Showing posts with label Counter Insurgency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Counter Insurgency. Show all posts

16 February 2018

Ukraine’s Grey-Zone Conflict: What Lies Ahead?

by David Carment

On Jan. 18, 2018, Ukraine’s parliament voted in favour of a controversial full draft of a new law on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.1 The law has gained a lot of attention, despite the fact there is no final document yet, because it identifies Russia as an aggressor and occupying state. The new law is important for a few other reasons. First, its primary purpose is to stymie Russia’s geopolitical aspirations by having Ukraine retake the disputed territories by force. Second, it makes no mention of the Minsk agreements, the acceptance of which was a provision for the lifting of sanctions against Russia. Nor does it recognize the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) as legitimate parties to the conflict. Indeed, there is no reference to the peace agreement brokered by France and Germany in 2015, which obliged Kiev to develop legislation regarding autonomy and amnesty for its minorities. Instead, the trade and transport blockade between Ukraine and the Donbass will be strengthened. And last, the law dramatically realigns Ukraine’s military forces by granting extra powers to the Ukrainian president, commander of the country’s united forces.

15 February 2018

The Economic Impact Of Terrorism On Developing Countries

 Terrorists can inflict heart-breaking loss of life and costly destruction of property. But does terrorism also have an economic impact that extends far beyond the violent act itself?

Subhayu Bandyopadhyay, a research officer and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and Javed Younas, an associate professor of economics at American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, explored the question of whether terrorism can also hurt a developing nation’s economic growth, ability to attract foreign investment and trade flows.

14 February 2018

Maoists Deploying Pressure Mines – Analysis

By P. V. Ramana*

Pressure mines may not be lethal, but can certainly decapitate a person. On February 7, 2018, one personnel of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was injured in a pressure mine blast in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, near Dhanora.

For over more than a decade, Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Maoists in in short, have been widely deploying pressure mines, especially in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, as well as in other parts where they operate.

12 February 2018

Dark Money: How Militants Exploit Hawala to Fund Terror


Bottom Line: For terrorists, moving money covertly through hawala networks to circumvent institutionalized banking systems remains one of their leading methods of avoiding detection. The U.S. has managed to unearth and even sanction certain illicit hawala networks, but terrorists continue to exploit this centuries old, nearly untraceable practice to finance their operations around the world.

Background: Hawala, which means “transfer” in Arabic, is an informal transaction system based largely on mutual trust. 

9 February 2018

Why DoD leaders are increasingly worried about the ‘gray zone’

By: Mark Pomerleau 

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, its primary army was known as “little green men” because the Russian soldiers wore generic green uniforms lacking any official insignia. This complicated attribution, and allowed the Kremlin to distance itself from the effort, in turn stymieing retaliation and or intervention.

That conflict is an example of what’s called the “gray zone,” a term used to describe

7 February 2018

The Case for Counter Insurgency ‘Light’ in Afghanistan

By Charles Barham

"One man seemed to speak for everyone when he made a brief, impassioned plea to the visiting officials. “Our homes are being destroyed, our youths are being killed, people are suffering every day and being forgotten,” he said. “If, God forbid, we lose Lashkar Gah, then Helmand will collapse and the whole region and Afghanistan will collapse. Please save us from this chaos.”


The Taliban was and remains an insurgency. It must be dealt with as an insurgency by

6 February 2018

An Assessment of Violent Extremist Use of Social Media Technologies

By Scot A. Terban, February 05, 2018

Summary: The leveraging of social media technologies by violent extremists like Al-Qaeda (AQ) and Daesh have created a road map for others to do the same. Without a combined effort by social media companies and intelligence and law enforcement organizations, violent extremists and others will continue to operate nearly unchecked on social media platforms and inspire others to acts of violence.

Text: Following the 9/11 attacks the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and AQ, the violent extremist organization who launched these attacks, lost ground. With the loss of ground came an increase in online activity. In the time before the worldwide embrace of social media, jihadi’s like Irhabi007 (Younis Tsouli) led AQ hacking operations by breaking into vulnerable web pages and defacing them with AQ propaganda as well as establishing dead drop sites for materials others could use. This method was pioneered by Irhabi007, who was later hunted down by other hackers and finally arrested in 2005[1]. Five years after Tsouli’s arrest, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) established Inspire Magazine as a way to communicate with its existing followers and “inspire” new ones[2]. Unfortunately for AQAP, creating and distributing an online magazine became a challenge.

