• Considered opinion: Early release of terrorists

    On Sunday, 20-year old Sudesh Amman, who had been released from prison on 22 January after being jailed for terror-related offense, stabbed two people in a south London store before being shot and killed by the police. Amman served less than half his three-year, four-month sentence for terrorism offenses. The security services had concerns about his behavior, including language that suggested he continued to hold extremist views, but he had to be released under current laws. Calls are growing for changing these laws.

  • Perspective

    On 9 October 2019, a terrorist motivated by anti-Semitic beliefs descended on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, where people were observing the Yom Kippur holiday. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Colin P. Clarke, and Matt Shear write that Baillet’s use of steel, wood and 3-D-printed plastic components to manufacture three weapons is an example of how violent nonstate actors (VNSAs) adopt new technologies. “As new technologies proliferate, there will invariably be individuals trying to figure out how to use these technologies to kill,” they write.

  • Terrorism

    The London police shot and killed a terrorist who stabbed two people in a store in south London store. The perpetrator was wearing a fake suicide vest. The attacker, identified as 20-year old Sudesh Amman, had been under surveillance by the British counterterrorism unit, and was from prison at the end of January after serving only half of a 3-year and four-month prison sentence for the “possession and distribution of extremist material.”

  • African security

    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the Pentagon does not intend to remove all its forces from Africa, amid concerns from allies that Washington could abandon the continent militarily while China and Russia “aggressively” look to increase their influence and as the extremist threat remains. Esper is carrying out a global troop review meant to find ways to free up more resources to address challenges from China’s military in Asia.

  • Perspective

    Islamic State fighters have staged a series of guerilla attacks in Iraq and Syria during a pause in American and British operations, experts have said. David Rose writes that “ISIS sleeper cells have stepped up ambushes and terror attacks in recent weeks, killing and wounding dozens of soldiers and civilians. The attacks have raised fears that the jihadi group could regroup and recover if western forces leave the region.”

  • Perspective

    A criminal gang operating out of Turkey has fueled one of West Africa’s deadliest conflicts by smuggling in vast amounts of high-powered pump action shotguns, a study by arm control experts has found. The gangsters have smuggled thousands of the weapons into Nigeria, where they have ended up being used in the escalating violence between nomadic herders and settled farmers in the country’s north and central belts. Weapons of the same specification have also turned up in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic.

  • Xenophobia

    Who — or what — is to blame for the xenophobia, political intolerance and radical political parties spreading through Germany and the rest of Europe? A new study shows a major factor is people’s proximity to former Nazi concentration camps.

  • African security

    Burkina Faso has been experiencing regular attacks led by armed terrorist groups from neighboring countries. Surrounded by six countries, it is the northern part bordering Mali and Niger – particularly the Soum province – that has been most affected. And the security situation is only getting worse. But now the country faces a new terrorist threat. Terrorist groups are also flourishing within its borders.

  • Terrorism

    In a series of bloody campaigns from 2014 to 2019, a multinational military coalition drove the Islamic State group, often known as ISIS, out of much of the Iraqi and Syrian territory that the strict militant theocracy had brutally governed. But the Pentagon and the United Nations both estimate that the group still has as many as 30,000 active insurgents in the region. Thousands more IS-aligned fighters are spread across Africa and Asia, from the scrublands of Mali and Niger to the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan, to the island jungles of the Philippines.

  • Extremism

    The director of Germany’s military intelligence service has confirmed that hundreds of new investigations were launched against soldiers with extremist right-wing leanings and associations. Germany’s elite Special Forces Command, with a disturbingly high number of cases, appears to be a particular hotbed. The director, however, said that there is no “shadow army” of extremists within the Bundeswehr plotting to topple the state authorities.

  • Radicalization

    The National Institute of Justice recently awarded nearly $1.5 million to START researchers for two new projects examining violent extremists’ radicalization, mobilization, and reintegration. Each project builds off the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) and associated datasets to educate law enforcement and criminal justice professionals, and provide them with strategies and best practices for terrorism prevention and extremist reintegration in their communities. 

  • Counterterrorism

    President Donald Trump has rescinded, reversed or otherwise ended many of former President Barack Obama’s signature policies – but not a prominent one. When it comes to fighting terrorism, the current commander-in-chief has upheld, and even extended, his predecessor’s linchpin strategy: using U.S. military special operations forces and targeted killings on a grand global scale.

  • Argument

    In mid-January the leaders of France, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mauritania met to discuss how to bolster counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region, where Islamist terrorist activity has been steadily increasing. The background for the summit meeting were reports that the United States was considering reducing its contribution to an involvement in that campaign against Islamist terrorism. “. For the people in the Sahel, a U.S. retreat would leave them even more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks. Simply put, an American withdrawal would be penny-wise, but pound-foolish,” Olivier Rémy-Bel writes.

  • Doomsday clock

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is now closer to midnight than ever in its history. The Bulletin cites worsening nuclear threat, lack of climate action, and rise of “cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns” in moving the clock hand. December 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, initially a six-page, black-and-white bulletin and later a magazine, created in anticipation that the atom bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.”

  • Extremism

    The German government has banned the neo-Nazi group Combat 18, and the German police conducted raids across Germany, after links were discovered connecting the group to the killing last June of pro-immigration politician from Angela Merkel’s conservative party. Combat 18 is the armed wing of the Blood & Honor neo-Nazi network which was founded in Britain in 1992 and established its German branch in 2000. Europol has warned that the network is getting stronger in more than a dozen European countries. The group chose the number “18” for its name because these numbers are the first and eighth letters in the alphabet —A and H— which are Adolf Hitler’s initials. The group’s motto is “Was Es braucht” (“What it takes”).

  • Argument

    The explosions from the recent U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have sent shock waves reverberating across the Middle East. David Baron and Nora Bensahel write that those same shocks should now be rippling through the American national security establishment too. “Regardless of what happens next, one thing is certain: The United States has now made it even more likely that American military and civilian leaders will be targeted by future U.S. foes,” they write.

  • Extremism

    In recent years, deadly white supremacist violence at houses of worship in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, and Poway demonstrated the clear line from violent hate speech and radicalization online to in-person violence. With perpetrators of violence taking inspiration from online forums, leveraging the anonymity and connectivity of the internet, and developing sophisticated strategies to spread their messages, the stakes couldn’t be higher in tackling online extremism. Researchers have developed the Redirect Method to counter white supremacist and jihadist activity online.

  • Perspective

    Does YouTube create extremists? It’s hard to argue that YouTube doesn’t play a role in radicalization, Chico Camargo writes. “In fact, maximizing watchtime is the whole point of YouTube’s algorithms, and this encourages video creators to fight for attention in any way possible.” Society must insist on using algorithm auditing, even though it is a difficult and costly process. “But it’s important, because the alternative is worse. If algorithms go unchecked and unregulated, we could see a gradual creep of conspiracy theorists and extremists into our media, and our attention controlled by whoever can produce the most profitable content.”

  • ISIS

    The governing coalition in Norway has lost its parliamentary majority after the far-right, populist Progress Party announced today (Monday) that it was leaving the government after the cabinet’s Friday decision to allow a Norwegian woman to return from Syria with her two young kids. One of the children requires medical treatment. The woman left for Syria in 2013 to marry an ISIS terrorists, and the children were born in Syria. The dilemma with which Norway has been grappling is reflected in other countries across Europe, which must decide whether or not to allow their citizens who left to join the fight in Syria or marry IS terrorists to return home.

  • African security

    U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) last week sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper concerning the possible troop reduction or complete withdrawal from the AFRICOM area of responsibility. “Africa is a continent full of potential, and this is the wrong time to withdraw U.S. troops serving to stabilize fragile regions of the continent, the senators write.