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  • 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: Andrew Shearer, Michael J. Green
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the past few years, the Indian Ocean has emerged as a major center of geostrategic interest. The Pentagon's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) set the tone by calling for a more “integrated approach to the region across military and civilian organizations” and asking the rest of the U.S. government for an assessment of “U.S. national interests, objectives and force posture implications,” which the National Security Council is now undertaking in preparation for the next National Security Strategy report, expected in 2012. Key U.S. allies have also elevated the Indian Ocean in their strategic planning documents. Australia's 2009 Defence White Paper, for example, noted that “over the period to 2030, the Indian Ocean will join the Pacific Ocean in terms of its centrality to our maritime strategy and defence planning.” Japan's 2011 National Defense Policy Guidelines stipulated that “Japan will enhance cooperation with India and other countries that share common interests in ensuring the security of maritime navigation from Africa and the Middle East to East Asia.”
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, India, East Asia, Australia
  • Author: Ilan Berman
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of International Security Affairs
  • Institution: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  • Abstract: With the exception of a handful of capitals friendly to Tehran, and of course the Iranian regime itself, few now dispute the notion that the Islamic Republic of Iran is involved in a nuclear weapons program—and one that will, unfortunately, come to fruition in the next few years. News of Iran's seemingly-unstoppable drive for nuclear status is no real surprise, of course; despite four UN Security Council Resolutions condemning Iran and imposing punitive economic sanctions, Tehran continues to enrich uranium for those weapons virtually unhindered.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Political Violence, Islam, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East