Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

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.

New report on terrorism prevention

February 22, 2019

The RAND Corporation has published a new report on national efforts at terrorism prevention, available here. It reviews gaps and challenges as well as successes, including “community education efforts, formation of public-private partnerships, and development of local capacity to intervene with individuals at risk of radicalizing to violence.” One key challenge is balancing the tension between “an emphasis on specific communities, and the risk of stigmatizing communities and alienating key allies.”

Reducing crime #11 in public’s national priorities

January 26, 2019

According to a recent poll, 50% of American adults say reducing crime should be a top priority for the president and Congress in 2019, placing it #11 out of 18 choices. In 2015 and 2018 the public had rated it somewhat higher at 57% and 56%, respectively. Defending against terrorism is now ranked #4, with 67% saying it should be a top priority of the federal government. It had been the public’s #1 priority in 2015 and 2018.

50 extremism-related murders in 2018

January 25, 2019

There were at least 50 U.S. murders linked to extremism in 2018, making it the 4th deadliest year for domestic terrorism since 1970, and all the perpetrators “had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement,” according to this article. Firearms caused 42 of the deaths, and just 5 shooting sprees accounted for 38 of the murders. The Anti-Defamation League reports that, over the last 10 years, “73.3 percent of all extremist-related fatalities can be linked to domestic right-wing extremists, while 23.4 percent can be attributed to Islamic extremists.”

NYPD counter-terrorism intelligence

January 16, 2019

Here’s an interview with two top NYPD counter-terrorism intelligence officials about their assessment of current threats to the city and the police department’s preparedness. Publicly disclosed plots have averaged 1-2 per year since 2001. Since 2010, lone actor plots have become much more common than externally-directed ones. Most of the threats to the city continue to come from salafi-jihadi inspired extremists, with only a small increase in extreme right-wing acts. Plots often target New York as the iconic and symbolic representation of America, but also because it is a media center, guaranteeing maximum publicity.

Shifting face of international terrorism

January 2, 2019

Counter-terrorism efforts directed mainly at ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Middle East will need to shift attention to Russian-speaking individuals and networks in the coming years, according to this article. Terror groups that previously resisted oppressive governments in their own countries are now focused on perceived international enemies. Attacks in Turkey, Sweden, and the U.S. over the past several years were committed by Uzbeks, and fighters from several former Soviet countries who joined ISIS in Syria have since slipped back into Europe and Central Asia.

An American in Al-Qa’ida

September 11, 2018

This article decribes the experiences of the first American foreign fighter to join Al-Qa’ida following the 9/11 attacks. He traveled from Long Island to Pakistan and Afghanistan, completed several training courses, and participated in two failed missions before being captured. He subsequently renounced the affiliation, became a western intelligence asset, and testified against captured jihadists. He is coauthor of the article along with a former NYPD intelligence official.