Small Wars Journal

terrorism

Psychology of the Radical

Fri, 10/22/2021 - 12:31am
The Study of Terrorism is plagued with ambiguity and contradiction, much of which stems from the inability to agree upon a universal definition. This is particularly apparent when analyzing the various contributing factors surrounding individuals who gravitate towards and ultimately adopt extremist ideologies. To reduce the complexity of analyzing this topic, we will focus exclusively on individuals who have adopted an extremist ideology and are prone to commit violence in support of it. There is a multitude of characteristics that may be associated with these types of individuals, but as Boaz Ganor (2021) alludes to, it is typically an amalgamation of variables that precipitate the manifestation of these ideologies. While some characteristics appear almost symbiotic in nature, others may be viewed as directly contradicting one another. This article argues that there are five major factors that perpetuate extremist ideology and acts of terrorism including sociocultural incompatibility, lack of personal achievement, aptitude toward ignoring contradictory evidence, elevating basic values into sacred ones, and falling well outside the typical socioeconomic distribution curve. It is the amalgamation of these factors that leads individuals to become receptive to extremist ideologies which, as this article will later discuss, all typically follow a consisently  specific archetype. 

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Redefining Terrorism in the 21st Century

Fri, 10/22/2021 - 12:25am
The history and evolution of terrorism is one of great complexity, spanning centuries rather than decades. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that “[t]     errorism remains a contested term, with no set definitions for the concept or broad agreement among academic experts on its usage” (Ward, 2018). However, many believe that recognizing terrorism is akin to Justice Potter Stewart’s concurring opinion regarding the recognition of obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964) - “I’ll know it when I see it.” Although there is      a multitude of definitions, many experts[1]  agree that terrorism has two distinguishing elements – violence and a political dimension or motive (Burgess, 2015). This much can be discerned by the definitions of Bruce Hoffman and Louise Richardson of Georgetown University and Oxford University, respectively (Ward, 2018). However, by analyzing this phenomenon through the prism of the military’s Strategic Framework, we can reduce the elements of terrorism down to the ends, ways, and means (Eikmeier, 2007).

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Combating Terrorism Center at West Point: The Terrorist Lists: An Examination of the U.S. Government’s Counterterrorism Designations Efforts

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 8:47pm

Full Report: https://ctc.usma.edu/the-terrorist-lists-an-examination-of-the-u-s-governments-counterterrorism-designations-efforts/

By Seth Loertscher, Daniel Milton, Bryan Price, Cynthia Loertscher

From September 2020, but especially relevant with the recent decision to designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-iran-cuba-diplomacy-china-93528aaaab4014ab527609da527e93db

 

This report examines two sanctioning efforts the U.S. government has employed against terrorist actors: the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list and the designation of individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under the authority granted by Executive Order 13224. Although the specific purposes of each of these programs differ from one another, ultimately both represent a non-kinetic approach to counterterrorism that relies on the application of diplomatic and/or financial statecraft.

USIP Publication: 2020 Trends in Terrorism: From ISIS Fragmentation to Lone-Actor Attacks

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 7:58pm

The Global Terrorism Index points to the need for better data and local insights to inform policy to counter extremism.

By Alastair Reed and Kateira Aryaeinejad

In the past five years, terrorist attacks have declined notably around the globe. While this is certainly good news—particularly in the 20th year of the so-called global war on terror—terrorism remains a pervasive threat. Despite declines in its prevalence, the scale of the challenge posed by terrorism and the violent ideologies that underpin it is still immense and the mechanisms by which to address it remain complex and in need of further coordination on a global scale. What trends did we see in 2020? And how can those trends inform policy to counter violent extremism?

In November 2020, the Institute of Economics and Peace released their annual Global Terrorism Index (GTI), an invaluable resource for understanding the current impact of terrorism around the world. On a subject that provokes much speculation and conjecture, the GTI provides hard empirical data illuminating the actual scale and impact of terrorism worldwide with important implications for identifying ongoing and future terrorism trends, tolls, and threats. The GTI data highlights two key patterns of particular note for informing more proactive and effective policy: the decline and displacement of the Islamic State group in the Middle East and the rise of far-right violence in the West.

