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Thread: Counter Terrorism (merged thread)

  1. #41
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Taking the terror out of terrorism - by a "Digger"

    A timely commentary by a British academic on the dangers in linking every violent act by a mentally ill person to being a terrorist attack. A key phrase:
    Yet you are twenty times more likely to die by drowning in your bathtub than in a terrorist act, and a thousand times more likely to die in a road accident. So why, given these statistics, is terrorism so effective? The core reason is that its shocking randomness makes us feel that we can’t do much to protect ourselves – in other words, we feel out of control.
    (Later) Terrorism is essentially a tool of mass psychological manipulation – less of the terrorists themselves than of us, the population of ordinary people who are to be terrorized.
    Link (beware it may be behind a pay wall):http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...do-isils-work/

    There is a separate thread on Mental Health & Terrorism, but the quote is an introduction to a three linked articles by David Wells, a former Australian-UK SIGINT worker, in the Australian Lowy Institute's e-briefing and now on his own website.

    He tries to answer a "wicked" problem and I have adapted his words: how can government(s) maintain and increase emotional resilience against the fear of future terrorist activity, regardless of whether this activity occurred.

    The context is Australian, but his outlook is global.

    Part One:https://counterterrorismmatters.word...rorism-part-1/

    Part Two considers communication strategies:https://counterterrorismmatters.word...rorism-part-2/

    Part Three:https://counterterrorismmatters.word...rorism-part-2/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-07-2017 at 09:58 PM. Reason: 69,017v
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  2. #42
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    Default An Era of Near Unstoppable Terrorism?

    A sombre analysis by a Canadian analyst via ICCT based in Holland, after recent attacks.

    A key passage:
    Perhaps most importantly, the advent of cars as weapons of destruction may mean we are moving into an era of all-but-unstoppable acts of terrorism. When the commonplace becomes the tool of choice security and law enforcement agencies lose an important advantage: the ability to monitor the acquisition of guns or the manufacture of explosives.

    (Later)
    We may in the end need to accept a certain background level of successful terrorist attacks, much like we do for other serious crimes like murder and violent assault. This is not an admission of failure nor an act of surrender: it is an acknowledgement that our security agencies, which are very professional and capable and which stop the vast majority of planned attacks, are not perfect and should not be subjected to an unreasonable standard.
    Link:https://icct.nl/publication/an-era-o...ble-terrorism/

    A BBC overview of recent attacks:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-40000952

    I do wonder if the public, let alone politicians can resist the calls for "better security" and accept a level of such attacks.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-05-2017 at 06:17 PM. Reason: 598v
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  3. #43
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    Default The beating heart of the online terror threat

    The BBC has broadcast a half hour documentary in London, a regional programmme oddly; it is not on YouTube, but will appear on BBC World News see:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3ct1kws

    The reporter is Raffaello Pantucci, of RUSI and he has written a summary on his website. It ends with, lightly edited, this and IMHO applies beyond the UK:
    Clearly radical material disseminated online will fan the flames of ideas, and mean that groups like Isil will be able to maintain their notoriety and draw people to themselves. But it is the online manipulation that is turning these long-distance online relationships into terrorist attacks, and individuals like Junaid are able to manipulate people into launching attacks that are difficult to prevent in western capitals.

    And while government can spend more money on staff and surveillance, when the style of attack is so individual, basic and diffuse, it becomes very difficult to maintain complete control.
    Link:https://raffaellopantucci.com/2017/0...error-by-text/
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  4. #44
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    Default Reality: vehicle attacks have not proved to be the most lethal terrorist tactic.

    Brain Jenkins @ RAND is always sensible and this short article reviews the current furore, 'Vehicular Terrorism: Weighting the Benefits and Worth, of Prevention.

    A "taster":
    This latest in a string of such attacks has added urgency to discussions of what can be done to prevent terrorists from using vehicles as weapons. In the lexicon of the security world, these ideas come under the heading of “hostile vehicle mitigation measures,” and they include a broad range of possibilities. Mitigation, not prevention, is the operative word here—cities are filled with pedestrians and vehicles, in some cases, separated by mere inches. Many of the measures would be disruptive and costly and could easily be circumvented, which leads to an uncomfortable question: Do they represent a good investment?
    Link:https://www.rand.org/blog/2017/09/ve...and-worth.html
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  5. #45
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    Default Moderator at work

    Four other threads in this arena have been merged in after a review; adding nearly 30k views.
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  6. #46
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    Default Global Terrorism Index 2017

    From an Australian think tank and their explanation:
    This is the fifth edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI). The report provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 17 years in covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2016. The GTI is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) and is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). Data for the GTD is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START); a Department of Homeland Security Centre of Excellence led by the University of Maryland. The GTD is considered to be the most comprehensive global dataset on terrorist activity and has now codified over 170,000 terrorist incidents
    It is a large report, so take what you need.
    Link:http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uplo...Index-2017.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-26-2017 at 04:26 PM. Reason: 134,452v
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  7. #47
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    Default Preparing commanders to counter marauding terrorist attacks

