Down but Not Out: How ISIS is Regrouping in Syria, Iraq, and Online

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s caliphate was overthrown in al-Raqqa in March 2019, many wrongly believed that the Islamic State (ISIS) was over. Born out of the chaos of the Syrian War, many assumed that it would disappear as the guns gradually fell silent in Syria. That has not happened, and over the past six months there has been a series of attacks on civilian populations in both Syria and Iraq — all claimed by ISIS. The most recent of those was a twin suicide bombing in Baghdad in January. Two

Why a counterterror program in the Sahara needs to be eliminated, not reformed

By Alex Thurston The “Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Program” has done more harm than good and wasted taxpayer dollars. On March 24, the “Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Program Act” was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The bill, introduced for the third time, would give a firmer legal foundation to the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. The TSCTP is an executive branch program co-led by the State Department, the United States Agency for

Pakistan Tries to Curb Islamist Extremist Party

Last week, Pakistan banned the radical Islamist political party, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) after it staged a series of violent riots. The violent unrest only intensified across the country after that, including threats to international interests, demonstrating both that the Pakistani government was correct about TLP and that the state continues to struggle in dealing with Islamic militancy. Background TLP was created in 2015 by a Pakistani Islamic scholar, Khadim Hussain Rizvi. It is

Why European Countries Do Not Repatriate Their Foreign Fighters

By Francesco Marone In the United Kingdom, a complex international case has fueled a heated debate, with deep legal, ethical, political, and security implications. The last development depended on a controversial ruling: the UK Supreme Court had to decide whether Shamima Begum, the London schoolgirl who traveled to Syria in 2015 to join the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), could return home to mount her defense. Eventually, on 26 February, the president of the court said the judges had decided

Women's Day: an opportunity to commemorate female victims of terrorism

The Second Meeting of "Empowerment of Women Victims of Terrorism; the Necessity for Future of Human" was held at Allameh Tabatabai University in-person and via webinar on Monday, paying tribute to women victims of terrorism. By the effort of the Association for the Defense of Victims of Terrorism in collaboration with Allameh Tabatabai University and the International Law Student Association, the event was held on Monday with scholars and women activists in human rights affairs in Iran and West

The French might have bombed a wedding party in Mali. And no one seems to care

By Azad Essa* The French say they killed armed fighters, but like US attacks on Yemen, Afghanistan or Somalia, there is no proof that those killed by the recent drone strikes were combatants. On the afternoon of 3 January, the French military deployed a Reaper drone over the village of Bounti in central Mali. The drone dropped three bombs on a dwelling in an open area outside the village, killing dozens of rebel fighters, the French military said. Hours after the attack, however, several

The Nazi Satanists promoting extreme violence and terrorism

By Ariel Koch In June 2020, an American soldier was charged with sending sensitive information about his own unit’s location, movements and security measures to members of the Nazi-Satanist group, Order of Nine Angles (ONA). He used an ONA-affiliated channel, which promotes Nazism, Satanism, terrorism and sexual violence, on the encrypted messaging service, Telegram. Three months later, a man was arrested and charged with first-degree murder following the stabbing of a man outside of a mosque

'Counter-Terrorism'?: Two Decades After 9/11, New Interactive Map Details Footprint of US War Machine in 85 Countries

By Brett Wilkins A new report published Thursday details United States so-called "counterterrorism" operations by the U.S. military in 85 nations since 2018 as part of its "Global War on Terror," the open-ended post-9/11 campaign that has seen over half a dozen countries attacked or invaded, hundreds of overseas military bases built, hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and trillions of dollars spent—with no end in sight. The report—published by the Costs of War Project at Brown University's

Vaccines and Terrorist Groups: Opposition or Embrace?

By Mohammed Sinan Siyech*   With the approval and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines at the end of 2020, media channels have been ripe with images of different world leaders such as Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong and US President Joe Biden, among others, either taking the jab, or announcing their intention to do so, in a bid to assuage any public distrust towards vaccines. Millions of people will likely take the vaccine in 2021, in the hopes of stamping out the threat of Covid-19

Is Our Blood Worth Less?' Afghan Anguish After European Court Sides with Germany Over Airstrike That Killed 90 Civilians

By Brett Wilkins Afghans and human rights advocates around the world expressed deep disappointment Tuesday after the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Germany in a case brought by victims of a 2009 NATO airstrike that killed as many as 90 civilians. The New York Times reports a 17-judge panel of the ECHR ruled unanimously that the German government adequately investigated a September 3, 2009 airstrike in Afghanistan's Kunduz province that targeted two fuel tankers stolen by

France’s war on terror and deradicalization policy

By Abdennour Toumi* Muslims throughout Europe and the U.S. are still unjustly stigmatized. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-U.S. President George W. Bush challenged Muslim world leaders with his rhetorical foreign policy doctrine: “You are either with us or against us.” Years later, another Republican U.S. president, Donald Trump, followed in Bush's footsteps against Muslims and immigrants. Such public policies have therefore damaged America's image in the Middle East and North Africa

Stop the torture: One 19-year detainee begs for GTMO release

By Dave DeCamp With calls growing for President Biden to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, an inmate of the notorious detention facility appealed to the president for his release in an article for the Independent. Ahmed Rabbani described the nightmare he has lived since he was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan, back in 2002 and sold to the CIA for a bounty. Rabbani was falsely identified as Hassan Ghul, an al-Qaeda member who was eventually captured by the US and later released. Rabbani said he was

Who Will Replace the Slain Leaders of the Islamic State?

By Sami Moubayed In one week, the Islamic State (ISIS) suffered two major losses in Iraq. One was the assassination off Abu Yasser al-Issawi, the overall commander of the terror organization in Iraq, who was killed near Kirkuk on 29 January, followed by Abu Hasan al-Ghreibawi, the wali (governor) of ISIS for southern Iraq, killed on 3 February. Both were responsible for the latest ISIS rebound, culminating in the twin suicide bombing in Baghdad last month that killed 32 people.[1] The

Will Joe Biden close Guantanamo Bay?

By Büşra Göktaş* U.S. President Joe Biden intends to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. During a press briefing on Feb. 12, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed: “That’s certainly our goal and our intention.” She added that “they are undertaking a National Security Council process to assess the current state of play that the Biden administration has inherited from the previous administration, in line with our broader goal of closing Guantanamo.” The Guantanamo Bay detention

In western Europe, right wing terrorism is on the rise

By Leonard Weinberg How frequently have terrorist attacks occurred over the last three decades in western Europe? Which countries stand out in terms of their vulnerability to these attacks? Who or what have been the principal targets for such attacks? Before examining the evidence, let us define the terms and parameters of this commentary. Our data are drawn from Jacob Aasland Ravndal’s RTV Dataset (“Right-Wing terrorism and violence in Western Europe: Introducing the RTV Dataset”) and we apply

COVID sparks resurgence of ISIL terrorists, threatening international peace and security

The threat to international peace and security posed by ISIL terrorist fighters is “on the rise again”, the UN counter-terrorism chief told the Security Council on Wednesday. Despite the competing priorities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vladimir Voronkov, head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), said that it was “crucial” for Member States to remain focused and united in thwarting terrorism. “While ISIL has not developed a purposeful strategy to exploit the pandemic, its efforts

Counter-Terrorism and the Rule of Law

By Deborah Pearlstein As the long post-9/11 era of U.S. counter-terrorism enters its third decade, it has grown easier to identify distinct genres within the sizable body of work assessing the legal costs of U.S. actions. One body of work has focused squarely on the damage counter-terrorism policies have inflicted on individual civil liberties and human rights, including how expansive surveillance compromised the right to privacy, how torture and abuse undermined the promise of human dignity

Why Biden needs to scrap ‘countering violent extremism’ programs

Steven Leach President Biden has an opportunity to further distance U.S. foreign policy from the so-called “Global War on Terror.” His national security decisions thus far — his team and also elevating climate and USAID to the National Security Council — signal a departure from the post-9/11 consensus that transnational terrorism is the greatest security threat to the United States. To continue this shift, the Biden Administration needs to consciously remove “countering violent extremism”

Boko Haram: A Reflection of IS on Africa

By Syed Zain Abbas Rizvi The terror of the Islamic State (IS) is hardly unheard of in any corner of the world. The tales of their manslaughter are enough to send a chill through bones. A reminder of the barbaric nature of the militant group that elevated it to global notoriety over the past two decades. While the Middle-East; Syria and Iraq more specifically, primarily suffered the carnage, the regional countries were not spared of the nightmare. Pakistan serves as a prime example of the

Why domestic terrorists are so hard to police online

Domestic terrorism has proven to be more difficult for Big Tech companies to police online than foreign terrorism. The big picture: That’s largely because the politics are harder. There’s more unity around the need to go after foreign extremists than domestic ones — and less danger of overreaching and provoking a backlash. Flashback: When tech firms came together in 2017 to tackle foreign terrorism, the bipartisan view that ISIS was a serious national security threat allowed them to take blunt
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