Fareed on Manchester Attack

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

May 23, 2017

Why Manchester-Style Attacks Are So Hard to Stop

The scale of the extremist threat facing Britain is daunting, The Economist says, following Monday’s attack in Manchester.
“MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence service, has tabs on up to 3,000 people whom it regards as religious extremists, but it only has the resources for the constant monitoring of about 40 of them; 24-hour surveillance of a single suspect requires up to 18 officers. There are also strict rules about how long such intensive surveillance of an individual can continue.
“Consequently, people who turn out to be highly dangerous frequently slip off the radar of even Britain’s relatively well-resourced security services…In the 18 months to March this year at least 12 terrorist plots were thwarted, according to Dominic Grieve, who chairs the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. It is inevitable that over time some will succeed.”

  • Fareed on Manchester attack: “One of the core problems threatening the Western world remains this problem that we were introduced to so brutally on 9/11 in the United States, which is a kind of cult of nihilism — extremism and jihad that has grown up in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt and has transmogrified into what we are seeing today in Europe and elsewhere. Whether it’s ISIS or al Qaeda, it is brutal, it is merciless, it is nihilistic.

“For most of the past 30 or 40 years, terrorists have had clear objectives or some political purpose – the attacks conducted by the IRA in Britain, for example. But what we are seeing now has no real political agenda. This is terrorism simply for the sake of killing people. This is a hallmark of the modern Sunni jihadi terrorism that we’ve been seeing, whether it’s ISIS or al Qaeda. It’s a kind of nihilistic act where violence has almost become the end in and of itself.”

  • Of all the questions investigators are now working to answer, the type of bomb used is one of the most crucial, Peter Bergen writes for CNN Opinion.

“If a hydrogen peroxide bomb was used…it would likely have been assembled in some kind of crude bomb factory, as these types of bombs are not easy to construct because the chemicals involved are both toxic and quite unstable,” Bergen writes.
“A hydrogen peroxide-based bomb would also imply some kind of training, as building one of these bombs is generally not something you can do by simply reading instructions off the Internet.”

Saudi Seduction of Trump Worked: Khalaf

Courting President Trump has already paid off for Saudi Arabia, writes Roula Khalaf in the Financial Times.
“[H]is speech in Riyadh reduced the problems of the Middle East to Iranian aggression and terrorism, with not so much as a reference to the socio-political and economic conditions that breed extremism. It was music to the ears of his Saudi hosts, who’ve endured years of international opprobrium over the intolerance preached by their puritanical brand of Islam, their education system and their autocratic government,” Khalaf writes.
“Never mind that terrorists don’t fall from the trees. Or that feeding the anti-Iranian and anti-Shia disposition of Sunni leaders could fire up the region’s sectarianism. For now — and until Mr Trump has a change of heart ­– Saudi Arabia can bask in the glory of Trump seduction.”

Trump Should Offer Kim “Atoms for Peace”

President Trump should take a cue from one of his predecessors and use his status as “an outsider” to chart a new course on North Korea – by helping it develop its own nuclear power, write Richard Rhodes and Michael Shellenberger in Foreign Affairs.

Trump has the chance “to finally realize the ‘Atoms for Peace’ vision that U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower outlined at the United Nations in 1953, five months after the end of the Korean War,” they write. “Eisenhower, a former general deeply committed to alleviating the conditions that lead to military conflict, called for nuclear power development to supply ‘abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world.’ Working through the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States provided nations with research reactors and the training to use them, while maintaining oversight of weapons-grade materials.”

The Foreign Policy Debate America Needs

The biggest problem with U.S. foreign policy can actually be found back at home: a troubling disconnect between Washington’s global agenda and a much more skeptical public, argues Walter Russell Mead in the Wall Street Journal. “The establishment is now beginning to discover what many voters intuitively believed back in the 1990s. Building a liberal world order is much more expensive and difficult than it appeared a quarter-century ago, when America was king. Further, Washington’s foreign-policy establishment is neither as wise nor as competent as it believes itself to be,” Mead says. “Washington’s foreign policy needs more than grudging acquiescence from the American people if it is to succeed…For much of the establishment, focusing on the Trump administration’s shortcomings is a way to avoid a painful inquest into the failures and follies of 25 years of post-Cold War foreign policy. But Mr. Trump’s presidency is the result of establishment failure rather than the cause of it.”

Is Iran Ready for Its Next Big Transition?

Iran may have reelected President Hassan Rouhani, but a far more important and potentially disruptive transition could come along sooner than many are expecting: the choice of a new Supreme Leader, argues Mehdi Khalaji in the Washington Post.
“The post-Khamenei period will probably develop according to two scenarios. In one, the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will take the lead in determining his successor. The guard’s internal factions, who are unknown to the public at large, will manage to form a rough consensus about who should be the next supreme leader,” Khalaji says. “In the other, the guard factions fail to reach an agreement, in which case they will presumably begin to fight each other publicly. The result could be chaos that paralyzes the government’s ability to make key decisions.”

Internally Displaced Numbers Soar: Report

An average of one new person per second was displaced in 2016, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre says in a new report.
There were 31.1 million new internal displacements last year, the report says, around 24 million of which were associated with natural disasters.
From the report: “The Democratic Republic of the Congo was the country worst affected, with a spike of 922,000 new displacements during the year alone. Next were Syria (824,000), Iraq (659,000), Afghanistan (653,000), Nigeria (501,000) and Yemen (478,000). As of the end of 2016, a total of 40.3 million people were displaced within their own country as a result of conflict and violence, some of whom having been displaced for decades.”



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