Today, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, VKontakte, and YouTube are now the primary modus for jihadi extremists to spread the call to jihad as well as sow fear into those they target. Social media is perfect for connecting people because of the popularity of the platforms and the ease of use, creation of accounts, and ability to send messages that could have a large audience. In the case of Daesh, they use Twitter and YouTube as their primary means of messaging not only for fear but also command and control as well as recruitment. Daesh sees the benefits of using social media, and their use has paved the way for others. Even after Twitter and YouTube began to catch on and act against the Daesh accounts, it is still easy still for Daesh to create new accounts and keep the messages flowing with a new user name followed by a digit.

3 February 2018

What makes the Desert Scorpions, India’s most elite special force, special

What makes the Desert Scorpions, India’s most elite special force, special

A key part of training is the 'survival week', when probationers learn to live off the land. They are left in the wild, where they learn to eat anything that is edible. 

Every day, the Desert Scorpions walk the wire between life and death. Part of their uniform is a striking red badge that reads 'Balidaan', or martyrdom. Do not be fooled,

31 January 2018

We can't match Russian Might': West falling behind in new Cold War as tensions rise


Last week saw two unusually sombre warnings. 

The first, from the head of the British Armed Forces Gen Sir Nick Carter, warned that Britain’s defences had fallen dangerously behind military, technological and strategic innovations by Moscow. 

The second, from defence secretary Gavin Williamson, told of Russia’s capacity to “kill

Financing Armed Groups during Ceasefires

By Véronique Dudouet and Janel Galvanek

From what sources do non-state armed groups get funding during ceasefires and peace negotiations? Further, do ceasefires represent a fundraising constraint or an opportunity for such groups? In this article, Véronique Dudouet and Janel Galvanek provide answers by reviewing the cases of ETA in the Basque Country, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, the Karen National Union (KNU) in Myanmar, and more.

While the financing sources of non-state

24 January 2018

Tracking Global Terrorism in 2018

With the start of a new year, we once again examine the state of the global jihadist movement. Shared from Threat Lens, Stratfor's unique protective intelligence product, the following column includes excerpts from a comprehensive forecast available to Threat Lens subscribers. In some ways "the global jihadist movement" is a misleading phrase. Rather than the monolithic threat it describes, jihadism more closely resembles a worldwide insurgency with two competing standard-bearers: al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To make matters more complicated, grassroots extremists have been known to take inspiration from each group's ideology — and, in some cases, both.

23 January 2018

Tracking Global Terrorism In 2018

In some ways "the global jihadist movement" is a misleading phrase. Rather than the monolithic threat it describes, jihadism more closely resembles a worldwide insurgency with two competing standard-bearers: al Qaeda and the Islamic State. To make matters more complicated, grassroots extremists have been known to take inspiration from each group's ideology - and, in some cases, both. This complex network of international organizations, local militancies and individual adherents cannot be dismantled by simply killing its members and leaders one by one. Instead, governments around the globe will have to split off local groups from the Islamic State and al Qaeda ideologies they have chosen to adopt and tackle them separately using the principles of counterinsurgency if the jihadist movement is to be eradicated once and for all.
Al Qaeda: Surviving Under Pressure

16 January 2018

Are Jihadi Motives Really a Mystery?

by Raymond Ibrahim

The mainstream media would have us believe that Akayed Ullah's bombing of a New York City subway on December 11 was motivated by concern for Muslim refugees in Bangladesh. The so-called mainstream media's approach to and apologias for Islamic terrorism have become as predictable as they are farcical. In a recent piece titled, "A Mysterious Act of Mercy by the Subway Bombing Suspect," the New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman portrays would-be suicide bomber Akayed Ullah—whose foiled attempt at Times Square subway last month could have massacred countless Americans—as just another Muslim youth angered at and responding to the mistreatment of Muslims, that is, a Muslim with legitimate "grievances." This is clear from the opening sentences:

11 January 2018

An Australian Perspective on Identity, Social Media, and Ideology as Drivers for Violent Extremism

