Archive for the ‘Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ Category

Another short piece in Chinese, this time exploring the evolution of terrorism over the year. It is for the newspaper at my home institution in China. I will have translations for this and the previous one in Chinese soon. Please write directly at my contact page if you have any questions.

6 国际恐怖主义出现新变化


(潘睿凡Raffaello Pantucci)


Update, here is the text I initially drafted in English:

International Terrorism: From Global to Local

While unable to score any major strikes on the scale of September 11, global Islamist terrorism nevertheless managed to keep up a steady stream of attacks over the past year. There has been a noticeable shift from global terrorism directed by Osama bin Laden in his cave in Pakistan to opportunistic attacks conducted by Al Qaeda affiliates that strike when and where they are able using any means at their disposal.

The year started last Christmas with an attack directed by Al Qaeda in Yemen when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to bring down an airline on its way to Detroit, USA. Then on New Year’s, a young Somali-Dane linked to al Shabaab, an East African group linked to Al Qaeda, attempted to kill a Danish cartoonist responsible for some of the infamous cartoons which angered the Islamic world in 2006. Then in May, Faisal Shahzad, having trained with Al Qaeda’s Pakistani affiliate Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York’s busy Times Square. Another series of bombers linked to al Shabaab were successful in the wake of the World Cup final in blowing themselves up in Kampala, Uganda, killing scores of innocent football fans. More recently, Al Qaeda in Yemen tried again when they sent a series of letter bombs on international airfreight flights destined for the United States. And finally, in the first weeks of December a young Iraqi-Swede detonated his bomb prematurely in an attack that has been tentatively linked by security experts with Al Qaeda in Iraq. And none of this is to list the long series of attacks and scares in Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq and elsewhere that are linked to Al Qaeda’s many local affiliates.

While some of these attacks have been linked loosely to Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda’s ideology, the truth is that much of the planning and logistical infrastructure linked to their preparation was conducted by groups which have claimed links to Al Qaeda but are largely independent of Osama bin Laden. This shift from global to local is a worrying shift for security planners as it highlights that while the battle against Al Qaeda core hiding in Pakistan is seemingly quite effective, the threat has now shifted to regional groupings which are showing an ever more creative vision in trying to carry out terrorist attacks. The core’s structure appears degraded, but the ideas implanted in the global memory after September 11 continue to generate harmful reactions.