The Spanish Roots of Europe’s Wave of Terror

While car-ramming attacks, like the one in Barcelona last Thursday, were first employed against Israelis in 2014, the current wave of simple, small-scale terror in Europe is the brainchild of a Spanish jihadist named Abu Musab al-Suri. Tom Wilson explains:

Suri has had a decades-long involvement in modern jihadism, and particularly with Islamist terrorism in Spain. The Spanish authorities have wanted Suri since 2003 for his role in establishing the country’s first al-Qaeda cell in the mid-1990s. However, . . . Spain also wants Suri in connection with the 1985 Madrid bombing by the Islamic Jihad Organization, in which a restaurant frequented by U.S. servicemen was blown up, leaving eighteen people dead. But it is also believed that he may have had a connection to the far more devastating 2004 Madrid train bombing, which killed 191 people. . . .

By 2005 . . . it seems that Suri had become disillusioned with al-Qaeda’s strategy [and broke with Osama bin Laden]. Al-Qaeda’s rigid, top-down structure and highly-organized, sophisticated attacks had brought about neither the desired awakening among Muslims nor the Islamist revolution the jihadists had hoped for. In 2005, Suri released his “Global Islamic Resistance Call” on the Internet. Envisaging a leaderless jihad, in which individuals or small cells would form their own organic and independent plots, [the document argues that such cells can] avoid detection by not linking to a large structured network and instead [using] the Internet to spread ideology and tactics. Crucially, Suri’s jihadist manifesto stresses the importance of ultimately capturing territory to establish an Islamic state. This obscure Spanish extremist set in motion events that would bring about the wave of terrorism being suffered today. . . .

European authorities are now engaged in trying to prevent any more of Suri’s vision from coming to fruition. But as the former head of [Britain’s] Mi5 [intelligence service] has warned us, it is a generational task we now face, and there can be little doubt that Europe is now caught up amid a new era of jihad.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Politics & Current Affairs, Spain, Terrorism

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy