The rise of ISIS

first_imgThe Sunni extremist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has waged a violent campaign in recent months, capturing large areas of territory in both countries. In June, the group declared itself a new Islamist caliphate, or formal Islamic state, and proclaimed leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the caliph. Experts worry about what the rise of the Jihadist group will mean for the future of Iraq, for the stability of the region, and for United States security.Political scientist Harith Hasan al-Qarawee studies state-society relations, political transitions, and identity politics in Iraq and the Middle East. The 2014-2015 Robert G. James Scholar at Risk Fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, he is working on a book titled “Transnational Sectarianism: State’s Disintegration and Sunni-Shia Divide in the Middle East.”The Gazette recently spoke with al-Qarawee about the rise of ISIS.GAZETTE: Can you describe ISIS in relationship to al-Qaeda?AL-QARAWEE: ISIS is the latest incarnation of a group called Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn, or the organization of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which was formed in 2004. The group, although it declared allegiance to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, was a highly independent body that had organizational and ideological differences from al-Qaeda. The group adopted a very fundamentalist and exclusionary interpretation of Islam, saw itself as the only “victorious sect” in Islam, and considered Shias [Shiites, who constitute 55-60 percent of Iraqis] deviants and legitimate targets of its attacks. The group and its subsequent incarnations were shaped by the nature of conflict in Iraq that took an increasingly sectarian characteristic. Unlike al-Qaeda that prioritized the conflict with the West, ISIS deemed conflict with Shias central to its success because it sought to create a territorial state of its own. If al-Qaeda was an outcome of the conflict in Afghanistan, ISIS is an outcome of conflicts and states’ failures in Iraq and the Levant.GAZETTE: What does the rise of ISIS mean for Iraq? What does it mean for the West? Is ISIS a greater threat to United States security than al-Qaeda?AL-QARAWEE: The rise of ISIS in Iraq means that once again we are facing the failure of [the] post-colonial state in the region. Post-Saddam [Hussein] Iraq, which was supposed to become a model of democracy and inclusivity, ended up as a fragile state strongly weakened by ethnic and sectarian divides. That has something to do with both the pillars on which the current regime was established and the failed policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. However, to understand the roots of problem, we need to examine the unsuccessful processes of nation-building in the region. These processes have failed partly because of the exclusionary politics that characterized the behavior of all regimes that ruled Iraq, including the current one.Now, ISIS’s focus is on building its own state and consolidating its power in the areas it managed to control. Therefore, most of the fighting it has engaged in was against others who are contesting this control, and I expect this will be the case in the near future. However, as a Jihadist organization claiming to represent the true Islamic Khilafat, its project will not stop at the current borders and it will continue seeking to expand its territory, which will lead to a more direct clash with the U.S. and Western interests. As the conflict continues, ISIS might have its own internal disagreements about the future, and I expect two kinds of disputes:First, a dispute with local populations and the more indigenous groups that have their distinct concerns and priorities other than the strict interpretation of Sharia law, and this dispute is already in place in Syria and some parts of Iraq.The second conflict will be within the organization between its Iraqi wing that might prioritize the “sectarian conflict” with Shias and issues related to communal identity, and the global wing that adopts the ideology of jihad and looks beyond Iraq.GAZETTE: Do you think Iraq will split along sectarian lines, Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish? What would that kind of division mean for the United States?AL-QARAWEE: Iraq is already splitting along these lines as the Shia-dominated government loses control over Sunni areas. Apparently, neither the U.S. nor most regional powers benefit from Iraq’s disintegration because it is a formula for the creation of three fragile semi-states. This division will mean long struggles within and between the emerging entities, while regional powers such as Iran and Turkey seek to subordinate some of them. This is already happening, as the Shia groups are increasingly seeking support and protection from Iran, while Kurdistan is increasingly dependent on Turkey. Sunni areas will keep witnessing long fighting between ISIS and other groups, not to mention the fact that they will be impoverished because, unlike the south and Kurdistan, they do not have their own resources. If the U.S. recognizes that an action [is] needed to prevent this scenario, then it needs to engage more proactively and support new arrangements that help sharing and decentralizing power and leading a collective action against ISIS. Iraq needs a new compact that the Iraqi elite alone cannot reach. There is also a need to involve other regional powers in a collective action based on facing ISIS and at the same time a commitment to bridge the sectarian gap in the