• Algeria says 54,457 Algerians involved in terrorism since 1992

    The Algerian justice ministry said that nearly 55,000 people accused of committing “terrorist offences” have faced legal proceedings in Algeria since the country’s bloody civil war in the 1990s. This was the first time the Algerian authorities openly discussed such numbers. The government uses the term “terrorists” for members of armed Islamist militias. These militias launched a vicious war against the country’s military and police – and against moderate s Algerians – in 1992, after the government cancelled the second round of the parliamentary elections for fear that the Islamist would win a majority.

  • Trump Towers or Trump Targets?

    Donald Trump’s election ushers in a new challenge for homeland security and counterterrorism both at home and abroad. Trump owns, has a stake in, or has lent his name to scores of properties all over the United States and the world. A terrorist could decide to target a Trump Tower in Stuttgart, a Trump hotel in South Korea, or a Trump golf resort in Dubai. A terrorist might even decide to target the famous carousel in Central Park, which Trump also owns. These are “soft targets” without any of the serious security measures surrounding American embassies or other government buildings. Even better (for the terrorists), most of these targets have the president’s name on them in huge letters. Clearly the symbolic damage of such an attack would be immense.

  • Denmark to stop paying state benefits to Danes in ISIS ranks

    The Danish government has launched a campaign to recover thousands of dollars worth of benefit money from a few dozens of Danish citizens who have left Denmark to join ISIS in Syria. At least thirty-four Danes who traveled to Syria to fight in ISIS ranks have continued to receive unemployment benefits. Last year, thirty-two Danes were identified as having continued to receive government assistance while being active members of the terrorist organization.

  • European border security agency warns ISIS is manipulating refugees

    Frontex, the European border and coast guard agency, warned that ISIS may be trying to manipulate refugees into carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe. The border agency said that its officials were also worried about ISIS sneaking in trained fighters among the mass movements of people fleeing war, hunger, and extreme poverty. Europol, the EU law enforcement agency,  noted that as of April 2016, there have been approximately 300 cases in which ISIS tried to recruit refugees entering Europe.

  • All terror attacks are not connected – but terrorists want us to think they are

    In just one weekend in December, a series of terrorist attacks killed nearly 200 people in five different countries – Germany, Turkey, Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, and Somalia. This is a horrific spate of attacks, but while the resultant headlines are certainly alarming, all the attacks occurred in countries facing very specific challenges. Rolling them all together into one “wave” of violence is misguided, and misunderstands the real nature of global terrorist threats. Terrorism’s preeminent effects are psychological rather than a physical; it has a way of skewing our perceptions, meaning we perceive a bigger menace than actually exists. To fight it, we need to fight back against these psychological tricks. So long as we go on assuming that terrorist attacks are connected and trying to link them to a global extremist threat looming on our doorstep, we misunderstand the unique problems facing each country – and what’s needed to defang them.

  • Calls in Germany for bolstering surveillance in wake of Berlin attack

    Klaus Bouillon, the interior minister in the German state of Saarland, said that “It is time to eliminate the barriers to monitoring suspects’ telephone conversations.” He also urged the revamping of a law for monitoring popular online encrypted messaging services, such as WhatsApp, and said that next month he would make a formal proposal to that effect. Bouillon, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said, “It cannot be the case that a company can make billions with WhatsApp, while at the same allowing criminals to organize, direct young people and obstruct our authorities by not providing the necessary encryption codes.”

  • Berlin attack: security intelligence has limits in preventing truck-borne terror

    The Christmas market truck assault in Berlin, which has left twelve dead and dozens injured, is a disturbing echo of the truck-borne attack on Bastille Day celebrants on the Nice promenade in July. How could such events be allowed to happen? Why weren’t intelligence agencies in Germany and France able to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators? The role of the security and intelligence agencies to remain vigilant and seek to monitor extremist elements will undoubtedly endure. The secret of their success will continue to be keeping their successes secret. However, this does not absolve the rest of society from remaining engaged in community, by being inclusive, welcoming, and helpful, while also maintaining a level of vigilance many had come to associate with a bygone era.

