• Water security test bed to focus on bolstering municipal water security

    Water is the foundation for life. People use water every single day to meet their domestic, industrial, agricultural, medical, and recreational needs. After the September 2001 terrorist attacks, water system security became a higher priority in the United States. The Water Security Test Bed (WSTB) at Idaho national Laboratory can be used for research related to detecting and decontaminating chemical, biological, or radiological agents following an intentional or natural disaster. The WSTB will focus on improving America’s ability to safeguard the nation’s water systems, and respond to contamination incidents and to natural disasters.

  • FBI helps foil several plots to sell nuclear material in Moldova’s black market

    Over the past five years, four attempts by Russian gangs in Moldova to sell nuclear material have been thwarted by the FBI and Moldovan authorities. The most recent case was in February when a smuggler, who specifically sought a buyer from Islamic State, offered undercover agents a large amount of radioactive caesium. The would-be smuggler wanted €2.5 million for enough radioactive material to contaminate several city streets.

  • Tony Blair: Many Muslims support Islamic extremists' ideology

    Tony Blair has warned that the ideology which drives Islamic extremists has significant support from Muslims around the world. Blair said that unless religious prejudice in Muslim communities is rooted out, the threat from the extremists will not be defeated. Blair, speaking at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City, said that while the number of people engaging in violence by joining groups like Islamic State is relatively small, many of their views are widely shared.

  • ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra share near identical ideologies: Report

    A just-published report analyzes a cross-section of 114 propaganda sources over two years from the three main Salafi-jihadi groups: ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The three groups share near identical ideologies, challenging the concept that “ISIS is more extreme than al-Qaeda.” Built upon distorted Islamic religious principles, the propaganda produces single-minded focus on violent jihad. The report finds explicit references to these principles throughout the propaganda:

  • Bangladesh sees rise in Islamist violence

    A Bangladeshi pastor has escaped an attempt on his life by three men who came to his home saying they wanted to learn about Christianity, the Bangladeshi police said. The attack on the pastor follows last week’s fatal attacks on two foreigners. Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country, has seen a sharp rise in violence by hardline Islamist groups. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government rejected those claims, saying it has information tying the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party and its key ally, Jamaat-e-Islami, to the attacks.

  • Strategy to defeat ISIS must degrade the group's finances, leadership

    A wealth of publicly available information suggests that the reemergence of the Islamic State in 2014 should not have come as a surprise, although the strength and scope of the reemergence were rightfully shocking, according to a new report. The researchers say that even before 2012, much was known about how the Islamic State financed and organized itself, established territorial control and responded to airpower. That knowledge can guide efforts to counter the Islamic State.

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  • Turkish jets intercept Russian warplane over Turkey

    Turkish military jets intercepted a Russian fighter plane which had violated the country’s airspace while flying a bombing sortie over Syria. Turkey adamantly opposes the Russian intervention in Syria. As has been the case with the actions by the Syrian military, the majority of the Russian bombing raids have targeted opposition groups, some supported by the United States, rather than the forces of Islamic State. Last week, Turkey and other members of the U.S.-led coalition campaign against ISIS issued a joint statement which asked Moscow to cease attacks on the Syrian opposition and focus instead on fighting ISIS.

  • Why Putin gambled on airstrikes in Syria – and what might come next

    The real story of Moscow’s gamble in Syria emerges from an analysis of the targets the Russian planes have hit so far: all but one of these targets were in areas held by the opposition to Syria’s Assad regime, rather than by the Islamic State’s militants. The Russian military intervention in Syria is thus part of a high-stakes bet that with brazen propaganda, political maneuvers and airstrikes, Russia can save Syria’s embattled president, Bashar al-Assad, from a likely downfall. This gamble is not likely to succeed. Moscow’s warplanes can help the Syrian military keep a hold on its vital defense line, which runs from the Mediterranean to Homs and then to Damascus. But just as the Syrian Air Force has not been able to help Assad’s ground forces reclaim lost territory, Russia’s jet fighters cannot wage a front-line battle against the rebels. With no prospect of a revitalized Syrian Army, Putin is left with two unpalatable options: to either deploy Russian troops on the battlefield or accept the de facto partition of Syria — allowing the rebels to hold their positions in north-west and southern Syria. Putin can hope that Saudi Arabia finally gives way and joins the Americans and the Europeans to support Assad on a temporary basis. If that happens, Putin will have won his bet. But if the Saudis remain intransigent and the Americans’ mood turns sour, his losses could be dire indeed.

