Europe Is Walking the Terror Tightrope | Britain's Unprepared’ for ISIS Drone Attack | Some U.S. Weapons Stymied by Russian Jamming in Ukraine, and more

Terrifying Warning Issued That Britain’s ‘Unprepared’ for ISIS ‘Drone Attack Plot on UK  (Zak Garner-Purkis, Express)
A leading expert in terrorism has warned that the UK is unprepared for drone attacks that an Express investigation revealed ISIS is plotting. Messages exchanged on encrypted message platforms by pro-Islamist groups uncovered by this website revealed fanatics are being urged to “strike crowds at major sporting events from the sky” with manuals on drone warfare and making homemade explosives being shared. When we shared the details with Professor Dr. Christian Kaunert, Chair of Policing and Security at University of South Wales, he warned the UK is yet to adapt its defenses to cope with such a threat. “It’s not that British air defenses couldn’t handle drone attacks,” he explained. “It’s that they’re not prepared for these types of drone attacks [on crowds at events]. “They pose a significant threat. They are, in a sense, the more high-tech version of the guy who’s taking a truck and drives into a crowd. It’s the next level of that.”

Europe Is Walking the Terror Tightrope  (Lynne O’Donnell, The New European)
“The terrorist threat to Europe right now is actually quite high because you have an intersection of a range of disconnected but unfortunately mutually reinforcing events,” said Hans-Jakob Schindler, director of the Berlin- and New York-based Counter Extremism Project. “October 7 changed the threat level from groups that didn’t really pose any threat on the European continent for many years. It’s definitely always been Islamist terrorism, but it’s not Islamist terrorism in all of its varieties from Hamas to al-Qaida. Usually it’s Islamic State, it’s al-Qaida, and it’s lone actors. Now you have Hamas, Hezbollah, lone actors, Islamic State, al-Qaida, the left wing, the right wing – all of them who could potentially see this large conglomeration of really soft targets. “We have the threat that has been there all along, but because of October 7 has been fairly diligently pushed out of the headlines, and that’s the Islamic State threat,” he added.

Nine in Germany, Accused of ‘Reichsbuerger’ Coup Plot, Go on Trial  (Reuters)
A would-be prince, a former judge and parliamentarian, and retired military officers were among nine alleged conspirators who went on trial on Tuesday for a suspected “Reichsbuerger” plot to overthrow Germany’s democracy. Prosecutors say they were ringleaders in a terrorist conspiracy to topple the government and install property investor Heinrich XIII Prinz Reuss, scion of a now-throneless dynasty, as caretaker head of state. The plot, exposed in 2022, has both captivated and stunned Germany, which prides itself on its economic might, stable institutions and consensus-driven politics, despite recent inroads by the far right.

What Hamas Called Its Female Captives, and Why It Matters  (Graeme Wood, The Atlantic)
This week, Israel released an appalling video featuring five female Israeli soldiers taken captive at Nahal Oz military base on October 7. Fearful and bloody, the women beg for their lives while Hamas fighters mill around and alternately threaten to kill them and compliment their appearance. The captors call the women “sabaya,” which Israel translated as “women who can get pregnant.” Almost immediately, others disputed the translation and said sabaya referred merely to “female captives” and included no reference to their fertility. “The Arabic word sabaya doesn’t have sexual connotations,” the Al Jazeera journalist Laila Al-Arian wrote in a post on X, taking exception to a Washington Post article that said that it did. She said the Israeli translation was “playing on racist and orientalist tropes about Arabs and Muslims.”
These are real women and victims of ongoing war crimes, so it does seem excessively lurid to suggest, without direct evidence, that they have been raped in captivity for the past several months. (“Eight months,” the Israelis noted, allowing readers to do the gestational math. “Think of what that means for these young women.”) But to assert that sabaya is devoid of sexual connotation reflects ignorance, at best. The word is well attested in classical sources and refers to female captives; the choice of a classical term over a modern one implies a fondness for classical modes of war, which codified sexual violence at scale. Just as concubine and comfort woman carry the befoulments of their historic use, sabaya is straightforwardly associated with what we moderns call rape. Anyone who uses sabaya in modern Gaza or Raqqah can be assumed to have specific and disgusting reasons to want to revive it.
The word sabaya recently reappeared in the modern Arabic lexicon through the efforts of the Islamic State. Unsurprisingly, then, the scholars best equipped for this analysis are the ones who observed and cataloged how ISIS revived sabaya (and many other dormant classical and medieval terms). I refer here to Aymenn J. Al-Tamimi, recently of Swansea University, and to Cole Bunzel of the Hoover Institution, who have both commented on this controversy without sensationalism, except insofar as the potential of sexual enslavement is inherently sensational.
Sabaya is a term in part born of the need to distinguish captives potentially subject to these procreative regulations from those who would be less complicated to own. To translate it as “women who can get pregnant” is regrettably misleading. It makes explicit what the word connotes, namely that these captives fall under a legal category with possibilities distinct from those of their male counterparts. As Al-Tamimi observes, Hamas could just as easily have used a standard Arabic word for female war captives, asirat. This neutral word is used on Arabic Wikipedia, say, for Jessica Lynch, the American prisoner of war from the 2003 Iraq invasion. Instead Hamas used a term with a different history.
One could read too much into the choice of words. No one, to my knowledge, has suggested that Hamas is following the Islamic State by reviving sex slavery as a legal category. I know of no evidence that it has done so, and if it did, I would expect many of the group’s supporters, even those comfortable with its killing of concertgoers and old people, to denounce the group. More likely, a single group of Hamas members used the word in an especially heady moment, during which they wanted to degrade and humiliate their captives as much as possible. Thankfully, the captives appear unaware of the language being used around them. The language suggests that the fighters were open to raping the women, but it could also just be reprehensible talk, after an already coarsening day of mass killing.
Reading too much into the language seems, at this point, to be less of a danger than reading too little into it. As soon as the Israeli translation came out, it was assailed for its inaccuracy, when it was actually just gesturing clumsily at a real, though not easily summarized, historical background. What, if anything, should the translation have said? “Female captives” does not carry the appropriate resonance; “sex-slavery candidates” would err in the other direction and imply too much. Every translation loses something. Is there a word in English that conveys that one views the battered women in one’s control as potentially sexually available? I think probably not. I would be very careful before speaking up to defend the user of such a word.

