• Children terroristsHow the Islamic State recruits and coerces children

    By Mia Bloom

    This week the world once again witnessed an Islamic State’s use of at least one child bomber, perhaps two – this time for blowing up the wedding in Gaziantep, Turkey, killing fifty-four people on 20 August. There are important differences in how groups engage children in militant activities. Differences between children in terrorist groups and child soldiers include how children are recruited and what role the parents and community play in recruitment. Understanding these differences helps us know how best to approach treating the children’s trauma, and figure out which children can be rehabilitated and which ones might be vulnerable for recidivism as adults. The number of children who have been exposed to violence in the so-called Islamic State requires efforts be taken to address the trauma, and determine whether these children are victims or perpetrators.

  • TortureWhy do some people more readily accept the use of torture?

    Psychologists have shown that authoritarian people and those who perceive their own group as socially superior to others are often more inclined to accept the use of torture. The thing that unites them is not primarily the urge to defend their own group, but their strong tendency to dehumanize people who do not resemble their own kind.

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  • SyriaLarge Turkish forces enter Syria to drive ISIS out of border area

    Dozens of Turkish tanks have crossed into Syria earlier this morning as part of a massive operation – code named “Euphrates Shield” — to capture ISIS strongholds around the town of Jarablus and drive the militants out of the area. The land invasion, which also included hundreds of troops, follows hours of relentless airstrikes and artillery barrages against ISIS targets along the Syria-Turkey border. Among the targets hit in the bombardment were arms depots and oil tanks, and huge explosions lighted up the night sky.

  • ColombiaColombia, FARC to sign historic peace deal today, ending 52-year war

    Colombia’s government and the leftist FARC rebel organization have reached a final and comprehensive peace agreement which puts an end to Latin America’s longest war. The FARC campaign against successive Colombian governments began in 1964, leaving more than 220,000 people dead and more than six-and-a-half million displaced. After four years of negotiations, the pace deal will be signed Wednesday evening in Havana, Cuba.

  • African securityBoko Haram leader “fatally wounded in army air strike”: Nigeria

    Nigeria claims to have “fatally wounded” Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, in an air strike targeting a meeting of the commanders of the Islamist group. The Nigerian military says that Shekau and other senior leaders of the group gathered for prayers on Friday, and that they were hit by an “air force raid.”

  • Civil defenseGermany to unveil a civil defense plan calling on citizens to stockpile food, water

    The German government will tell citizens to stockpile food and water in their homes in order to prepare for a terror attack or catastrophe. The German cabinet will on Wednesday debate an Interior Ministry report, called the “Concept for Civil Defense,” which, among other things will require the population to stockpile enough food ten days and water for five days.

  • HamasIsrael retaliates against Hamas after Gaza rocket explodes near homes in Sderot

    A rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip landed between two houses in the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Sunday, prompting the IDF to carry out airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. Israel responded to the attack by striking two sites in northern Gaza that it said were a part of Hamas’ “terror infrastructure.” Israel holds Hamas, which rules Gaza, responsible for any rocket fire against its citizens.

  • Cultural terrorismIslamist militant pleads guilty to war crimes involving destruction of cultural, historical monuments

    An Islamic extremist has pleaded guilty to destroying historic mausoleums in northern Mali city of Timbuktu. Ahmad Al Faqi al-Mahdi told the judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where his trial has began today (Monday), that he was entering the guilty plea “with deep regret and great pain.” Mahdi’s trial is the first ICC trial in which an individual was charged for war crimes for destroying historical and cultural monuments.

  • SyriaHarrowing accounts of torture, inhuman conditions, mass deaths in Syria's prisons

    The horrifying experiences of detainees subjected to rampant torture and other ill-treatment in Syrian prisons are laid bare in a damning new report just published by Amnesty International. The report estimates that 17,723 people have died in custody in Syria since the crisis began in March 2011 – an average rate of more than 300 deaths each month.

  • Immigration & terrorism9/11 attacks merged U.S. immigration and terrorism efforts at Latinos' expense: Study

    After September 11, issues of immigration and terrorism merged, heightening surveillance and racializing Latino immigrants as a threat to national security, according to researchers. Latino immigration in the United States has long sparked passionate debates, with Latinos often racialized as “illegal aliens” posing an economic threat. But following the al-Qaeda-led terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the fear of another attack, coupled with Islamophobia, streamlined immigration agendas with anti-terrorism rhetoric, policies, and institutional efforts, racializing Latinos in a new way, the researchers said.

  • Hate preachersU.K. to ban hate preachers from mosques, universities, public speaking to tackle radicalization

    U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is developing plans to bar Islamist hate preachers from entering mosques and universities in order to prevent a repetition of the campaign conducted by Anjem Choudary to radicalize young Britons. Experts say that Choudary’s nearly 20-year campaign of hate, incitement, and radicalization had exposed the limits of current anti-terror laws. Choudary was found to be connected to fifteen terror plots since 2000 and to more than 500 British jihadists who traveled to Syria to fight in ISIS ranks. He had also been active spreading his extremist Islamist message on social media and on college campuses.

  • Quick takes // By Ben FrankelOf immigrants and terrorists

    In a speech on Monday at Youngstown State University in Ohio, Donald Trump continued to modify his approach to immigration: Rather than bar all Muslims from entering the United States, or bar Muslims from conflict-saturated regions of the world, he said he would bar immigration from countries “compromised” by terrorism. These proposals, however, have little, if anything, to do with preventing acts of terrorism in the United States or making the United States safer.

  • Nuclear weaponsU.S. nuclear weapons in Turkey at risk of seizure by terrorists, hostile forces

    The continued presence of dozens of U.S. B61 nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey raises serious risks of their seizure by terrorists and other hostile forces, a new report says. These weapons no longer serve any military purpose, and ending B61 presence in Europe would save $3.7 billion over five years.

  • ISIS & social mediaU.S. social media strategy can use Twitter more effectively to weaken ISIS influence

    Opponents of ISIS and Syria are six times greater in number on Twitter than ISIS supporters, but those sympathetic to the group are more active on the social media platform, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The researchers, analyzing more than twenty-three million tweets posted in Arabic over a 10-month period, found that, on average, supporters of ISIS produce 50 percent more tweets than opponents on a typical day, although there is evidence that ISIS opponents are increasing their activity.

  • DronesThe political role of drone strikes in U.S. grand strategy

    By Jacqueline L. Hazelton

    Years of debate on the issue of U.S. drone strikes show that many Americans have reservations. People are concerned that drone strikes devalue non-American lives, dangerously expand executive power, and drive terrorism and anti-Americanism. The concerns Americans have about these kinds of drone attacks – apparently unilateral, apparently violating the norm of state sovereignty, and conducted without a formal justice process — reflect well on a public wondering what the U.S. role in the world should be. But assessing the value of drone strikes requires looking beyond the attacks themselves to first identify and prioritize U.S. interests and threats. Only in that context is it possible to decide whether one supports or opposes drone strikes for what they may gain the United States politically.