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  • Author: David Witty
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: More than a decade ago, the United States created the elite Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service to conduct, coordinate, and lead CT efforts within the country. The CTS generally thrived in this role, even as Iraqis viewed the group with suspicion owing to its secretive operations, forbidding look, and avoidance of publicity. Beginning in 2014, though, the service experienced a dramatic boost in popularity after spearheading the ouster of Islamic State forces from Iraqi territories. In this respect, the CTS far outshone other elements within the Iraqi security architecture. But the anti-IS effort entailed a vastly expanded role for the CTS, straining its capabilities, producing high casualties, and raising questions about how the group should position itself in a future Iraq. In this new study, David M. Witty examines prospects for the Counter Terrorism Service in Iraq's post–Islamic State landscape. Despite the group's impressive performance in recent campaigns, he argues that it should return to its CT focus and that Washington can help drive this by conditioning future aid on these terms. The high cost of not doing so could include stunting the healthy growth of other Iraqi security entities.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Daesh’s innovative and tailored use of social media has enabled the terrorist organization to lure and recruit disaffected young men and women on a global scale. Effective interventions to reduce the flow of foreign fighters to Daesh require a nuanced understanding of the organization’s recruitment strategies. This includes both the range of Daesh’s propaganda media (videos, online print materials, offline recruitment networks), and the material’s content.1 Such analysis is essential for policy-makers and community leaders who are on the frontlines of developing effective counter-narratives to Daesh’s insidious ideology.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Since its inception, Daesh has been successfully recruiting women across national and ideological lines to assume key positions in advancing the organization’s objectives. According to recent estimates, out of 31,000 fighters within Daesh territories, almost one-fifth, roughly 6,200, are women. Yet, to date, research and policy focus on women’s involvement in Daesh has been scant. Several media accounts that have covered female participation tend to be alarmingly reductionist in their description of the roles women play in Daesh. These reports primarily categorize women as either passive victims, “Jihadi brides,” or subsidiary supporters of male guardians with negligible influence. This approach not only ignores the multiplicity of roles played by women to expand Daesh’s ideological and operational agenda, but also oversimplifies the motivations behind their decisions to join Daesh. Just like their male counterparts, women are complex human beings with conflicting aspirations, ideological leanings, and life struggles that inform the choices they make.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The international community’s e orts have recently succeeded in reducing the sources of funding of many terror organizations in the Middle East. ISIS is one instance, where the military operations launched by a US- led global coalition since September 2014, have signi cantly reduced the terrorist group’s funds generated from oil sales and illicit trade and caused huge losses.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Three European states and Russia were hit by a flurry of six terrorist attacks over five consecutive days during this month of August. A primary driver of the attacks appears to be a desire to deal a series of strong blows to these states in response to the human and material losses suffered by ISIS in Iraq and Syria after it withdrew from Mosul City and retreated in Raqqa City. Similar attack patterns and targets as well as similar identities of the perpetrators of some attacks are what recent attacks appear to have in common. This indicates that the group is trying to adapt and de- velop its tactics, as revealed by investiga- tions into the August 17 Barcelona attack.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ellie Maruyama, Kelsey Hallahan
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Terrorist financing entails the raising and moving of funds intended for terrorist causes.1 The number and type of terrorist groups and the threats associated with them have changed over time, but the fundamental need for terrorists to raise, move, and use funds has remained constant.2 Terrorists have displayed adaptability and opportunism in meeting their financing needs, which vary but can be substantial.3 For example, al Qaeda relied on many sources of funding and its pre-9/11 annual budget was an estimated $30 million.4 The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), one of the best-funded terrorist organizations in modern history, approved a $2 billion budget for 2015
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera
  • Abstract: The 7 March 2016 attacks on Ben Gardane by Islamic State (IS) occurred in the context of growing upheaval in next-door Libya, internal government tension in Tunisia and challenges faced by Tunisia’s security apparatus after several armed attacks in the country during 2015. This policy brief examines the security, political and regional contexts of the Ben Gardane attack, the positive and negative aspects of the state’s response and addresses preventative measures the state is likely to take in the future.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Terrorism, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: Juan Zarate
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: Juan Zarate gives testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in the wake of the Brussels attacks
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Soufan Group
  • Abstract: The self-styled Islamic State is an accident of history, emerging from multiple social, political, and economic tensions in the Middle East and beyond. It has challenged the territorial divisions imposed on the region following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire by carving out for itself a large area of territory. But ultimately, its impact will flow as much from its challenge to established concepts of government, national sovereignty, and national identity.”
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Global Focus