International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

White House confirms Airstrikes kill two high al Qaeda officials

On Thursday, the White House announced the death of two important al Qaeda officials in a series of airstrikes that occurred in January. One figure, Adam Gadahn, was widely known as the mouthpiece for al Qaeda. Gadahn, an American citizen who grew up in California, converted to Islam in 1995 and left for Pakistan 3 years later. Following 9/11, Gadahn appeared in several propaganda videos making threats and urging Muslims to target any Americans or people with Western ideals. The second official, Ahmed Farouq, was also an American who traveled across seas to join al Qaeda. While not as widely known as Gadahn, Farouq had risen to become the leader of the branch located in India.

While the successful target of these al Qaeda officials is a victory for the U.S. in the War on Terror, it is scary to see how propaganda messages by radical terrorist groups attract citizens of Western nations. Groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram have taken to social media in attempts to attract recruits and send messages. Gadahn and Farouq were two of several American/Western citizens that have joined a radical Islamic group and have risen to respected positions within the organization. Due to this increased use of social media by terrorist organizations, Western countries and their allies have to carefully study these methods of propaganda when addressing security concerns, as there are many others who have, and will continue to, join these groups.


One response to “White House confirms Airstrikes kill two high al Qaeda officials

  1. eap2017 April 27, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    The recent successful U.S. Al Qaeda drone strikes not only killed high-ranking terrorist leaders, but mistakenly killed two aid workers held hostage in the compound as well. Warren Weinstein (American) and Giovanni Lo Porto (Italian) were humanitarian aid workers in Palestine when they were taken hostage in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Al Qaeda abducted these men in the hopes that they could be used to gain concessions in their negotiations with the United States, using hostage taking as a strategy of negotiation. This story brings up an interesting aspect of international crime that we have not covered in the course, and that the ICC has been unable to address: hostage taking as a war crime.

    Consistent with the ICC’s main limitation, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are not nations in which the ICC has any jurisdiction to bring a case against. This article presents the examples of “rogue regimes” in Iran and North Korea that have influenced these groups in using hostage taking as strategic tool of negotiation. However, in these cases of American hostages being taken by North Korea and Iran through various “kangaroo court” style imprisonments, unfortunately, once again, the ICC does not have any jurisdiction.

    The Rome Statute does outline hostage taking as a war crime, however, since all the parties involved in these examples have not ratified the statute there is little the ICC can do. Similar to the discussion taking place on the thread on the ICC’s lack of jurisdiction to prosecute ISIS back at the beginning of the month, this limitation in enforcing this mandate of the Statute is extremely concerning and requires action. The jurisdictional roadblock allows terror groups continue to take hostages that are gaining them real concessions in international negotiations, and fueling their reigns of terror over the Middle East.

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