whole region.GAZETTE: You have said that you think the political transformation that Iraq needs in the near term is unlikely. Why?AL-QARAWEE: For those following Iraq’s news, it is obvious that, one, the current system is broken, and, two, Iraqi politicians drive a slow machine that cannot anticipate developments on the ground. Iraq lacks state-builders, which is exactly what we need today. The current crisis requires competent and confident leaders who have a clear vision and the will to make genuine concessions. Unfortunately, the current debate in Iraq is more about personalities than about institutions, and it has not elaborated any serious solutions for problems the country is facing.GAZETTE: What will the future hold for Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq? Can he form a new government that will be successful? If not, can anyone on the current political scene succeed in doing so?AL-QARAWEE: Here, I have two things to say.First, if Maliki manages to stay in power, things will only get worse. Maliki is a divisive figure in a time that requires more unity … who lacks any strategic vision for the country and has already shown authoritarian tendencies. His policies are more about his own survival than about building a state and broadening the legitimacy of his government. He belongs to a political culture that views state-building through traditional exclusionary tools such as centralization, consolidating personal power, and patronage.Second, while Maliki is a problem, he is not the only problem. Iraq suffers two chronic problems that need to be addressed.One, sectarianism has become entrenched within the system, and therefore made it difficult for any political actor to gain influence and build constituency without resorting to identity politics. We need to change the paradigm of Iraq from a country of ethnicities and sects into one based on citizenship politics. This can happen by changing the electoral law and make major amendments to the constitution.Two, Iraq depends highly on oil resources that represent about 95 percent of its governmental budget. Rentier states (which rely strongly on natural resources to thrive) tend to empower the elite and weaken civil society, which is what had happened in Iraq under the Saddam regime and is being repeated today. While it is idealistic to talk about the diversification of Iraq’s economy in the foreseeable future, there is a need to make major changes in the way oil wealth is managed. Decentralization will help prevent the accumulation of revenues in the hands of those who control the central government. But then we need to develop that further to make sure it will not create authoritarian elites in the regions.GAZETTE: Can Maliki, or someone else, form a coalition government that includes the Sunnis, making them less likely to turn to ISIS?AL-QARAWEE: The problem here is multifaceted. It is not impossible for any prime minister to give executive positions in his cabinet for Sunni politicians; in fact, this was the case under Maliki’s two terms. The problem is the belief that only by gaining executive positions, a community can feel included. This formula of distributing governmental positions among conflicting parties actually led to creating ineffective governments that lack unity and turn state’s institutions into fiefdoms of conflicting parties. This is exactly what made Maliki popular among Iraqi Shias, because his program focused on forming a majority government rather than apportioning cabinet positions among political parties. Iraq needs decentralization rather than building a grand central government. In addition, Sunni political elites are facing today an existential crisis after ISIS has driven most of its members outside their constituencies. So, assuming that ISIS will be forced out of the cities it is controlling now, there will be a need to recognize who are the genuine representatives of Sunni communities. I think a change within the Sunni political spectrum is inevitable.GAZETTE: What does the rise of ISIS mean for women in Syria and Iraq?AL-QARAWEE: More strict measures and marginalization. These groups consider women objects and deny them any existence as social actors. It is important to recognize that Islamic fundamentalism is a powerful ideology in these societies and it has “indoctrinated” many women to accept their lower social status. As the groups consolidate their control in these areas, they follow a very strict version of Sharia law, while trying to strengthen their cultural hegemony through tools of socialization. Today, the situation of women in the Arab world, and areas of conflict in particular, is clear evidence of the failure in the traditional approaches of modernization and development. In sociological terms, ISIS is the outcome of this failure, and its ideology represents a regression from any previous achievements. This is important to highlight in order to clarify that military means only cannot secure victory against ISIS and its like.last_img read more

Brazilian Navy Improves Public Safety with Operation Blue Amazon 2015

