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  • Author: Farah Pandith
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Pushing his $1.9 trillion stimulus package through Congress, President Joseph Biden argued long and hard that the only way to defeat a deadly virus was to go big. Now, he has to go big on another infectious virus: the rising swell of hatred and violence that has ripped through regions as diverse as Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and North America, where the growing dark forces of hate and extremism led to the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Biden and his expert team have first-hand experience with terrorist movements as well as the benefit of the long arc of history. But much has changed in the 20 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks – the last time organized extremists took aim at sacred symbols of America.[1] Looking back at the horror of that day and what it unleashed, we are reminded of the power and malevolence of organized, relentless bad actors and what they can achieve in the name of some twisted ideology. A new federal intelligence report says domestic terrorism in 2021 could likely escalate with “support from persons in the United States or abroad.”[2] It’s why President Biden must be bold, focused and use all instruments of soft power to diminish the appeal of the ideology.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Noah Coburn
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: The United States’ Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program was designed to help Afghans and Iraqis who are in danger of being killed as a result of their service to the U.S. government as translators or in other civilian jobs. As of 2020, over 18,000 Afghan applicants have received U.S. visas, along with over 45,000 of their immediate family members, and immigrated to the U.S. The program has been plagued by bureaucratic inefficiencies and significant problems with the application process, resulting in a backlog of an additional 18,800 applications according to a 2019 review of the program. The lives of thousands of these applicants are currently at risk. This report on the Afghan SIV program, based on interviews with over 150 SIV applicants and recipients, as well as a review of other studies of the program, suggests that while the program is well-intentioned and beneficial to certain successful applicants, its current structure puts the lives of applicants at risk and leaves them vulnerable to exploitation before, during and after the process. The lack of a coherent, effective strategy to support these workers, and the failure to implement the program as originally envisioned, leaves applicants stranded in Afghanistan or elsewhere and vulnerable to attacks by the Taliban and criminal groups, as well as other forms of exploitation. This has further undermined the reputation of the United States government in Afghanistan while serving a relatively small percentage of those Afghans who worked closely with the U.S. The program also does little to support those who do receive visas and move to the U.S. They are ultimately disappointed in, and unprepared for, the lack of support they receive upon settling in the United States. The program could do much more to prepare and support these recipients for the challenges they are likely to face during resettlement. The Biden administration’s current review of the SIV program is a good step forward, but unless that review takes a closer look at the true human costs of its flawed processes, it is likely to result in little more than bureaucratic tinkering. The program must be seriously overhauled, based on a reconceptualization of how to best support those who put their lives at risk to assist the United States government. As it is currently structured, the SIV program may in fact be doing more harm than good.
  • Topic: Immigration, Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Giuliano Bifolchi
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: Terrorism and jihadist propaganda are among the primary threats of the contemporary era. Because of the high number of foreign fighters from the post-Soviet republics among the rank of the Islamic State, there is a general concern about jihadist propaganda in the Russian language. Kavkazcenter has appeared as one of the main websites in the Russian language to support Imarat Kavkaz (Caucasus Emirate) and regional militant groups. Firstly, this paper examines scientific literature useful to classify Kavkazcenter as a jihadist portal or a media agency. Secondly, the research focuses on the website Kavkazcenter investigating its structure, ideologies and connection with the Arab-Muslim world and the international terrorist network. Finally, this investigation intends to describe if Kavkazcenter represents a serious threat not only for the Russian national security but also for the entire post- Soviet space and the European Union itself, where North Caucasian migrants and refugees live.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Propaganda, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Post-Soviet Europe
  • Author: Sofia Koller
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In November 2019, two people were stabbed to death and three wounded in an attack near London Bridge. One year later, four people were killed and more than 20 injured in a shooting in the historic city center of Vienna. Both attacks were carried out by terrorist offenders recently released from prison. Several other incidents in recent years also involved former terrorist convicts. This brings the issues of risk assessment and management to the fore of the debate on Islamist extremism and terrorism.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Risk
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Germany, Austria
  • Author: Sofia Koller
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In tertiary prevention of Islamist extremism, civil society and governmental exit programs support individuals (and their families) who wish to disengage from violent extremist groups and distance themselves from extremist ideologies. Exit work and successful reintegration into society involves security agencies as well es very practical elements provided by municipal actors, public services, and civil society organizations. Effective cooperation between civil society and governmental actors including statutory bodies is crucial but can be challenging.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Government, Violent Extremism, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands
  • Author: Jasmina Brankovic
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: The Fourth African Transitional Justice Forum, held 0n 26–28 October 2020, addressed the state of transitional justice on the continent, specifically its contribution to the African Union's 2020 theme of the year, "Silencing the Guns," amid the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forum panels focused on development, violent extremism, victims' experiences and fundraising in relation to African-led transitional justice.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Transitional Justice, Peace, Reconciliation , Pandemic, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Since early October 2017, when the Islamist militants or jihadists – identified as the Ansar al-Sunna – launched their first attacks in the villages and towns of Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, insurgency and conflict has continued to escalate, targeting civilians, public infrastructure and government buildings. Although the Government of Mozambique continues to make concerted efforts to fight and subdue the terrorist insurgency through its national defence forces, the Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique (FADM), a series of battles with the terrorist militants has resulted in widespread violence, insecurity, the death of over 2 400 people[1] and the displacement of over 500 000 civilians by the end of November 2020.[2] It has also disrupted economic activities, especially farming, thereby worsening food insecurity.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Food Security, Displacement, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique
  • Author: Navin Bapat
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: The risk of terrorism is often overstated. Americans are more likely to die from everyday risks, such as driving, drowning, or being hit by lightning, than from terrorist attacks. I’ve often criticized the willingness of leaders to politicize terrorism, arguing that this results in ‘othering’ that harms racial and ethnic minorities, and, in some cases, in very large, costly, and brutal wars. I therefore do not say this lightly: In the case of the US, however, white supremacists like those who engaged in the mob attack on the US Capitol, are a clear and present danger to the human security of the American nonwhite population and to national security.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Far Right, White Supremacy, Racism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Flavia Eichmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: This article explores what impact terrorist blacklists have on negotiated solutions to armed conflicts involving listed non-state armed groups. Even though conflicts that involve non-state armed groups do not usually end through these groups’ military defeat, governments around the globe tend to adopt hard-security approaches with regard to inner-state conflicts. Especially when groups resort to terrorist tactics, governments tend to be reluctant to engage peacefully with these actors and instead commonly rely on terrorist blacklists in order to delegitimize and restrict groups’ activities. While these blacklists are effective in criminalizing the operations of these groups, they can also severely impede peaceful dialogue and thus negatively impact the resolution of conflicts. Especially the work of NGOs and third-party peace practitioners is greatly constrained by criminalizing any form of interaction with listed groups. Additionally, in the absence of a universal definition of what constitutes a terrorist group, lists vary from country to country and the criteria for groups and individuals to get listed are often extremely vague. Furthermore, most lists fail to re-evaluate the proscribed groups on a regular basis and delisting procedures lack transparency. This article finds that blacklists severely disincentivize peaceful engagement with non-state armed groups and thus calls for a revision of contemporary proscription regimes in order to shift the focus of counterterrorism approaches towards viewing peaceful dialogue as a first option and not a last resort.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Rahma Dualeh
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Five years have passed since the UN global mandate on preventing violent extremism (PVE) was launched and rapidly adopted by the Horn of Africa (HoA) countries. Since then, mostly small and medium international organizations funded by foreign, largely Western, donors have pioneered work in this space. Notably, the African Union (AU) Peace & Security Council has tried to lead the region’s path to PVE – it has championed the inclusion of youth and called for gender mainstreaming in programming. The AU has also attempted to connect East and West Africa’s lessons learned in combatting violent extremism. Yet, challenges remain with regard to implementing both regional and international PVE-related commitments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Violent Extremism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Horn of Africa
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: What’s new? Turkey has to deal with thousands of citizens who travelled to join ISIS and have now returned. Of the few convicted, many will soon be released from jail. Others are under surveillance. The fate of the rest is murky. Why does it matter? ISIS’s diminished stature and measures adopted by the Turkish authorities have spared Turkey from ISIS attacks for more than three years. But while the threat should not be overplayed, it has not necessarily disappeared. That Turkish returnees turn their back on militancy is important for national and regional security. What should be done? Ankara’s approach toward returnees or others suspected of ties to jihadism relies mostly on surveillance and detention. The government could consider also offering support for returnees’ families, alternatives for youngsters at risk of being drawn into militancy and support for returnees released after serving ISIS-related jail time.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Law Enforcement, Violent Extremism, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Emily Estelle
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Great-power competition and the terrorist threat intersect and interact with one another in Africa and the Middle East. US disengagement from these regions to prepare for great-power competition in other theaters will increase a growing vacuum that is drawing more regional and global actors—states and non-state extremist groups—into a series of vicious cycles that will pose grave threats to American national security in the coming decades. Breaking the vicious cycle will require the US and its allies to separate the Libyan and Syrian conflicts and disentangle and discourage proxy conflict by external players while supporting the development of responsive governance in the two countries. Preventing similar crises will require a proactive strategy to seal off localized conflicts and prevent them from becoming larger competitions between external players while taking action to improve governmental responsiveness in at-risk areas.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, National Security, Power Politics, Violent Extremism, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Robert J. Bunker
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: June 2014 to December 2017 represented the high tide of radical Islamist (Salafi-jihadist) territorial control under the authority of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. This monograph analyzes and provides policy response options for US national security and Army planners concerning the potential for postterritorial caliphate battlefield migration by the sizable contingent of battle-hardened Islamic State foreign fighters situated within various enclaves in Syria and Iraq. The monograph achieves these ends by discussing Islamic State territorial eras and demographics; offering an overview of the initial inflows of these fighters into the territorial caliphate, outflows to the United States, and lateral transfers to new battlefields, as well as mentioning special issues related to Islamic State women and children; highlighting and analyzing the four strategic options available to the Islamic State in its postterritorial caliphate phase; and offering senior US policy makers and planners options for counterbattlefield migration policy responses. These options pertain to policies focused on extremists and the Islamic State as an organization and embedded within the context of higher-level US foreign policies toward Syria and Iraq. Additionally, recommendations for counterforeign terrorist fighter programs and the Joint force are provided.
