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  • Author: Kris Quanten
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Until 2001, NATO considered the terrorist threat as a secondary phenomenon with a limited impact on the Alliance. The 9/11 attacks marked a radical turnaround: suddenly terrorism became a top secu- rity priority. This was also the first and only time in NATO’s history that Article 5 was invoked, further- more for a terrorist attack. Initially, the reaction to 9/11 was purely military. However, it soon became clear that there was lit- tle strategic vision underlying the initiatives to fight terrorism at the operational level. Hence, the hasty approval, at the NATO Prague Summit in 2002, of a Military Concept for Defence Against Terrorism.1 This Concept foresaw a number of new initiatives, such as intelligence sharing, CBRN measures, the establishment of a Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit, and Civil Emergency planning, as a priority. Yet all these separate initiatives lacked coordination and an overarching vision.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Peter Braun
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Since 2014, all NATO Summit Declarations have pointed to terrorism and hybrid warfare as the main and most immediate threats to the security of the North Atlantic Alliance and its members.1 Surprisingly, the two threats are largely addressed separately – the fact that ter- rorism happens to be an important element of hybrid warfare is not mentioned at all. This pa- per seeks to examine whether NATO’s current concepts of counter-terrorism (CT) are ade- quate for countering potential terrorist threats in a hybrid environment. To do so, the paper be- gins by examining how terrorism could be used in a hybrid scenario. Thereafter, the particular challenges that these threats pose to collective defence, according to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, are addressed. Finally, this paper considers the extent to which key elements of NATO’s counter-terrorism strategy fit the spe- cific challenges posed by terrorism as a possible component of hybrid warfare.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Lasha Giorgidze, James K. Wither
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials attract the attention of terrorists motivated to inflict mass casualties and create mass panic. CBRN includes a wide array of materials, some of them very difficult to acquire, although others are of a dual-use nature. Dualuse materials can be used to construct CBRN weapons, but also have licit civilian applications. Though not all CBRN weapons are weapons of mass destruction, they can still cause massive disruption and fear in a targeted society. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the potential threat from terrorists’ use of CBRN weapons. It discusses the technical opportunities and constraints of each type of weapon and presents relevant historical and contemporary examples and case studies involving terrorist use of CBRN. The paper also assesses the contemporary threat. It examines how CBRN-related information is shared via terrorist propaganda on the internet and messaging applications, why terrorists might be motivated to use CBRN materials, and the constraints on their ambitions.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Internet, Biological Weapons , Chemical Weapons, Radiological Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Emma Hesselink
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Now that IS has been defeated, at least territorially, governments, donors and the international community are investing in Iraq’s state building programmes both at national and local levels. However, Nineveh governorate, which suffered greatest damage and requires greatest attention, has been the scene of a highly divided security landscape since its liberation from IS. The chronic divisions between different actors such as Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are only worsened by the presence of the Hashd al-Shaabi and other non-state actors in the Disputed Territories. This brief provides an analysis of the risks posed by Hashd in Nineveh and offers recommendations into regaining a grip on the situation.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Islamic State, State Building
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad
  • Author: Dlawer Ala'Aldeen, Goran Zangana
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Chemicals are widely used in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region (KRI) for various civilian purposes. Terrorist organizations have demonstrated their intention, know-how and capacity to convert chemicals of civilian use to chemical weapons. Without an urgent and comprehensive policy response, the KRI can face significant breaches in chemical security with immeasurable risks to the population and the environment. This report follows a special MERI workshop on chemical security, where major challenges were identified and a number of policy recommendation made.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Turkey expects Chinese support for its incursion into Syria against the Kurds, but in return, China expects Turkey to turn a blind eye to its persecution of Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang. Turkey’s refusal to fully recognize Kurdish rights is thus intertwined with China’s brutal crackdown in its troubled northwestern province. Both parties justify their actions as efforts in the fight against terrorism.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism, Ethnic Cleansing, Conflict, Syrian War, Kurds
  • Political Geography: China, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria, Xinjiang
