Europe Cracks Down

 

 

Europe Cracks Down

They can take our lives, but can they also take our freedom? The Charlie Hebdo assault in Paris last week is only the latest chapter in a months-long series of attacks, which built in turn on a yearlong escalation of concerns about the extraordinary number of Europeans traveling to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, and a host of other jihadi groups. Since the Charlie Hebdo attack, European governments have moved swiftly to roll up terrorist operatives who were already on their radar, with more than a dozen arrests since Thursday, Jan. 15.

 

In response to this escalating threat, Western countries are looking at an array of new laws and government powers to deal with the problem. In Europe and Australia, proposals to enhance counterterrorism powers are in full bloom. In the United States, similar ideas of lesser scope are quietly circulating behind the scenes, likely to emerge into public view soon enough. Continue reading

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Arrests fuel jihad fears in Spain’s African lands

Arrests fuel jihad fears in Spain's African lands

A picture taken on December 4, 2014 is a general view of El Principe district in Ceuta.

CEUTA, Spain – Aisha has lived all her life in one neighbourhood in Spain’s African territory of Ceuta, but now she is willing to move – even to the war zone of Syria.

“I would go and live with my family in the Islamic State in Syria, and if my husband died there in combat, I would accept it,” said the mother-of-four, dressed in a black hijab, who asked for her real name to be concealed.

Her home district of El Principe in this European enclave of 87,000 people on the tip of Morocco has a reputation for hardship – and a new, growing one for Islamic radicalism.

Police on Tuesday raided a gang they suspect recruited 12 women online and sent them to join the violent extremist group calling itself Islamic State, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq.

Five of the suspects were arrested in Barcelona, Ceuta and Melilla, Spain’s other north African territory, to the east. Two were detained in Morocco, close to the border with Ceuta.

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Analysing Terrorism from a Systems Thinking Perspective

 

Lukas Schoenenberger, Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Mathias Beck

Abstract

Given the complexity of terrorism, solutions based on single factors are destined to fail. Systems thinking offers various tools for helping researchers and policy makers comprehend terrorism in its entirety. We have developed a semi-quantitative systems thinking approach for characterising relationships between variables critical to terrorism and their impact on the system as a whole. For a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying terrorism, we present a 16-variable model characterising the critical components of terrorism and perform a series of highly focused analyses. We show how to determine which variables are best suited for government intervention, describing in detail their effects on the key variable—the political influence of a terrorist network. We also offer insights into how to elicit variables that destabilise and ultimately break down these networks. Because we clarify our novel approach with fictional data, the primary importance of this paper lies in the new framework for reasoning that it provides.

Full Text: PDF HTML

Matrix

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The active sum (AS in the last column on the right), is the sum of all of the direct influences (outgoing flows) that can be attributed to a certain variable, i.e., the sum of the values in the row of a single variable. The active sum thus indicates how strongly this variable affects or dominates the system, with a high active sum indicating great influence. The passive sum (PS second to last column) is the sum of all of the incoming flows and indicates how strongly the system affects or dominates a variable. To calculate the incoming and outgoing flows, one can take only the absolute values into account.

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The Balkanization of Al Qaeda

The "black flag of jihad" as used by...

The “black flag of jihad” as used by various Islamic terrorist organizations (since the late 1990s) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles E. Berger   February 21, 2014

This month, Al Qaeda officially disenfranchised one of its affiliates, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In fact, ISIS is now in open warfare with al Nusra Front, another Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. These events reveal an Al Qaeda more Balkanized than unified. They also undermine the generally accepted view of a global Al Qaeda network expanding its reach. As opposed to a single organization bound by a common ideology, we should view the Al Qaeda network for what it is: a loose coalition of separate terrorist groups with their own individual causes. Our current strategy to defeat the Al Qaeda network by countering its ideology will likely fail. These other groups will continue on, perhaps under different names, long after Al Qaeda is militarily defeated.

The Obama administration’s 2011 National Strategy for Counterterrorism distanced itself from Bush’s “Global War on Terrorism” by accurately describing terrorism as a tactic, not an enemy. The enemy is now defined as Al Qaeda core (the organization established by Osama Bin Laden now largely located in Pakistan), its affiliates (other groups aligned with Al Qaeda) and its adherents. “Adherents” includes individuals who are inspired to take action based on the ideology of Al Qaeda. Adherents includes any terrorist or group who claims to share Al Qaeda’s ideology, leading to the conclusion the only way to defeat such a networked organization is to destroy this one common link—the ideology. While terrorist organizations can be destroyed and individuals can be imprisoned or killed, it is unlikely that we will ever achieve victory defined as stamping out an objectionable creed.

Terrorist groups are paramilitary organizations and behave as rational actors. Their strategies are directed specific political end states, or “causes.” While a group’s end state and ideology are related, they are not synonymous. For example, Al Qaeda and the Palestinian group Hamas share similar Islamist ideologies, but their end states are completely different. Likewise, the causes of most of the Al Qaeda’s affiliates are regional, differing from Al Qaeda core’s focus on the West. When these groups assume the Al Qaeda moniker, they anticipate a predictable counterterrorism response from the United States; however they do so to attract funds, recruits and media attention. Continue reading

Are Corruption and Tribalism Dooming Somalia’s War on al-Shabaab Extremists?