    Spotted by a "lurker" an article in NATO Review by an Irish Defence Forces author and a new abbreviation to learn:
    Counter Marauding Terrorist Attack (C-MTA)
    Link:https://www.nato.int/docu/review//20...s/EN/index.htm
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  8. #48
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    Default A lingering, potent threat

    Sentinel, CTC @ West Point's journal has several articles, but this one on the Spanish plotters in is a "must read", partly due to its depth and pointer to what is coming.

    The Abstract:
    In the space of nine hours in August 2017, a terrorist cell armed with vehicles and knives launched two attacks on the city of Barcelona and the town of Cambrils, in Catalonia, Spain, killing 16 in the worst terrorist atrocity in Spain since the 2004 Madrid train bombings. New information obtained by the authors from judicial documents and interviews with investigators make clear the attacks could have been much worse. The 10-man cell, which included four sets of brothers all indoctrinated by an Islamic State-supporting cleric in the Catalonian town of Ripoll, initially planned to carry out ambitious vehicle bomb attacks in Barcelona and possibly Paris using TATP, but changed and accelerated their plans after they accidentally blew up their bomb factory. The Islamic State claimed the attackers were “soldiers of the caliphate,” but while newly disclosed information shows the network behind the Paris attacks targeted Barcelona for an attack in 2015, it is still unclear whether the group had any direct role in the August 2017 attacks.
    Link:https://ctc.usma.edu/spaniards-going...lona-cambrils/

    Looking for a shorter briefing? Try this:http://thesoufancenter.org/tsc-intel...gering-threat/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-27-2018 at 09:31 PM. Reason: 138,888v
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  9. #49
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    Default How to Beat Salafi-Jihadi Terrorism

    A short article by Ali Soufan in a forthcoming debate via the Cato Institute. A few lines:
    To defeat the terrorists, I maintain we must first grasp, in detail, their worldview, their motivations, and their ideology....we must focus on degrading the terrorists’ most valuable asset:their extremist ideology...How can we push vulnerable young people off the treadmill of radicalization before it carries them into the jihadi echo chamber?
    Link:https://www.cato-unbound.org/2018/02...hadi-terrorism
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  10. #50
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    Default Terrorism and the new disorder

    A short commentary by John Raine, ex-UK diplomat now @ IISS; which is painful in places:
    The territorial defeat of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Syria and Iraq marks a turning point in the international effort against terrorism. The long war against terrorism enters a new, but probably not its final, phase. The threat is mutating and diversifying. The Caliphate has dispersed but a global network of terrorists remains operational, including in European cities. Apparently isolated Individuals are acting on their own initiative, deriving inspiration and guidance from online. And a new potential threat is emerging from armed Shia groups who are enjoying a strategic momentum in the Middle East that could carry them into direct conflict with Israel, the Gulf states and the West. Terrorism has been and remains a part of their repertoire.
    This reshaping of the terrorist threat is happening at a time when the international order is volatile. Collective political and security structures are under stress. The Gulf Cooperation Council, NATO and the European Union are all challenged by internal divisions and external threats. In addition, established powers, especially the United States, are recalibrating their global engagement while new powers (Russia and Turkey) are asserting themselves in counter-terrorism theatres such as the Middle East and Central Asia. Finding the common legal, political and cultural ground necessary for effective international coalitions is getting harder.
    In this apparent disorder, how will the new terrorist challenges be met? What are the likely strategies of existing and emerging terrorist groups? What new forms of terrorism might emerge, where and with what targets? What changes will have to be made in national and international responses? And how will the international community deny terrorists influence over cyber domains? What strategies, compromises and coalitions will this require?
    Link:https://www.iiss.org/en/events/event...-disorder-c0ee

    Link to underlined link, which is a longer explanation:https://www.iiss.org/en/iiss%20voice...-disorder-61cf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-13-2018 at 05:15 PM. Reason: 141,134v
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A short commentary by John Raine, ex-UK diplomat now @ IISS; which is painful in places:Link:https://www.iiss.org/en/events/event...-disorder-c0ee

    Link to underlined link, which is a longer explanation:https://www.iiss.org/en/iiss%20voice...-disorder-61cf
    David,

    This is an important think piece in my view, the title "Terrorism and the New Disorder" is appropriate. As noted in numerous SWJ threads and other forums the international order is increasingly under stress by a number of actors and other factors, resulting increasingly in disorder.