By Kate McNair

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) is a leading initiative by many western sovereigns to reduce home-grown terrorism and extremism. Social media, ideology, and identity are just some of the issues that fuel violent extremism for various individuals and groups and are thus areas that CVE must be prepared to address. Text: On March 7, 2015, two brothers aged 16 and 17 were arrested after they were suspected of leaving Australia through Sydney Airport to fight for the Islamic State[1]. The young boys fouled their parents and forged school letters. Then they presented themselves to Australian Immigration and Border Protection shortly after purchasing tickets to an unknown middle eastern country with a small amount of funds and claimed to be on their way to visit family for three months. Later, they were arrested for admitting to intending to become foreign fighters for the Islamic State. October 2, 2015, Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar, 15 years old, approached Parramatta police station in Sydney’s West, and shot civilian police accountant Curtis Cheng in the back[2]. Later it was discovered that Jabar was inspired and influenced by two older men aged 18 and 22, who manipulated him into becoming a lone wolf attacker, and supplied him the gun he used to kill the civilian worker.

9 January 2018

Many Americans have never heard of the Haqqani network, one of the world’s most lethal terror groups

Ann M. Simmonds

When the Trump administration announced this week it was suspending military aid to Pakistan until the country takes more aggressive action against terrorist organizations that have targeted Americans, one of the groups it named was the Haqqani network. Compared to other extremist groups, it is unfamiliar to many people in the U.S. So who is Haqqani? What is the network? And what are its links to Pakistan? Jalaluddin Haqqani was an Afghan warlord and a leader of the insurgency against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when he formed his Sunni Islamist militant organization, which the U.S. government did not designate as a foreign terrorist organization until 2012.

Mapping a World From Hell 76 Countries Are Now Involved in Washington’s War on Terror

By Tom Engelhardt

He left Air Force Two behind and, unannounced, “shrouded in secrecy,” flew on an unmarked C-17 transport plane into Bagram Air Base, the largest American garrison in Afghanistan. All news of his visit was embargoed until an hour before he was to depart the country. More than 16 years after an American invasion “liberated” Afghanistan, he was there to offer some good news to a U.S. troop contingent once again on the rise. Before a 40-foot American flag, addressing 500 American troops, Vice President Mike Pence praised them as “the world’s greatest force for good,” boasted that American air strikes had recently been “dramatically increased,” swore that their country was “here to stay,” and insisted that “victory is closer than ever before.” As an observer noted, however, the response of his audience was “subdued.” (“Several troops stood with their arms crossed or their hands folded behind their backs and listened, but did not applaud.”)


Lionel Beehner 

Abstract: The concept of controlling territorial space informs Western conventions of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. The Islamic State surprised the West when it recently captured dozens of cities across Iraq and Syria. Eradicating failed states and ungoverned territories vis-à-vis more robust state-building also forms the backbone of U.S. efforts to reduce violence, provide order, and build stronger societies. I argue that clearing territory, while important, should be selectively employed. Greater stateness does not always correlate with reductions in violence, and conversely not all “ungoverned spaces” are terrorist safe havens. A number of these areas are natural, if non-integrated, parts of the international system. Second, I posit that state-building can have its own negative externalities, such as pushing nonstate actors across state borders and thereby externalizing internal conflicts. The policy implications of my theory are twofold: First, territory is often a poor metric to capture military progress in the fight against violent nonstate actors; second, fixing failed or fragile states does not always reduce the threat of violence but often just relocates it, as nonstate actors get squeezed out of areas of increasing stateness and move toward areas of weak stateness.

31 December 2017

Seeing through a glass darkly

M.K. Narayanan

To deal with the terror threat, there must be far greater sharing of intelligence among agencies worldwide

Yet another anniversary of the November 26, 2008 terror attacks on multiple targets in Mumbai has come and gone. Much has changed since then and terror has evolved into an even more dangerous phenomenon. Recent variants represent a paradigmatic change in the practice of violence.

29 December 2017

Jihad: The Misfortune of Misinterpretation

By Angie Gad

Islam has been plagued with faulty interpretations, misrepresentations in the media, and extremists hijacking the religion. Over the years, I’ve encountered many who are ill-informed about Islam but express genuine curiosity and an eagerness to understand. The topic of greatest confusion to them is typically reconciling the violent acts of extremists with all other peaceful Muslims. To address this, I begin with the concept of jihad.

28 December 2017

Project Maven brings AI to the fight against ISIS

Gregory C. Allen

For years, the Defense Department’s most senior leadership has lamented the fact that US military and spy agencies, where artificial intelligence (AI) technology is concerned, lag far behind state-of-the-art commercial technology. Though US companies and universities lead the world in advanced AI research and commercialization, the US military still performs many activities in a style that would be familiar to the military of World War II.