Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Preventing mass attacks

June 7, 2022

The RAND Corporation has produced a toolkit for preventing, mitigating, and following up mass shootings and related attacks, based on “studying 600 mass attack events and plots, interviewing dozens of experts, and reviewing hundreds of references,” available here. The toolkit includes information and recommendations for Law enforcement, Fire and Emergency Medical Services responders, School officials, Agency and community service providers, Building and venue security personnel, Policymakers, and Community leaders. 

National strategy for countering domestic terrorism

June 25, 2021

The federal government recently released a National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, available here. The authors of this column compliment the strategy, based on their research into both international and domestic terrorism, which has included interviews with over 700 terrorists. They note the importance of a multi-faceted approach including information sharing, short-term and long-term prevention efforts, as well as disruption. Interestingly, they have found that “hate and ideology itself do not appear to be the primary motivating factors for those who join white supremacist groups. Relationships and identity, belonging, and being imbued with a sense of significance, dignity, and purpose were far more important in joining.”

Boogaloo Movement

February 19, 2021

This article details the evolution of the Boogaloo Bois, described as “a decentralized, anti-authority movement composed of a diverse range of actors mobilized in part by adherents’ belief that they are following in the footsteps of the United States’ founders and participating in a revolution against tyranny.” Several members are awaiting trial or have pled guilty to recent crimes including murder of police, firing into a police station, conspiracy to attack a state capitol, attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization, and various firearms charges. The article attributes the group’s appeal to a “corrupted conceptualization [of] a set of abstract virtues, or ideographs, that are deeply familiar to many Americans: liberty, rejection of government abuses, and disgust at authoritarianism.”

Combating domestic extremists

February 5, 2021

Combating domestic terrorism may be harder than the successful effort launched against international jihadists since 2001, according to expert Brian Jenkins, as reported here. He notes that domestic extremists have a larger constituency, are better organized, and are better armed than foreign-inspired terrorists. The American public galvanized against the external threat after 9/11 but is more split over the degree to which they repudiate groups that pose domestic threats. Jenkins warns that “The domestic extremists now threatening the peace are the latest incarnation of beliefs and quarrels reaching back to the 19th century. They may be contained, but never entirely rooted out.”

Terrorism challenges facing the next administration

January 15, 2021

This article provides a detailed summary of current terrorism threats in the U.S. and around the world, along with an analysis of past and present counter-terrorism strategies. Despite significant efforts over the last 20 years, “al-Qa`ida today is numerically larger and present in more countries than at any other time in its history.” Despite major military setbacks, the Islamic State still has an estimated 20,000 fighters, “remains emboldened, and we should be wary of complacency.” Domestically, the Trump administration focused attention on Antifa, but “Of the 42 deaths attributed to terrorists in the United States [in 2019] over 90 percent were committed by far-right and anti-government extremists.” The authors recommend several specific responses to current domestic threats, and overall argue that it is more realistic to think of managing terrorism than defeating it.

Terrorism at 5-year low

November 30, 2020

Global deaths from terrorism decreased in 2019 for the 5th consecutive year, marking a 59% decrease since 2014, as reported here. Afghanistan and Nigeria registered the biggest decreases but remained the two countries with over 1,000 deaths during the year. Countries that saw the biggest increases were Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Mali, and Niger. South Asia was the region most affected by terrorism, while Central America and the Caribbean were least affected. Three regions — North America, Western Europe, and Oceania — have seen a 250% increase since 2014 in far-right incidents, including 89 deaths in 2019.

Global terrorism in 2019

July 14, 2020

Worldwide annual terror attacks and deaths have both dropped by about 50% between 2014 and 2019, as reported here. In 2019, the 5th consecutive year of decreases, 8,500 attacks resulted in 20,300 deaths. Afghanistan accounted for 21% of global attacks and 41% of deaths last year, while Iraq experienced significant decreases after having had more attacks than any other country from 2013 to 2017. Western Europe had 191 attacks in 2019 with 18 deaths, while the U.S. had 64 attacks and 51 killed. The world’s deadliest attack in 2019 was in Sri Lanka, where more than 250 were killed on Easter Sunday.

Threatening to commit mass shootings

September 3, 2019

This article reports over 40 people arrested around the country over the last month for threatening to commit mass shootings or bombings, most after tips from the public. Common themes included right-wing ideology and threats against schools, Walmarts, and Planned Parenthood. The nature of the cases ranged from “vague social media threats from juveniles that set parents on edge to well-developed plots from people who had access to weapons and appeared to authorities to have been planning a mass murder.”

Growing threat of right-wing extremist violence

March 20, 2019

The mosque massacre in New Zealand has focused attention on right-wing and white-nationalist violence, as reported here. Last year in the U.S., 49 of 50 extremist-related killings were tied to far-right perpetrators, and the EU saw a doubling in 2017 of arrests for right-wing extremist offenses. Hate crimes in U.S. cities have increased in each of the last 5 years. One expert observes “white nationalism has emerged into a coalesced and growing socio-political force, with tentacles that extend into the mainstream. That’s something many other extremist movements do not have.”

Terrorism at lowest level since 2002

February 28, 2019

Global terrorism has been decreasing steadily since 2002. The number of terror attacks decreased 19.8% in 2017, following drops of 9.2% and 11.5% in the preceding two years, according to this article. Terrorism-related deaths declined 24.2% in 2017 following drops of 10.% and 12.7% in preceding years. In 2017, two of the safest regions were Western Europe and the U.S., accounting for 2.7% and about 1% of global attacks, respectively. India, the Philippines, and Nepal are countries that did see an increase in attacks in 2017.