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 4

 

February 21, 2014 02:32 PM

 

By: Andrew McGregor

 

English: Flag of Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen

English: Flag of Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

An African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldier keeps guard on top of an armoured vehicle in the old part of Mogadishu (Source Reuters)

 

  After decades of conflict that have nearly destroyed the nation, Somalia now stands poised     to  make a final drive with international assistance to shatter the strength of radical al-Qaeda- associated Islamists in central and southern Somalia, but there are indications that Somalia’s leaders may be posing an even greater obstacle to Somalia’s successful reconstruction.

 

                                                                 Arms Embargoes and Missing Weapons

 

 

In mid-February, the UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group issued a report to the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee claiming that weapons obtained by the Somali government under a temporary easing of UN arms sanctions were being sold to Somalia’s al-Shabaab extremists in what was described as “high-level and systematic abuses in weapons and ammunition management and distribution” (Reuters, February 13). A UN arms embargo was placed on Somalia in 1992, but in the last year the Somali government has been able to obtain once-restricted small arms and other weapons such as rocket-propelled-grenades under a partial lifting of the embargo designed to help fight al-Shabaab terrorists.

 

Among the observations contained in the report were the following:

 

 

  • Shipments of weapons from Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda could not be accounted for.
  • The Somali government cancelled several UN inspections of armories
  • A key presidential adviser from President Hassan Shaykh Mohamud’s own Abgaal sub-clan was involved in planning weapons transfers to al-Shabaab commander Shaykh Yusuf Isse “Kabukatukade,” another member of the Abgaal.
  • A government minister from the Habr Gadir sub-clan made unauthorized weapons purchases from a Gulf state that were transferred to private locations in Mogadishu for use by a Habr Gadir clan militia.
  • The Monitoring team photographed rifles sent to Somalia’s national army for sale in the Mogadishu arms market with their serial numbers filed off (Reuters, February13; AFP, February 16).

 

 

The easing of the Somali arms embargo is scheduled to end in March. Though a final decision on its future has yet to be made, it seems likely that the easing will remain in place until a new report on arms violations is due in October. The Somali government is looking for a complete removal of the embargo, allowing it to obtain heavy weapons and sophisticated military materiel (Reuters, February 14). Continue reading

SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW

Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 12, No. 31, February 3, 2014

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal

ASSESSMENT

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PAKISTAN

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Terror Unbridled
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

Terrorism in Pakistan has already resulted in at least 460 fatalities, including 241 civilians, 86 Security Force (SF) personnel and 133 militants in just the first month of 2014, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). 38 major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) have inflicted at least 309 fatalities, and 70 explosions have also been recorded, accounting for 167 deaths. In one of the worst attacks of 2014 targeting civilians, at least 24 Shia pilgrims returning from Iran were killed and another 40 were injured in a bomb attack targeting their bus in the Khusak area of Kanak in the Mastung District of Balochistan Province, on January 21, 2014. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Clearly, the ‘terror industry’ that was established by Islamabad decades ago with the primary intention of exporting mujahideen into neighbouring countries, including India and Afghanistan, to secure Pakistan‘s perceived ‘strategic interests’, continues to thrive. This vast misadventure, however, turned progressively against its very creators, and, since 9/11, Pakistan has itself become the increasing target of several formerly state sponsored terrorist formations that have ‘gone rogue’, even as international pressure has forced Islamabad to undertake visibly reluctant operations against some of these groups. The process escalated after the creation of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operations in 2007, causing a spiral of violence that now threatens the very existence of the country. Pakistan’s undiminished tolerance for religious extremists has not just destroyed lives and alienated entire communities; it is destroying Pakistani society and the very idea and edifice of the nation.

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Shin Bet report: terror increase originating from West Bank

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Israeli soldiers on patrol in the West Bank city of Hebron, Sept. 23, 2013. (photo by Getty Images/Mamoun Wazwaz)

Israel’s Shin Bet is summing up 2013. The General Security Service, which is charged with preventing terrorist attacks in the country, released on Jan. 27 a detailed report covering 2013. The main data of this annual report points to a significant rise in terrorist attacks as compared to 2012. The number of attacks doubled in that time, from 578 in 2012 to 1,271 in 2013.

Summary⎙ Print The 2013 Shin Bet report indicates a rise in terror activities originating in the West Bank, attributed partly to the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the weakening of Fatah security mechanisms.

Author Shlomi Eldar Posted February 2, 2014

Translator(s)Danny Wool

According to the Shin Bet’s data, there was a drop in the number of casualties from terrorist attacks, with six in 2013, as compared to 10 in 2012. However, two reservations should be considered when making that comparison. The first is that in 2013, five Israelis were killed in attacks launched from the West Bank, as compared to zero in 2012. Furthermore, among the Israeli casualties listed by the Shin Bet for 2012 are the six soldiers who were killed in Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip.

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