Jerusalem Synagogue Attack Marks New Stage in Intifada

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Yesterday, two Palestinian cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal attacked worshippers in the Bnei Torah Synagogue in the ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Har Nof in West Jerusalem. Armed with meat cleavers and a gun, the boys killed five – three rabbis with US nationality and one rabbi with dual UK nationality. A police officer was also killed.

Hamas praised the attack and it was celebrated in Gaza.

Tension has been building in Palestine since


Obama Prepares Path For Western ‘Boots on Ground’ in Iraq/Syria

By Abdel Bari Atwan

This weekend’s G20 conference in Brisbane, Australia saw President Obama preparing the ground for a possible ‘boots on the ground’ intervention to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Having told a Press conference that he would not speculate on what sort of circumstances would prompt sending large numbers of American troops back to Iraq he promptly did just that: “If we discover that ISIL had gotten possession of a nuclear


Baghdadi Announces Expansion Plans For Islamic State

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-appointed Caliph and leader of the Islamic State surprised not only the world’s intelligence and media organizations but even his own followers with yesterday’s release of a new audio speech. This put a sharp stop to feverish claims that he had been killed or wounded in a recent air raid as the Iraqi government claimed.

The speech, which represented a confirmation that he was still alive, came much sooner than commentators


On the Rumoured Death of IS Leader Baghdadi

By Abdel Bari Atwan

The news these day is full of reports that the leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, has been killed or injured in a raid by Iraqi aircraft on a house where he was holding a meeting with a group of leaders. So far, no official announcement from Islamic State or other jihadist media organs has confirmed these claims.

In general, jihadist groups do not hesitate to announce the deaths of footsoldiers or leaders alike. When Osama bin Laden, one of his sons,


Ten years On Arafat Is Sorely Missed [Atwan in Gulf news]

  • By Abdel Bari Atwan | Special to Gulf News

  • Published: 20:00 November 11, 2014

  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: EPA

  • A Palestinian prays whilst wearing a T-shirt of late Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat, on the 10th anniversary of his death, at Arafat’s grave in Ramallah, the West Bank, 10 November 2014. Arafat died on 11 November 2004. Palestinians are marking the 10th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, who for decades led their cause for an independent


Islamic State: The Intelligence Battle

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Recent statements from Islamic State leadership suggests that Iraqi intelligence and counter-terrorism officers have managed to infiltrate the organization and caused major losses as a result. This is a significant development because such breakthroughs might weaken the structure of the group, cause rifts among the leaders and lead to assassinations of its senior personnel.

It is obvious that Islamic State would be the target of multiple intelligence


Libya’s Chaos Offers Islamic State New Opportunities [AB Atwan in Gulf News]

  • By Abdel Bari Atwan | Special to Gulf News

  • Published: 20:00 October 26, 2014

  • Image Credit:

Thursday brought us the third anniversary of the ‘liberation of Libya’, but there were few celebrations across a nation which has been mired in blood since the revolution, torn apart by endless fighting between rival armed militias.

Muammar Gaddafi was actually executed by the armed rebels on October 20, 2011 in a manner that was barbaric, even by the new standards set by Daesh (Islamic


Libya’s Chaos Opens New Doors For Isil

By Abdel Bari Atwan

All roads in Libya today are leading in one direction – out of the country.

Libyans from the East are piling into their vehicles, loaded with all manner of belongings and heading for Egypt; those from the West are aiming for Tunisia, while the people of Misrata in the Middle of the country take to the seas in a bid to reach Malta.

It seems there are almost 2 million Libyans currently living in Egypt, and nearly 1.5 million in Tunisia; large numbers have attempted


Saudi-Iran Rivalry At Heart Of Region’s Chaos

By Abdel Bari Atwan

The rising tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a major cause of the problems plaguing the Middle East.

The two countries are fighting proxy wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Palestine, and people of the region are paying the price in their blood, wealth, territorial integrity and stability.

The Iranian-Saudi conflict is not new. It dates back to 1979 when the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown.

It was later exacerbated when Tehran revealed


Erdogan And The Tricky Kurdish Card [AB Atwan in Gulf News]

  • By Abdel Bari Atwan | Special to Gulf News

  • Published: 20:00 October 16, 2014

  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to have stepped back from the brink of a military intervention in Kobani, the Syrian town just over the border, which the Kurds seized in 2012 and which is currently under siege from Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). As fighters from the Syrian Kurdish Protection Units (YPG) battle it out with the well-armed,