first_imgOperation Blue Amazon patrolled the entire length of the basin, which encompasses about 100,000 square kilometers of Brazil’s coastal waters. Together with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, for its Portuguese acronym), the Navy conducted exercises to monitor fishing activities in the region and to ensure the security of oil platforms. The Naval patrol involved the mobilization of the Navy’s Ceará Class landing ship NDD Ceará (G-30) and the Niterói Class frigate F Liberal (F-43). The participating FAB aircraft included the P-3AM and the P-95 UH-15 Super Cougar helicopter, which was used for the first time in conjunction with the G-30 Ship. One of the highlights of the operation was a Naval patrol of the Campos Basin, a region that covers part of the coastal areas of the states of Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro, where more than 80 percent of the country’s oil production is concentrated. By Dialogo March 25, 2015 One of the highlights of the operation was a Naval patrol of the Campos Basin, a region that covers part of the coastal areas of the states of Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro, where more than 80 percent of the country’s oil production is concentrated. Fifteen-thousand members of the Navy were deployed throughout Brazil to monitor compliance with maritime and mining regulations and suppress illegal cross-border and environmental offenses along the 8,500 kilometers of the country’s coastline. The Command of the 6th Naval District, which is responsible for the waters of the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, mobilized 550 service members, who conducted patrols and inspections on the Paraguay River, between the mouth of the Apa River and the city of Cáceres (in southern Mato Grosso), and the São Lourenço and Cuiabá rivers, where there is significant fishing activity. The Command of the 6th Naval District, which is responsible for the waters of the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, mobilized 550 service members, who conducted patrols and inspections on the Paraguay River, between the mouth of the Apa River and the city of Cáceres (in southern Mato Grosso), and the São Lourenço and Cuiabá rivers, where there is significant fishing activity. Law enforcement officials conducted 650 more inspections than they carried out during the first edition of Operation Blue Amazon, in 2014. Overall, authorities inspected 8,809 vessels, issued 1,281 notifications (citations for the owners and operators of vessels and boats which are not following the proper rules and regulations), and seized 259 boats. Patrolling the Campos Basin and other waterways required cooperation between the Navy, the Air Force, and other agencies and public institutions. The collaboration included about 450 representatives from various entities, including the Federal Police, the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), the Federal Revenue Service, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), and the Chico Mendes Biodiversity Conservation Institute (ICMBio). Cooperation and collaboration In Santana, Amapá state, the crew of a NAux Pará (U-15) – an auxiliary ship operating under the 4th Naval District – provided 112 health care procedures and dental services to 28 individuals, as well as distributed 855 medications. The ship’s personnel also offered recreational activities and educational lectures to children about navigation safety. The operation, which took place from March 1-7, was the second of its kind, utilizing 50 ships, 200 additional vessels, and 10 aircraft. In addition to patrolling Brazil’s extensive coastline, authorities provided medical and dental care to civilians and fought environmental crimes in the Pantanal region of Mato Grosso state as well as in other northern Brazilian cities, mainly in the states of Amapá and Amazonas. Overall, the command and of the 6th Naval District conducted 527 inspections and issued 108 notifications. The command also participated in exercises and training regarding firefighting, battle stations, abandoned stations, flooding, navigation in low visibility, rudderless navigation, and aircraft crashes. Health care for riverside communities in the north and midwest The operation, which took place from March 1-7, was the second of its kind, utilizing 50 ships, 200 additional vessels, and 10 aircraft. In addition to patrolling Brazil’s extensive coastline, authorities provided medical and dental care to civilians and fought environmental crimes in the Pantanal region of Mato Grosso state as well as in other northern Brazilian cities, mainly in the states of Amapá and Amazonas. While some Naval forces enforced the law, others provided medical and dental care to the civilian population. Operation Blue Amazon also distributed medicine and donations, and provided educational and recreational activities. A total of 27,197 medicines were distributed, and medical and dental care was provided to 3,700 people. In the north region, the commands of the 4th and 9th Naval Districts made arrests for suspected involvement in clandestine mining; seized arms and explosives; and also seized vessels lacking a qualified captain or proper registration documents. Naval authorities cited some boaters for carrying illegal cargo and for engaging in illegal fishing with nets larger than those permitted by IBAMA. In Santana, Amapá state, the crew of a NAux Pará (U-15) – an auxiliary ship operating under the 4th Naval District – provided 112 health care procedures and dental services to 28 individuals, as well as distributed 855 medications. The ship’s personnel also offered recreational activities and educational lectures to children about navigation safety. The 2015 edition of Operation Blue Amazon brought together the largest number of Brazilian Navy vessels, aircraft, and Troops ever mobilized simultaneously to improve public safety. In the midwest region, the Tenente Maximiano Hospital Ship (U-28), operating under the 6th Naval District, visited Porto Albuquerque and Porto Morrinho in Mato Grosso do Sul state and Porto de Manga in Minas Gerais state. The