Terrorism and counterterrorism

  • Egypt military chief says country is on verge of “state collapse”

    General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s armed forces chief, has warned the other day that the current political crisis in Egypt “could lead to a collapse of the state.” General al-Sisi said such a collapse could “threaten future generations.” General Sisi suggested that the polarization of the civilian politics was becoming a concern of the military because “to affect the stability of the state institutions is a dangerous matter that harms Egyptian national security.”

  • Morsi’s top aid: Holocaust a “hoax” concocted by U.S. intelligence

    Fathi Shihab-Eddim, a senior aid to Egypt’s president Morsi, said the other day that Holocaust was “a hoax” concocted by the U.S. intelligence services. Shihab-Eddim also said that six million Jews were never killed – they simply emigrated to the United States.

  • Donors pledge $455 million to roll back Islamist influence in Mali

    International donors meeting in Ethiopia have pledged $455.53 million for an international campaign to tackle Islamist militants in Mali. The pledged funds for aid projects and the AFISMA (African-led International Support Mission to Mali) force which is scheduled to take over from French troops in the country are about half the figure African leaders had requested.

  • Increasing the sensitivity of airport security screening

    The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations.

  • U.S. to build drone base in Niger

    With the war in Mali raging, the U.S. Africa Command is now establishing a drone base in northwest Africa in order to bolster U.S. surveillance – and operational — capabilities against Islamist groups in the region. Initially, the drones flying from the base will conduct unarmed surveillance missions, but there is little doubt that if targets present themselves, these drones will be equipped with missiles and go on hunting-killing missions.

  • French forces push deep into north Mali, capture Gao

    French military forces, supported by Malian forces, continue to push north into Islamist-controlled north Mali, and on Saturday captured the strategic city of Gao. French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that having chased the Islamists out of the Gao region, the French force was closing in on Timbuktu, north Mali’s main city. The initial phase of the military operation consists of liberating the large population centers of north Mali from Islamist control, and chasing the jihadists into the empty desert – and do so before the rainy season begins in March.

  • Clinton: U.S. must lead fight against “jihadist threat” in Africa

    In what sounded at times as a valedictory address, Secretary of States Hillary Clinton offered a far-ranging and detailed discussion of the new threat the United States and the world are facing: the spread of Islamist influence and jihadist terrorism in Africa. Clinton told a Senate committee that al Qaeda and its affiliates in the region threaten African and European allies and pose a direct threat to the United States.

  • Blast-resilient carriages to reduce impact of a terrorist attack on trains, metros

    Engineers have developed a blast-resilient carriages which are better able to withstand a terrorist attack and ultimately save lives. The engineers have e focused on two key areas — containing the impact of the blast and reducing debris — the main cause of death and injury in an explosion and the key obstacle for emergency services trying to gain access to injured passengers.

  • Russia begins unofficial evacuation of its citizens from Syria

    Russia has been a staunch ally of the Assad regime for decades, and there are thousands of Russians in Syria. They are becoming increasingly vulnerable as the rebels are gaining on the Assad regime. Fearing that the anti-regime militias will begin to take revenge on Russians because of Russia’s association with Assad, Moscow on Tuesday began a quiet evacuation of Russians from Syria. 

  • Pakistan bans two video games for depicting country as terrorist haven

    A government-licensed trade organization in Pakistan has banned two popular video games because they depict Pakistan as a country soft on terrorism. A trade association order to member stores instructed that the games be removed off the shelves of video game stores.

  • Algeria: use of overwhelming force against hostage-takers was necessary

    As the grim toll of the 4-day operation to wrest control of the Algerian gas drilling site becomes clearer, debate continues about the tactics the Algerian military pursued, which some in Western capitals consider rushed and heavy-handed. Algeria says it had no choice: the initial plan of the terrorists was to grab two-dozen foreign workers, take them to the nearby airport of Amena, hijack a plane, and fly them to Mali, then ask Western government for a hefty ransom. When that plan failed, the terrorists began preparations to blow up the entire complex, killing themselves and the 790 workers kept as prisoners on the site. Algeria says that if it did not act quickly, and with overwhelming force, the death toll would have been far higher.

  • Algerian hostage drama over; 48 hostages, 32 terrorists dead

    Algerian forces have taken control of the gas drilling site near the Algeria-Libya border, and the authorities are trying to determine the human toll of the 4-day drama. Initial estimates indicate that forty-eight hostages and thirty-two terrorists have died in the fire exchanges between the hostage takers and the Algerian military. The Algerian government says that five of the Islamist terrorists were captured alive. The forty Islamist hostage-takers came from six different countries, and trained for the operation in a base in Islamist-controlled north Mali.

  • French defense minister: campaign goal is “total reconquest” of Mali

    French fighter planes continued their attacks on training bases, weapon storage sites, and Islamist troop concentrations in north Mali, paying special attention the Islamists presence in and around the major cities of Gao and Timbuktu.

  • Many hostages dead in clumsy Algerian raid on gas drilling site

    Sketchy news from the Sahara desert gas field site indicates that up to thirty hostages may have been killed by their Islamic captors as Algerian special forces attacked the site. Algerian officials said that the thirty dead included eight Algerians, two Britons, two Japanese, and one French national. The nationality of the other seventeen hostages killed at the site had not been established. The British government more openly, and the French and U.S. governments more elliptically, raised questions about the tactics used by the Algerian military: Algerian helicopter gunships strafed the living quarters at the site when both hostages and terrorists were inside; helicopters also destroyed four jeeps carrying both jihadists and hostages. It appears that most of the hostages were killed by Algerian fire, not by the terrorists.

  • Metamaterial sensor improves security, collision avoidance

    Engineers have developed a novel sensor which is more efficient, versatile, and cheaper for potential use in such applications as airport security scanners and collision avoidance systems for aircraft, cars, or maritime vessels.