• Terrorism

    A French court found Carlos the Jackal – the Venezuelan-born Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, a leftist urban terrorist who carried out terrorist attacks in France in the 1970s and 1980s – guilty of killing two and injuring thirty-four in a 1974 grenade attack on a Paris drugstore. Sánchez, who is already serving two life sentences for a 1975 terrorist attack, was at one time one of the world’s most wanted criminals. Sometime in the mid-1980s he escaped to Khartoum, Sudan, and led a quiet life until 1994, when French special forces, in a daring commando raid, captured him and brought him back to France.

  • Terrorism

    The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has acquired new, more powerful rockets that could severely threaten Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip. The rockets carry hundreds of kilograms of explosive material and have a short range of a few kilometers, similar to the range of mortar shells, according to an assessment by the Israeli military. While the Iron Dome anti-missile system can shoot down short-range projectiles, it is not as effective against mortar shells and rockets with more limited ranges.

  • Encryption

    A battle between national security and privacy is brewing. Governments and secret services are asking encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp to allow them access to users’ data, arguing that access to messages will allow authorities to thwart future terror attacks. Ultimately, though, if someone thinks that removing WhatsApp encryption would be the solution to the problem of terrorism or crime, then they don’t understand the actual problem. Even if you were to remove the end-to-end encryption from WhatsApp, criminals could create their own, similar, software that would allow them to communicate securely, while ordinary users would lose the ability to send genuinely private messages.

  • 9/11 & Saudi Arabia

    Last year Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), opening the door for families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and insurance companies to take Saudi Arabia to court for the role Saudi government officials may have played in the attack. The Manhattan federal courts will next year issue rulings which will indicate whether JASTA was a symbolic gesture – or a move which has reshaped the legal landscape.

  • London attack

    In the wake of the 22 March terrorist attack in London, the only certainty, unfortunately, is that this attack will not be the last such attack in the West. As IS loses ground in Iraq and Syria, it will do all it can to retain an ability to strike in the West. While their key aim is to inspire attacks like those in Paris and Brussels, they will be increasingly difficult to conduct. This is due both to its dwindling resources and the increasing readiness of European security agencies who will be learning from recent attacks. Lone actors, while rare, will continue offer IS a cost-free method of attack. Meanwhile, virtual entrepreneurs will be doing all they can to help their Western contacts plot and execute mass killings from afar.

  • Muslim surveillance

    The second of two federal judges has approved a settlement with the New York City Police Department that protects New York Muslims and others from discriminatory and unjustified surveillance. The new rules govern when and how investigations are conducted, and provide for an independent civilian representative inside the NYPD who will act as a check against surveillance abuses.

  • Westminster terrorist attack

    The Westminster attacker was identified as Khalid Masood, a Britain-born Muslim with a history of petty crimes who had previously been investigated by MI5 for ties to extremist organizations, Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons. May said the probe took place several years ago, and that the suspect was not “part of the current intelligence picture.” “The police have no reason to believe there are imminent further attacks on the public,” she told MPs.

  • Terrorist threats

    The Israeli police, acting on a request by the FBI, has arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man on suspicion of making dozens of threats against Jewish organizations in the United States, and against airlines in the United States and other countries. The unnamed teen, who has a dual Israeli and U.S. citizenship, lives in the southern sea-side city of Ashkelon. The arrest was made after several waves of threats in the past two months against Jewish community centers (JCCs) and other Jewish organizations. The teen used advanced technology in an effort to mask the source of his calls and communications to synagogues, community centers, and public venues.

  • Middle East

    In case of a future war with the Islamist terrorist groups Hamas or Hezbollah, Israel would completely evacuate its border communities — up to 250,000 people in either case — to lower the threat level, news reports say. These evacuations, coordinated with local municipalities to keep civilians safe, would be the biggest in Israeli history.

  • The Troubles & the transformation

    Martin McGuinness, 66, died on 21 March 2017. He suffered from amyloidosis, a rare disease which attacks the body’s vital organs. In 1998, Martin McGuinness, a former commander in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), joined Reverend Ian Paisley, the firebrand Protestant leader, to support and implement the Good Friday Agreement, which brought power sharing to the governing of Northern Ireland. Many nationalists accused Paisley of instigating the Troubles by orchestrating opposition to the civil rights movement. Many unionists refused to forgive McGuinness’s role in IRA violence. For victims of violence on either side of the conflict, the focus on the past is understandable, and it is also true that there were voices on both sides of the divide who, from the outset, consistently argued for a more peaceful way toward change in Northern Ireland. Ultimately, however, figures such as McGuinness and Paisley both helped lead more intransigent minds down that political path. As long as future generations are prepared to continue with the same endeavor, the most enduring legacy of the former firebrand preacher and the former IRA commander will be a peaceful, just, and democratic settlement in Ireland.