Why the U.S. Should Recognize Palestinian Statehood  (Omar M. Dajani and Mushon Zer-Aviv, Foreign Policy)
This week, as several European governments announced their plans to formally recognize the state of Palestine, the United States continued to press against the current. Earlier this month, the United States stood almost alone in its refusal to grant the Palestinian people an equal seat among the community of nations. The United Nations General Assembly approved its support of Palestinian statehood 143 to 9, with 25 nations abstaining. The thunderous applause that followed the vote marked both a celebration of international support for Palestinians and a protest against Israel and the United States.
Yet that vote was mostly symbolic. Full membership must first be approved by the U.N. Security Council, where the United States holds veto power. Back in 2011, the mere threat of an American veto sufficed to kill Palestine’s application for U.N. membership, but this April the Biden administration was obliged to cast the single vote that blocked Palestinian statehood.
America’s official position is that Palestinian statehood should be achieved through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. This stance is particularly ironic considering that the United States was the first government to recognize Israel in 1948, despite President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s earlier assurances to Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud that the United States would not intervene. Today, the Saudis demand that Israel support the two-state solution as a condition for advancing a regional security treaty they see as a means of countering extremism. But in effect, America has outsourced its veto power to Israel’s extremist government, framing statehood as a gift to be granted to Palestinians at the will of their occupier.

How Germany Lost the Middle East  (Ruairí Casey, Foreign Policy)
For decades, Germany has sought to reconcile a perceived historic responsibility to Israel with a cordial relationship toward the Arab world. Berlin developed a major soft-power footprint and was long seen as an honest broker in trade and economic relations. Organizations financed largely by the German government—such as the Goethe Institute, development agency GIZ, and foundations linked to the country’s main political parties—are major funders of various programs across the Middle East.
Since Oct. 7, this balancing act has faltered. Across the Middle East, there is growing support for Palestinian resistance—and condemnation of what many Arabs consider a genocidal war by Israel. Germany, shocked by the worst single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, initially backed Israel’s assault in Gaza largely without qualification, though some officials have taken a more critical position in recent weeks.
Still, Berlin continues to assert itself as one of Israel’s closest political and military allies, even as—after more than seven months of Israeli bombardment—more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, and the enclave is experiencing widespread famine. Germany’s uncompromising reaction to the war has rapidly tarnished its reputation across the Middle East.

Some U.S. Weapons Stymied by Russian Jamming in Ukraine  (Carlotta Gall and Vladyslav Golovin, New York Times)
Some American-made, precision-guided weapons supplied to Ukraine have proved ineffective on the battlefield, their accuracy badly diminished by Russian jamming efforts, according to Ukrainian commanders and a Ukrainian military research project.
The projectiles performed well when first introduced to the battlefield, but lost effectiveness as Russian forces adapted their defenses, two confidential Ukrainian reports found. The problem prompted the Ukrainian military to stop using the weapons, two artillery commanders said.
The reports, first revealed by The Washington Post, focus on the American-made Excalibur, a 155-millimeter guided artillery shell, and the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb or GLSDB. One of the reports was shown to The New York Times by people familiar with the research. The second report was described but not shown to a reporter. The individuals asked not to be identified because the reports contain classified military information.

Can the U.S. Defend South Korea and Taiwan Simultaneously?  (Bruce W. Bennett, National Interest)
The U.S. currently lacks the military capability to defend South Korea, Taiwan, and other allies simultaneously. To ensure security in Northeast Asia, the U.S. needs to increase its military investments and enhance allied cooperation