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

自“9·11”事件后,恐怖主义日益成为世界各国不得不面对的一种非传统威胁。2010年的国际恐怖主义发生了一个明显的转向,即由奥萨马·本·拉登直接指挥的全球性攻击转变为基地组织策划的局部袭击,这种袭击没有固定的时间、地点和方式。以去年圣诞节炸机事件为起点,今年的国际恐怖袭击一直吸引着各国学者和媒体的广泛关注。1月24日,阿拉伯半岛电视台播放的视频称,圣诞炸机案是拉登对美国总统奥巴马宣战,未来还将发生更多针对美国的袭击行动。尽管美国予以否认,针对美国的恐怖袭击却接二连三。5月,费萨尔·沙赫扎德制造了纽约时报广场爆炸案。前不久,基地组织也门分支的恐怖组织试图把一些装有炸弹的邮包通过国际航空寄往美国。除了美国,在俄罗斯、阿富汗、伊拉克、巴基斯坦和其他国家也接连发生了一系列恐怖袭击事件。12月,一名由基地组织伊拉克安全专家新近招募的伊拉克裔瑞典人制造了爆炸事件。对于如此集中的恐怖主义袭击,美国《新闻周刊》、《时代周刊》、英国《泰晤士报》、《每日电讯报》,以及德国《南德意志报》等媒体纷纷发表专家评论,认为尽管策划实施袭击的组织声称他们隶属于基地组织,但这些袭击与基地组织的直接关联并不紧密,许多事件与本·拉登也基本无关。这表明对藏身于巴基斯坦的基地组织核心人物的军事打击非常有效,基地组织已经十分脆弱。文章还指出,恐怖袭击的这种由全球到局部的转变令人担忧,因为地区性恐怖组织的袭击行为有时更具创新性,国际恐怖主义思想在全球将会滋生更多危险行为。

(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.

 

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