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  • Author: Myriam Benraad
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last month, Kamal Hassan, a Somali-American living in Minnesota, pled guilty to training and fighting with al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia. In July, two other Somali-Americans in Minnesota pled guilty to similar charges, with the FBI continuing to investigate more than a dozen others who may have traveled from the United States to Somalia. The FBI also recently arrested seven individuals in North Carolina on terrorism-related charges, including one who had spent time in Afghan training camps. These and other recent events have raised new concerns in the United States about the threat of homegrown radicalization.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Washington, North Carolina
  • Author: Abdulkadir Onay
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Earlier this month, Europol -- the European Union law enforcement agency that handles criminal intelligence -- released its annual Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, part of which addresses the European criminal activities of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The release comes on the heels of a March 29 German report outlining considerable details about PKK activities in Germany. Although these reports help illustrate the extent of the group's European infrastructure, many European governments have still not taken serious steps to counter the threat, despite the PKK's presence on the EU's terrorism list.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Abdulkadir Onay
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On February 13, Frank Urbancic, deputy counterterrorism coordinator at the State Department, told CNN-Turk, "The PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] is like the mafia all over Europe." He added that in addition to its terrorist presence in Europe, the PKK has an "octopus-like structure carrying out criminal activity, including drug and people smuggling" to raise funds, as well as "fronts that provide cover to the organization's criminal and terror activities."
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Richard Barrett
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In early September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) -- the highest court in the European Union -- ruled that the EU's application of UN sanctions against Yasin Qadi and the al-Barakaat International Foundation infringed their basic rights, and declared the action illegal under EU law. Although the judgment applies only to these two parties, the ruling has far-reaching consequences, for not only the EU but also the entire UN system of targeted sanctions.
  • Topic: Terrorism, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Taliban
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On July 17, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell released declassified key judgments from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on "The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland." According to the NIE -- which represents the intelligence community's collective view on a given issue -- al-Qaeda still has both the capability and intent to conduct an attack inside the United States and will increase its efforts to place operatives in the country. Terrorists coming from Europe pose a particularly serious risk. Yet, in addition to remaining a major threat to the United States, al-Qaeda has made clear through recent statements and actions that it poses a serious threat to many U.S. allies as well -- and that its definition of success is no longer limited to an attack on U.S. soil.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: British police have been praised for their speedy and effective efforts in thwarting terrorist attacks this month in London and Glasgow, as well as for the arrest and subsequent prosecution of four men who attempted to bomb the London transport network on July 21, 2005. Today, those bombers were each sentenced to a minimum of forty years in prison. (Two alleged accomplices, on whose guilt the jury could not agree, face a retrial.) But details of the cases and official comments suggest that Britain's vulnerabilities to al-Qaeda-style terrorism remain acute and could lead to tension with the United States.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, London
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There are fast-moving developments in the British hunt for the terrorist cell that tried to set off two car bombs in central London on June 29. Two men were arrested after they tried to crash a vehicle loaded with flammable material into a Glasgow airport terminal on June 30. And a man and woman were arrested yesterday when their vehicle was stopped on the major highway between London and Scotland. Houses have been searched in several parts of Britain, and the number detained rose to eight today, including one in an undisclosed foreign country.
  • Topic: Government, Intelligence, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At an April 3 news conference in Tehran, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad unexpectedly announced the decision to release fifteen captured British marines and sailors. In a theatrical gesture that included assailing Western policy in the Middle East and accusing the British crew of entering Iranian waters, he pardoned the detainees to mark both the Prophet Muhammad's birthday on March 30 and what he reportedly called "Christian Passover." (In Farsi, "Pesah" means Passover and "Fash" means Easter. According to the Islamic Republic News Agency report of his remarks, the president used Pesah instead of Fash.)
