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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
  • Author: Spiros Bamiatzis
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Europe, and most importantly, Western Europe has become a fertile ground for ISIS recruits. Western Muslim Europeans have been making the trip to Syria and Iraq, filling in the ranks of ISIS, and back. Western intelligence agencies are faced with multiple challenges: what is the level of threat those war hardened returned fighters represent to public safety? Can these returned jihadists become de- radicalized and re-enter the society, without killing anybody that does not agree with their ideology? The purpose of this study is to present to counter-terrorism policy makers, the reasons Western European Muslims born and converted become radicalized, by presenting the psychological factors that contribute to the radicalization of the Western European Youth, towards jihadism. Furthermore, by using the Freudian splitting of the Id, the Ego, and the Superego, it examines how Muslim extremists using tenants of the Muslim faith are influencing the psychic of the youth toward radicalization, as the only true expression of the Muslim faith. This study also examines, how fundamentalism impacts the minds of “believers” and castigates everybody else that is considered a “non-believer”, while influencing the path of a young mind towards his or her becoming the defender of the Ummah, or the Muslim community at large. Finally, what lessons security agencies can learn and apply towards, before a youth becomes radicalized and then jihadist and makes the trip to ISIS fold, and after the return of the well grown jihadist by now, back to European society.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Adel Bakawan
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Iraqi Kurdistan, previously known as a secure and stable region amidst the chaotic and shaken Middle East, was struck by a wave of attacks in 2016. Between September and December of that year, there were five recorded terrorist operations led by 249 Kurdish jihadists rallied by the Islamic State (ISIS) or Daesh, of which 47 were killed and 43 were arrested by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). In fact, Iraqi Kurdistan, with a population of five million inhabitants, has supplied ISIS with 2,000 jihadists. Since the launch of the Mosul offensive on 17th October 2016, Kurdistan has been preparing itself, like many other countries in the region and a number of European countries, to face its worst nightmare: the Kurdish jihadists’ return to the country. Although a series of threats weigh upon the leaders of the KRG, such as social and economic crises, political division between rival parties; Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the prospect of a new civil war, and the intervention of neighbouring countries – the return of the Kurds of Daesh is currently the most troublesome.
  • Topic: Terrorism, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Boaz Ganor, Bruce Hoffman, Marlene Mazel, Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although terror attacks conducted by individuals are not a new phenomenon, recent years have seen an alarming increase in these "lone-wolf" incidents. The Islamic State, for instance, has been proactive in using its global tentacles to conscript individuals to carry out attacks in its name. Meanwhile, in Israel, solo operators unaffiliated with organized terror groups have taken to carrying out attacks with the weapons at hand—cars, knives, homemade. The question we face is whether such attacks indicate a growing trend or are simply another passing fad in the annals of terrorist activity.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: 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
  • Author: Jacques Bertrand, Jessica Doedirgo
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Although the January 2016 Sarinah mall attacks in Jakarta demonstrate the need for continued vigilance, this paper argues that Islamic extremism and fundamentalism are not on the rise in Indonesia. In fact, Islamic extremism in Indonesia reached its height in the early 2000s, with radicalized groups participating in religious conflicts in Eastern Indonesia and carrying out large-scale terrorist attacks, such as the bombings in Bali in 2002. Since then, the capacity of the security apparatus has markedly improved, leading to the crippling of terrorist networks. Today, the majority of Islamists engage in above-ground non-violent activities and pose little threat to the country’s stability. This paper views fundamentalism and extremism as symptoms of broader problems in Indonesia, and argues that addressing these issues should help to further reduce the problems of religious fundamentalism and extremism.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Sectarian violence, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Bali