79 Quotes of Richard Engel

” Insurgencies are easy to make and hard to stop. Only a few ingredients need to combine to create an insurgency; like oxygen and fire, they’re very common and mix all too often. The recipe is, simply, a legitimate grievance against a state, a state that refuses to compromise, a quorum of angry people, and access to weapons. “
” Anyone who follows the Middle East and Islamic world in general can’t deny it is often a very violent place, that a band of instability now stretches from Algeria to Pakistan. “
” Ethnically, Tuareg describe themselves as white. And they don’t look Arab or black. Many Tuareg have light skin, light eyes and sharp angular noses and cheekbones. They are cousins of the Berbers of North Africa. Some legends say the Tuareg are the decedents of an ancient Roman legion that disappeared into the desert two millennia ago. “
” War does horrible things to human beings, to societies. It brings out the best, but most often the worst, in our human nature. “
” The Muslim Brotherhood is a fundamentalist group. “
” 9/11 was a terrible, horrific, tragic day. “
” ‘Shabiha’ is a difficult word to translate into English. It comes from the word Syrians used to describe the luxury Mercedes favored by the Assad family’s operatives that the enforcers of the regime used to move money, smuggle weapons and intimidate opponents. “
” Fences and walls can be effective and even soothing, at least for those who build them. “
” Staying in a very public fight with the U.S. is exactly what Al Qaeda wants. “
” The Muslim Prophet Mohammed was a big believer in charity and firmly established helping those in need as a basis of the religion. “
” The Muslim Prophet Mohammed was a big believer in charity and firmly established helping those in need as a basis of the religion. “
” Kidnapping is always a threat in this life of reporting on men hurting one another because of religion and politics. “
” The Iraqi government will try and retake some of the cities have that been captured by ISIS. That means the Shiite government dropping bombs on civilian areas, on Sunni cities. There will likely be a response with car bombings here in Baghdad, and this could be a long fight. “
” Iraq was home of the Abbasid Caliphate, a golden age when the Muslim world was at the forefront of math, science and medicine. “
” Many in the U.S. military believe ISIS needs to be immediately, and repeatedly, smashed by American drones and warplanes. “
” It’s probably time to end the global war on terrorism. “
” Every child is taught if you try to please everyone, you end up upsetting everyone. “
” To be slapped with a shoe is a dirty insult in the Muslim world. “
” The dangers of an Afghan collapse are many: Afghan deaths, a loss of American prestige, a loss of NATO prestige, a moral blow to U.S. troops and veterans, a Taliban resurgence, huge setbacks for women, and greater power for Pakistan and Pakistani extremists. “
” The U.S. spent billions of dollars to build a secular, professional national Iraqi army but failed because, despite all the U.S.-supplied guns, tanks and planes, the Iraqi military fell apart when challenged by a band of terrorists. “
” War can be fun for certain people. It’s a magnet for sadists, losers, and angry dreamers. “
” For many foreign fighters, the jihad in Iraq and Syria is a commuter war. “
” Every war has its demons. “
” The U.S., often in secret, carries out counterterrorism missions all the time, with drones in places like Yemen and Somalia. “
” There was an insurgency under President Hosni Mubarak in the 1990s. Egyptian police and soldiers fought weekly battles with Islamists in the sugarcane fields and thick reeds along the Nile in rural southern villages like Minya, Sohag, Enna and Assiout. “
” Foreign aid projects have pumped billions of dollars into the Afghan economy. “
” Based on the people l’ve spoken to, I think the impression is: Is America safer from Al Qaeda? Yes. Is America weaker as a nation because we have overspent and over-focused on Al Qaeda? Yes. I think that would be the conclusion that people seem to have come to and that I tend to agree with. “
” I think war should be illegal. “
” I’m basically a pacifist. “
” I don’t look for good-news stories or bad-news stories. “
” I don’t think I’m invincible. “
” Unfortunately, the American policy towards Pakistan is just to worry and express concern, and that is not a clear policy at all. “
” The Arab Spring is over. The days of the protesters with laptops and BlackBerrys in Tahrir Square are long gone. “
” For decades, Saddam and his Sunni minority had imposed their will on Iraq, carrying on a 14-century tradition of Sunnis controlling Mesopotamia despite a Shiite majority. “
” Not surprisingly, in most Sunni regions there has little appetite for free U.S.-sponsored elections. “
” President George W. Bush, in his now-rare public appearances and interviews, still refuses to acknowledge he did anything to help Iran. But it doesn’t really matter what he thinks. “
” The U.S. spent years and years and billions of dollars to build the Iraqi army only to watch it collapse and hand over so many of its weapons. “
” For eight years, you had the Bush administration with a very interventionist policy, driving into world affairs, driving primarily into the Islamic world, army first or fist first. “
