Tag Archives: Germany

The Problems With the West’s Partners Against the Islamic State

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 10 May 2017

U.S. troops patrolling with the YPG/PKK in the village of Darbasiyah, northern Syria, on the border with Turkey, 28 April 2017

The United States has tried to engage in Syria almost solely in a counter-terrorism capacity, against Daesh (IS) and—in a recently-escalating campaign—against al Qaeda. The narrowness of the focus on jihadist terrorists led to the US disregarding wider political dynamics in the war in Syria—and to a degree in Iraq, too—and partnering with forces that over the long term will undo even this narrow mission.

The announcement yesterday that President Donald Trump will now arm the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to expel Daesh from its Syrian capital, Raqqa, is the end-point of this policy, setting up a very dangerous medium- and long-term situation that will redound to the benefit of terrorists. Continue reading

The West’s Inconsistent Approach To Foreign Fighters in Syria

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 10 April 2017

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkey-based Kurdish Marxist-nationalist insurgent group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Britain, the United States, NATO, and Turkey, created a new foreign fighter unit in Syria on 31 March. In Syria, the PKK uses the name People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the new organization, mostly composed of Europeans, is called the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF). In addition to underlining some interesting points about the PKK and Western strategy in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), the IRPGF also underlines the different approach the West has taken to foreign fighters flowing to various groups during the Syrian war. Continue reading

Islamic State Intelligence Guided The Würzburg Train Attacker

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 21, 2016

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On 18 July 2016, in the Heidingsfeld district of Würzburg of Bavaria in southern Germany, a seventeen-year-old Afghan refugee named Riaz Khan Ahmadzai (Muhammad Riyad), armed with a hatchet and a knife, wounded five civilians, two of them seriously, on a train between Treuchtlingen to Würzburg. The four people injured on the train were from the same family from Hong Kong; Ahmadzai/Riyad then wounded another civilian seriously as he jumped from the train. Ahmadzai, who had entered Germany as an unaccompanied minor and had been living in Ochsenfurt, Bavaria, was shot dead after a chase with police.  Continue reading

Film Review: Citizenfour (2014) by Laura Poitras

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on February 6, 2015

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Produced and directed by Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based, American-born producer and director, who has made numerous films attacking America’s foreign policy, Citizenfour rounds out a trilogy that started in 2006 with My Country, My Country about the U.S. regency in Iraq, and had its last instalment in 2010 with The Oath, a film that apparently follows two al-Qaeda members in Yemen and concludes they’re not such bad chaps.

The target this time for Poitras is the National Security Agency (NSA). Continue reading

Book Review: The Snowden Operation (2014) by Edward Lucas

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on August 1, 2014

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 “Snowden is a pawn in a hostile and continuing intelligence and information-warfare operation

So concludes Edward Lucas in a fascinating and easy-to-read brief look at the greatest intelligence disaster the West has ever experienced. Continue reading