• ISISISIS control of people down 83% in Iraq, 56% in Syria from peak levels

    The Islamic State has lost substantial control of territory and people since 2014 in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and Nigeria — and is on a path to collapse as a self-proclaimed state, according to data compiled in a new report. Still, the Islamic State continues to conduct and inspire attacks around the world in an effort to exact revenge on its enemies, coerce the withdrawal of foreign forces, and bait foreign governments into overreacting. These attacks may even increase once the group loses its core caliphate.

  • BioterrorismBioterrorists, using genetic editing, could kill more than 30 million people: Bill Gates

    A bioterrorist attack could kill thirty million people — and such an attack is becoming more likely because it has become much easier to create – or “design” — deadly pathogens and spread them. Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, speaking in London, said that an outbreak of a lethal respiratory virus like smallpox would be more dangerous than even a nuclear attack. Anyone can now purchase chemistry kits which allow genetic editing, and do so online for under $150.

  • Chemical weaponsSyrian defector: Assad still has hundreds of tons of chemical weapons stockpiled

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad circumvented a 2013 deal to dismantle his chemical weapons stockpile by failing to declare the full extent of his arsenal, Syria’s former chemical weapons research chief. Brigadier-General Zaher al-Sakat, who served as the head of chemical warfare in a top Syrian military unit before defecting in 2013, said that Assad had not declared large amounts of sarin and its precursor chemicals.

  • TerrorismBee colonies-inspired tool to help dismantle terrorist cells, criminal social networks

    Researchers have designed an algorithm, inspired by the intelligent and social behavior of bee colonies, which allows law enforcement to attack and dismantle any type of social network that poses a threat, whether physical or virtual, such as social networks linked to organized crime and jihadist terrorism. The possible applications of this new bio-inspired algorithm, which helps to make optimal decisions in order to dismantle any type of social network, are many and varied: from dismantling a criminal network to facilitating the design of vaccination strategies capable of containing the spread of a pandemic.

  • Countering violent extremismInsufficient evaluation efforts by feds of counter- extremism strategy: GAO

    Violent extremism — generally defined as ideologically, religious, or politically motivated acts of violence — has been perpetrated in the United States by white supremacists, anti-government groups, and radical Islamist entities, among others. In 2011, the U.S. government developed a national strategy and Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for countering violent extremism (CVE) aimed at providing information and resources to communities. “The federal government does not have a cohesive strategy or process for assessing the overall CVE effort,” GAO says.

  • Morocco Morocco’s counterterrorism initiatives are effective: Study

    The number of terrorist incidents in the Maghreb and Sahel regions of Africa rose 14 percent in 2016, reaching the second highest level since 9/11. A new study says that despite this alarming trend, Morocco and Mauritania registered zero terrorist incidents in 2016, and that Morocco has been the country least-affected by terrorism in the region over the past fifteen years.

  • TerrorismRise of terrorism in Africa

    By Ruchita Beri

    The recent terror attack by al Shabaab in the port city of Barawe in southern Somalia, a suicide bomb attack by Boko Haram in Maiduguri in Nigeria, and an attack on a military post in Mali by an al Qaeda-linked terror group have brought the focus back on terrorism in the African continent. Over the years, terrorism has become the most important challenge to peace, security and development in Africa. The terror activities have grown exponentially in the continent, not only in terms of the number of attacks but also the number of countries affected due to increased proliferation of terrorist groups.

  • Sahel radicalizationExamining counter-extremism policy in the Sahel

    To find out what young people involved in jihadist groups in Mali are thinking, you need to speak to them. It sounds logical, and yet a new study by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is one of the first to do this in the Malian context. The research helps change the discourse about violent extremism in West Africa and how to respond to it.

  • Great Lake RegionIllegal armed groups pose “persistent threat” to Africa's Great Lakes region: UN

    The United Nations envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region encouraged the countries of the region, and the UN Security Council, to help strengthen the fight against illegal armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its neighbors, particularly as elements of the former M23 rebel group have resurfaced.

  • Terrorism in AfricaISIS in Africa: Implications from Syria and Iraq

    By Joseph Siegle

    Leaving aside the mismatched ethno-linguistic groupings included in the vast territory stretching from Eritrea and Somalia in the east to Mauritania in the west, ISIS’s interest in establishing a presence in that part of Africa has long been a part of its vision for a global caliphate. Battlefield setbacks in ISIS’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria since 2015, however, raise questions of what impact this will have for ISIS’s African aspirations.

  • Military basesForeign military bases in Africa

    In recent years Africa has become more important to Western security for two reasons: terrorism and migration. The two areas on which the West’s attention is focuses are the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. U.S. drones and French soldiers have helped African armies to fight Islamist militants and push them into the hinterlands.

  • Focus: MaliMali should engage separatist, Islamist groups in talks: Bamako peace conference

    A peace conference meeting in Bamako, Mali, this past weekend said the Mali government should begin talks with the leaders of Islamist groups which, in 2012, led north Mali to break away from the rest of the country to create the independent Republic of Azawad and which, more recently, have launched deadly attacks on Malian and French soldiers and UN peacekeepers.

  • Focus: MaliMali: Spate of killings by armed groups

    Armed groups have carried out a wave of killings in central Mali since January 2017. The killings, by Islamist armed groups, self-defense militias, and, to a lesser extent, government soldiers, have resulted in at least fifty-two deaths, led to the displacement of over 10,000 people, and dramatically elevated ethnic tensions. The Malian authorities are not doing enough to investigate and prosecute all those responsible.

  • Political violenceLess armed conflict but more political violence in Africa

    By Ciara Aucoin

    While Africa accounted for only 16 percent of the global population in 2016, more than a third of global conflict took place here last year. Conflict data sources show fewer armed conflicts, but political violence in Africa is rising and it is more complex than before. But it is significantly less deadly than in previous decades, according to a number of conflict data sources.

  • AFRICOMAFRICOM holds annual Resources and Assessments Workshop

    U.S. Africa Command held its annual Resources and Assessments Workshop in Heidelberg, Germany to discuss fiscal matters and the way ahead. Topics discussed included the future posture of U.S. forces in Africa, current operations, crisis management, West Africa Logistics Network concept, and construction projects.