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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: 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
  • 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: 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: 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: 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