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 23, at 10:30 a.m. local Iraqi time, fifteen British naval personnel were seized by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the northern Persian Gulf. The British personnel -- eight from the Royal Navy and seven from the Royal Marines -- were in two light craft returning to the frigate HMS Cornwall after successfully inspecting a merchant ship for goods being smuggled into Iraq. Iran has accused the personnel, who include one woman, of illegally entering Iranian territorial waters, and has threatened to put them on trial. The incident is a diplomatic and military embarrassment to Britain. Meanwhile, fears of escalation in the Gulf have contributed to a global surge in oil prices.
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Jacobsen
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the wake of the July 2005 terrorist subway and bus attacks in London and the disrupted terrorist plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes flying from Heathrow airport in August 2006, the British government recently launched a new strategy to combat terrorism financing. Ed Balls, Britain's economic secretary to Her Majesty's Treasury (HMT), said the strategy was designed to address "an enduring and continually changing terrorist menace to the [United Kingdom]." In Balls's view, financing is the "lifeblood" supporting the growing terrorist threat. Britain's ambitious and timely initiative is an important step forward. But broader European efforts to tackle terrorist financing -- particularly the efforts of the European Union (EU) -- still lack consistency and effect. Bureaucratic obstacles limit European efforts to designate terrorist entities and freeze their assets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, London
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The West at War focuses on both U.S. and European counterterrorism efforts from the September 11 attacks until June 2005, specifically the role of law enforcement and prosecutors in the United States and Europe. The 9-11 Commission's examination of the counterterrorism policies of Britain and especially Germany made clear that Europe did not posses the adequate tools to counter the terrorist threat prior to the September 11 attacks. Al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell produced the leaders of the September 11 hijacking teams. Prior to the September 11 attacks, German authorities were constrained by domestic factors that inhibited their ability to investigate terrorist organizations. While Europe's approach to terrorism suffered from many problems, there are also were some potential lessons for the United States. In particular, the experience of Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI-5 may have possible implications for strengthening the counterterrorism capabilities of U.S. authorities.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jeremy Shapiro, Telmo Baltazar
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the past ten years, the European Union's (EU) counterterrorism capabilities have changed dramatically. Two of the most evident changes have been the emergence of an increasingly unified European approach to terrorism and the virtual elimination of internal border controls on the Continent. As the EU begins to act decisively in the fight against terror, trans-Atlantic cooperation has become vital for mutual security.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sami al-Arians plea agreement, unsealed last week in Tampa, Florida, has been almost universally billed as a domestic counterterrorism victory. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to providing financial and material support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S. specially designated terrorist group, and agreed to be deported. He is one of a small but important number of U.S. deportees (out of approximately 200,000 annually) who have connections to international terrorism.Many in the United States will say good riddance to people like al-Arian, a sentiment shared by a substantial portion of Europeans whose governments are increasing their own efforts to send terrorist suspects back to their countries of origin. Since the July 7 London transit bombings, Britain has signed deportation agreements with Jordan, Libya, and Lebanon, and is negotiating a similar one with Algeria. Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands have all recently introduced or passed legislation that will facilitate deportation on national security grounds, while the French for their part wonder why other Western democracies have been so slow to catch on. France has been deporting terrorist suspects and other extremists for more than a decade, including more than a dozen radical imams in 2005 alone. American and European deportation policies differ in key areas. U.S. policy is aimed at lawbreakers generally, whereas Europe, because of its more ingrained challenge of domestic radicalism, targets extremist imams and other purveyors of jihadist ideology who can have a pervasive radicalizing effect on a community. Nevertheless, the same rationale underpins deportation on both sides of the Atlantic, and enthusiasm for the policy seems almost universal. Sending problem immigrants back to their native countries allows Western governments to deal with extremists outside the framework of domestic legal codes that remain woefully ill-equipped to address the threat of terrorism. Deportation minimizes the need to adopt draconian measures such as indefinite detention. It is counterterrorism on the cheap, and has become the policy of first choice for domestic law enforcement agencies that lack the personnel and resources to conduct adequate surveillance on all potential terrorists. But although deportation of terrorist suspects may be the most appealing of several bad policy options, it is by no means a perfect solution. Deportation is designed to displace the threat, but it may ultimately create a host of other challenges for the West in Muslim countries and ultimately on its own territory.
