• Afghans do not view U.S.-led war in their country as “their war”: Report

    Afghan security forces, like their fellow citizens more generally, do not view the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan as “their war.” This is a primary policy-relevant conclusion reached in one of two new reports issued last week by the Costs of War Project at Brown’s University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Members of the Afghan National Police Force (ANP) do not see the war as their own; they participate as a means of employment to make a living and support family members, particularly given the lack of economic opportunities after thirty-five years of armed conflict and foreign occupation.

  • Anti-government extremism most prevalent terrorist threat inside U.S.: Law enforcement

    U.S. law enforcement agencies rank the threat of violence from anti-government extremists higher than the threat from radicalized Muslims, according to a report released last Thursday by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS). The data were collected in early 2014, before security agencies began noting increased activity and recruitment of Americans by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). In follow-up telephone interviews with law enforcement personnel, the officers did not modify their initial responses in light of ISIS threats within the United States.

  • Internet facilitates radicalization of Westerners, even as reasons vary

    Since the early 2000s the Internet has become an important tool for the global jihadist movement. Nowhere has the Internet been more important in the movement’s development than in the West. A new study says that while dynamics differ from case to case, it is fair to state that almost all recent cases of radicalization in the West involve at least some digital footprint. Jihadism is a complex ideology that mixes religion and politics. The study confirms, however, the importance of its religious aspect for many of those who embrace violence — a fact some studies have dismissed.

  • Two terrorists attack U.S.-owned factory in France, decapitating one worker

    The French police is investigating what appears to be a terrorist attack on a factory owned by a U.S. gas company after a decapitated body and a flag with Islamist inscriptions were found in a factory in south-east France belonging to a U.S. gas company. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said one of the attackers was killed by a firefighter, and that other firefighters captured the second attacker, who was identified as Yessim Salim. Cazeneuve told reporters that Salim was under surveillance by the French security services since 2008. The severed head was found on top of the gate at the entrance to the factory.

  • Charleston shooting highlights threat posed by domestic terrorism

    As the nation reflects on the 17 June Charleston, South Carolina church shooting, which killed nine and led to the arrest of suspect Dylan Roof, law enforcement and security experts note that domestic terrorists pose a greater threat to Americans than foreign terrorists. “Since 9/11, our country has been fixated on the threat of jihadi terrorism,” said one expert. “But the horrific tragedy at the Emanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real.”

  • Niger attacks Boko Haram targets after militants intensify activity inside Niger

    Niger’s army has said it killed fifteen Boko Haram militants in land and air operations against the Islamist group. Earlier this year, frustrated by the Nigerian army’s ineffectiveness, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger told Nigeria that they would join the war against the Islamists – including conducting operations inside Nigeria. The military operations by the three countries have pushed Boko Haram out of many areas it used to control – but in retaliation, Boko Haram has intensified its attacks on Nigeria’s three neighbors.

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  • Iran stored nuclear equipment in Sudanese arms factory destroyed by Israel in October 2012: Saudi memo

    In early October 2012 Israeli planes destroyed the Yarmouk arms factory near Khartoum, Sudan’s capital – 1,300 miles from Israel. At the time, it was reported that the target of the Israeli attack were chemical munitions Iran stored at the site with the intention of delivering them to Hamas. It now appears that the October 2012 Israeli attack targeted more than chemical weapons. According to officials in the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, Iran, in early 2012, shipped advanced nuclear equipment to Sudan, and stored that equipment at the sprawling site. The Saudi embassy memo, dated February 2012 and marked as “very secret,” was leaked last week by the WikiLeaks groups along with what the group claimed were 60,000 other official Saudi communications.