ship’s personnel handled 58 medical care cases and 20 dental care cases, and distributed 1,887 medicines. Socially vulnerable populations along the banks of the Cuiabá River to the city of Porto Cercado and along the Paraguay River also received assistance and benefited from medical and dental care. Officials from these agencies coordinated their efforts to maximize public safety and issue fines to individuals and companies which violated the law. The Navy estimates that, in partnership with these institutions, law enforcement authorities issued fines totaling R$3.4 million (approximately $1 million) related to a wide range of irregularities, from lack of vessel documentation to alleged involvement in the illegal timber trade. Officials from these agencies coordinated their efforts to maximize public safety and issue fines to individuals and companies which violated the law. The Navy estimates that, in partnership with these institutions, law enforcement authorities issued fines totaling R$3.4 million (approximately $1 million) related to a wide range of irregularities, from lack of vessel documentation to alleged involvement in the illegal timber trade. Health care for riverside communities in the north and midwest The Naval patrol involved the mobilization of the Navy’s Ceará Class landing ship NDD Ceará (G-30) and the Niterói Class frigate F Liberal (F-43). The participating FAB aircraft included the P-3AM and the P-95 UH-15 Super Cougar helicopter, which was used for the first time in conjunction with the G-30 Ship. Overall, the command and of the 6th Naval District conducted 527 inspections and issued 108 notifications. The command also participated in exercises and training regarding firefighting, battle stations, abandoned stations, flooding, navigation in low visibility, rudderless navigation, and aircraft crashes. Cooperation and collaboration Fifteen-thousand members of the Navy were deployed throughout Brazil to monitor compliance with maritime and mining regulations and suppress illegal cross-border and environmental offenses along the 8,500 kilometers of the country’s coastline. In the midwest region, the Tenente Maximiano Hospital Ship (U-28), operating under the 6th Naval District, visited Porto Albuquerque and Porto Morrinho in Mato Grosso do Sul state and Porto de Manga in Minas Gerais state. The ship’s personnel handled 58 medical care cases and 20 dental care cases, and distributed 1,887 medicines. Socially vulnerable populations along the banks of the Cuiabá River to the city of Porto Cercado and along the Paraguay River also received assistance and benefited from medical and dental care. Peace is always good and worth praise. Law enforcement officials conducted 650 more inspections than they carried out during the first edition of Operation Blue Amazon, in 2014. Overall, authorities inspected 8,809 vessels, issued 1,281 notifications (citations for the owners and operators of vessels and boats which are not following the proper rules and regulations), and seized 259 boats. In the north region, the commands of the 4th and 9th Naval Districts made arrests for suspected involvement in clandestine mining; seized arms and explosives; and also seized vessels lacking a qualified captain or proper registration documents. Naval authorities cited some boaters for carrying illegal cargo and for engaging in illegal fishing with nets larger than those permitted by IBAMA. The 2015 edition of Operation Blue Amazon brought together the largest number of Brazilian Navy vessels, aircraft, and Troops ever mobilized simultaneously to improve public safety. In addition to protecting one of the country’s most strategic economic regions, the surveillance effort in the Campos Basin is also part of preparatory exercises for the security initiatives that will be implemented during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Patrolling the Campos Basin and other waterways required cooperation between the Navy, the Air Force, and other agencies and public institutions. The collaboration included about 450 representatives from various entities, including the Federal Police, the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), the Federal Revenue Service, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), and the Chico Mendes Biodiversity Conservation Institute (ICMBio). While some Naval forces enforced the law, others provided medical and dental care to the civilian population. Operation Blue Amazon also distributed medicine and donations, and provided educational and recreational activities. A total of 27,197 medicines were distributed, and medical and dental care was provided to 3,700 people. Operation Blue Amazon patrolled the entire length of the basin, which encompasses about 100,000 square kilometers of Brazil’s coastal waters. Together with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, for its Portuguese acronym), the Navy conducted exercises to monitor fishing activities in the region and to ensure the security of oil platforms. In addition to protecting one of the country’s most strategic economic regions, the surveillance effort in the Campos Basin is also part of preparatory exercises for the security initiatives that will be implemented during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. last_img read more

From Adam Kownacki and Chris Arreola’s slugfest to promotional drama: The good, the bad and the dirty in the week of boxing

