Bombs and rockets

The fateful decision of the Bush administration to invade and occupy Iraq in 2003 revivified the radical Islamist agenda. Simultaneous wars in two Muslim countries lent substance to bin Laden’s narrative that the West was at war with Islam… Although bin Laden and his cohort were essentially reduced to virtual presences on the Internet and […]

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One can ask, at this point, whether 9/11 or some similar tragedy might have happened without bin Laden to steer it. The answer is certainly not. Indeed, the tectonic plates of history were shifting, promoting a period of conflict between the West and the Arab Muslim world; however, the charisma and vision of a few […]

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Although the notes don’t reflect it, a vote was taken [in August 1988] to form a new organization aimed at keeping jihad alive after the Soviets were gone. It is difficult to imagine these men agreeing on anything, but only Abu Hajer voted against the new group. Abu Rida summarized the meeting by saying that […]

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Describing the period in the 1980s when Osama bin Laden was emerging as a major private fundraiser for the mujahideen resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: The lure of an illustrious and meaningful death was especially powerful in cases where the pleasures and rewards of life were crushed by government oppression and economic deprivation. From […]

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However, by concealing their past intentions, the Iraqis encouraged the assumption that those were their future intentions as well. In the first phase of the Iraqi cover-up, the hidden past intentions certainly did reflect the goals for the future of the political leadership, even though Iraqi scientists and experts knew that restarting the programs would […]

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Since STS-135 in 2011 and the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the only way for human beings to reach orbit has been a Soyuz launch from Baikonur. On May 27th, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the first crew from the US in nine years. There are good reasons to be skeptical about human spaceflight (especially […]

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The Economist reports: A Venezuelan naval patrol vessel fired on an unarmed Portuguese-flagged cruise ship, the RCGS Resolute, which it claimed was in its waters. Columbia Cruise Services said the holiday craft, hardened to withstand polar ice, was rammed by the Venezuelan vessel, which then sank. All 44 Venezuelan sailors were rescued. Their commanders congratulated […]

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There are several reasons to conclude that the world today is experiencing a nuclear arms race alongside conventional military buildup by many actors and a breakdown of multilateral cooperation. Partly driven by US ballistic missile defence development, Russia began deploying weapon systems meant to counter them like the Topol-M in the 1990s. Now they are […]

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Clearly one of the principal things we need to learn as part of dealing with climate change is how to get along with one another as an international community. For one thing, we cannot afford the inevitably vast and frantic fossil fuel use which any great-power conflict would involve. More optimistically, it will only by […]

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Spies tend to make extravagant claims for their craft, but the reality of espionage is that it frequently makes little lasting difference. Politicians treasure classified information because it is secret, which does not necessarily render it more reliable than openly accessible information, and frequently makes it less so. If the enemy has spies in your […]

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