  • Topic: Insurgency, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Islamism, Army, Foreign Fighters
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Aaron Y. Zelin
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: By the time IS came to the fore in Iraq and Syria, many of its themes and activities were already second nature to Tunisian jihadis who had heard similar messaging at home. There are a number of reasons why Tunisians joined the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. One underappreciated aspect of this is the way Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia’s (AST) messaging primed members of the group and others in society that were exposed to, attended, or followed online AST activities and events. In my new book, Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad, I describe this process, which I will examine in brief here. In particular, I will explore AST’s motivational framing, which “functions as prods to action.” The major themes AST crafted in its narrative were related to brotherhood, the defense of Islam, the creation of an Islamic state, and “remaining” as an entity.
  • Topic: Islam, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Aaron Y. Zelin
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Fewer attacks and more prosecutions suggest the country’s integrated approach could eventually become a model for the region. For the first time since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia is not on the defensive in its battle with the Islamic State and al- Qaeda. Data from 2019, paired with a more holistic approach to combating jihadists, bears out this claim. Specifically, Tunis is expanding its toolkit beyond a purely military or law enforcement approach. Because of these advances, which have developed over the past few years, Tunis and Washington will have widened opportunities to engage on more complex aspects of reform that could make Tunisia a regional and global model. Both internal and external challenges remain, such as from foreign fighters dwelling abroad, an overcrowded prison system, and the threat of resurgent jihadism next door in Libya, but these need not diminish the accomplishments. Moreover, Tunisia can now build on its achievements, continuing the process of reform after decades of authoritarian rule.
  • Topic: Law Enforcement, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Haseeb Humayoon, Mustafa Basij-Rasikh
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Recent efforts at settling the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan have featured an increasingly vibrant and visible display of women’s activism. Even with the support of the government and its international partners, Afghan women still face tremendous challenges to realizing their aspirations for a role in peacemaking. Based on extensive interviews throughout Afghanistan, this report attempts to better understand the changing public role of Afghan women today and their contributions to peacebuilding and ending violence.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Violent Extremism, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East
  • Author: Sadaf Lakhani, Rahmatullah Amiri
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Forced displacement affects over 70 million people worldwide and is among the most pressing humanitarian and development challenges today. This report attempts to ascertain whether a relationship exists between displacement in Afghanistan and vulnerability to recruitment to violence by militant organizations. The report leverages an understanding of this relationship to provide recommendations to government, international donors, and others working with Afghanistan’s displaced populations to formulate more effective policies and programs.
  • Topic: Development, Taliban, Violent Extremism, Radicalization, Displacement, Violence, Mobility
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Borhan Osman
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Ever since the Islamic State in Khorasan Province emerged in Afghanistan in 2015, policymakers and security forces have regarded it as an “imported” group that can be defeated militarily. This approach, however, fails to take into account the long-standing and complex historical and sociological factors that make the group’s ideology appealing to young, urban Afghan men and women. Based on interviews with current and former members of ISKP, this report documents the push and pull factors prompting a steady stream of young Afghans to join and support ISKP.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad, Middle Class
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Chris Bosley
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Existing efforts to disengage people from violent extremism are derived from security imperatives rather than from a peacebuilding ethos. This report—one of a series to be published by USIP’s program on violent extremism—presents a framework through which peacebuilders can foster disengagement from violent extremism and reconciliation between those disengaging and affected communities by examining the individual, social, and structural dynamics involved.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Leanne Erdberg Steadman
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Even in brutal and desperate conflict settings, it is possible for people to abandon violence and leave violent groups. Peacebuilders know this well—yet terrorism and counterterrorism policies and practices have often neglected practical ways to address participants in violent extremism and failed to provide them opportunities to reject violence. This report examines how peacebuilding tools can help transform the individual attitudes, group relationships, and social ecosystems and structures needed to facilitate the effective disengagement and reconciliation of former members of violent extremist groups.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Conflict, Peace, Reconciliation , Disengagement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eric Rosand
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In the two decades since the 9/11 attacks, terrorist networks have become more global and interconnected even as they remain locally tethered. The transnational and localized nature of the threat underscores the continued importance of international cooperation in all aspects of a response. This report explores the work of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, launched in 2011 to energize such cooperation, and how best to position it for an effective and far-reaching future.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amira Jadoon, Andrew Mines
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Since its official formation in January 2015, the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan has risen to prominence as one of its most dangerous affiliates, making it one of the world’s top four deadliest militant organizations in 2018. Islamic State Khorasan’s (ISK) ascendency, however, has not come without heavy costs. Since 2015, a variety of state-led operations against ISK have inflicted substantial manpower and leadership losses upon the group across Afghanistan and Pakistan. This report is the first to conduct a systematic review of operations against ISK between 2015 and 2018 to answer the following questions: what is the nature and level of manpower losses incurred by ISK in various campaigns against the group? How have these operations altered the level of the ISK threat, and what do they reveal about ISK’s militant base? Finally, how have these operations affected ISK’s operational capacity? This report draws on open-source materials to assess the above questions, and provides detailed information on the various state-led operations against ISK in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the group’s associated costs in terms of losses of both leadership and other ISK-linked individuals. As this report demonstrates, intense targeting of ISK in both countries has resulted in substantial losses for the group; between 2015 and 2018, ISK’s losses amounted to the killing, capture, or surrender of well over 10,000 ISK-linked individuals and over 500 militants in leadership roles, predominantly in Afghanistan. A parallel examination of the group’s losses and its operational activity indicates that while state-led operations have curtailed ISK’s overall number of attacks and its geographical expansion, the group has retained its ability to conduct highly lethal attacks, as evidenced by recently claimed attacks in Kabul in late February and early March 2020. The report’s findings also imply that one of ISK’s key strengths, which has allowed it to survive the onslaught of state-led operations, is its access to a steady supply of experienced militants on both sides of the border that allows it to replace its top leaders and replenish its human capital.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Andrew Zammit, Jason Warner, Thomas Renard , Tim Lister
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: It was one of the most ambitious and innovative international terror plots ever seen. In July 2017, Australian police arrested two brothers in Sydney who had attempted to get a bomb on board an Etihad plane flying from Sydney to Abu Dhabi carrying around 400 passengers and were separately planning to carry out a poison gas attack inside Australia with an improvised chemical dispersion device. The two brothers had been guided by Islamic State operatives in Syria, who successfully arranged for a partially constructed bomb to be air-mailed from Turkey to Australia. In our feature article, Andrew Zammit draws on “newly available information resulting from the successful prosecution of the Sydney-based plotters” to provide the most comprehensive account to date on how the plot developed and what it reveals about the evolution of the international terror threat posed by the Islamic State. Donald Yamamoto, the United States Ambassador to Somalia, is featured in our ongoing “A View from the CT Foxhole” series. The interview was conducted by Jason Warner in front of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Attacks in London in November 2019 and February 2020 by two convicted terrorists released from prison has created a surge of concern about terrorist recidivism. But Thomas Renard points out that academic research undertaken thus far suggests terrorists are unlikely to relapse into violent extremism. His review of the judiciary files of 557 jihadi terrorist convicts in Belgium, since 1990, finds that less than five percent reengaged in terrorist activities. Drawing on nearly a dozen reporting trips to Ukraine between 2014 and 2019, Tim Lister examines the nexus between far-right extremists in Ukraine and the United States. He writes: “In recent years, some Americans and Europeans drawn to various brands of far-right nationalism have looked to Ukraine as their field of dreams: a country with a well-established, trained, and equipped far-right militia … that has been actively engaged in the conflict against Russian-backed separatists.” He notes that in some instances, “U.S.-based individuals have spoken or written about how the training available in Ukraine might assist them and others in their paramilitary-style activities at home.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State, Far Right
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Australia, Somalia, United States of America
  • Author: Ye. Zelenev, O. Ozerov
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: The “LIMINALITy” and “re-Islamization” phenomena1 caused by the split in the ranks of the Islamic theological elite into the moderate major- ity (minimalists) and radically minded minority (maximalists) [Waghid, 2011: 5-8] came to the fore in some of the North African Arab countries and in many sub-Saharan countries with considerable Islamic popula- tions. Radicalization of a part of the Islamic political elite betrays itself in a much greater political and military activity of Muslim maximalists and a much wider scope of activities of extremist Islamic organiza- tions. passivity of the Islamic moderate forces (minimalists) against the background of much weaker institutions of state power is as a rule accom- panied by neocolonial penetration in the affairs of the African states shat- tered by the crisis and, what is even more important, much wider appli- cations of different interpretations of the theory of jihad to justify not only armed struggle against non-Muslims and Muslims but also “re- Islamization” of Islamic society (ummah) in all spheres, including educa- tion.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Arsla Jawaid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
  • Abstract: Pakistan has struggled with Islamic militancy since the rise of the mujahideen in the 1980s. In the late 2000s, the Pakistan Army began establishing rehabilitation centers in the Swat Valley in an effort to deradicalize former Taliban fighters and other militants and reintegrate them into their communities. This report contrasts Pakistan’s deradicalization approach with the community-based program used in Denmark and the widely different prison-based program used in Saudi Arabia, and identifies areas in which the army’s approach could benefit from more extensive partnering with civilian-based organizations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Prisons/Penal Systems, Violent Extremism, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Ian Anthony, Michael Herzog zu Mecklenburg
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Public data suggests that there are reasons to be concerned about violent extremism in Germany. Membership in political groups that hold extremist views is growing, and crime statistics suggest an increase in extremist violence. The number of recorded terrorist incidents on German territory has been high by European standards. Changes in German politics and society may provide fertile ground for political extremism in future. To prevent violent extremism Germany has invested heavily in an expanding number of projects and initiatives at federal, state and municipal level, but the constitutional structure makes promoting coherence and coordination challenging. Moreover, non-governmental and civil society actors now play a prominent role in initiatives. Increasing the number and scale of initiatives was partly to pilot different approaches and see which were effective. However, assessing the multitude of projects and initiatives to decide which should be promoted or discontinued is itself a challenge.