 

Full Article: https://www.usip.org/publications/2021/01/2020-trends-terrorism-isis-fragmentation-lone-actor-attacks

TERRORISM FUTURES: Evolving Technology and TTPs Use

Thu, 10/29/2020 - 5:08pm

TERRORISM FUTURES: Evolving Technology and TTPs Use

Dr. Robert J. Bunker, Small Wars Journal-El Centro Senior Fellow has just released a new pocketbook—TERRORISM FUTURES: Evolving Technology and TTPs Use  examining the future of terrorism with an emphasis on evolving technology and the development of terrorist TTPs embracing that technology.

Terrorism Futures

The Terrorism Futures: Evolving Technology and TTPs Use pocketbook is derived from a series of nine essays written by Dr. Robert J. Bunker between December 2014 and June 2017 for TRENDS Research & Advisory, Abu Dhabi, UAE. With subsequent organizational and website changes at TRENDS a majority of these essays are no longer accessible via the present iteration of the entity's website. In order to preserve this collection of forward-thinking counterterrorism writings, the author has elected to publish them as a C/O Futures pocketbook with the inclusion of new front and back essays and a foreword by Rohan Gunaratna. Technologies and TTPs analyzed include virtual martyrdom, IED drones, disruptive targeting, fifth dimensional battlespace, close to the body bombs, body cavity bombs, counter-optical lasers, homemade firearms, printed firearms, remote controlled firearms, social media bots, AI text generators, AVBIEDs, and FPS/live streaming attacks.

Source: Robert J. Bunker, TERRORISM FUTURES: Evolving Technology and TTPs Use. (A C/O Futures Pocketbook.) Bloomington: XLibris, 2020, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1664137815/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i35.

"Indo-Pacific Terrorism, Special Operations, and the Coronavirus"

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 6:12pm

Indo-Pacific Terrorism, Special Operations, and the Coronavirus

Dr. Zachary Abuza (National War College), COL(r) David Maxwell (Foundation for Defense of Democracies), and Commander Alexander Bein (US Special Operations Command) discussed current terrorism and Special Operations Forces (SOF) dynamics for the Indo-Pacific region in the era of the coronavirus. The webinar was moderated by DKI APCSS Professor Lumpy Lumbaca.

ISIS’ New Leader and the Group’s Regeneration

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 1:11am
Newfound breathing room has emboldened ISIS to release the name of its new leader and increase the pace and audacity of insurgent attacks against Kurdish, Syrian government, and Iraqi targets, pointing to the conclusion that this aspect of the Syrian Civil War has merely transformed into a new phase.

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What Happens When Sudan is Removed from the U.S. Terror List?

Sat, 02/08/2020 - 8:31am
Its been nearly a year since Sudan’s longtime dictator, Omar al-Bashir, was ousted from power. As the country moves to transition to democracy, its civilian government and Sudanese civil society have called on the U.S. government to remove Khartoum from the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) list. The Sentry’s Hilary Mossberg and John Prendergast recently argued that although delisting is an important for Sudan’s transition, it is just one of multiple steps needed—from both the U.S. and Sudan—in order for pro-democracy forces to achieve their goals.

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East Africa Needs a Regional Counterterrorism Center

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 5:30am
The task of rethinking East African counterterrorism cooperation has gone through many phases but remains limited in scope. Kenyan, Tanzanian, and African Union counterterrorism centers exist, but they are principally research and policy centers or local one-country interagency apparatuses. Other limitations are highlighted by the lack of multi-country intelligence operations uniquely designed for East African counterterrorism writ large, i.e. tackling the regional al-Shabaab threat in a simultaneous permanent fashion at one location.

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Can Policy Catch Up to the Golden Age of Terrorism Research?

Wed, 11/06/2019 - 8:50am
There is a great hunger to better understand violent extremism and diminish its impact, especially given its global spread. Policies should stand on the shoulders of research to yield better outcomes for countless people around the globe whose lives are devastated by violent extremism.

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