  • Terrorism

    A terrorist drove his car into a group of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, and after his car crashed into a security railing, ran into the House of Parliaments wielding a big knife. He stabbed one security guard just inside the main gate to Westminster Palace before being shot and killed by the police. More than a dozen pedestrians were injured on the bridge, some seriously, and at least one woman was killed. The House of Parliament and House of Lords are under lock-down, and members of both houses were instructed to stay indoors.

  • Terrorism

    A new study takes a detailed, in-depth look at Islamism-inspired terrorism convictions and suicide attacks in the United Kingdom between 1998 and 2015, focusing on the offenders’ backgrounds and their activities as well as offense-specified data. The study finds that the threat to the United Kingdom remains from “home-grown” terrorism, and is heavily youth- and male-oriented, with British nationals prevalent among offenders. Although small, women’s involvement nearly trebled in recent years and is typically supportive of men involved in terrorist activity with whom they have a family or personal relationship. Analysis of offenders’ residence shows the primacy of London- and Birmingham-based individuals as well as higher than average relative deprivation and Muslim population at neighborhood level.

  • Aviation

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has instructed airlines to block passengers traveling to the United States from ten airports in eight Muslim-majority countries from bringing laptops, iPads, Kindles, and cameras on board. Passengers boarding U.S.-bound planes at these airports – located in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — will no longer be allowed to carry with them into the cabin any electronic or electrical device larger than a cellphone. All electronic and electric devices, with the exception of cellphones, will have to be checked.

  • Aviation

    The decision by DHS to ban passengers, boarding U.S.-bound planes at ten airports in eight Muslim-majority countries, from carrying in electric or electronic devices larger than a cellphone into the cabin, is criticized by technology experts who say the new rules appear to be at odds with basic computer science. Another line of criticism suggests that the ban may have less to do with security and more to do with the Trump’s administration’s plan to play hard ball with countries subsidizing major industries in order to gain a competitive advantage over U.S. companies.

  • Hezbollah

    The Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah is attempting to acquire game-changing weapons in anticipation of launching another war against Israel, a former Israeli security chief told reporters on Monday. Referring to the two earlier rounds of war between Israel and Hezbollah – in 1996 and 2006 — Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel said: “The third war between Israel and Hezbollah is only a question of time,” he observed, “but it’s not connected to what’s going in Syria today.”

  • Terrorism

    On Friday, the militant separatist group ETA has announced that, by early next month, it will completely disarm, and that from that point forward it will pursue its goal of an independent or autonomous Basque region by political means. Friday’s announcement comes six years after ETA renounced the use of violence. ETA was formed in 1959, and, in 1968, launched a campaign of violence against the Spanish state. ETA’s terror campaign, which ended in 2011, killed 829 Spanish politicians, policeman, military personnel, judges – but also a number of innocent bystanders – in bombings and shootings.

  • Missile defense

    Israel’s Arrow-3 system successfully intercepted a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was shot at Israeli jets conducting a mission in Syria on Thursday night, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. It is the first time that the Arrow-3 system is known to have been used operationally.

  • Travel ban

    Two internal government reports appear to weaken the case the Trump administration has been making for the temporary travel ban. The implementation of the second version of the ban has been halted by judges in Hawaii and Maryland. The first report, prepared by DHS, found that most of the suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists probably became radicalized after they arrived in the United States, not before. The second report, based on data collected by the FBI, shows that most of the suspected or confirmed foreign-born terrorists had come from countries not among the six countries to which the travel ban would apply. The data in the two reports “points to the central question about the travel ban, which is, are you addressing the issues you need to address when it comes to the threat?” says one expert.

  • Travel ban

    Research of various measures to restrict immigration — a policy response common for countries that have experienced terrorist attacks in the past — has pointed to unintended long-term consequences of similar controls on immigration. “Some recent research shows that umbrella restrictions on migration control can backfire,” says one researcher. “Instead of mitigating radicalization, these restrictions tend to have blowback effects. Insofar as the ban against a set of states is an umbrella ban, it’s likely to have the same unintended negative effects.”

  • Syria

    The strategy of using people’s need for healthcare against them by violently denying access sets a dangerous precedent that the global health community must urgently address, researchers say. As new estimates of death toll for health workers are published, experts say the deliberate and systematic attacks on the healthcare infrastructure in Syria – primarily by government forces – expose shortcomings in international responses to health needs in conflict.