first_imgIt was another interesting week in boxing. Here are the highs and lows of the last seven days.The Good- Adam Kownacki and Chris Arreola put on an old-school heavyweight fight. What people remember about heavyweight boxing is two guys unloading the heavy artillery on every shot. You get that to some degree these days, but more often than not, one guy crumbles and gets finished.  Not on Saturday when Kownacki and Arreola stood toe-to-toe in the pocket for 36 minutes with Kownacki winning by unanimous decision over the former three-time heavyweight title challenger. The bout was a record-setting affair as they broke a CompuBox record most combined punches thrown (2,172) and punches landed (667). Kownacki and Arreola left everything they had inside the ring, but the native of Poland landed the more massive blows and came out on the better end of the majority of the exchanges to remain undefeated and inch closer to possibly netting a crack at WBC champion Deontay Wilder.You have to give Kownacki and Arreola a ton of credit. They could have folded their tents and buckled to some of the hard punches. Instead, they bit down on their mouthpieces and gave the fans inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn a fight to remember as they reminded people that old-fashioned heavyweight wars still exist.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year- Jean Pascal is turning back the clock. The consensus among boxing pundits was that Pascal had seen his better days when he held the WBC light heavyweight title and was regarded as one of the best in the division. And no one was wrong in that assessment considering Pascal was 3-3 in his last six bouts and not looking remotely close to what he used to be. The calls were for the 36-year-old to hang up the gloves. Whether people associated with Premier Boxing Champions will admit it or not, the bout on Saturday night between Pascal and interim WBA champ Marcus Browne was supposed to be Browne adding a veteran name to his resume.Pascal had other plans in mind and found the fountain of youth in dropping Browne to the canvas three times to earn a technical decision and win the secondary belt after an accidental headbutt opened up a gruesome cut above Browne’s eye,and the fight went to the judge’s scorecards.Browne was the better boxer, but showed disrespect to Pascal’s power by keeping his hands low and thinking he could finish the fight whenever he wanted. That’s the crazy thing about boxing. Your skills may not be what they used to be, but the power is always the last thing to go. And for at least one night, Pascal showed he still has something left to offer the sport. The Bad- Tyson Fury disappoints in selecting his next opponent. On Friday, it was revealed that the lineal heavyweight champion would be taking on Otto Wallin on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. You might be wondering, who is Otto Wallin? A simple Google search normally would show his Wikipedia page and explain what’s he done up this point. But Wallin doesn’t have one of those. So, who is he?Wallin is from Sweden and sports a 20-0 record with 13 knockouts. He’s fought only one time in the United States and has faced no one that even the hardcore boxing fans would know of. I can get if Fury and his promoter Frank Warren and co-promoters at Top Rank wanted Wallin to be the first opponent for Fury’s U.S. debut. But we already saw it when Fury blasted through another unknown in Tom Schwarz in June. You get the game being played by Fury and his team. Pick the easiest foe possible until the Deontay Wilder rematch in the first quarter of 2020. The tomato aspect of this was already tossed in the can at the beginning of the summer. No one expected the charismatic Brit to face a top-five heavyweight. No reason to risk losing the lucrative fight against Wilder. But at least take on someone of note who the fans know because now fewer people are likely to watch on television and buy tickets when they already know what the outcome is going to be. In turn, this will end up hurting Fury’s value when it comes to building the Wilder rematch.The Dirty- It has been a tough week at Golden Boy Promotions. Things appeared to be on the upswing of the promotion founded by the legendary Oscar De La Hoya. They have the face of boxing, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, on their roster and a great deal that aired their fights on DAZN. However, things have been shaky of late. A trilogy bout with Gennadiy Golovkin didn’t materialize. Then Golden Boy was not able to reach a deal for Canelo vs. Sergey Kovalev, who moved forward with a clash against Anthony Yarde on Aug. 24 in his native Russia.It appeared Alvarez would take on the IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Talks were underway, but they stalled once again. A deal still wasn’t agreed upon after an extension, resulting in the sanctioning body stripping Alvarez of the title.That forced Alvarez to go to his Twitter page, where he blasted his promotional team for doing something he didn’t know about.  I’m very upset and ashamed with my fans, to be unfairly stripped of my belt by the IBF, but specially when i did not have the knowledge of the agreement that GBP match maker had signed.— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) August 2, 2019Jumping up two weight classes to beat a top-notch light heavyweight in Kovalev to become a four-division world champion is nothing to sneeze at.And while Alvarez apparently didn’t want to fight Derevyanchenko, it would have at least been a way for him to remain a unified champion.It could all be rectified if a unification bout with WBO titlist Demetrius Andrade can get made. But with the way things have been going as of late, it’s tough to know what will come next.last_img read more