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  • Author: Sam Wyer
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: Since the withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Iraq in December 2011, the rate and lethality of attacks against civilian targets have steadily risen. Most notably, there have been seven major attack waves, defined here as a series of simultaneous and coordinated attacks that target at least 10 cities within one day. The attacks targeted a combination of security posts, government facilities, and Shi'ite shrines and neighborhoods. The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an umbrella organization formed in 2006 for many Sunni insurgency groups including al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), has claimed credit for a large majority of these attacks.3 This summer has seen a further alarming development with the announcement of ISI's "Destroying the Walls" campaign.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Clint Watts
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The attacks of September 11, 2001 spawned a decade of al Qaeda inspired radicalization of disaffected Middle Eastern and North African youth and a handful of young Western men. Ten years later, foreign fighters to Afghanistan, Iraq and other jihadi battlefields appear to be declining while in contrast analysts have pointed to an uptick in United States (U.S.) based “homegrown extremism” - terrorism advocated or committed by U.S. residents or citizens.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the coming months, the US must reshape its strategy and force posture relative to Iraq and the Gulf States. It must take account of its withdrawal of most of its forces from Iraq, and whether or not it can give real meaning to the US­Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement. It must deal with steadily increasing strategic competition with Iran, it must restructure its post-­Iraq War posture in the Southern Gulf and Turkey, and define new goals for strategic partnerships with the Gulf states and its advisory and arms sales activity. It must decide how to best contain Iran, and to work with regional friends and allies in doing so. In the process, it must also reshape its strategy for dealing with key states like Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Martin Harrow
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Video-recorded decapitations have an enormous impact, they are cheap and easy, and they allow the terrorists to exploit the potential of the Internet. With these advantages, the tactic would have been expected to quickly spread across the globe as a favored tactic. Yet, years after its invention in 2002, this has not happened. This paper using evolutionary theory finds that video-recorded decapitations have not caught on for locally specific reasons: in the West because the tactic is less accessible than one might expect; in Iraq because of the unwillingness to be associated with Zarqawi, and in the Afghan context, it has not spread because it is mainly relevant for mobilizing resources from abroad, which is not a priority for the Taliban. These are however situational variables, and just as suicide bombings took years to spread, there may be campaigns of video-recorded decapitations as conditions change.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Iraq, Middle East, Taliban
  • Author: Ellie B. Hearne, Nur Laiq
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Counterterrorism has, in the last ten years, come to the fore of international relations, and remains in the news almost daily. This is due in large part to the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, which in turn have also prompted something of a backlash against such military or “hard” approaches to countering terrorism. Partly in response, states and civil society have sought out softer, often preventive, measures to deal with violent extremism, many of which have been deemed more successful than military approaches and less likely to foment a new generation of violent extremists. However, problems remain.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Author: Shantanu Chakrabarti
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of Foreign Policy Studies, University of Calcutta
  • Abstract: On 18th July 2010, in one of the deadliest single terrorist strikes in Iraq this year, nearly forty three persons were killed and many were left seriously injured. The prime target of the latest terror strike were the members of the so called 'Sunni Awakening' Movement, consisting of motley groups of Sunni tribesmen of Iraq who have been recruited and used by the US army and the Iraqi administration as vigilante groups to target the insurgency groups and Al Qaeda operatives within the country since 2006. Similar Shiite vigilante groups have also been propped up in Iraq primarily to target Shiite insurgency groups like the Al Mahdi. Though such terror strikes in conflict ridden Iraq and Afghanistan have almost become incidents of everyday occurrence, the recent attack signifies another ominous trend- the American efforts to extend their version of a privatized counterinsurgency war, oblivious to the associated dangers and long term implications in areas where such strategy is being implemented.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: William D. Anderson, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: With the United States currently engaged in difficult and taxing counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, renewed emphasis has been focused upon the country's cap abilities and priorities vis - à - vis this type of warfare. Within the military, the Air Force has been especially and increasingly criticized for being too enamored with a Cold - War era conventionally minded force structure and for not shifting aggressively to meet the threats of COIN - style conflicts that many predict will be pervasive throughout the Global War on Terror.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Hassan Mneimneh
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: September 11, 2001, marked the coming to the fore of the “jihadist international,” a loosely connected movement of militant and terrorist groups worldwide with a common ideology and increasingly shared tactics and methods. While such groups still have limited recruitment potential eight years on, they have inflicted substantial physical damage and have forced free societies to take costly precautionary measures. Perhaps most alarming, the global jihadist movement has continued simultaneously to feed off of and perpetuate the growing radicalization that Muslim culture has endured over the last few decades.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Deborah Isser, Peter Van der Auweraert
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Iraq has experienced several waves of mass displacement over the last forty years that have left complex land and property crises in their wake. As security has improved and some of the nearly five million displaced Iraqis have begun to come home, resolution of these issues are at the fore of sustainable return.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Migration, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Brian Fishman
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Al-Qa`ida in Iraq (AQI) is a shadow of its former self, primarily because broad sectors of Iraq's Sunni population rejected it after more than three years of active and tacit cooperation. Anger over AQI's brutal radicalism infused the Sunni backlash against jihadists, but AQI also made two fundamental strategic overreaches that exacerbated its alienation from Sunnis in Iraq. First, it incited a sectarian backlash from Iraqi Shi'a without the means to defend Iraq's Sunnis from the onslaught it provoked. Second, AQI created a formal political entity, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), to dominate Iraq after a U.S. withdrawal without adequate support from Iraq's Sunni population.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia