• Extremism

    German government statistics show that in 2018 there were more than 24,000 active right-wing extremists in Germany, with about 12,500 of them considered capable of carrying out violent acts. The total number of these extremists is expected to increase in 2019 by as much as a third, to 32,200, according to government documents obtained by the newspaperTagesspiegel. On Tuesday, The German government unveiled broad new measures to restructure domestic intelligence and law enforcement agencies in 2020 in order to make the German intelligence and law enforcement services more capable to fight the rising threat of right-wing extremism.

  • Perspective: War in Afghanistan

    To accuse U.S. officials of deceit and duplicity in their dealings with the American people is a serious charge. Michael O’Hanlon writes that this is arguably what happened in Vietnam, to a large. Now, the Washington Post has accused U.S. officials of both parties and several recent administrations of a similar pattern of untruthfulness and deceit with regard to the American-led mission in Afghanistan since 2001. “Does this charge hold up?” O’Hanlom asks. His answer: “The short answer is no.”

  • Radicalization

    The deadly shooting by a Saudi national last week at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida has raised questions about radicalization in Saudi Arabia’s military ranks. According to the U.S. State Department, more than 5,500 temporary visas were issued to Saudi military personnel in 2019 alone. As of last week, 852 Saudi nationals were in the U.S. for Pentagon-sponsored training on security cooperation.

  • African security

    An attack Tuesday on a military base in west Niger left 71 dead and a score missing, according to a statement from the Niger Ministry of Defense. Jihadists have increased the frequency, scope, and boldness of their deadly attacks in the Sahel, particularly in Mali, Niger, and Burkina, despite the increased presence of French troops, now numbered around 4,500, who take part in the Barkhane operation, and the presence of more than 14,000 UN peacekeepers in the area.

  • Perspective: Deradicalization

    The question of how best to rehabilitate terrorists is becoming more acute: As Islamic State’s “caliphate” collapsed, hundreds of fighters and fellow travelers returned to European countries, including Britain – and jails in England and Wales house a churning population of hundreds convicted of terrorist offenses. Keeping terrorists behind bars for too short a time is risky – but so is keeping them for much longer periods. Either way, inmates must be released eventually, writes The Economist. “If extra years behind bars are poorly funded and structured, they ‘risk making bad people worse,’ says Nick Hardwick, an ex-boss of the parole board.”

  • Perspective: Deradicalization

    The architect of the U.K. government program for moving convicted terrorists from prison into the community says the current system lacks the “legitimacy and credibility” required to rehabilitate extremists safely. His assessment follows the attack at London Bridge by convicted terrorist Usman Khan, who was out on license from prison when he killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, and injured three others during a meeting of the Cambridge University rehabilitation initiative Learning Together on 29 November.

  • Perspective: Extremism

    Telegram, the online social networking, may not be as popular in the U.S. as Twitter or Facebook, but with more than 200 million users, it has a significant audience. And it is gaining popularity. ADL reports that Telegram has become a popular online gathering place for the international white supremacist community and other extremist groups who have been displaced or banned from more popular sites.

  • Argument

    Last Friday, Usman Khan, a 28-year-old British national who was released from prison on parole in December 2018 after serving eight years for terrorism offenses, killed two people a machete near London Bridge. Earlier in the day, at the same site, he had attended an alumni celebration event hosted by the organizers of Cambridge University’s Learning Together program, having been invited to share his experiences as a former prisoner.Simon Cottee writes that the question raised by Khan, who was killed by police as he fled the scene of his attack, is about redemption and whether it’s either right or prudent to give convicted terrorists a second chance. “I have some degree of sympathy for this view [that everyone should be given second chance], but it needs to be massively tempered with a keen sense of not just what is right but also what is prudent” he writes.

  • Terrorism

    Can prison rehabilitation programs work, and is it sensible to try and rehabilitate seriously radicalized individuals convicted on terrorism charges? These are questions not just for the U.K., in the wake of the second London Bridge attack over the weekend, but for the entire world.

