• SyriaCIA ends its program supporting anti-Assad Syrian rebels

    The Trump administration has pulled the plug on the largely ineffective CIA’s covert program to equip and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. The move will strengthen the regional position and influence of Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah – and would worry U.S. allies in the region such as Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. Analysts say that the move was inevitable, and that the Obama administration was about to make the same decision.

  • SyriaFormer Israeli security chief: Iranian land corridor, bases in Syria biggest threats to Israel

    Iran’s efforts to build a “direct corridor” from Baghdad to the Mediterranean Sea and further entrench itself militarily in Syria are two of Israel’s most pressing concerns, Israel’s former national security adviser said. The corridor, referred to as a “Shiite crescent” by Jordan’s King Abdullah, would place Israel’s borders in “direct connection to Iran—a long line but still very easy to move forces, capabilities and everything that the Iranians will want to build around Israel,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said.

  • Terrorists & lie detectorsTerror informants in U.K. will now take lie detector tests

    The British intelligence and law enforcement agencies have begun subjecting informants to lie detection tests in an effort to improve the quality of information on terror suspects and plots. The use of lie detectors to verify the information provided by paid and unpaid sources of information has been implemented at the insistence of the Scotland Yard. It was taken after the police and counterterrorism officials began to suspect that some of the information provided by informants was, in fact, misinformation.

  • Iran nukesGerman intelligence: Iran still seeking illicit nuclear technology

    Reports from German intelligence agencies show that Iran is still attempt to procure illicit technology, including parts for the operation of its heavy water reactor, which was shuttered under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. Three German citizens were charged with violating export bans for sending 51 specialized valves to Iran. The parts can be used in Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor, which “can be used to develop plutonium for nuclear weapons” and was shut down as part of the nuclear deal.

  • Non-state actorsIs it ever a good idea to arm violent nonstate actors?

    By Patricia Sullivan

    In May, President Donald Trump authorized a plan to arm the YPG, a Kurdish militia in Syria. A month later, the YPG and their Arab partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces began the fight to take the Syrian city of Raqqa back from the Islamic State. Is the Pentagon right that the benefits of arming the YPG outweigh the risks? Is it ever a good idea to increase the lethality of violent nonstate actors? My own research suggests that the arms and ammunition supplied to a combatant in wartime can perpetuate a state of insecurity in the region long after the war has officially ended. A recent study concludes that security force assistance can achieve some limited goals, but only if states make aid conditional and intrusively monitor recipients. The reality is the conditions under which the U.S. trains, equips and advises armed opposition groups are seldom conducive to either.

  • RadicalizationSaudi Arabia exports Islamic extremism to many countries: Experts

    A British study has found that Saudi Arabia plays a key role in the radicalization of Muslims. “The findings do not surprise me at all,” says an academic authority on Islam. “It has long been known that Saudi Arabia has been exporting Wahhabist ideology - largely similar to the ideology of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS). Propaganda material and organizational expertise are being sent along with money. People are being hired to build mosques, educational institutions, cultural centers and similar organizations, so that Wahhabist theology can reach the public – with great success.”

  • Urban warfareIsrael to buy urban warfare drones meant to minimize casualties

    The Israeli military is purchasing an unspecified number of small, multi-rotor drones that can be armed and have sufficient mobility to perform well in urban combat situations. The TIKAD drone is made by Duke Robotics, a Florida-based company that was co-founded by Lt. Col. Raziel “Razi” Atuar, a 20-year IDF veteran.

  • ISISSexual violence against the Yezidis is part of IS’s genocide campaign

    By Aldo Zammit Borda

    Among the many atrocities Islamic State (IS) has committed, their violence against the Yezidis, a small religious minority in Iraq and Syria, can be classed as genocide. They have subjected the Yezidis to killing, serious bodily or mental harm, and the infliction of conditions calculated to bring about their physical destruction. The crimes against Yezidi women, especially, have the potential to permanently destroy a population’s capacity to rebuild itself as a stable and active group. Familial relationships break down and the victims of these crimes become ostracized, and are unable to marry or have children. It is something that the perpetrators of genocide have known for centuries. A group can be destroyed – if you also destroy their ability to reproduce.

  • Funding terrorismIslamist extremism in the U.K. strengthened by foreign funding

    The authors of a new report say it highlights the need for a public inquiry into the foreign-based funding of Islamist extremism. The report covers a growing body of evidence on the considerable impact that foreign funding has had on advancing Islamist extremism in Britain and other Western countries. The foreign funding for Islamist extremism in Britain primarily comes from governments and government linked foundations based in the Gulf, as well as Iran.

  • Terrorism & media coverageTerror attacks in U.S. receive five times more media coverage if perpetrator is Muslim: Study

    The U.S. media covers terror attacks in the United States carried out by Muslims more than five times as much as the coverage by the same media of terrorist attacks carried out by non-Muslims, a new study finds. The researchers analyzed the coverage of all terrorist attacks in the United States between 2011 and 2015, and found there was a 449 percent increase in media coverage when the perpetrator was Muslim relative to acts of terrorism perpetrated by non-Muslims. Muslims committed 12.4 percent of terrorist attacks in the United States between 2011 and 2015 — but received 41.4 percent of news coverage.

  • IEDsAddressing the threat of vehicle-borne IEDs

    In July of 2016, a refrigerator truck packed with explosives detonated next to a crowded apartment block in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood. The blast killed 323 people and was one of the worst Vehicle–Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED also known as car bombs) attacks ever recorded. On 30 May 2017, a VBIED in a tanker truck ripped through the embassy quarter of Kabul, killing more than 150 people. DHS S&T has taken measures to address this threat directly.

  • CybersecurityShin Bet chief: Israel successfully combating cyber-terror, “lone wolf” attacks

    The head of Israel’s internal security service has revealed that Israel is successfully fighting back against cyberterrorism and prevented thousands of potential so-called “lone wolf” attacks with the aid of technology. The Shin Bet head revealed that Israel used technological and intelligence methods to identify and prevent over 2,000 potential “lone wolf” attacks since the beginning of 2016.

  • AviationU.S. imposes enhanced security measures on U.S.-bound flights from 105 countries

    The United States will impose tough new security measures on all international flights bound for the United States. DHS officials said 280 airports in 105 countries would be affected by the tightened security, affecting around 2,000 flights a day. Airlines have been warned that a failure to comply with these enhanced security measures would carry consequences, including banning laptops altogether on the airlines’ U.S.-bound flights.

  • SyriaU.S. warns Assad over planned chemical attack

    The United States has charged that the Assad regime was preparing to launch another large-scale chemical weapons attack on Sunni Syrians — warning that the Syrian regime would “pay a heavy price” if it went ahead with the attack. The White House, in a statement released late Monday, said that the United States had noticed Syrian military preparations similar to those the Syrian military had undertaken ahead of the 4 April chemical attack which killed eighty-seven Syrian civilians.

  • SurveillanceGrowing opposition in Germany to new surveillance measures

    In the aftermath of the Christmas 2016 market attacks in Berlin last December, the German government written several sweeping surveillance and data retention laws, which were narrowly passed by the Bundestag. Many of these laws will go into effect 1 July. Civil libertarians, opposition parties, and some security experts have criticized the new powers as diminishing privacy without adding much to security. These politicians and NGOs say that a spate of security measures just go too far.