  • Topic: Crime, Politics, Violent Extremism, Decentralization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jędrzej Czerep
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In August, ISIS-linked Muslim rebels in Mozambique seized the strategic port of Mocímboa da Praia, located near gas installations in the Cabo Delgado province. The extremist offensive may spoil development opportunities in a country that is one of Poland’s main trading partners in Africa.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Trade, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Africa, Poland, Mozambique
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Militant Islamist groups in Africa set a record pace of activity in 2019, reflecting a doubling of militant Islamist activity from 2013. Expanded activity in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin underscores diversification of threat from Somalia.
  • Topic: United Nations, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Sahel, Lake Chad Basin
  • Author: Daniel Eizenga, Wendy Williams
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Composed of distinct operational entities, the militant Islamist group coalition Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen serves the role of obscuring the operations of its component parts in the Sahel, thereby inhibiting a more robust response.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: James Barnett
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Islamic State (IS) has not scored many propaganda victories in the year since Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed by U.S. forces in Idlib, which makes the recent seizure of a Mozambican port by IS-linked jihadists all the more significant. On August 12, 2020, militants seized Mocímboa da Praia in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province from a demoralized Mozambican army running low on ammunition. This assault on a city of 30,000—the militants’ third and most successful this year 1—marked a notable evolution in an insurgency that began three years ago and was initially characterized by crude and sporadic attacks on villages in the northern province. IS media channels were quick to produce triumphalist statements about the operation, which it attributed to soldiers in its newest affiliate, the Central Africa Province (Wilayat Wasat Ifriqiya or ISCAP).
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, History , Islamism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Mozambique, Central African Republic
  • Author: Dina Fakoussa, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Similar to many other countries in the region, violent extremist groups and ideologies pose a significant threat to Moroccan society and the stability of the country. In response, the government has pursued a highly security-based approach, which has resulted in the arrest of over 3,000 (alleged) jihadis and the dismantling of 186 terrorist cells between 2002 and 2018. While the root causes are multi- faceted, Morocco’s ongoing socio-economic challenges, which have reinforced economic and political grievances, have fueled radicalization. For this reason, some have demanded that the government prioritize greater domestic engagement instead of increasing investment in countries south of the Sahara.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Migration, Violent Extremism, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Sofia Koller
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The transnational dimension of violent extremism calls for a comprehensive approach to prevention. International exchange of knowledge is crucial to enable an effective response. In addition, while more and more countries have increasingly focused on the prevention of violent extremism (PVE) (as opposed to purely repressive counter terrorism measures), actors need to be able to understand and demonstrate which measures work as well as how and why they do.
  • Topic: Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sofia Koller
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Dresden and in a Paris suburb in October 2020 as well as the shooting in Vienna in November 2020 painfully reminded the European public of the threat that Islamist extremism and terrorism continue to pose in Europe. Especially worrysome is the fact that two of these attacks were apparently carried out by recently released terrorist offenders. In both cases, the alleged attackers had been in contact with deradicalization programs. This raises the question of how to prevent or reduce recidivism and potential violence.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Radicalization, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, France, Syria, Austria
  • Author: Germaine Guidimabaye Remadji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Ifriqiya, Germaine Guidimabaye Remadji describes several of the conflicts going on inside and around Chad. She analyses the role of the current government, as well as persistent social and ethno-religious challenges that have complicated efforts to reduce civilian displacement and the rise of jihadi organizations in the Lake Chad region in recent years.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Displacement, Conflict, Jihad, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Chad
  • Author: Adam Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this March 2020 edition of Tel Aviv Notes, Adam Hoffman examines how Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death has affected the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Douglas London, Chris Costa, Charles Lister, Karen Greenberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: After nearly two decades of the so-called War on Terror, the threats and challenges posed by terrorism to the United States and its allies have proliferated in number, grown in sophistication, and expanded geographically. While our terrorist enemies have proven resilient and adaptable, our strategy and tactics have remained largely unchanged. Although the U.S. mainland may be better protected from a 9/11-style attack, our interests overseas and the stability of regions like Africa and the Middle East have never been more challenged. As terrorism continues to evolve and the threats we face diversify, the time has come for a serious re-examination of American counterterrorism policy and the determination of more effective approaches to counter the threats of tomorrow. What lessons can we learn from the past two decades of countering terrorism? In what ways have our enemies adapted? How might we adapt to more effectively counter terrorism? Given domestic political constraints, what approaches are likely to be most realistic and effective?
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andreas Velthuizen
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: An appropriate response in situations such as the Lake Chad Basin and Rovuma Basin is to defend and promote African aspirations in a multinational response involving the AU, RECS and international partners.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Democracy, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Yoslán Silverio González
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Brazilian Journal of African Studies
  • Institution: Brazilian Journal of African Studies
  • Abstract: The article is divided in: a methodological and theoretical framework to explain the prospective method used and some ideas about the discussion of terrorism and how to understand it. The second part of the paper focuses on the scenarios, taking into account the development of organizations such as: Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its related groups, Boko Haram (BH) in the area surrounding the Lake Chad, as well as Al-Shabaab (ALS) in southern Somalia and the border with Kenya. We finalized with a generalization of terrorism in Africa – conclusions – and the possible recommendation to solve this problem.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Terrorism, History, Violent Extremism, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Nigeria, Somalia, Sahel
  • Author: Mallika Iyer, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)
  • Abstract: Women and youth peacebuilders formed a coalition to discuss urgent, intersecting issues related to the full and effective implementation of the Women and Peace and Security (WPS) and Youth and Peace and Security (YPS) agendas.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Violent Extremism, Women, Equality
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Noreen Naseer, Faiza Bashir, Muhammad Zubair
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Review of Human Rights
  • Institution: Society of Social Science Academics (SSSA)
  • Abstract: This article focuses on the clandestine role of women in aiding and abetting terrorism in the valley of Swat, Pakistan. It is based in extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the valley. The article investigates how women got involved in colluding with the Taliban when they took over the valley. Focusing on the class structure of the semi-tribal society of Swat Pushtuns, especially the segregation between men and women, the article suggests the Taliban exploited the long-built tension between the poor landless class and the rich landed class to convince the women of the former to collude with them with the promise of ameliorating their condition.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Women, Class
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is far from clear that Al Qaida or ISIS can ever be fully defeated. The ISIS “caliphate” may be largely broken up, but substantial elements of both movements remain. New movements may emerge, and other movements may grow, and the demographic trends of Muslim-majority countries are a powerful warning that extremism may be a threat for decades to come.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This is the third report in a three-part survey of metrics that address the fighting in Iraq and Syria, the ongoing challenge of extremism, and the trends in key causes of that extremism and regional instability.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Political stability, Civil Unrest
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Erol Yayboke, Sundar R. Ramanujam
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Thanks to the generous support and cooperation from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development releases this new essay anthology, Sharpening Our Efforts: The Role of International Development in Countering Violent Extremism. As policymakers confront the ongoing challenge of radicalization and violent extremism, it is important that stakeholders and counterterrorism strategists recognize the critical role for development and other non-kinetic approaches to counter violent extremism (CVE). To that end, this new anthology takes a multidimensional role mapping out the role of soft power institutions in enabling lasting peace, prosperity, and global security.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Mohanad Hage Ali
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Syrian conflict has magnified threats to minorities with long-term implications both within and beyond Syria’s borders. The deployment of excessive firepower by the Russian and Iranian-backed Assad regime, and the concurrent rise of Islamic extremism have had both direct and indirect impacts on minorities. Local, regional, and international actors have weaponized minority groups to bolster their influence, further intensifying schisms in the Syrian social fabric and in the international community as a whole. The flow of one million Syrian refugees to Europe between 2015 and 2016 strengthened an already powerful wave of anti-immigration, nationalist populism throughout the continent and across the Atlantic. As an openly Islamophobic and, more implicitly, anti-Semitic movement, the wave has contributed to widening the scope of the Syrian conflict’s schismatic effects beyond the country’s borders.