  • Author: Yoram Schweitzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The recent suicide attack in Sri Lanka, launched by a local group linked to the Islamic State, targeted the symbols of Christianity and Western tourists and businesspeople. The attack aimed to terrorize Sri Lankan citizens, drive a wedge between them and the government, and foment discord between the various ethnic groups. It demonstrated anew that the lack of effective cooperation and intelligence sharing between the intelligence, security, and enforcement agencies is a central factor in the success of terror groups to carry out their plans. The military defeat of the Islamic State does not herald the destruction of the organization or the end of its activity - quite the opposite. The Salafi jihadist ideology and the modus operandi represented by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates continue to inspire terrorists, whether they are directly or indirectly linked to them, or see them as a model for imitation. Details and the lessons of the Sri Lanka attack, if properly learned, will help prevent or obstruct future terror plans of the Islamic State and its supporters – plans that are expected to challenge many countries in the years to come.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Orna Mizrahi, Yoram Schweitzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Voices in the Arab media have recently suggested that war between Israel and Hezbollah may erupt this coming summer. This debate began even before the rise in tension between the United States and Iran in the Gulf, which once again brought to the fore the possibility of Iran using Hezbollah as a proxy against Israel. In recent speeches, however, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah acted quickly to calm the waters, while delivering messages designed to deter Israel from taking measures against Hezbollah. Nasrallah asserted that Hezbollah was capable of striking strategic sites on the Israeli home front and conquering parts of the Galilee. These statements indicate that as far as Hezbollah is concerned, the current circumstances are not convenient for a conflict with Israel, due to Hezbollah's continuing involvement in the war in Syria and a wish to avoid undermining Hezbollah's recent achievements in the Lebanese political system. Also important is Hezbollah's deepening economic plight, resulting in part from American sanctions against the organization and its patron, Iran, although these economic difficulties have not yet affected Hezbollah's continued investment in its military buildup and deployment for a future war with Israel. Nevertheless, even if Hezbollah has no interest in a large scale conflict with Israel at this time, escalation as a result of particular measures by Israel in Lebanon and the organization's response, or from Hezbollah's own actions against Israel aimed at serving Iranian interests, cannot be ruled out. Israel must therefore prepare in advance for the possibility of a military campaign in the north.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Hezbollah, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Lana Baydas, Shannon Green
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: To combat the global threat of terrorism, countries have passed and implemented numerous laws that inadvertently or intentionally diminished the space for civil society. States conflate terrorism with broader issues of national security, which is then used as a convenient justification to stifle dissent, including civil society actors that aim to hold governments accountable. As the global terror landscape becomes more complex and dire, attacks on the rights to the freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly only increase. This report analyzes the impact of counterterrorism efforts on civic space, examines its manifestations in various socioeconomic and political contexts, and explores various approaches to disentangle and reconcile security and civil society. It features case studies on Australia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Hungary, and India. This report was published under the sponsorship of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), a coalition of scholars and experts from around the world that is developing concrete, evidence-based recommendations on how best to address and push back on closing space around civil society.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: India, Hungary, Australia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With President Donald Trump threatening to pull out of Syria, the Bashar al-Assad regime ramping up its military campaign against rebels, and the Islamic State in decline, al Qaeda has attempted to resurge and reposition itself at the center of global Salafi-jihadist activity. Syria has been perhaps its most important prize. For some, al Qaeda’s cunning and concerted efforts in Syria and other countries highlight the group’s resilience and indicate its potential to resurge and rejuvenate. Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that al Qaeda has largely failed to take advantage of the Syrian war. Confusion and finger-pointing have been rampant as individuals have clashed over ideology, territorial control, personalities, loyalty to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and command-and-control relationships. Al Qaeda’s struggles in Syria have also highlighted some weaknesses of al-Zawahiri. The al Qaeda leader has had difficulty communicating with local groups in Syria, been slow to respond to debates in the field, and discovered that some Salafi-jihadist fighters have brazenly disobeyed his guidance. As one Salafi-jihadist leader remarked, “The situation in Syria for the jihad is extremely dire.”
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria