Shiraz Maher

Thanks to Syria, global jihad is experiencing a revival

The arrest of two men last week on terrorism charges relating to Syria reveals just how serious the issue of foreign fighters has become. Estimates suggest that up to 366 young Muslims from the UK might now be participating in the Syrian conflict. There is a multiplicity of problems here. Aside from the obvious fears

Ignoring Islamic terrorism didn’t make it go away

Not so long ago politicians were hailing the end of al-Qaeda and the global jihad movement. By the middle of 2011, key ideologues like Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki were dead. Arab Street also appeared to have embraced peaceful protest, with popular uprisings unseating seemingly entrenched regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. A new dawn,

Hitting Assad – and hitting him hard – is urgent and necessary

There has been lots of debate about our impending intervention in the Syrian conflict today. Many of my Coffee House colleagues have counselled against intervention, arguing against Danny Finkelstein’s piece in the Times yesterday. I’m in broad agreement with the general sentiment of the piece, but some of its subtexts need greater illumination. Leave aside

Obama saying ‘never again’ won’t stop dictators

When he was still a Presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama evoked memories of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan by addressing Europeans from Berlin. In what was then the largest audience of his campaign, around 200,000 people gathered to hear Obama ask, ‘Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in

How the Egyptian army handed the Muslim Brotherhood a victory

You don’t have to be a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s clerical fashion to recoil at the draconian treatment of its members yesterday. Indeed, some reports now suggest that more than 500 people were killed with thousands more injured. By conspiring against it the army has inadvertently handed the Muslim Brotherhood a remarkable victory. Before

The Muslim Brotherhood’s fight for existence

Speak to members of the Muslim Brotherhood and you get a sense of just how imperilled they feel. Ever since Mohammed Mursi was overthrown, members of the group have come to believe they’re engaged in a fight for the Muslim Brotherhood’s existence. Indeed, there is a popular perception among Brotherhood members that the entire movement’s

Egypt’s institutions are so weak the army is all that’s left

There’s a joke doing the rounds in Tahrir Square which goes like this: ‘Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak all tried to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood, but only Mursi succeeded’. As protests against the world’s oldest Islamist party intensify, the Brotherhood is now learning the price of power after decades of being confined to the political wilderness.

The real significance of Israel’s strikes on Syria

It is hard to overstate the significance of Israel’s surgical strikes against Syrian military positions over the weekend. The raids targeted missiles bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon while also destroying battery launchers and other delivery systems. Beyond the obvious damage this inflicted on Syrian military capabilities, its real significance lies in the broader political objectives

What can Obama do about Syria?

Even John Kerry is now confirming what was already long suspected: that Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people. In all likelihood, he has used Sarin nerve agents against rebel held areas in the north. That he would do so is no surprise. This is the most strategically sensitive area in Syria

The glaring failure of the Arab Spring

Two Bishops carrying out relief work in northern Syria appear to have been kidnapped by rebels, underscoring the increasingly sectarian dimension of the conflict. Syria’s minorities have long worried about their future if Assad falls, fearing a similar fate to that of their counterparts elsewhere in the Middle East. Indeed, of all the Arab Spring’s

Boston bombing suspects: what we know, and what we don’t

With the manhunt for the alleged perpetrators of the Boston bombings – Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev – now over, a complex and confusing picture is emerging of the two men involved. Here’s what we know so far. 1. The older brother, Tamerlan, expressed concerns about the American lifestyle. Featured in a photojournalism essay about his

It’s time for universities to address segregation on their campuses

There’s an interesting battle shaping up on university campuses over Islamic societies segregating their events. Today’s Guardian highlights the most recent example of this at the University of Leicester where men and women were directed to separate entrances for a lecture entitled ‘Does God exist?’ The speaker, Hamza Tzortis, is a member of the Islamic