Terrorism and counterterrorism

  • TerrorismEvaluating English-language jihadist magazine “Inspire”

    In a recent in-depth analysis of Inspire magazine, researchers applied the information, motivation, and behavioral skills model (IMB) of behavior change, an empirically tested and widely applied model, and found that the online English-language jihadist publication created in Yemen used religious arguments, terroristic propaganda, and quotes from prominent American figures as tools to radicalize and recruit Western terrorists and promote a do-it-yourself approach to terrorism.

  • TerrorismPeace in the Philippines, but what next for the MILF?

    By Alexandra Phelan

    Late last month, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) insurgency and the Philippines government signed a landmark peace settlement, signaling the end of a decades-old conflict. After seventeen years of on-and-off negotiations, the two parties finally signed a settlement based on the Framework Agreement developed in 2012. While the agreement is a significant political achievement for Philippines president Benigno Aquino as it essentially marks the end of combat between the insurgency and government forces, a challenging road lies ahead in achieving overall peace in the Philippines.

  • Terrorism insuranceExtending terrorism insurance would save U.S. government money after future attacks

    In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, terrorism risk insurance quickly became either unavailable or very expensive. Congress reacted by passing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which provides an assurance of government support after a catastrophic attack. This has helped keep terrorism risk insurance affordable for businesses. The program will expire at the end of this year and Congress is considering the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets.

  • Chem-bio threatsIdentifying the most likely non-state chem-bio threats

    New research finds that Jihadists pose the most likely chem-bio threat, but other actors also featured as top threats. Jihadist actors occupied seven of the top 10 spots in a qualitative analysis; nine of the top 10 in a quantitative analysis; and half of the top 10 in an elicitation analysis.

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  • TerrorismRussia declined to share with the FBI all it knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev

    A report by the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community – which comprises seventeen different intelligence agencies — and the inspectors general from DHS and the CIA, says the Russian government did not provide the FBI with information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. The FBI says that a more detailed information from Russia would likely have resulted in a more thorough examination of him two years before the attack.

  • TerrorismEuropean, American jihadists training in Syria are the next major threat to the West

    Islamic militants who travel back and forth between their home countries and Syria may be the next major threat to the West. Some al-Qaeda leaders have been leaving their posts in Pakistan and Afghanistan to go to Syria, with plans to help train the next generation of jihadis. During the 1990s, al-Qaeda used unstable regions in Afghanistan as a training ground for Islamist militants. Getting into Afghanistan was difficult, however, while gaining entry into Syria and then joining a rebel camp is easy due to Syria’s porous borders with Turkey and Lebanon and the decentralized nature of Syrian opposition groups.

  • Chemical plant securityChemical plant security measure moves forward in the House

    The House Homeland Security Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee are making progress on legislation meant to extend DHS’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standardsprogram, which helps secure commercial chemical plants from terrorist attacks. Several attempts by the House Homeland Security Committee to extend the program have failed due to disagreements with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which also oversees the matter.

  • TerrorismFederal judge: terrorism victims may seize Iranian-owned $500 million mid-Manhattan tower

    Federal Judge Katherine Forrest on Friday ruled that the Iranian companies which own the 650 Fifth Avenue building in Manhattan must forfeit the property – evaluated between $500 and $700 million — to victims of terrorism who hold billions of dollars in judgments against Iran. The claimants include families who lost relatives in the 9/11 attacks and the 1983 Beirut bombing, in both of which Iran was implicated. The Iranian owners have vowed to appeal, but legal experts say the building assets could possibly be distributed while the challenge is pending.

  • TerrorismHundreds of Britons are terror-training in Syria, making attack on U.K. “inevitable”

    Thousands of foreign fighters, including hundreds of Britons, are now in Syria, fighting with rebel forces against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Security experts say that the danger faced by Britain and other countries from jihadist fighters returning from Syria is “unprecedented,” and that a terror attack on British soil by one or more British Muslims returning from Syria is “inevitable.” “All the reports I have seen suggest that it is becoming increasingly acute,” said Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counterterrorism coordinator. “National budgets devoted to counter-terrorism are declining across the EU. Yet the threat that we face is becoming more diverse, more diffuse, and more unpredictable.”

  • Food terrorismFood-related disease outbreaks can teach us about the consequence of food terrorism

    Since unintentional food-related outbreaks have become so common, policy makers could use data from unintended foodborne disease outbreaks to estimate the effects of intended foodborne disease outbreaks. The impact on trade and economies is the primary motive for food terrorism, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but beyond the financial loss, such intended foodborne disease outbreaks may even impact political stability.

  • Muslim BrotherhoodU.K. launches investigation of Muslim Brotherhood in London

    The U.K. government has launched an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood to determine whether the organization is using London as a base for planning extremist attacks after the Egyptian military has cracked down on the Islamist movement, and Egyptian courts have outlawed it. While the British government has cracked down on what it regards as terrorist and extremist organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood had not been regarded as such, especially after it had won the parliamentary elections in Egypt in December 2011 and the presidential elections in June 2012, which made Muhammad Morsi the president of Egypt.

  • TerrorismFrance's new approach to preventing French Muslims from going to fight in Syria

    French authorities reported in January 2014 that roughly 700 French residents had traveled to Syria to join in the fight against Syrian forces. The travel of French pro-jihadists to Syria exceeds the number of Europeans who left to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. France will soon adopt preventative measures, currently practiced in Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands, to stop minority youths from pursuing jihad in Syria. The new approach will encourage local law enforcement, schools, and community leaders to help identify at-risk youths before radicalization begins and advances, then introduce the youths to local prevention centers.

  • TerrorismU.K. prisons serve as recruitment centers for jihadi causes

    A recent report details the growing population of Muslims in British jails, many of whom are declared Islamic extremists. Top-security prison Whitemoor, home to many extremists serving life sentences for plotting acts of terror in the United Kingdom, is considered a recruitment center for al-Qaeda, according to prison inspectors. Roughly 42 percent of prisoners at Whitemoor are Muslims, a stark contrast to the overall U.K. population in which only 5 percent practice Islam.In all, there are 11,729 Muslims in British jails, about one in seven of all inmates.

  • Dirty bombPossibility of “dirty bombs” a major terrorism threat

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned that there were 140 cases of missing or unauthorized nuclear and radioactive material in 2013 — a pressing reminder that the possibility of possession of nuclear materials by terrorist organizations is both real and current.

  • Boston marathonReport critical of intelligence, law enforcement Boston Marathon information sharing

    A 37-page report released by the House Committee on Homeland Security, asserts that the FBI and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) all failed properly to coordinate and investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the years before his involvement in the deadly bombing attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013. “There were opportunities in which greater sharing of information might have altered the course of events, the report goes on to say, “Such failures must not be allowed to persist.”