  • Topic: Minorities, Violent Extremism, Refugees, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Jamille Bigio, Rachel Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Extremist groups rely upon women to gain strategic advantage, recruiting them as facilitators and martyrs while also benefiting from their subjugation. Yet U.S. policymakers overlook the roles that women play in violent extremism—including as perpetrators, mitigators, and victims—and rarely enlist their participation in efforts to combat radicalization. This omission puts the United States at a disadvantage in its efforts to prevent terrorism globally and within its borders. Women fuel extremists’ continued influence by advancing their ideology online and by indoctrinating their families. New technology allows for more sophisticated outreach, directly targeting messages to radicalize and recruit women. It also provides a platform on which female extremists thrive by expanding their recruitment reach and taking on greater operational roles in the virtual sphere. The failure of counterterrorist efforts to understand the ways in which women radicalize, support, and perpetrate violence cedes the benefit of their involvement to extremist groups.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Women
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Once again, the Islamic State may be poised to recover from defeat in its original bases of Iraq and Syria. It is still possible, however, for the jihadist group’s many foes to nip its regrowth in the bud. What’s new? In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is down but not out. The group remains active but reduced and geographically circumscribed. Keeping it down requires sustained effort. Any of several events – Turkish intervention in north-eastern Syria, but also instability in Iraq or spill-over of U.S.-Iranian tensions – could enable its comeback. Why does it matter? Iraqis, Syrians and their international partners paid a heavy price to dislodge the militant organisation from its territorial “caliphate”. Yet even as an insurgency, it still threatens Iraqis and Syrians locally, and, if it manages to regroup, it could pose a renewed threat globally. What should be done? Keeping ISIS weak will require avoiding new conflict in either Iraq or Syria that would disrupt counter-ISIS efforts – most immediately, Turkish intervention in north-eastern Syria. Syrians and Iraqis need a period of calm to pursue ISIS insurgents and stabilise their respective countries.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Al-Shabaab, Somalia’s Islamist insurgency, is diminished but still potent. One understudied source of its resilience is the support of women, active and passive, despite the movement’s stringent gender ideology. Understanding the range of women’s relationships to Al-Shabaab is critical to countering the group going forward. What’s new? Women form an important social base for the Islamist Al-Shabaab insurgency in Somalia. Some help it recruit, generate funds and carry out operations. These understudied realities partly explain the insurgency’s resilience. Why does it matter? Understanding what Al-Shabaab offers Somali women, despite its brutal violence, patriarchal ethos and rigid gender norms, and, in turn, what women do for the movement could help the Somali government and its foreign partners develop policies to help sap support for the group. What should be done? While the insurgency persists across much of Somalia, women will likely continue to play roles within it. But the government could develop a strategy against gender-based violence that would signal it is doing what it can to improve Somali women’s plight, while integrating more women into the security forces.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Women, Islamism, Al Shabaab
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The new autonomous Bangsamoro region in Muslim Mindanao promises to address longstanding local grievances and drivers of militancy in the Philippines. But the Bangsamoro leadership faces steep challenges in disarming thousands of former militants, reining in other Islamist groups and transitioning from guerrillas to government. What’s new? A new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao marks the culmination of 22 years of negotiations between the Philippine government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). This breakthrough follows a five-month battle in 2017 for Marawi City by pro-ISIS fighters who, though on the defensive, still pose a threat. Why does it matter? The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region should represent the end of the Moro conflict with the Philippine state. Proponents portray it as an “antidote to extremism”. But the new administration has to confront a corrupt, inefficient local bureaucracy, clan conflict and ongoing violence by pro-ISIS groups. What should be done? The Bangsamoro government, with Manila’s and donors’ support, should respond to the grievances of those in Muslim Mindanao sceptical of the new autonomous region, help 30,000 MILF fighters return to civilian life, try to win over Islamist armed groups outside the peace process and redouble efforts to deliver social services.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Crisis Management, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Lydia Khalil
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Women will be important to the resurgence and transformation of the Islamic State from governance project to global terrorist insurgency. Islamic State has expanded both the potential and the scope of the roles and functions women can play, providing additional avenues for their participation in jihad in both kinetic and non-kinetic roles. The cohort of former caliphate members of mostly women and children now held in camps pose a key challenge for counterterrorism efforts around the world. Assumptions about women and violence can obstruct an accurate assessment of the threat female IS supporters pose and an accurate understanding of their agency.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Women, Radicalization, Islamic State, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Australia, Syria
  • Author: Jannis Saalfeld
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Following the 2010 Kampala bombings and the high-profile attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in 2013, research on violent extremism in East Africa has focused on Al-Shabaab’s evolution into a persistent transnational security threat. However, the regional advent of Jihadism(s) predates the onset of Somalia’s present civil war. Examining broader historical patterns of politico-religious mobilisation, the report argues that the genesis and expansion of militant Islamist networks in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique can be attributed, among other things, to the failure of largely non-Muslim post-colonial ruling elites to effectively regulate the Islamic sphere. Specifically, it shows how the disintegration of Muslim contestation movements created a political environment conducive to collective radicalisation. By shedding light on this development, the report provides evidence that while the timing and escalatory dynamics of Jihadist violence and radicalisation have depended on specific domestic context conditions, the overarching trajectories of contentious Muslim politics that have unfolded in East Africa’s religiously heterogeneous societies share crucial similarities.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Conflict, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Africa
  • Author: Dr. Shima D. Keene
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph provides an assessment of the emerging threat posed by foreign jihadist fighters following the reduction in territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and recommends ways that the U.S. Army should address the issues highlighted.
  • Topic: Migration, Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Jihad, Army
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aaron Y. Zelin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Recent U.S. decisions have seemingly ignored the degree to which the group is continuing its insurgent attacks and reorganizing its supporters inside increasingly vulnerable detention facilities. In contrast to President Trump’s statements over the past half-year, the Islamic State has yet to be defeated outright. True, the group is nowhere near as capable as it was in 2015, but it is steadily rebuilding its capacities and attempting to break thousands of its supporters out of detainment. The vacuum created by the U.S. withdrawal and Turkish invasion will create more space for those efforts, while compounding the original problem of states being unwilling to deal with their citizens who joined IS and remain in Syria. To avoid becoming known as the administration that allowed IS to reemerge and, perhaps, conduct mass-casualty attacks in Europe or elsewhere, President Trump and his cabinet should take urgent action to salvage and mobilize their surviving ties with Washington’s longtime partner against IS, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Affairs, Violent Extremism, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Chris Bosley
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Communities worldwide face the challenge of reintegrating people exiting violent extremist conflicts. This report draws on established programs and the recommendations of authoritative bodies to examine community-based approaches to their rehabilitation. Given that criminal justice responses may not always be possible or appropriate, recovery-focused approaches such as resocialization and reconciliation are recommended to minimize risk and foster resilience.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Conflict, Criminal Justice, Risk, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Author: Tabatha Thompson, Hussein Khalid
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The relationship between corruption and violent conflict is complex and significant. Corruption affects access to basic services, contributes to resource scarcity, and fuels organized crime. It was included on a European Commission checklist for the root causes of conflict, and it was cited as a potential driver of extremism in the 2019 report of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States. Focusing on several social movements in Kenya, this report reviews the efforts of collective civic action to combat corruption and advance transparency, accountability, and good governance.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Corruption, Governance, Violent Extremism, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Ann Wainscott
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Religious actors in Iraq wield considerable influence, and Iraqis perceive them as playing an important role in moving the country toward peace. This report analyzes the influence of Iraq’s religious actors—who has it, why they have it, and how they exercise it—to illuminate their crucial role in supporting peace and reconciliation efforts and to help policymakers and practitioners understand how to engage them in efforts to advance peace.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A central issue for Afghanistan in achieving stability is making long-lasting peace with the Taliban. The success of any such agreement will depend in large part on whether Taliban commanders and fighters can assume new roles in Afghan politics, the security forces, or civilian life. This report explores that question, drawing on lessons from how similar situations unfolded in Burundi, Tajikistan, and Nepal.
  • Topic: Taliban, Violent Extremism, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Tajikistan, Nepal, Burundi
  • Author: Graham Macklin, Don Rassler, Daniel Koehler, Tore Hamming
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: The final two years of this decade witnessed a wave of far-right terror attacks around the world, including the October 2018 synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the March 2019 gun attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand; the April 2019 Poway, California, synagogue shooting; the August 2019 attack targeting the Hispanic community at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; and the October 2019 Halle, Germany, shootings, in which a synagogue was targeted. In our feature article, Graham Macklin examines the El Paso attack, which he assesses was “part of a chain reaction fomented within the violent sub-cultural online milieus of right-wing extremism.” He writes: “This digital ecosystem is fueling a cumulative momentum, which serves to lower ‘thresholds’ to violence for those engaged in this space, both in the United States and elsewhere, as one attack encourages and inspires another.” The Halle shootings appear to have also been part of this chain reaction. In a case study, Daniel Koehler writes that the far-right extremist who carried out the shootings in the eastern German town “appears to be mainly a copycat attacker inspired by previous incidents” such as the shootings in Christchurch, Poway, and El Paso. Koehler writes: “The Halle attack reflects and evidences several trends, including the internationalization of right-wing terrorism and lone-actor terrorists fashioning their own weapons. The attack stood out because it was the first time a terrorist appears to have used homemade firearms.” Our interview is with Lieutenant General John “Jack” Shanahan, the director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center at the U.S. Department of Defense. In that role, he is responsible for accelerating the delivery of artificial intelligence-enabled capabilities, scaling the department-wide impact of AI and synchronizing AI activities to expand joint force advantages. Tore Hamming draws on court documents from a recently completed trial to examine the 2016 Copenhagen ‘Matchstick’ terror plot. The failed conspiracy saw an Islamic State ‘virtual planner’ based in Syria connect and direct two Syrian refugees living in Sweden and Germany. The case provides insights on the evolving jihadi terror threat in the West and its transnational dimension. Hamming writes: “The plot presented obvious challenges for Western security institutions. Central to its planning and execution were the virtual planner and the availability of instructions on how to construct explosives.”