  • Newspaper apologizes for saying terror links prevented U.K. Muslim family from going to Disneyland

    The Mail Online, the Web site of the British newspaper Daily Mail, has issued an apology for running stories depicting a Muslim family as extremists, after family members were denied entry to the United States last year for a vacation in Disneyland. Two articles by Mail reporter Katie Hopkins suggested that Mohammed Tariq Mahmood and his brother, Mohammed Zahid Mahmood, were extremists with links to al Qaeda.The Mail Online has agreed to pay “substantial damages” totaling £150,000 to the Mahmood family. Hopkins also tweeted an apology on Monday.

  • Truck attack on Berlin shoppers kills 9, injures 50

    At least nine people were killed and more than fifty injured when a truck plowed into a crowd at the popular Christmas Market in Berlin two hours ago (Monday afternoon EST). The attack happened in Breitscheidplatz, a major square in the center of the German capital. The Mirror notes that every year, the city of Berlin hosts a Christmas market at the square. The market consists of “more than 100 beautifully decorated market stands and Christmas booths as well as 70 fairground rides,” according to the city’s Web site.

  • Russia’s ambassador to Turkey assassinated in Ankara

    Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, was killed earlier today by a gunman waiting for him at a photo exhibition in Ankara. The attack by a well-dressed attacker was caught on camera. A spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Russia considered the shooting a terrorist attack. Just before he started shooting, the lean-shaven gunman shouted in Arabic, “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria. Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria.” He then yelled: “Until these places are safe you will not taste any safety either.”

  • Saudi Arabia lobbies U.S. lawmakers to amend terrorism compensation law

    Saudi Arabia has intensified its lobbying campaign in the United States in an effort to persuade American lawmakers to change a the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a law which allows victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to sue countries implicated in terrorism against the United States – but a law which even its authors said was aimed at Saudi Arabia.

  • With proliferation of small arms, absence of war does not equal peace

    The proliferation of small arms across many regions of Africa affected by conflict – or adjacent to chronic conflicts – have brought misery, but it has also provided a means for lawless groups to supplement the meagre rewards of nomadic pastoralism through raiding or other forms of violence. Governments in conflict or former conflict zones often have vested interests in maintaining informal armed groups beyond the army and other state security forces — for the entrenchment of political elites, the garnering of rents through armed extortion, or as potential weapons against hostile neighbors. The over-arching problem, according to one researcher, is that “Ending the war is not enough. The issue is to escape the inter-war situation maintained and reproduced by the state.”

  • Most U.K. terrorism arrests do not lead to convictions

    Fewer than two in ten people detained by police since September 2001 were convicted directly of terrorism or a terrorism-related offence. The Home Office figures show that 3,349 people in England and Wales were arrested under terrorism laws since the devastating 9/11 attacks in the United States. Of those arrested for terrorism and related offenses, 17.8 percent were convicted for involvement in violent jihad – including plotting attacks or funding or facilitating terrorism.

  • The secrets of Saberin, Iran’s elite commando unit operating in Syria and Iraq

    In 2001, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) established a special unit consisting of handpicked members of the IRGC’s land, sea, and air forces. Dubbed the Saberin Unit, its members were described as volunteers “seeking martyrdom,” tasked to carry out special missions and/or widespread cross-border attacks for the IRGC.

  • Banning extremist groups is more political symbolism than effective counter-terrorism

    For the first time in the UK, the government has moved to ban a right-wing, neo-Nazi group called National Action. Our own research has argued that the power to ban groups has questionable value for reducing the threat of terrorism. This skepticism dovetails with the work of other researchers who doubt that contemporary terrorist groups are appropriate targets for “listing” because they tend not to exist as coherent organizations with a fixed identity and an identifiable membership. The effectiveness of banning National Action, however, might be far less important than the communication of a message that groups such as this are unwelcome in contemporary British society.