• Syria

    “Syria could have been the Arab Spring at its best,” says Stanford University’s Russell Berman. “It became complicated, however, because propping up Assad was necessary for Iranian expansionist ambitions, and this amplified the problem of a Shia-versus-Sunni conflict. What’s more, Iran’s entry took place at a point in time when the Obama administration was eager to avoid any conflict with Tehran, so it could negotiate the nuclear deal. This gave Iran and Assad a free hand. In other words, success with Tehran meant bloodshed in Damascus.”

  • Homegrown terrorism

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) the other day released new data and analysis of 98 Islamist extremist plots and attacks in the United States over the past sixteen years. Among the key findings: the vast majority — a full 90 percent — of the plots and attacks were carried out by U.S. citizens or individuals living in the country with lawful permanent or temporary status.

  • Syria

    As Syrian president Bashar al-Assad prosecutes his 18th year in office, he is presenting himself as a secular leader in a sea of Islamist extremism and terror. But his record makes a mockery of that claim. However long he stays in office, he will forever be remembered a president who oversaw the devastation of his country and resorted to hideous attacks on civilians in order to remain in power. And as for Assad’s pretentions to secularism, the foundations of his government’s supposed ideology were cast away even before he succeeded his father as president.

  • Terrorism

    The Basque militant group ETA has announced it would disband and end its “political initiative” after a 60-year campaign for independence of the Basque region from Spain and France. Spanish officials, however, said they would keep pursuing ETA “terrorists.”

  • African security

    Moroccow on Tuesday cut diplomatic ties with Iran after Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita accused Iran and its Lebanese Shi’ite ally, Hezbollah, of training and arming fighters of the Polisario Front, a Western Sahara independence movement, with surface-to-air missiles since 2016.

  • Climate & conflict

    Over the last fifty years, climate change has not been the key driver of the human displacement or conflict in East Africa, rather it is politics and poverty, according to new research. “Terms such as climate migrants and climate wars have increasingly been used to describe displacement and conflict, however these terms imply that climate change is the main cause. Our research suggests that socio-political factors are the primary cause while climate change is a threat multiplier,” said one researcher.

  • ISIS

    Oil was never as important to ISIS terrorists as many thought, despite media reports of an oil-related income of as much as $28 million a week, according to a new study. This knowledge supports efforts to weaken terrorist organizations like ISIS, by first understanding how they are funded and how financially stable they are.

  • Radicalization

    “It is difficult to quantify the extent of Muslim youth radicalization in Britain. Also, we have to be clear about the definition of radicalization. Are we talking about people who are joining extremist organizations or those who just have extremist views? But I agree that there is definitely a general sense that things are not going well here” says an expert on radicalization. “There is no single factor that is driving the youth toward extremism. The issues of identity, alienation, peer pressure, search for a cause, frustration with modernity and acceptance of certain mythological aspects of the Muslim history are all contributing factors.”

  • Syria

    Attacks on health facilities and health workers in Syria are likely more common than previously reported, and local data collectors can help researchers more accurately to measure the extent and frequency of these attacks, according to a new study. The researchers found that in 2016 alone, there were more than 200 attacks on healthcare-related targets in four northern governorates of Syria, with 176 of the attacks targeting hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

  • Syria

    An overnight Israeli air strike destroyed more than 200 Iranian mid-range missiles which Iran stored at Syrian military bases near Hama. These missiles were more accurate, and were capable of carrying a bigger warhead, than other missiles available to Hezbollah and the Syrian military. The attack killed 26 military personnel, including 18 Iranian officers. Bashar-al-Assad’s victory in the civil war in Syria has opened the door for Iran, his main ally, to try and turn Syria into an Iranian forward military base against Israel.

  • Syria

    The Assad regime has issued a decree aiming to complete one of the largest ethnic cleansing campaigns since the end of the Second World War. The key to Assad’s plan is codifying in law the massive dispossession of millions of Syria’s Sunnis. Those who started the rebellion against Assad in 2011 were Sunnis inspired by the Arab Spring. To reduce the influence of Sunnis in Syria, the Assad regime killed about 420,000 Sunni civilians (the war’s 500,000 death toll includes about 80,000 combatants on all sides), and systematically destroyed the infrastructure of Sunni towns, villages, and neighborhoods, forcing more than 11 million Sunnis out of their homes (5.6 million Syrians have fled the country, and 6.1 million have been internally displaced). Assad’s latest decree is viewed as essentially the last step in the regime’s ethnic cleansing campaign.

  • Iraq

    Around 80,000 Iran-backed Shi’ite militia members are currently operating in Iraq, a U.S. military official said. “The effect of the Obama administration’s policy has been to replace American boots on the ground with the Iranians,” Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News. “As Iran advances, one anti-American actor is being replaced with another.”

  • Toronto van attack

    Like other Canadians, I was horrified upon learning of a van attack along Toronto’s famed Yonge Street this week. Struggling to make sense of it, my first question was: “Why?” As it turns out, the attack was possibly a disturbing reprise of a similar massacre, targeting mostly women and perceptively “sexually active” men in the California community of Isla Vista in May 2014.

  • Terrorism

    A Palestinian engineer whom Hamas claimed worked for them, was shot and killed by unknown assailants in Malaysia where he taught. Hamas, the terrorist organization that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip blamed Israel for killing Fadi al-Batsh, who was described by the terrorist group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, as a member of Hamas with “an honorable reputation in science.”

  • Terrorism

    Salah Abdeslam, the mastermind of the 13 November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, has been found guilty of attempted terrorist murder in a separate trial in Brussels, and sentenced to twenty years in prison. The Brussels trial revolved around the 15 March 2016 shootout in Brussels, which capped a 5-month search for Abdeslam. Abdeslam is to stand trial in France for his involvement in the attacks in Paris.

  • Extreme vetting

    In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. has tightened the vetting of immigrants and foreign travelers. The post-9/11 system has worked: From 2002 to 2016, the vetting system failed and permitted the entry of 1 radicalized terrorist for every 29 million visa or status approvals. Only 1 of the 13 post-9/11 vetting failures resulted in a deadly attack in the United States. Thus, the rate for deadly terrorists was 1 for every 379 million visa or status approvals from 2002 through 2016. During this same period, the chance of an American being killed in an attack committed by a terrorist who entered as a result of a vetting failure was 1 in 328 million per year.

  • ETA apology

    The Basque militant group ETA, which had conducted a four-decade campaign of violence and terrorism for the creation of an independent Basque state (the Basque region straddles the Spanish-French border), apologized to the victims of its violence. Over 800 people were killed by ETA during the conflict which officially ended in 2011. Victims of the group’s violence have rejected the apology.

  • Terrorism

    The face of terrorism in the United States has changed dramatically following 9/11. According to a report by the New America Foundation, every jihadist who has conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 2001 has come from inside the country, already having established citizenship or legal residency. DARPA has launched an ambitious new program called Modeling Adversarial Activity (MAA) which aims to transform the way national security organizations identify emerging threats.

  • Hate groups

    The staff of the German Bundestag have denied an entry card to a German soldier recruited by an opposition far-right parliamentarian. The soldier was suspected of being a member of a right-wing, nationalist network within the German military plotting to kill politicians supporting liberal immigration policies – and then blame Muslim immigrants for the killings.

  • Terror tunnels

    Following the discovery and destruction of the longest and deepest terror tunnel extending into Israeli territory, over the weekend, the IDF revealed a new “laboratory,” where it employs advanced technology to detect tunnels.