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Showing posts from November 7, 2014

The Khorasan Group – A US-Iranian Trade Off?

The Khorasan terror group was recently the center of a media circus. And although the terrorist organization demands the counter-terrorism community’s attention, it does not represent a clear and immediate danger to the United States. Moreover, diplomatic observers suggest that a US-Iranian rapprochement is under way, and that Khorasan could play a role in negotiations.

The word “Khorasan” refers to a historic region around modern Afghanistan, extending into Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In short, it was once an important part of the pre-Ottoman Islamic caliphate, and now a new militant group has tapped into this historical vein, ostensibly seeking a return to its former glory.

Recent American airstrikes in Syria, though mostly aimed at disempowering Islamic State, are also targeting Khorasan. According to intelligence reports, in late September 2014 a Pentagon spokesman indicated that Khorasan was “in the final stages of plans to execute a major attack.” Other classi…

Jihadists take holiday cruises to warzones following intl. screening step-up

Reuters / Gary Cameron

ISIS is showing new ingenuity in ferrying fighters into Syria and Iraq untraced, after Turkey stepped up its own efforts at border check-ups. Terrorists are now reportedly taking cruise ships to the warzones, Interpol told the AP.

The problem of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) bulking up and recruiting en masse has been one of the greatest obstacles to eradicating the group. For a while now the world didn’t have a proper mechanism to stem the flow of fighters to the IS’ new heartland.

The recent airstrike campaign by the US has hardly put a dent in the movement of fighters making their way to Syria, which “remains constant, so the overall number continues to rise,” according to a US intelligence official.

And it’s not just cruise ships that worry Interpol, which is having its general assembly in Monaco this week.

"Originally, our concern about people on cruise ships — dangerous people on cruise ships — really focused on the classic sort of rapist, burglar …

25 things you probably didn’t know about the Berlin Wall

East German border guards stand on a section of the Berlin wall with the Brandenburg gate in the background on November 11, 1989 in Berlin. (AFP Photo / Gunther Kern)

It's one the most potent symbols of the 20th century, which fell exactly 25 years ago. But how much do you know about that great divider, the Berlin Wall?

Berlin, straight after the partition in 1945 (image from

1. More than 3 million East Germans escaped to West Germany between 1945 and 1961, most of them through the 'loophole' of Berlin, as the GDR gradually strengthened its borders and restricted travel for its citizens. This was nearly a fifth of GDR’s population, and predominantly the youngest, most dynamic and best-educated class.

Moscow was not pleased, and the future Soviet leader Yury Andropov chided the GDR leadership for not being able to “speak the language of the intelligentsia.”

German students carry posters of Joseph Stalin for a youth parade in 1951 (image from wikimedia.or…