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  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: We are happy to publish Volume 7, Issue 1 (January/ February 2015) of the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis (CTTA) by the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. From a terrorism and counterterrorism perspective, the year 2014 was particularly significant. This was due as much to the potential impact of drawdown of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) from Afghanistan as to the declaration of the establishment of a so-called Islamic Caliphate by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). While the former has emboldened old and established groups like Al Qaeda Central, the Afghan Taliban, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, among others, the claim of the establishment of the “so called Islamic State” by ISIS seem to have galvanized disparate elements within the Muslim world, drawing fighters in thousands to Iraq and Syria and spurring radicalization and extremism in many countries in an unprecedented scale.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria, Singapore
  • Author: Rohan Gunaratna
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The year 2013 has been the most violent since the beginning of the contemporary wave of terrorism. Although Al Qaeda's core has decreased in size, the group has become even more influential. With its extraordinary presence on the web, Al Qaeda is guiding its associates to fight back. With the western drawdown from Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban-led terrorist sanctuary will likely be reconstituted once again, threatening global stability and security.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Middle East, Canada, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Tom Farrell
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The paradox of the political showdown between pro and anti-Thaksin elements may have given the government's negotiators some breathing space in order to rethink the peace process, but it has also sent negative signals to the Deep South about the ineptitude and opportunism of Bangkok's elite. The prospects for peace have become further elusive due to uncertainty about the insurgency's command and control structure as well as ideology and long-term objectives, the Thai Army's heavy-handed approach, the changing tactics of insurgents and objections to Malaysia's role in the peace process.
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Author: Arabinda Acharya
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Assessing extremism requires an understanding of jihadist authority and how it relates to the vanguard role of Al Qaeda. Contrary to conventional thinking, Al Qaeda is not the supreme authority in the hierarchy of Salafi - jihadist doctrine; neither are all significant elements of the jihadist threat, many of which are decentralized, directly associated with Al Qaeda, as is the case with the Islamic State of the Levant (ISIL).
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Arabinda Acharya
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: ISIS is fighting an insurgency deeply influenced by the principles of Maoist protracted political warfare and moreover informed by the successes and failures of previous Al Qaeda movements in Iraq from 2006-2008, and of other jihadist groups attempting to seize and hold territory in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Mali. This analysis argues that, whether it survives or not, ISIS has set a political separatist precedent, the effects of which are yet to be fully understood and addressed by the international community.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Arabia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Douglas R. Woodall
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Going beyond the mainstream thinking, the negative images of Americans living abroad, alternative social spaces fostering radicalization and using the wrong targeting approach against a terrorist network could be considered important catalysts leading to radicalization and terrorist violence.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Abdul Basit
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Pakistan government's peace negotiations with the TTP appear to be an exercise in futility as the group and its allies are anti-democratic, fighting to overthrow the system. This is further complicated by the government's confusing and over-simplistic approach and the disconnect between the government and the military leadership.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan
  • Author: Franck Emmanuel Marre
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Colombia has witnessed an unprecedented turn of events since 2012; never has the government gone so far in peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), better known as FARC. Yet, never have the Colombian public been so sceptical about these ongoing negotiations.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Prem Mahadevan
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The 2013 hostage sieges in Kenya and Algeria indicate that African jihadist groups are cooperating with one another even as their leaderships wage internal power struggles. Recent events in Iraq are likely to accentuate this trend, by prompting younger commanders to carry out glory-seeking operations in defiance of their chain of command.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Canada, Algeria
  • Author: Abdul Basit
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The rise of ISIS-like terrorist groups in the Syria and Iraq conflicts and their ability to attract foreign fighters has created new challenges for global peace. While the return of these foreign fighters to their home countries is a threat to be monitored, it is imperative to understand the factors luring them to fight in Syria and Iraq to formulate counter-strategies. The desire to live in and defend the so-called 'Islamic state', participate in the 'end times battle', sectarian motivations and the search for an Islamic identity are some of the factors attracting foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria
  • Author: Arabinda Acharya
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS, which is at centre stage of terrorist movements today, claims to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. This is however deeply contested as the information on him is mostly from various online sources, the genealogy is unverifiable, and there are inconsistencies in publically shared information. A review of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's background and atrocities committed by the group under his leadership also show the contrast between ISIS ideology and the real teachings of Islam.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Syria