  • Argument: Terrorists

    Usman Khan, a 28-year old terrorist who on Friday killed two people on the London Bridge before being killed by the police, served time in jail for “terrorist offenses” and was monitored by the British police. Ian Acheson, who, in 2016, at the request of then-Justice Minister Michael Gove, led a team of investigators who wrote a detailed and highly critical report about the way radicalized Islamist terrorists are managed in jail and after their release, writes: “What we found was so shockingly bad that I had to agree to the language in the original report being toned down. With hindsight, I’m not sure that was the right decision.”

  • Argument

    The newly released U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence specifically highlighted the problem of increasing terrorist attacks perpetrated by individual who are not affiliated with any organization and who are motivated by white nationalist propaganda readily available online. “Policymakers and practitioners need to find new and creative ways to undermine far-right ideology, breaking down its conspiracy theories and severing its ability to recruit new followers, including amongst returning servicemembers,” Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware write.

  • Extremism

    About one in four Europeans polled harbor pernicious and pervasive attitudes toward Jews, according to a new global survey on anti-Semitism commissioned by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League). While anti-Semitic attitudes held mostly steady in Western Europe, the poll found hateful notions about Jews are rising in Eastern and Central European countries polled.

  • Extremism

    On Monday, 25 November, the U.K. Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, published an article in The Times in which he describes Jeremy Corbin, the leader of the Labour Party – parliamentary election will be held 12 December – as “unfit for office” because of his inability, or unwillingness, to tackle the growing problem of anti-Semitism in the Party’s ranks. Today, 27 November, The Times’s editorial commented on the urgent and unprecedented intervention by the Chief Rabbi. This intervention “is the result of the Labour leader’s inability to comprehend his culpability for an institutional problem,” The Times writes.

  • Perspective

    Not all terrorism is created equal, Daniel Byman writes. “Some attacks are merely blips on the terrorism radar screen, grabbing headlines for a few days before life resumes as before. Other attacks, however, shake the world.” Over-reaction to an act of terrorism can have as many negative consequences as under-reaction, so leaders must avoid initiating dramatic policy shifts such as going to war or changing allies without thinking long and hard about the consequences of such shifts.

  • African security

    Thirteen French soldiers were killed Monday in a helicopter crash in Mali. The accident has drawn attention to France’s on-going involvement in counterterrorism operations in the Sahel region – a vast, arid, and largely unpopulated region south of the Sahara which covers an area the size of Europe and which has seen an alarming increase in Islamist terrorist activities.

  • Perspective

    Analysis of all mass murderers’ motivations, ideologies, and radicalization is crucial, but it has been neglected for offenders claiming to act in the name of Islam. However, a data-rich study by sociology professor Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a window into Islamist terrorist radicalization.

  • Perspective: Islamic State

    Three days after the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State released a short message, announcing the new “emir of the Muslims” as Caliph Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. Haroro J. Ingram and Craig Whiteside write that “The Islamic State’s leaders are confident the gambit will succeed because the replacement caliph was selected using a process first executed in 2006, and subsequently repeated in 2010 and again this year.”

  • Perspective: Extremism

    The number of Americans between the ages of 15 and 21 who saw extremist content online jumped by about 20 percent, to 70.2 percent from 58.3 percent, between 2013 and 2016, according to a new study. As more such material spills from the web to young people and into classrooms nationwide, educators increasingly find themselves under pressure to combat this new front of hate. Many educators say they feel ill-equipped to recognize what students absorb from the web, much less to address it.

  • Perspective

    Most Americans first noticed the Islamic State in 2014 – it was called ISIS then — but the group had been around in different forms for about a decade. Many of the group’s commanders and fighters were the same people who had fought U.S. troops under the name of al-Qaeda in Iraq. In the past year, its leader has died and it has lost the last of its territory, which at its peak was roughly the size of Britain. So what’s next?

  • Terrorism

    U.S. defense intelligence officials are offering a sobering assessment of the impact Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria — and corresponding moves by the U.S. and other powers — will have on efforts to destroy the Islamic State terror group.