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Far Right, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ahmad Saiful Rijal Bin Hassan, Kenneth Yeo Yaoren, Amresh Lavan Gunasingham
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The discourse on religious extremism in the past few decades has largely been dominated by Islamist-oriented trends and actors. However, there are emerging alternate discourses of religious extremism that are becoming relevant in South and Southeast Asia – Buddhist and Hindu extremism. The March Issue thus focuses on Sri Lanka and Myanmar as case studies depicting the rise of Buddhist extremism and related intolerance towards the minority Muslim communities. The Issue also delves into two different responses to counter-terrorism by the state and community stakeholders in their bid to tackle religious-motivated terrorist groups. It takes a look at two divergent ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ counter-terrorism responses: (i) leadership decapitation; and (ii) the Danish de-radicalisation programme. First, Amresh Gunasingham narrows in on radical Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Myanmar focusing on the rise of the Bodu Bolu Sena (BBS) and Ma Ba Tha groups respectively. The author argues that these groups, rooted in Theravada Buddhism, have justified intolerance and violence towards minority Muslim populations that could escalate further, if neglected or exploited by the state. In Sri Lanka, periodic attacks against Muslims since 2014 and the legitimacy of groups such as BBS have emboldened a segment of the Sinhalese Buddhists. In Myanmar, the violent clashes between the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya, minority Muslim community since 2012, coupled with Ma Ba Tha’s rhetoric bordering on Islamophobia, have exacerbated intolerant ethno-nationalist sentiments within the country. The author proposes the need for a national identity that is inclusive and peaceful in both countries with political leaders taking a stand against intolerant narratives to mitigate long-term unrest. Kenneth Yeo Yaoren discusses leadership decapitation as a counter-terrorism strategy, which includes killing or arresting the senior leadership of a terrorist group. The author outlines the varying outcomes of the strategy in the context of religiously-motivated terrorist groups in the Israel-Palestine and Malay Archipelago regions. The impact of leadership decapitation on four key groups: Hamas, Hezbollah, Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah in terms of the frequency and lethality of attacks after the arrests or killings of their leaders are observed. It is argued that, “leadership decapitation is not a silver bullet against terrorism”, necessitating broader responses to counter the ideology and operational strength of religiously-motivated terrorist groups. Lastly, Ahmad Saiful Rijal Bin Hassan focuses on Denmark’s de-radicalisation programme in light of the returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) phenomenon. The author delineates the components and key features of the ‘De-radicalisation – Targeted Intervention’ and the ‘De-radicalisation Back on Track’ projects which constitute a ‘soft’ approach towards dealing with homegrown terrorists and FTFs in the country. Overall, three guiding principles dictate Denmark’s de-radicalisation programme – (i) inclusion over exclusion; (ii) collaboration between public, private and people sector bodies; and (iii) assumption that every individual aspires to live a ‘good life’. The article then focuses on the perceived efficacy of the programme in the Danish context vis-a-vis contending views made by other interested observers.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Political stability, Conflict, Buddhism, Hinduism
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Asia, Israel, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Denmark, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Mathias Bak, Kristoffer Nilaus Tarp, Christina Schori Liang
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: During the last few decades, the concept of violent extremism (VE) has played an increasingly prominent role in policies and development programming on a global level. Having gone through several incarnations, the current focus for most actors deals with preventing and countering violent extremism. This terminology was constructed in an effort to repackage the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in a manner that shifted the focus away from the over-militarised responses of the 90s and early 2000s, to methods linked to social support and prevention. Where counterterrorism focuses on countering terrorists through physical means, the Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) approach aims to prevent the rise of violent extremist organisations (VEOs) through less militarised methods. P/CVE programs therefore aim at developing resilience among communities that may be prone to violent extremism. According to the 2015 UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, such interventions aim to address the root causes and drivers of violent extremism, which often include: socio-economic issues; discrimination; marginalization; poor governance; human rights violations; remnants of violent conflict; collective grievances; and other psychological factors.1 The concept of violent extremism has also become increasingly mainstream in the international community, with both the UN Security Council (UNSC 2014)2 and the UN General Assembly3 (UNGA 2015) calling for member states to address VE.
  • Topic: Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Author: Chuck Thiessen
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In response to the threat of violent extremism, the UN has adopted a comprehensive approach that involves both aligning ongoing interventions with the goals of preventing violent extremism (PVE) and implementing PVE-specific programming. These initiatives aspire to use human rights-based approaches as opposed to hard-security counterterrorism responses. To date, however, there has been inadequate research on how the UN and other international organizations can promote human rights as part of their PVE programming. This issue brief introduces findings on the strategic shift of UN peacebuilding interventions toward PVE and the barriers these interventions face to protecting human rights, drawing on research conducted in Kyrgyzstan. It concludes that PVE approaches to peacebuilding are fundamentally ambiguous, which may be hindering promotion of human rights. These ambiguities lie both in the terminology and strategies of intervention and in the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism. By clarifying its approach to PVE, the UN can dilute the inherent contradiction in its dual role as a critic and supporter of host states and reduce the odds that its interventions legitimize human rights violations.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Global Focus
  • Author: Pauline Le Roux
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone. Three groups, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM),1 the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),2 and Ansaroul Islam,3 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the extremist violence in the central Sahel.4 Their attacks are largely concentrated in central Mali, northern and eastern Burkina Faso, and western Niger (see Figure 2). Multiple security and development responses have been deployed to address this crisis. While some progress has been realized, the continued escalation of extremist violence underscores that more needs to be done.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Declines in violent activity linked to Boko Haram and al Shabaab are balanced by increases in the Sahel, generating a mixed picture of the challenge posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Islamic State, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Mali, Chad, Niger
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A surge of attacks in the Sahel coupled with declines in activity by Boko Haram, ISIS, and al Shabaab reflect the constantly shifting threats posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Sahel
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The dynamism of clandestine African migration flows continues to present criminal and violent extremist groups opportunities for exploitation.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Diaspora, Violent Extremism, European Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Southern Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The escalation of violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in the Sahel reflects an array of diverse actors operating within distinct geographic concentrations.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Robin Simcox
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Determining precisely what factors lead to radicalization is a pressing challenge. In fact, beyond the violent Islamist threat, the influence of political Islam and varying shades of Salafism are also growing across Muslim communities in Europe. This, too, has harmful social consequences. The scale of the problem facing Europe was exacerbated by the decision made by Germany in 2015 to open its borders to refugees fleeing conflicts in Muslim-majority countries. While security threats undoubtedly entered with the refugee flow (or individuals were radicalized and became threats once in Europe), the refugee issue has also introduced social and cultural questions relevant to overall cohesion and integration in Europe. This essay looks at these issues from the perspective of four European countries: the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and France. Islamist terrorists have attacked each country in the last two years, and each has taken differing approaches to preventing extremism and facilitating integration. Dozens of conversations with government officials from across Europe have informed my conclusions.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, National Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Ideology, Islamism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, Germany, Sweden
  • Author: Tom Middendorp, Reinier Bergema
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Development and security cannot do without the other. It is not enough to counter violent extremism by addressing the symptoms; understanding and focusing on root causes, in regions such as the Western Sahel, is essential to countering violent extremism. Countries in the Western Sahel suffer from the consequences of climate change: increasing droughts and water shortages make it harder for 50 million people – who depend on agriculture and livestock for their survival – to support their families. Joining a non-state armed group, for income and food, becomes ‘a tempting, or sometimes even the only, alternative.’ To address these challenges, the authors propose five recommendations: 1. Routinise and institutionalise attention to climate change in security institutions 2. Factor in (counter)violent extremism and counterterrorism into climate change efforts 3. Create a comprehensive early warning mechanism 4. Ensure comprehensive engagements: terrorist threats are not only a military issue, addressing economic and financial sources, online recruitment, supply chains, and climate change is essential for strong stabilisation efforts 5. Improve regional cooperation
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Development, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel
  • Author: Anne van der Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Many of the Islamic State associated women and children now live in camps inside Iraq and are denied identity cards, including birth and death certificates. These practices violate national and international laws and are likely to contribute to future radicalisation and renewed violent extremism. Iraq must develop clear policies in line with its democratic constitution.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Radicalization, Democracy, Islamic State, Identities
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: When Pope Francis I visited Egypt in 2017 to stimulate interfaith dialogue he walked into a religious and geopolitical minefield at the heart of which was Al-Azhar, one of the world’s oldest and foremost seats of Islamic learning. The pope’s visit took on added significance with Al-Azhar standing accused of promoting the kind of ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Islam that potentially creates an environment conducive to breeding extremism.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Shabana Fayyaz
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Events following the 9/11 attack have fundamentally changed the political landscape, especially for the Muslim World. A new wave of violent extremism emerged, altering the structure of global world order. Pakistan has suffered impeding consequences following the „global war on terror‟. Currently, Pakistan has been ranked at number five in the Global Terrorism Index of 2017. The magnitude of Pakistan‟s loss is not limited to its economic or political instability, but it has crept into the very fabric of the Pakistani society. The purpose of the paper is to analyze the impact of violent extremism on Pakistani youth.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Psychology, Youth, 9/11
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Maryam Azam
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The rise of sectarian groups in Pakistan has sprouted many internal challenges for the state as well as for the society. The issue of sectarianism is directly linked with the security and harmony of Pakistani society as it has culminated into a grave internal security challenge causing violence and loss of human life. The institutionalization of these groups and their role in the political landscape of Pakistan reflects their complicated nature, objectives and the overall discourse on which these groups are built. Despite the fact that government in various time periods have banned these sectarian militant groups but they were able to operate in shadows or under the banner of different names and roles. This piece of research aims to explicate their multidimensional roles and their capacity to operate and affect the security paradox as well as society as a whole
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Religion, Sectarianism, Sectarian violence, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Umar Farooq, Asma Shakir Khawaja