  • Dissident republican terror attack “highly likely”: Northern Ireland police

    Will Kerr, Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable, said on Thursday that the threat from the New IRA, Continuity IRA, and Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) was at present severe, and that a dissident republican terror attack is “highly likely.” Kerr said the main armed republican groups which oppose the ceasefire would aim to ramp up their violence ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising against British rule in 2016. He noted that the republican dissidents had honed their skills and improved their rocket and bomb-making technology by studying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamist insurgents in Iraq.

  • U.S. has no strategy to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists: House panel

    The U.S. government lacks a national strategy for combating terrorist travel and has not produced one in nearly a decade. Despite concerted efforts to stem the flow, the U.S. has largely failed to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists. Gaping security weaknesses overseas — especially in Europe — are putting the U.S. homeland in danger by making it easier for aspiring foreign fighters to migrate to terrorist hotspots and for jihadists to return to the West. These are the conclusions of a new report by the House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan Foreign Fighter Task Force.

  • U.S. district court dismisses 9/11 victims' case against Saudi Arabia

    U.S. district judge George Daniels in Manhattan on Tuesday dismissed claims against Saudi Arabia by families of victims of the 9/11 attacks. The victims’ families accused the country of providing material support to al Qaeda. Judge Daniels said Saudi Arabia had sovereign immunity from claims for damage by families of nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks, and from insurers which covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses. “The allegations in the complaint alone do not provide this court with a basis to assert jurisdiction over defendants,” Daniels wrote.

  • Iran not invited to a UN summit on ISIS because U.S. designates it as a state sponsor of terrorism

    The United States did not invite Iran to Tuesday’s UN summit on combating Islamic State and other violent extremist groups because the Department of State still designates Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. It is not likely that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani would have participated in the summit even if Iran were invited. Observers note that the fact that Iran has not been invited to a meeting to discuss a coordinated strategy to defeat ISIS, a Sunni militant group Iran regards as an enemy, is yet one more illustration of the institutional and political obstacles to U.S. cooperation with Iran beyond the nuclear deal the two sides agreed to in July.

  • NYC mayor urged not to participate in federal counter-extremism program

    More than twenty civil rights, legal, and interfaith organizations have urged Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York and his top aides not to take part in a White House initiative which aims to counter violent extremism in the United States. “The premise of CVE [Countering Violent Extremism] programming is that the adoption or expression of extreme or ‘radical’ ideas [places] individuals on the path toward violence, and that there are observable ‘indicators’ to identify those ‘vulnerable’ to radicalization, or ‘at risk’ of being recruited by terrorist groups,” the 21 September letter to the mayor argued. “This is simply not true. Despite years of federally funded efforts, researchers have not developed reliable criteria that can be used to predict who will commit a terrorist act.”

  • DOJ grants fund research into homegrown terrorism

    The University of Arkansas (UA) and Arkansas State University (ASU) will receive grants from the Department of Justice (DOJ) totaling over $900,000 to study domestic radicalization. UA will receive $399,531 to identify behavioral characteristics of homegrown terrorists who were able to evade arrest or neutralization for a long period of time to determine how their longevity affects potential recruits and the overall sustainability of larger terror groups. ASU will receive $508,403 to study how violent domestic extremists use the Internet to organize like-minded individuals, disseminate ideas and recruit new members.

  • U.K. to deploy troops in Somalia, South Sudan to foster “less terrorism and less migration”

    British prime minister David Cameron has said that hundreds of British troops will be deployed to Somalia and South Sudan to train African peacekeeping forces in order to foster “less terrorism and less migration.” Over the years the United Kingdom has contributed to many peacekeeping missions, but now its role is largely limited to providing about 280 troops participating in the current mission in Cyprus. The United Kingdom has also given about £260 million in aid to South Sudan since the start of the civil war in December 2013.