Skip to main content

‘Isis is now considered more deadly than the Taliban’

Podcast: ‘Isis is now considered more deadly than the Taliban’

Reporter Rukmini Callimachi discusses how terrorist group’s decline has been overstated

A member loyal to Islamic State waves a flag in Raqqa in 2014. FIle photograph: Reuters

Declan Conlon

about 20 hours ago

     

‘World View’ is a weekly foreign affairs podcast from ‘The Irish Times’. Subscribe on Android, on Apple Podcasts, on Stitcher or on Soundcloud.

Is Islamic State really defeated, or “giving up”, as Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi and US president Donald Trump have claimed?

On this week’s World View podcast we talk to Rukmini Callimachi, the New York Timesreporter whose coverage of the terror group also known as Isis has brought information about the organisation’s internal operations and characteristics to light.

And Callimachi warns that, although Islamic State’s territory has reduced in size by 98 per cent in Syria and Iraq, “I would not describe the caliphate as having been destroyed or having been lost”. In other places, it is growing in strength.

“In the country of Yemen, not too far away from Iraq and Syria, according to the US Pentagon the number of Isis fighters in the past year has doubled. In Afghanistan, where we’re used to hearing about the Taliban, Isis is now considered more deadly than the Taliban.”

Related

Callimachi has been here before. She was in Mali in 2013, in a region an al-Qaeda-affiliated group had just been driven from. Osama Bin Laden was dead, and western governments were saying the organisation “had been decapitated”.

In a bank once used by al-Qaeda as their local police station, Callimachi found a cache of documents that challenged the prevailing view. “There I was picking up documents signed by the general manager of al-Qaeda giving detailed instructions to the fighters in Mali on exactly how to carry out their jihad.”

“I realised right away that the official narrative was wrong. It was dishonest and it was not in line with what the group was actually doing.”

Internal debate

The discovery changed Callimachi’s perspective on al-Qaeda in other ways. The documents revealed an intriguing internal debate on whether the destruction of a Unesco site in Timbuktu would help or harm its cause.

And today Isis also has internal debates about how it should behave, says Callimachi, especially when its attacks are responsible for the deaths of Sunni Muslims.

“The thing to keep in mind about all of these groups is that they’re being run by by human beings. Do we know of any organisation where people are 100 per cent on the same page?”

For Callimachi’s analysis of the state of Islamic State in 2018, listen to the podcast.

World View is hosted by Foreign Editor Chris Dooley.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/chinas-digital-silk-road-pitfalls-among-high-hopes/


Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…

Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijing

https://gbtimes.com/germanys-siemens-sets-up-belt-and-road-office-in-beijing
Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijingby Janne Suokas Mar 23, 2018 15:20 TRADEINVESTMENTBELT AND ROAD INITIATIVEGerman industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up a Belt and Road office in Beijing. surberFlickrCC BY 2.0
German industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up an office in Beijing to boost international cooperation under China’s Belt and Road initiative, the company said on Friday.The move will help strengthen Siemens’ cooperation with Chinese and international companies and expand business opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road initiative, according to the company’s statement.The Belt and Road initiative is China’s ambitious project to boost trade and infrastructure investment in more than 65 countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.Siemens said it had already partnered with hundreds of Chinese companies in overse…