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The article is intended to find out the geopolitical implications, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Researcher reviewed both published research articles and books to find out geopolitical implication, regional constraints and benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. For this purpose, researcher also reviewed newspapers articles and published reports by government and non-governmental stakeholders working on CPEC. Review of the articles and reports indicated that CPEC had enormous benefits not only for China and Pakistan but also for the whole region. But different internal and external stakeholders are not in favor of successful completion of this project. Extremism, sense of deprivation, lack of political consensus, political instability are some of the internal constraints. On the other hand, Afghanistan, India, Iran, UAE and USA are posing constraints to halt the successful completion of CPEC.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, South Asia, India, Asia, Punjab, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
  • Author: Muhammad Asif
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Political Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The world observed the transformation process of Continent Africa from Colonialism to independence with hopes and fears. In Cold War Era, the African states have been engaged by the superpowers, on strategic and economic fronts, with certain limitations. On the other hand, in Post-Cold War phase, the Continent Africa had been addressed with laudable objectives. Now, the wave of religious extremism, in Continent Africa, has been perceived as a serious security threat, compelled to the international community to pay serious attention to deal the African states. There is no doubt that the entire region has multidimensional challenges and opportunities and its picture has to be drawn at larger canvass. The objective of the present research paper is to analyze those factors, which given space to Boko Haram, a religious extremist organization, in Nigeria. No exaggeration in saying Boko Haram extremely disturbed the internal and external dynamic of the state. Now, it has become a burden on the political and economic life of Nigeria. The qualitative research methodology has been used to argue the issue of religious militancy in Nigeria, in the context of Boko Haram. Secondary source of data has been used by keeping in mind the theoretical nature of the research paper. The study determines that the military operations are not sole solution to counter the religious extremism of Boko Haram until the economic, social and political issues of the Nigerian society are not addressed. There is a dire need to establish strong commitment level of the common Nigerian over the political system otherwise the issue of Boko Haram will remain intact.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Conflict, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria, Horn of Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The Somali-based al-Shabab al-Mujahideen movement has stepped up its terrorist attacks on neighboring countries, chiefly Kenya. Such attacks have receded over the past three years, amid the movement’s focus on targeting police and military forces in Somalia. However, the recent terrorist operation launched by the movement’s affiliates in the capital, Nairobi, on January 15, 2018, which hit the Dusit-D2 complex, housing a hotel and offices, killing around 15 people and injuring a similar number, raises numerous questions about the motives behind targeting Kenya again. This comes at the time when numerous analysts suggest that the movement will more likely intensify internal assaults on the Somali security and military institutions with the aim of consolidating its influence and curtailing the activity of rival groups.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Al Shabaab
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Somalia, Africa
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Mutual escalation has come to define the constant confrontations between the Nigerian movement Boko Haram and the Multinational Joint Task Force, formed by some West African countries, to confront its activity and weaken its ability to expand beyond the national borders, namely to Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. This escalation may continue over the coming period, as the movement becomes one of the main branches of ISIS, on which the latter relies to stage counter-strikes in response to the losses sustained in Syria and Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, West Africa, Syria, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger
  • 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: Amanda Paul, Ian Acheson
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Throughout Europe and beyond, terrorist groups, in particular the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), are increasingly recruiting individuals with backgrounds in crime and using their skills, connections in the criminal world, and experience with law enforcement bodies to finance, plan, prepare and execute their attacks. This recruitment takes place both outside and inside prisons. At the same time, jihadism has provided a specious morality for certain delinquents to rationalise and even justify their criminal activities. In this context, from October 2018 until the summer of 2019, the European Policy Centre (EPC) and the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) have partnered up for a research project on the link between criminality (including organised crime groups, local petty crime gangs or individuals) and jihadist terrorism. This project has culminated in the following publication, in which experts from both organisations carry out an independent assessment of these urgent challenges as they occur in ten European countries (Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Drawing on this, they have proposed a number of bold recommendations to European governments and EU institutions to counter the ongoing threat of the crime-terror nexus.
  • Topic: Crime, Prisons/Penal Systems, Violent Extremism, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Charles Knight, Katja Theodorakis
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The seizure of Marawi in the southern Philippines by militants linked to Islamic State (IS) and the response to it by Philippine authorities provides useful insights to Australian and other policymakers, with relevance for force structure, concepts of operations and the breadth of activity required to deal effectively with the consequences of an urban seizure. One overall insight is that the increasing urbanisation of global populations, combined with proliferating information technologies, means there’s a need to be prepared both for military operations in urban environments and for a widening of what policy/decision-makers consider to be ‘the battlefield’ to include the narrative space. The siege showed the unpreparedness of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for an urban fight: the AFP took five months to recover the city, leaving it in ruins and sustaining a notable number of casualties. This will obviously provide a set of lessons and insights to the Philippine military and authorities, but it also can allow other governments and militaries to assess their own readiness to deal with urban operations, either as assisting partners or in their own territories. This seems especially relevant to considering capability options for supporting allies facing comparable challenges, which could reduce military and civilian casualties in future operations. The insurgents’ seizure of Marawi was accompanied by a systematic IS propaganda campaign (online and offline) aimed at projecting an image of triumph and strength. The AFP engaged in active counter-messaging to undermine militants’ narratives, encompassing the online space as well as more traditional methods of messaging, such as leaflet drops, banners, and radio and loudspeaker broadcasts. In the tactical sphere, this was aimed at avoiding civilian casualties as well as stemming further recruitment by and popular support for the insurgents. In the longer term, the overarching goal was to morally denounce the militants and undercut their support bases. Considering the centrality of ideology and information operations (IOs) in the future operating environment, the Marawi crisis offers an instructive case when preparing for the challenges of an evolving threat landscape. This report therefore examines both the capability aspects of kinetic hard power and the lessons from soft-power IOs, and how they intertwine in the urban environment.
  • Topic: National Security, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Philippines, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Carolyn Logan, Peter Penar
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Protection of individual rights and liberties has been on both the African continental agenda and the global agenda for decades, shaped especially by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. But the reality on the ground is often a far cry from the high standards set forth in these documents. In recent months, the world has watched as the governments of Algeria and Sudan have sought to stifle popular protests, often violently. And the past couple of years have witnessed a wide range of government attacks on civil liberties and individual freedoms. Cameroon shut down Internet service for months in the country’s anglophone regions, and Zimbabwe did the same in an effort to short-circuit opposition efforts to organize protests. Governments have responded with violence to protests in countries as diverse as Burundi, Senegal, Togo, and Zambia. Uganda now taxes social media use, while Tanzania requires expensive licenses for individuals who want to blog. In countries across the continent, government surveillance, restrictive media laws, and other freedom-limiting tactics appear to be on the rise. Freedom House’s 2019 Freedom in the World report was subtitled ”Democracy in Retreat,” and the Africa section appeared under the heading “Historic openings [in Angola, Ethiopia, and the Gambia] offset by creeping restrictions elsewhere” [Freedom House, 2019). How do African citizens perceive and interpret the state of political and civil liberties in their respective countries? This report takes the measure of popular demand for and government supply of basic individual rights and freedoms as captured in Afrobarometer Round 7 surveys, carried out in 34 countries between late 2016 and late 2018. It also looks at how attitudes, experiences, and perceptions have changed over the past decade. We uncover two troubling trends. First, consistent with the alarms sounded by Freedom House and others, citizens generally recognize that civic and political space is indeed closing as governments’ supply of freedom to citizens decreases. But the results also reveal a decline in popular demand for freedom, in particular the right to associate freely. Moreover, we find considerable willingness among citizens to accept government imposition of restrictions on individual freedoms in the name of protecting public security. In a context where violent extremists are perpetrating attacks in a growing number of countries, the public may acquiesce to governments’ increasing circumscription of individual rights and collective freedoms. Fear of insecurity, instability, and/or violence may be leading citizens of at least some African countries to conclude that freedoms come with costs as well as benefits, and that there may be such a thing as too much freedom.
  • Topic: Security, Governance, Violent Extremism, Oppression, Freedom
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: On 27 November 2019, the EU Delegations to Mozambique and South Africa, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) co-organised a seminar in Pretoria on ‘Addressing the threat of violent extremism in Southern Africa’. The event was financed by the Service of Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) and also supported by the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, both having also contributed to this report. The seminar was a first of its kind in Southern Africa, bringing together the diplomatic community, United Nations agencies, government officials, practitioners, policy makers and researchers to discuss the emergence of violent extremism in the region and the necessary measures to combat this phenomenon. Specifically, the seminar provided an opportunity to further understand the drivers and root causes of violent extremism in Southern Africa through a regional approach that takes into consideration context specificities, while also acknowledging transnational spill-over factors and linkages with organised crime and illicit trafficking. Discussions placed a special emphasis on Northern Mozambique, given the risk of the region becoming a hotspot for radical extremism in Southern Africa, and the impacts an escalation into a full-blown security crisis could have on political stability and social and economic development in the country and the entire region. The final panel explored conflict sensitive prevention and mitigation strategies, which could be a basis for EU’s engagement with governments and regional organisations, underpinning future EU assistance. This report summarises the main takeaways of the conference and makes recommendations for follow-up actions, including supporting a regional dialogue within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the EU on how to tackle the growing threat of violent extremism in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Violent Extremism, Political Extremism
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Ingvild Magnaes Gjelsvik
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration for members of violent extremist groups during ongoing conflict is a tricky matter. Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes are normally implemented after a peace agreement is in place. However, this does not apply to south central Somalia, as well as other conflict-ridden areas around the world today. Providing adequate security for those wanting to leave violent extremist groups is arguably a key element for success for programmes operating in such contexts. This article looks at some of the security challenges the Defector Rehabilitation Programme (DRP) for al-Shabaab members has encountered in south central Somalia. The lessons learnt presented in this article were mainly gathered through discussions and presentations made at a training held in Nairobi in November 2017 by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for programme staff in the DRP. Interviews and conversations were also carried out with staff members and partners involved in different stages of the programme, and practitioners and stakeholders working to prevent or counter violent extremism in Somalia, during field trips to south central Somalia between 2013 and 2017.
