hamas clearly did not win the war in Gaza. Their real victory, however, was unleashing an international anti-Semitic tsunami, fueled…Read More » Comments (7) »
Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Stand for Israel
Operation Protective Edge damaged Hamas and other Gazan terror organizations’ capabilities – from targeting terrorists to destroying terror tunnels and weapons stashes. But the above video of a new Islamic Jihad terror tunnel – built after the latest war in Gaza – being shown off to an Al Jazeera reporter illustrates that while the IDF did much to slow its enemies, the threat is still very present:
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Gazan terror group Islamic Jihad is rebuilding tunnels beneath the Strip, including some that are to burrow under the border with Israel, according to a report from Al-Jazeera TV …
At the start of the clip the reporter is shown being taken blindfolded to the tunnel entrance to conceal its location. Once inside the tunnel the reporter, who must hunch over in order to make his way along the low passageway, explains that it is being “dug by resistance fighters in this border area.”
The tunnel looks similar to dozens of others discovered by IDF forces in the past with cement blocks positioned to shore up the walls and roof.
“What is remarkable about this tunnel is that it is has been dug recently,” he says. “As you can see it is still being dug … “
“We are now in one of the tunnels of the Al-Quds Brigades,” the worker explains, using the name of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, “on which work began as soon as the war on Gaza ended, and the ceasefire was declared. We have begun work and we are continuing it regardless of the threats by the Zionist enemy.”
“We will not be hindered by the threats of the enemy, or by the ban on importing cement and other building materials,” he adds.
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at 11:50 AM | Stand for Israel
The world has reacted in horror as the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) has spread across Iraq and Syria, brutalized Christians and other minority groups in the region, and beheaded at least two American journalists so far, supposedly to make a point to the U.S. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, Alan Dershowitz says that no one should be surprised, however, because we live in a world that rewards terrorist groups and the terror they create:
But we should have anticipated this, because for the last half century, the international community has rewarded precisely the kind of behavior by ISIS we now condemn. In brief, terrorism has proved to be a successful tactic. It works. That’s why ISIS engages in it. That’ why Al Qaeda engages in it. That’s why Boko Haram engages in it. That’s why the Taliban engages in it. And that’s why Hamas engages in it.
Compare the visibility and success of groups that employ terrorism as the main tactic for responding to their grievances, with comparably aggrieved groups that reject terrorism. Hamas is more popular than ever among Palestinians following their kidnapping and murder of three Israeli schoolchildren, their brutal slaughter of the Fogel family, and their deployment of rockets and tunnels against civilians from civilian areas. The same is true of Hezbollah.
Now comes ISIS which is quickly becoming the terrorist group of choice for disaffected radicals, because their brutality is now in the headlines …
World leaders, such as Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu, demand that we treat Hamas, which is indistinguishable in its overall brutality from ISIS, as a legitimate political organization. The United Nations General Assembly grants statehood to a group that began as a terrorist organization and continues to honor terrorists who murdered children. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee honors Yassir Arafat, the Godfather of terrorism, who persisted in this tactic until the day he died. European countries pay ransom to terrorists. Any many European nations—Italy, Germany, Great Britain and others—have freed terrorists, including mass…Read More » Comments (5) »
Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 7:40 AM | Stand for Israel