  • As Syrian Druze plight deepens, Israel’s regional strategy emerges

    On Tuesday morning, Druze on the Golan Heights attacked an Israeli military ambulance carrying two wounded Syrian rebels to a hospital in Israel, killing one of the wounded rebels. Israeli Druze – and the Druze on the Golan Heights – want Israel to help their fellow Druze in Syria, who until recently had been loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, but Israel’s tacit understanding with the Sunni rebels, including the Islamist Nusra Front, indicates that Israel supports those groups in Syria which are supported by the major Sunni states in the region. There used to be a time when Israel allied itself with countries and groups on the geographic, ethnic, and religious periphery of the Middle East – what David Ben Gurion called the Periphery Alliance – but times have changed, and Israel now is seeking a modus vivendi with the region’s Sunni powers. The Druze may be paying the price of this change in Israel’s strategy.

  • How anthrax spores grow in cultured human tissues

    Cultured human lung cells infected with a benign version of anthrax spores have yielded insights into how anthrax grows and spreads in exposed people. The study will help provide credible data for human health related to anthrax exposure and help officials better understand risks related to a potential anthrax attack. The study also defined for the first time where the spores germinate and shows that the type of cell lines and methods of culturing affect the growth rates.

  • U.S. drones kill ISIS leader tied to 2012 Benghazi attack

    The Pentagon said that a U.S. drone strike in northern Iraq on 15 June killed Ali Awni al-Harzi, a Tunisian Islamic State operative who was involved in the 11 September 2012 Benghazi attack. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said al-Harzi was killed in Mosul. A video taken the night of the attack in Benghazi showed him at the consulate, making him a person of interest, U.S. authorities said.

  • House Homeland Security Committee to release monthly Terror Threat Snapshot

    House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Friday released a new Committee product called the Terror Threat Snapshot. McCall said the snapshot is a new, regular monthly feature which tracks “the escalating and grave threat environment” facing the United States. The Terror Threat Snapshot will be kept up to date on the Committee’s Web site. Additionally, monthly summaries will be available.

  • Some world regions achieve historic peacefulness, others spiral into deepening violence

    Peacefulness in Europe has reached an historic high while the Middle East is spiraling into deepening violence, according to figures outlined in the 2015 Global Peace Index, unveiled last week. The latest Global Peace Index reveals an increasingly divided world: many countries achieve historic levels of peace, while strife-torn nations continue to degrade into violence. The impact of violence on the global economy reached US$14.3 trillion or 13.4 percent of global GDP in the last year, equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Almost 1 percent of the world’s population is now refugees or internally displaced (IDPs), the highest level since 1945, and numbers are expected to increase.

  • Evidence of war crimes by Israel, Palestinian militants in summer 2014 war: UN report

    A UN investigative panel looking into the summer 2014 Israel-Hamas war has found “serious violations of international humanitarian law” which “may amount to war crimes” by both sides. The report was released early on Monday in Geneva by a commission of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). It says that “impunity prevails across the board” regarding the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza, and urged Israel to “break with its recent lamentable track record in holding wrongdoers accountable.” The commission found that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad employed methods of “inherently indiscriminate nature” by using rockets and mortars to fire at Israeli civilians.

  • Number of terrorist acts in 2014 increased 35%, fatalities increased 81%, compared to 2013

    On Friday the State Department is issued the Country Reports on Terrorism 2014, an annual report mandated by Congress. The report’s statistical annex, which was prepared by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (START), shows that the number of terrorist attacks in 2014 increased 35 percent, and total fatalities increased 81 percent compared to 2013, largely due to activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. Iran continued to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, principally through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force.

  • Mali, Tuareg rebels sign historic peace agreement

    The Tuareg-led rebel coalition in northern Mali on Saturday signed a historic agreement with the government of Mali to end decades of conflict and war between the independence-seeking Tuareg and the central government in Bamako. Since 1960, when Mali gained its independence from France, the Tuareg launched four bloody wars in an effort to gain their independence, but were defeated each time. The pact signed Saturday between the Tuareg and the Mali government was brokered by Algeria – it is called the Algiers Accord – and it aims to bring stability to the country’s northern region.