  • Topic: Security, Violent Extremism, Peace, Rehabilitation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Lweendo Kambela
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: There are currently a number of debates among scholars and researchers in social sciences, particularly those whose research work is on the issues of war and peace. These debates are around the notion of “new” and “old” wars, and were sparked by scholars such as Kaldor, who argued that new wars are significantly distinct from old wars in many ways. In her writing, she described new wars as “a mixture of war, organized crime and massive violations of human rights in which actors are both global and local, public and private. These wars are fought for particularistic political goals using tactics of terror and destabilization that are theoretically outlawed by the rules of modern warfare.”1 Following this argument, this article presents a similar view: that new wars are distinct from old wars. In describing old wars, Kaldor explains that they were fought by regular armed forces of states, and were financed by the respective states. To a greater extent, these wars were fought within the dictates of international humanitarian law (IHL) or the law of armed conflict (LOAC). This article advances this idea by adding terrorism as one dimension of new wars. It discusses terrorism as a phenomenon of new wars, and narrows down this discussion to modern terrorism activities perpetrated by the Boko Haram and al-Shabaab terrorist groups. Such activities are principally a manifestation of new wars on the African continent.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Conflict, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Aduku A. Akubo, Benjamin Ikani Okolo
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal on Conflict Resolution
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This study attempts to draw attention to the Boko Haram insurgency and its implications for national security in Nigeria. Using a historical method of research and content analysis, it adopts a descriptive and exploratory approach. It shows how the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in a dire humanitarian situation evident from the human casualties, human rights abuses, population displacement and refugee debacle, livelihood crisis, and public insecurity – which portend negatively for the maintenance of national security in Nigeria. The study discusses how the counter-terrorism in northeast Nigeria appears to have caused more harm than good and how the terrorist conflict is far from reaching a stalemate ripe for resolution. It is recommended that the Nigerian government should refocus its efforts on a people-centric, community-based and intelligence-driven, whole-of-government approach to better police its borders, improve the capacity of the security forces, enhance interagency cooperation and improve cooperation in the sub-region. The Government should empower the local communities to reach out to the perpetrators of the insurgency with a message of peace and reconciliation. A shift to a restorative and community justice approach may be a pointer to a lasting solution.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Boko Haram, Community
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Al-Chukwuma Okoli
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal on Conflict Resolution
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The significance of forests as an existential threat to national security in Nigeria has been underscored in the phenomenon of Boko Haram insurgency. The occupation and apparent ‘weaponisation’ of Sambisa and the adjoining forests by Boko Haram insurgents have continued to pose an enervating tactical challenge that complicates the ongoing counter-insurgency efforts in northeast Nigeria. The instrumentalisation of forests as an operational and defensive stronghold by the insurgents in the lower Lake Chad Basin has been enabled by the existence of large expanses of dispersed, uninhabited and un-policed forested spheres in the area. This study examines the imperative for transnational forestland governance in the lower Lake Chad Basin, in the light of a continual incidence of Boko Haram insurgency in that context. Drawing discursively from the ‘ungoverned spaces’ (territorial ungovernability) hypothesis, the study posits that the prevailing vacuum of effective forestland governance in the region must be filled in order to mitigate the security challenge. To that end, the study prescribes a strategic trans-territorial forestland governance regime whereby Nigeria and Cameroon synergise efforts in bringing about effective reclamation and occupation of the volatile forested landscapes.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Insurgency, Governance, Violent Extremism, Boko Haram
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Valeri Modebadze
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: This article describes the main challenges that the European Union is facing over the last years. It also analyzes the European Integration process and the emergence of the European Union. European integration process began after the Second World War. European politicians realized that ‘the old continent’, which was destroyed and razed to the ground, needed unification in order to play a more important role in the bipolar international system. The European integration was a step by step process, which reached its culmination after signing the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 when the European Union was formally established. The European Union created a very favorable ground for free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market. Despite these positive developments, new threats emerged over the last years that can put an end to the European integration process. From these threats and challenges, particular attention is dedicated to Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit), the rise of radicalism and populist parties, the migration crisis, and a heightened terrorism threat.
  • Topic: Migration, Violent Extremism, Brexit, Populism, Political Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Burak Bilgehan Özpek
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: All Azimuth: A Journal of Foreign Policy and Peace
  • Institution: Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research
  • Abstract: The debates dealing with ISIS address the questions of how ISIS is conceptualized, what its aim is, and how it has successfully retained a core sovereignty zone. This study attempts to answer these questions by proposing that ISIS is a de facto state and uses jihadism as a survival strategy. The term ‘competitive jihadism’ is used to argue that ISIS competes with its metropole states, Syria and Iraq, on the basis of jihadism. This is a deliberate strategy, which aims to attract Muslims inclined to radicalization as well as to recruit foreign fighters by showing the jihadist deficits of the metropole states. As the research shows, ISIS is successful at this game and has become a magnet for foreign fighters. Thus, it is able to increase its military capabilities and continue to survive.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, State, Jihad, Foreign Fighters
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
  • Abstract: The joint United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) publication, Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Reintegration and Rehabilitation, is an effort to map the gaps and challenges pertaining to the reintegration and rehabilitation of women and girls associated with violent extremist movements and establish a preliminary evidence-base of good practices and approaches. The report and its methodology centralize the experiences of local civil society, in particular women-led civil society organizations (CSOs) who contributed to the report through interviews, dialogues, and case study profiles. The research emphasizes the necessity of integrated, multi-stakeholder approaches that enable state and civil society to work in tandem, based on the comparative advantages of each.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, United Nations, Violent Extremism, Women, Gender Based Violence , Rehabilitation, WPS, Girls, Civil Society Organizations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Melissa Dalton
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: 2017 marked a significant shift in the two wars in Syria. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Coalition forces drove ISIS from its self-proclaimed caliphate capital in Raqqa, across northern Syria, and down the Euphrates River Valley. Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia and Iran, secured key population areas and strategic locations in the center and coast, and stretched to the eastern border to facilitate logistics and communications for Iranian-backed militias. In both wars, Syrian civilians have lost profoundly. They also have shown incredible resilience. Still, the outcome of both wars is inconclusive. Although major areas have been cleared of ISIS, SDF and Coalition forces are fighting the bitter remnants of ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. Enduring security in ISIS-cleared areas now depends on governance and restoration of services. Turkey’s intervention into Syrian Kurdish-controlled Afrin risks pulling the sympathetic Kurdish components of the SDF away from the counterterrorism and stabilization efforts in Syria’s east in order to fight Turkey, a U.S. ally. With a rumbling Sunni insurgency in pockets of Syria’s heartland, Assad and his supporters continue to pummel Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus and threaten Idlib. They are unleashing both conventional and chemical weapons on the remnants of Syrian opposition fighters and indiscriminately targeting civilians. The Trump administration now is attempting to connect the outcome of these two wars. The Obama administration tried similarly but ultimately prioritized the counter-ISIS mission. The drivers of the Syrian civil war and the ISIS war are rooted in the same problem: bad governance. Thus, a sensible resolution of both wars must address Syria’s governance. However, squaring U.S. policy goals with current operations and resources the United States has employed in Syria will require a degree of calibration, stitching together several lines of effort, and committing additional U.S. and international resources. Orchestrating this level of U.S. effort has proven elusive over the last six years.
