Blowback: Charlie Hebdo and the Contradictions of Western Policy

Posted by John Rosenthal

The Islamic terror attack on the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has prompted spirited defenses of freedom of expression from the French government and its Western allies. The Western defense of freedom of expression in the face of attacks by Islamic fundamentalists has not always been so unequivocal, however. Indeed, from the [...]

What is Al-Qaeda Today? — An Interview

Posted by John Rosenthal

What is Al-Qaeda today? This is the main question that I discussed with host Mark Anderson in a 45-minute-long interview on the iSpy radio show last week. We also discussed the role of AQ in the Benghazi attacks, the place of AQ and AQ-inspired groups in the Muslim world more generally, and the responsibility of [...]

Benghazi: Yes, the Video — and Al-Qaeda

Posted by John Rosenthal

The famous “anti-Islam video” really did play an important role in the run-up to the 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack. The evidence recently provided by the NYTimes is weak. But (pace Fox News) the record of local social media provides clear proof. The alternative “the video or al-Qaeda” is, however, a false one. The record of local [...]

The Video and Benghazi Revisited – And What if Susan Rice was Right?

Posted by John Rosenthal

Examination of contemporaneous chatter on Libyan websites and social media shows that locals really were in an uproar about the famous “anti-Islam video” in both the run-up to and immediate  aftermath of the Benghazi attack. This finding is all the more significant  inasmuch as the chatter in question comes from precisely the same extremist  milieu as [...]

Benghazi: Security Force at US Mission Had Clear Al-Qaeda Sympathies

Posted by John Rosenthal

The February 17th Martyrs Brigade, the Libyan militia employed by the U.S. government to provide security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, featured an al-Qaeda flag in the original banner for a Facebook page it maintains. That banner was posted on June 10, 2012, i.e. just three months before the September 11, 2012 attack [...]

Q&A with Diana West on Libya, Syria, Boston — and “The Jihadist Plot”

Posted by John Rosenthal

Diana West was kind enough to ask me to do an interview on The Jihadist Plot. Even better, Diana asked several questions that go beyond the book itself to related current issues such as the war in Syria and the Boston bombings. Here is a small excerpt: DW: You make a strong case that on [...]