    The author correctly points out that the next wave of terrorism is brewing
    at a time when the international order is volatile, and collective political and security structures are under stress.
    Thus finding the necessary
    common legal, political and cultural ground necessary for effective international coalitions is getting harder
    .

    A couple of other thoughts from the author I found helpful in shedding light on our collective ongoing challenge.

    First, it appears state sponsored terrorism is making a come back, and unlike the Iranian proxies in the late 70s/early 80s, this breed of terrorists is battle hardened and very well trained. I doubt Iran will be the only sponsor, as noted by the Russians reportedly providing support to the Taliban as a sign of things to come in a world where state actors increasingly compete with one another.

    Second, regarding the foreign fighter who returned home and others who may seek to fight, the author points out that terrorists are less united by structure than my meme. Add the internet to this equation and you a virus of the mind that will continue to spread globally. The West seeks to destroy terrorist organizations, because it comes the closest to their preferred way of war, but rushing to assign a group label to terrorists can be misleading.

  12. #52
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default New priorities for international counter-terrorism

    John Raine, IISS, has a new commentary; which opens with:
    Cross-border terrorism shows no signs of abating, and the changing nature of the threat calls for new approaches. But what could hinder international cooperation? A year after the Westminster attack in London, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has been dislodged from the majority of the territory it controlled. But the threat posed by ISIS and other groups across Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia persists. International cooperation has been the key to successes in countering terrorism, both recently and over the last 20 years, but as collective security comes under threat and terrorism morphs yet again, what should the new priorities be?
    Link:https://www.iiss.org/blogs/analysis/2018/07/international-counter-terrorism-priorities?
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  13. #53
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    Default How Does Terrorism Overlap With Criminality?

    A commentary with several links on this vexed issue by a UK-based author.
    Link:https://www.forbes.com/sites/nikitam.../#393f2c252c4d
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  14. #54
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    Default How Diaspora Communities Influence Terrorist Groups

    A short essay in Lawfare and the Editor's preamble:
    Terrorist groups often draw on ethnic or religious brethren in other countries. These communities raise money, provide arms, offer volunteers, lobby host governments and otherwise try to advance the terrorist cause. James Piazza of The Pennsylvania State University goes deep on diasporas. He identifies the ways in which they make a terrorism problem worse and why fighting terrorism requires countering the influence of militant diasporas.
    Link:https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-dias...rrorist-groups
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-14-2019 at 07:48 PM. Reason: 166,918v a week ago and 167,395v today
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  15. #55
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    Default Despite Territorial Defeat, Islamist Terrorism Will Continue to be a Threat

    A short commentary by RUSI's Raffaello Pantucci and Mark Rowley, ex-UK top CT police officer. They open with:
    Daesh, Al-Qa’ida and other terrorist organisations may appear to be in current retreat. But rather than being eradicated, they have scattered. The violent extremism they have spawned has not entirely disappeared and understanding how it might evolve is going to be a central preoccupation for security planners.
    They end with:
    This model of global Islamist terrorism with a cult-like ideology scattering and fostering independent mini-caliphates to grow will need constant effort to be effectively managed. The danger is that, just as some key Western governments are retreating from internationalism, new terrorist footholds will establish themselves, strengthen themselves and shock us. The surprise leaves us prone to overreaction that only exacerbates the problem. To counter terrorist threats, we need to not only fight them on the ground, but appreciate the reason why they have developed in the first place and calibrate our response appropriately. Only then will we be able to manage them effectively and guarantee our security.
    Link:https://rusi.org/commentary/despite-...I6pn6o.twitter
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-16-2019 at 06:21 PM. Reason: 167,527v today
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    Default What may come next and hwo to respond

    Catching up I found this article by Scott Atran, sub-titled:
    The atrocities in Sri Lanka are part of a spiral of violence that poses profound questions for liberal societies
    Later:
    The spread of this transnational terrorism, whether Islamist revivalism or resurgent ethno-nationalism, is fragmenting the social and political consensus globally. That is precisely its aim: to create the void that will usher in a new world, with no room for innocents on the other side, and no “grey zone” in between.
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...ight-sri-lanka

    Then today Jason Burke asks:
    Are there lessons we can learn from last week’s atrocities in Sri Lanka?
    He has this key passage on being radicalised:
    Crucially, someone vulnerable to radicalisation at one moment in their life may be much less so just months later. A key element in the explanations of former terrorists for their own actions – as well as in accounts given by Nazi mass killers and others – is that their acts are necessary to head off a catastrophic outcome for their community, that they are an obligation for any rational individual. Combine this with the total dehumanisation of the victims – another product of groupthink, separation and propaganda – and you are already a long way to mass murder, whether in a death camp, through an artificial famine, by a mob armed with knives and axes, or a multiple suicide bombing.
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ombings-terror

    Both have a global outlook, so will be copied to the general CT thread.
    davidbfpo

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