  • Topic: Civil War, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Civilians
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Syria
  • 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
  • Author: Olga Oliker
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Religious violence is surely as old as both faith and fighting themselves. In the Russian Federation, as elsewhere in the world, religious teachings and philosophies are used both to justify and combat violence. But what forms does this take, and with what implications for Russian society, Russian policy, and Russia's future? This volume examines the many ways in which religion and violence intersect in Russia, and offers recommendations for both policymakers and scholars as they chart paths forward. Presenting the results of original research by collaborative teams of Russian and western authors, it takes on topics from violent radical Islamic jihadism to religious propaganda employed by violent right-wing groups; from repression of religious communities to conflict within religious confessions. In each case, it offers not only new analysis, but prospective policy solutions to make Russia and Russians of all religions (and no religion) safer and more secure.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Violence, Repression, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Issue: Hezbollah and Iran have accumulated a substantial amount of weapons and fighters in Syria that pose a threat to the United States and its allies in the region. In response, Israel has conducted a growing number of strikes against Iranian, Hezbollah and other targets in Syria. An escalating war has the potential to cause significant economic damage, lead to high numbers of civilian casualties and internally displaced persons, and involve more countries in the region than did the 2006 Lebanon War. The stakes are high, making it critical for Washington to help prevent such an escalation.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Syrian War, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Shaan Shaikh, Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party and militant group with close ties to Iran and Syria’s Assad regime. It is the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor—aptly described as “a militia trained like an army and equipped like a state.”1 This is especially true with regard to its missile and rocket forces, which Hezbollah has arrayed against Israel in vast quantities. The party’s arsenal is comprised primarily of small, man-portable, unguided artillery rockets. Although these devices lack precision, their sheer number make them effective weapons of terror. According to Israeli sources, Hezbollah held around 15,000 rockets and missiles on the eve of the 2006 Lebanon War, firing nearly 4,000 at Israel over the 34-day conflict. Hezbollah has since expanded its rocket force, today estimated at 130,000 rounds.2 Hezbollah asserts that its rocket forces are primarily for deterrence—a means to retaliate against Israel in the event of conflict. In May 2006, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah explained “The purpose of our rockets is to deter Israel from attacking Lebanese civilians…The enemy fears that every time he confronts us, whenever there are victims in our ranks among Lebanese civilians, this will lead to a counter-barrage of our rockets, which he fears.”3 Indiscriminate rocket fire, particularly from small, easily transportable launchers makes the suppression of fire with airpower more challenging. This forces Israel to rely more heavily on ground forces in a conflict. Lacking any air force of its own, Hezbollah prefers ground wars in its own territory to bombardment from the skies. As Human Rights Watch notes, however, none of these arguments justifies targeting civilians under international law.4 The continued growth of Hezbollah’s missile and rocket forces is undesirable for several reasons. It may, for example, embolden the party to overstep Israeli red lines. Hezbollah’s push to acquire longer-ranged and precision-guided munitions could likewise spur Israel into preemptive action. Hezbollah’s weapons acquisition also raises the prospects for the proliferation of missile technology and know-how. According to Saudi and UAE officials, Hezbollah militants have worked with their Houthi forces in rocket development and launch divisions in Yemen.5 Hezbollah forces in Syria and Iraq similarly operate with various Shiite militias. Growing relations among these groups presents risks for the dissemination of missile technology and knowledge. The following is a summary compilation of Hezbollah’s missile and rocket arsenal. It is limited by the availability of public source information and does not cover certain topics such as rocket strategies, evolution, or storage locations. This brief instead focuses on the acquisition history, capabilities, and use of these forces.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Violent Extremism, Missile Defense, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The August 14 attack in London is the latest reminder that terrorism persists in the West more than a decade and a half after September 11, 2001. The United States continues to face a threat from right-wing, left-wing, and Islamic extremists, despite comments from some U.S. policymakers that terrorist groups have been defeated. Perhaps the most significant lesson from the London attack, however, is the resilience of the British public. They kept calm and carried on. The attacker was Salih Khater, a UK citizen from Birmingham who was in his late twenties. He drove a silver Ford Fiesta into a crowd of pedestrians and cyclists in London and then crashed it into a security barrier outside the Houses of Parliament. Eyewitness accounts were chilling. “I heard lots of screams and turned round,” remarked Barry Williams. “The car went on to the wrong side of the road to where cyclists were waiting at lights and ploughed into them.”1 The tactic—a vehicle used as a weapon—is all too familiar. Terrorists in the West have increasingly resorted to simple tactics, such as vehicles and knives, to kill civilians. Compared to previous incidents in the United Kingdom, Salih Khater’s August 14 attack was second-rate. He had been meandering around London for several hours, which suggests that the incident was not carefully planned. His tiny Ford Fiesta was no match for the barriers around the Houses of Parliament that are designed to stop attacks from 18-wheelers. And Khater failed to kill anyone, though he did injure several people. UK security agencies have conditioned their public to be prepared for plots and attacks. The United Kingdom’s recently-published counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, argues that the country faces a significant, multidimensional threat from terrorists. According to data from the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, there were more failed, foiled, and completed attacks in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the European Union in 2017.2 There were also more terrorist-related arrests in the UK in 2017 than in any previous year since 2001.3 Between December 2013 and May 2018, British intelligence and law enforcement agencies thwarted 25 plots from extreme Islamic groups.4 Most of these plots were inspired by the Islamic State and its ideology, rather than directed by Islamic State operatives.5 On March 22, 2017, for example, British-born Khalid Masood drove a sports utility vehicle into pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge in London, killing three people. Masood then took two carving knives out of his vehicle and stabbed police officer Keith Palmer, killing him outside of Parliament. On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi detonated an improvised explosive device in the foyer of Manchester Arena, killing 22 people; 10 of them were under 20 years old. On June 3, 2017, three men—Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba—drove a van into London Bridge, killing two people. They then jumped out of the van and killed six more people using large knives. On September 15, 2017, an 18-year old Iraqi asylum seeker named Ahmed Hassan detonated a bomb using triacetone triperoxide (TATP) on a District line train at Parsons Green Underground station in London. Thirty people were treated for burn and other injuries.6 Right-wing terrorism has also been on the rise in the United Kingdom. On June 19, 2017, Darren Osborne, a 47-year old British man, drove a van into Muslim worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque, London, killing one person.7 On June 23, 2017, Marek Zakrocki, a known supporter of the far-right party Britain First, drove a vehicle into an Indian restaurant in London, injuring several people. He was armed with a kitchen knife and a baton-torch, and he told police: “I’m going to kill a Muslim. I’m doing this for Britain. This is the way I am going to help the country. You people can’t do anything. I am going to do it my way because that is what I think is right.”8 While there have been relatively few terrorist attacks in the United States recently, the United Kingdom—and Europe more broadly—have faced a more severe threat. The number of jihadist-related terrorist attacks in the European Union peaked in 2017 with 33 failed, foiled, and completed attacks. This number was up from 13 in 2016, 17 in 2015, and 2 in 2014. The geographic distribution of attacks also expanded. European Union countries experiencing jihadist-related terrorism now includes such countries as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
  • Topic: National Security, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, England
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Right-wing extremism in the United States appears to be growing. The number of terrorist attacks by far-right perpetrators rose over the past decade, more than quadrupling between 2016 and 2017. The recent pipe bombs and the October 27, 2018, synagogue attack in Pittsburgh are symptomatic of this trend. U.S. federal and local agencies need to quickly double down to counter this threat. There has also been a rise in far-right attacks in Europe, jumping 43 percent between 2016 and 2017.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Domestic politics, Far Right
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Maxwell B. Markusen
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite hard-fought victories to retake Islamic State territory, there are three major signs that Islamic State militants are regrouping, taking advantage of ongoing instability, and refocusing their campaign against the Iraqi government.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Boris Toucas, Maxwell B. Markusen
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Europe faces a significant threat from terrorism, particularly from Islamic extremists and far-right groups. Europe’s challenges with terrorism have largely gone unnoticed in the United States, whose strategy documents like the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Strategy have shifted away from counterterrorism and toward competition with state competitors like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. In addition, Europe’s increasingly aggressive approach to terrorists—including prosecuting individuals for planning to travel abroad to join terrorist groups, censoring extremist Internet material, punishing Internet companies that fail to remove extremist material, and improving intelligence cooperation—have also largely gone unnoticed in the United States. This report takes a renewed look at Europe and compiles new data on the threat to Europe. It also examines the counterterrorism response by European governments, especially the United Kingdom and France.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Geoffrey P. Macdonald, Luke Waggoner
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The October suicide bombing in the heart of Tunis demonstrated the continued need for Tunisia’s government to refine and bolster its efforts to combat violent extremism. Yet, instability within the ruling coalition threatens to undermine much-needed reforms to Tunisia’s countering violent extremism (CVE) and counterterrorism (CT) strategies, which fail to address the underlying drivers of radicalization. The public’s rising expectations for economic and social progress following Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, which deposed Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s authoritarian government, have not been met. This has fostered disillusionment regarding democracy’s efficacy and has fed the rise of anti-establishment ideologies such as Islamic extremism. Only a stable governing coalition can develop CVE/CT polices that more effectively obstruct the path to radicalization and redress the persistent governance failures that inspire violent extremism.
  • Topic: Government, Reform, Violent Extremism, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: John Millock
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: ISIL recruited children through a variety of means, including abducting children from orphanages and hospitals, or offering to pay parents hundreds of dollars a month in exchange for each child’s attendance at military training. Additionally, child soldiers were often taken from particular ethnic groups or religious communities, such as Yazidis and Christians, as a means to terrorize these groups. Since the territorial collapse of ISIL began in 2017, many of these child soldiers have defected; some fled ISIL territory and are living anonymously in Europe while others returned to their home countries. Debates about how national legal systems should handle these former child soldiers have arisen in all of these jurisdictions. In Iraq, which has dealt with a particularly large number of former ISIL child soldiers, there have been concerns about the national justice system’s capacity to adequately address the prosecution and rehabilitation of ISIL’s former child soldiers.
  • Topic: United Nations, Law, Children, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Transitional Justice, Conflict, Criminal Justice
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Houssem Ben Lazreg, Phil Gursky
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Islamic State (IS) has demonstrated unprecedented capabilities in attracting foreign fighters, particularly from Western countries. Between 2011 and 2015, Western foreign fighters coming from North America, Europe, and Australia traveled to Iraq and Syria in order to join IS and the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra. As IS has been significantly weakened, authorities in many western countries are increasingly worried that returning fighters will come back to their home countries radicalized, battle hardened, and eager to commit terrorist attacks. This concern is clearly manifested in Phil Gursky’s book cover which features a striking image of a Belgian returnee from Syria, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who has been named by security officials as one of the architects of the attacks in Paris in 2015. ​ In Western Foreign Fighters: The Threat to Homeland and International Security, Phil Gursky, a former analyst at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, elaborates on the phenomenon of ‘Western Foreign Fighters.’ This book aims at addressing two fundamental issues: “why people leave their homeland to join terrorist groups?” and “do they pose a threat upon their prospective return?”[1] To answer those questions, Gurski relies not only on a detailed analysis of the excerpts and statements by the fighters recently engaged in violent extremism at home and overseas, but also on accounts that delineate historical parallels and differences with previous conflicts sharing similar dynamics. ​ Gurski divides his analysis into eight substantive chapters, an appendix, a glossary and a suggested reading list, using accessible, non-academic prose. He conducts the majority of his historical analysis in chapter three. His discussion of western volunteers—mainly Canadians and Americans—and their involvement in previous conflicts such as the Spanish Civil War and the Boers Wars provides informative and engaging insights, mostly for a general readership.[2] It also sets the stage for shedding light on why Westerners join terrorist groups like IS, and what threat they pose to homeland/international security. Obviously, these issues will be of most interest to intelligence officers, policy makers, scholars, and practitioners...
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Homeland Security, Book Review
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Illana M. Lancaster, Sahlim Charles Amambia, Felix Bivens, Munira Hamisi, Olivia Ogada, Gregory Ochieng Okumu, Nicholas Songora, Rehema Zaid
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: One-third of today’s generation of youth—those ages ten to twenty-four—live in fragile or conflicted countries and are susceptible to the sway of ideological narratives of violent extremism. Evidence suggests, however, that they also play active and valuable roles as agents of positive and constructive change. Part of a USIP portfolio that engages youth leaders as critical partners, this report documents an initiative undertaken in Kenya in 2017 and 2018 and explores its utility and effectiveness as an approach for youth-led peacebuilding in marginalized communities marked by violent extremism.
  • Topic: Education, Governance, Violent Extremism, Democracy, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa