• Countering terrorism: No simple solutions

    “Our bureaucratic and organizational structures are ill-adapted to a threat that is changing rapidly, constantly and in many different ways,” terrorism expert Martha Crenshaw said. She and START director Dr. Gary LaFree are the authors of a new book, Countering Terrorism: No Simple Solutions. Rather than pronounce lofty but vague goals in the fight against terrorism, Crenshaw suggested a focus on creating incremental, short-term policy efforts that might allow for more specific, attainable goals.

  • Is the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization?

    The Trump administration as well as Republican lawmakers are seeking to introduce legislation that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Many are questioning this move. The fact is that the Muslim Brotherhood has not been directly involved in any violent terror attacks in recent decades. Indeed, designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization could have the effect of limiting the opportunities for those Muslims who are attracted by the Muslim Brotherhood’s moderate agenda to engage in politics. It could even accelerate recruitment to terrorist outfits – a possibility that the Trump administration might seek to take into account.

  • Experts: U.S. should designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization

    The United States should officially designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, two experts argue. The two point out that “since its foundation, the IRGC has overseen a terror apparatus that has assassinated intellectuals, journalists, dissident politicians, and literary figures.”

  • White supremacists dramatically increase recruitment efforts on U.S. college campuses

    White supremacists, emboldened by the 2016 elections and the current political climate, are currently engaged in an unprecedented outreach effort to attract and recruit students on American college campuses. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has cataloged 107 incidents of white supremacist fliering on college campuses since the school year began in September 2016, with surge of activity since January 2017, when 63 of the total incidents (61 percent) occurred.

  • Predicting terrorist behaviors with more than 90 percent accuracy

    Government agencies cannot always use social media and telecommunication to uncover the intentions of terrorists as terrorists are now more careful in utilizing these technologies for planning and preparing for attacks. A new framework is able to understand future terrorist behaviors by recognizing patterns in past attacks. The researchers used data on more than 150,000 terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2015 to develop a framework that calculates the relationships among terrorist attacks (for example, attack time, weapon type) and detects terrorist behaviors with these connections.

  • Why Muslim states’ support of U.S. global War on Terror has been lukewarm

    If President Donald Trump’s administration plans to pressure Muslim states into supporting the U.S. Global War on Terror, they would be wise to consider the findings in a new book showing historically weaker counterterrorism support from countries where the religion-state balance leans toward the former. A new book reveals why support for the U.S. Global War on Terror from Muslim states has ranged from full cooperation, to minimal support, to somewhere in between.

  • Revised ban excludes Iraq, current visa holders; no priority to religious minorities

    President Donald Trump has signed a revised travel ban which will go into effect on 16 March. The revised executive order will halt entry to the United States for ninety days for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas. Iraq has been removed from the list of travel ban countries, and Syrian refugees will now be treated as other refugees. Religious minorities will not be given preferential treatment.

  • Palestinian terrorist leader: Hezbollah is getting ready for war against Israel, and so are we

    The leader of the Damascus-based Palestinian terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command said last month that the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah is preparing for war against Israel, “and so are we.” In an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Mayadeen TV, Ahmad Jibril called on Iran to ramp up its support of Palestinian terrorist groups.

  • ISIS’s “industrialized” martyrdom resembles Japan’s use of kamikaze pilots: Report

    ISIS’s suicide attacks resemble Japan’s use of kamikaze pilots in the Second World War, says a new study which looked at nearly 1,000 ISIS suicide operations in one year. Between December 2015 and November 2016, at least 923 ISIS jihadists killed themselves in suicide attacks according. The report analyzed these ISIS suicide operations and found that 776 of them – or 84 percent – were aimed at military targets, often in an attempt to slow down the advances of opposing ground forces. Winter said ISIS had “industrialized the concept of martyrdom.” Two-thirds of the suicide attacks took place in Iraq, and about 80 percent of the suicide attackers were Iraqi and Syrian.

  • Italy pardons ex-CIA operative for 2003 rendition in Rome

    Sabrina de Sousa, a former CIA officer who faced the prospect of becoming the first intelligence official to be sent to prison for being involved in rendition of terrorists as part of President George W Bush’s War on Terror, has been granted a last-minute pardon by Italy. De Sousa was convicted in absentia in 2009 for taking part in the rendition of a radical Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar. Abu Omar is to be extradited by Egypt to Italy this week to serve a four-year sentence there.

  • Jewish cemetery vandalized in Philadelphia, JCCs hit with fifth wave of bomb threats

    There have been 89 bomb threats made against 72 Jewish community centers and day schools in 30 U.S. states and Canada since the start of 2017. Over 52 percent of all anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. were directed at Jewish targets in 2015, the latest year for which FBI statistics are available.

  • Turkey completes half of its Syrian border wall

    Turkey has completed more than half of a planned 317-mile wall along its border with Syria. The wall is not built as a regular wall would: It consists of portable concrete blocks, each weighing seven tons, placed next to each other. The concrete blocks are 6.5-foot thick at the base and 10-foot high. Each block is topped with three feet of razor wire. The government says the wall will improve security, but human rights groups warn refugees fleeing war will be tapped on the Syrian side.

  • Large dose of VX killed Kim Jong-nam in 15-20 minutes

    Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader, was attacked with a large doze of VX which caused his death within 15-20 minutes after being poisoned by a nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur airport, the Malaysian  health minister, S. Subramaniam, said on Sunday. Some experts have suggested that the two women who attacked him might have each smeared Kim’s face with two different non-lethal elements of VX, which became deadly when mixed on his face.

  • Why the time is right to set up an international terrorism court

    The global toll of terrorism is rising at an alarming rate. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, terrorist incidents claimed 3,329 lives in 2000 but 32,685 in 2014, and the economic costs of terrorism skyrocketed at least tenfold during the same period. As a result, certain governments are proposing that the UN establish a new court with a specific remit to prosecute international terrorist crimes. The court, I sablished, would join the growing ranks of international courts and tribunals that have been rapidly proliferating since the end of the Cold War. Of the more than 37,000 legally binding judgements passed by these international courts, some 90 percent have come down since 1990.The problems and risks of creating such a court are all too apparent, and go some way to explaining why the court has never been set up.

  • Kim Jong-nam killed by VX nerve agent: Malaysian police

    Malaysian police have said the substance used in the killing of Kim Jong-nam was a VX nerve agent. North Korea, which is not a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), is in possession of a large stockpiles of chemical weapons — between 2,500 and 5,000 metric tons, with Sarin and VX making up the bulk of the arsenal. Experts say that the public nature of the killing, and the assailants’ disregard for the safety of bystanders, is comparable to the assassination in London of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko, who became a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, was killed on Putin’s orders by two agents of the FSB in London in November 2006. The agents placed small quantities of radioactive poison, polonium-210, in his tea.