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, France, Libya, London, Palestine, Germany, Algeria, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands
  • Author: Michael Jacobson, Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The following is a preview of a forthcoming Washington Institute monograph focusing on U.S., British, and German counterterrorism efforts from September 11 to the London bombings, written by former Institute Soref fellow Michael Jacobson. Current Soref fellow Emily Hunt offers excerpts from Mr. Jacobson's timely book, along with commentary of her own. The London bombings served as an unpleasant reminder that Britain remains a primary target of the global Islamist terrorist movement. Michael Jacobson's forthcoming book on legal and law enforcement changes in the United States and Europe is particularly pertinent in light of such attacks. The following excerpts from his analysis challenge popular misperceptions about U.S. and European approaches to counterterrorism and highlight their common ground. They also shed light on the way in which the "security vs. civil liberties" debate is playing out on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, Poland
  • Author: David Makovsky, Elizabeth Young
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A key issue in the runup to January's Palestinian parliamentary elections is whether the radical Islamist party Hamas will be allowed to participate and under what conditions. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and foreign minister Silvan Shalom have insisted that the group disarm, disavow terror, and end its call for Israel's destruction before it is permitted to run in elections. Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has favored an unconditional acceptance of Hamas's electoral participation, believing that it could coopt Hamas within the Palestinian political fold. However, he said in a Washington Post interview published on September 11, 2005, "A political party plus a militia is unacceptable," but he did not elaborate specific plans that would prevent Hamas from participating in elections as both party and militia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Josef Joffe, R. James Woolsey
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although the current campaign against terrorism is just unfolding, America has actually been in the middle of a new "World War" of sorts for some time. In order to understand this war, one must answer three crucial questions: 1) With whom is the United States at war? 2) Why is America at war with these particular adversaries? 3) How should the United States conduct this war, both at home and abroad?
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As President George W. Bush completes his latest European trip — one highlighted by a symbolic Memorial Day speech in Normandy that underscored the link between America's past wars and the current war on terror — his European Union (EU) hosts have begun to implement a policy on terrorism that is fundamentally at odds with the "Bush Doctrine": namely, that those who support, fund, or abet terror are terrorists themselves.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America, Europe, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Josef Joffe
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On November 6, 2001, Josef Joffe addressed the Institute's Special Policy Forum about the many faces of European politics and policy in the context of September 11. Dr. Joffe, a special visiting fellow of The Washington Institute, is publisher-editor of the German weekly Die Zeit, and a contributing editor of Time (International). A frequent commentator on U.S., British, and German radio and television, his essays and reviews have appeared in such publications as Foreign Affairs, the National Interest, New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Commentary, New York Times Magazine, New Republic, and the Weekly Standard. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On Friday in Europe, Secretary of State Colin Powell is set to meet Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. Washington's relationship with the world's largest oil exporter has become strained for reasons more complicated than Crown Prince Abdullah's recent reluctance to meet President Bush at the White House, allegedly because of perceived U.S. bias toward Israel and against the Palestinians. Saudi diplomacy suffers a credibility problem because contradictory statements by top Saudi officials often leave diplomats guessing as to what is the real Saudi position.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Yossi Baidatz
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, a simmering debate between the two major power centers in domestic Lebanese politics has spilled into public view. This debate pits newly installed Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who represents those who want Lebanon to take advantage of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon to focus on internal stability, economic reconstruction and securing foreign investment, against Hizballah leader Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, who — with the support of Syria and Iran — champions maintaining Lebanon's role on the front line of the ongoing revolutionary resistance against Israel. This tension was described in the Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar as the choice between "Hanoi" (Nasrallah) and "Hong Kong" (Hariri). As with most Middle East crises, the development of this delicate and flammable dispute carries both risks and opportunities for Lebanon and other players on the Middle East scene.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, International Political Economy, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Hong Kong