” We’re all bloggers and punks and rebels with cameras. There is absolutely no respect for career journalists anymore. “
” We should have a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the military, of their sacrifices, of their failures. “
” When you look at Syria, and you look at all the militant groups on the ground, there are many groups in Syria that could pose a threat to the United States, not just Khorasan. “
” Once you start bombing in Syria, when you start looking for targets, there will be a lot. “
” We know that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has some very dangerous, very important leaders who are tied directly to the top leadership of al Qaeda central, including a man who was formerly Osama bin Laden’s secretary. “
” There are many Israelis who are not keen on Barack Obama – they did not want to see him elected. “
” The U.S. invaded the wrong country, destroying an odious government that was not responsible for 9/11. I don’t know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it. “
” When students and liberals initially occupied Tahrir Square, it looked like it might be a passing thing. “
” War is not a petri dish to examine and analyze our emotions. “
” The U.S. presence and American missteps made ethnic violence in Iraq far worse than it would have been otherwise after Saddam Saddam Hussein’s fall. “
” The Syrians are better suited to sort out their internal divisions than anyone else. “
” Foreigners who speak Arabic in the Middle East are often assumed to be working for the C.I.A. or Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad. “
” An Egyptian newspaper once publicly identified me as the C.I.A. station chief in Cairo. It seemed so stupid at the time. I was only 24, a little young to be a station chief, and, of course, I was never with the C.I.A. “
” I had some training on how to cope with hostage-taking. “
” After literally hundreds of firefights, Chosen Company became increasingly battle-hardened. And they also became increasingly suspicious of their Afghan counterparts, believing – with their lives on the line at the end of the day – that they could only truly rely on themselves. “
” Everyone knows what can happen to soldiers who are in front line units. “
” By 2007, Iraqi society had completely collapsed. “
” There is no Afghan Awakening Movement. “
” The Taliban mostly attacks international and Afghan security forces. They rarely carry out attacks in markets. “
” For years, Lebanese have known that Palestinian camps like Nahr al-Barid and Ain al-Helwe – hopeless slums crowded with generations of disenfranchised Palestinian refugees who can’t go home because of Israel, and can’t work because of Lebanese laws – are awash with gunmen, criminals and, since the war in Iraq, al-Qaida inspired jihadists. “
” Under a decades-old agreement, Palestinian refugee camps are supposed to administer and police themselves. Lebanese troops are technically not allowed to enter them. “
” Lebanon does not have a powerful army. “
” Under Islamic law, adoption is difficult. “
” There are clearly many Egyptian free-thinkers and intellectuals – lots of wonderful Egyptian artists and architects and scientists. “
” ISIS is in many ways a creation of the Syrian regime. “
” The Syrian border town of Qa’im was the main gateway Islamic radicals used to go to Iraq. Syria became the passageway for extremists from Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations to fight a jihad against American forces in Iraq. “
” In October 2008, American commandos launched a cross-border raid into Syria to capture an Islamic militant known as Abu Ghadiya. He was accused of being one of al Qaeda in Iraq’s main smugglers of fighters and money between Iraq and Syria. “
” Rockets fired by the Taliban generally aren’t guided. “
” Many governments are quick to condemn Assad, but a dwindling number of them would celebrate a rebel victory in Damascus. “
” Putin believes Russia is back, and he may be right. “
” If democracy brings an undemocratic group to power, is that a victory for democracy? “
” The Muslim Brotherhood is much more hardline than Turkish Islamists. “
” Each time there is a conflict between Israel and Gaza, accusations fly over who started it, each side blaming the other. “
” In 2009, Hamas was relatively new to power. It had won elections just three years earlier and was flexing its newfound strength via a war with its old enemy, Israel, which it officially wants destroyed. “
” The people of Gaza are trapped. Israel has sealed the border, and they have no way to leave the Gaza Strip to do business. “
” It seems nothing good comes out of Abu Ghraib. “
” In popular Egyptian and regional culture, women are seen as weak, easy victims to temptation in the same way Eve couldn’t resist that shiny apple in the Garden of Eden. “
” Traditionally, all the kings of Saudi Arabia have been sons of the founder of Saudi Arabia, and they’ve gone from one son to the next. “
” The Taliban may pine for a pre-industrial society, but most Afghans do not. “
” Afghanistan was always a backwater in the Islamic world. “
” Damascus was the seat of the Ummayad Caliphate in the 7th and 8th centuries. “