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16/11/2012 Israel and Hamas: Is War Imminent?

Boaz Ganor

Israel must prepare for a regional war. Given the volatile situation of the Middle East, in general, and of Israel’s southern border, in particular, the space between a regional war and the current tense quiet may be no greater than the Israel and Hamas distance between the launching pad of a single Qassam rocket and the place that it lands. If and when such a rocket were to land on a crowd of people in Israel—a school, a hotel, a mall—killing and injuring dozens, Israel would be obligated to retaliate against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, in direct proportion to the severity of the damage caused in Israel. It is reasonable to assume that this would lead Hamas to fire a large volley of rockets deep into Israeli territory…which would in turn force Israel to conduct an extensive military ground operation in the Gaza Strip, and perhaps even re-occupy it to silence the rockets. Thus, Israel must prepare for a scenario in which it is dragged into a ground operation, which may lead to a limited or comprehensive regional war.

First published by The Foreign Policy Research Institute


10/11/2012 The Iranian perspective on the Arab uprisings: Initial hopes and present worries

Ely Karmon

This is an updated and expanded article based on the presentation at the Workshop "Arab Spring from the perspective of Al-Qaida and Iran” at ICT's 11th International Conference, September 2011, forthcoming in the book with the Conference’s proceedings.

In At the beginning of the Arab uprisings in 2011 Iran seemed to be the great regional winner. The Iranian leadership considered events in Tunisia and Egypt as an anti-American movement playing to their advantage.

In February 2011, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for the end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's rule, saying that the political upheaval in the Arab world was part of an "irreversible defeat" for the United States and an "Islamic awakening" in the Middle East. He compared the popular uprisings against Western-backed autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt to Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979.


6/11/2012 Piracy Infrastructure in Somalia: The Sources and Development of Piracy in Somalia

Eldad Borochovitz

Piracy, which has been raging off the coast of Somalia since 1990, has in recent years become a burning issue for the international community because it has caused a disturbing increase in attacks on commercial and passenger boats, thereby constituting a real threat to international maritime trade and security routes. In 2010 alone, the total cost of ransom payments, military protection and cargo insurance incurred because of piracy was estimated to be between $12 and $17 billion. This number does not include the collective loss of income from commerce – an estimated $1.25 billion per annum – experienced by Egypt, Kenya, Yemen and Nigeria, Somalia’s neighbors.

An in-depth analysis of piracy reveals that it is no longer possible to blame it on Somalia’s being a “failed state”. The factors underlying piracy are far more complex. They are an outgrowth of institutional conditions and infrastructure, which have developed over the years and have facilitated piracy’s spread:

  1. appropriate topography;
  2. territories that remain uncontrolled, either due to legal disagreement among countries or an unwillingness to exert control;
  3. the atrophy of law enforcement, or a cultural environment that supports piracy;
  4. significant financial bounty for the pirates and their partners, at minimal risk.

Military efforts to contain piracy exerted over the years by the UN, the European Union and NATO have met with failure, and piracy continues to thrive in Somalia – primarily due to the lack of a central government or other authority that could stem the spread of the phenomenon. Moreover, piracy along Somalia’s long shoreline and the Gulf of Aden actually enjoys the support of local authorities and, chiefly, of Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen, a group of Islamic rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda, which continues to wage a civil war with the International Transitional Federal Government for control of Somalia. In addition, pirates receive important support from government ministers and members of parliament who enjoy bribery payments, and from other entities in Europe that have an economic interest in cultivating piracy.

This paper is based on data and evidence collected in cooperation with UN agencies and the Israel Navy. It is meant to begin to scratch the surface of secrecy surrounding this troublesome phenomenon, and provide a deeper understanding of how it may be addressed.

 


24/9/2012 Delaying or Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran

Professor Raymond Tanter

Presented at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) Twelfth World Summit on Counter-Terrorism, Herzliya, Israel 10-13 September 2012

In discussing how to delay or prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, consider the political system of the Iranian regime and its proliferation activities. The main argument is that because of the central role of ideology in the authoritarian nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, traditional means of influence based on national interests have little prospect of success. Hence, there needs to be increased attention paid to bringing about regime change from within to avoid a choice between bombing Iran or living with a nuclear-armed Iran.

 


23/9/2012 Post 9/11 International and Regional Cooperation in Counter-Terrorist Financing: An Overview and Assessment

Shira Shamir

Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) is a vital component of the fight against global terrorism and requires an internationally coordinated approach. Although there have been major developments by the international community through the UN and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as well as regional organizations to enhance cooperation, results have been underwhelming and a strong international regime to combat the financing of terror has yet to emerge. This article provides an overview of post 9/11 international and regional cooperation efforts to counter terrorist financing and an assessment of those efforts. In order to truly improve international cooperation in the field of CTF and to effectively weaken terrorist financing networks, challenges must be identified and addressed and global strategies must be adjusted to suit the needs and capacities of the international community.


19/9/2012 The MLNA's Fight for a Secular State of Azawad

Anna Mahjar Barducci

On April 6, 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) seceded from Mali unilaterally and declared an independent State of Azawad. The MNLA is a secular Tuareg movement whose goal is the establishment of a secular state in Azawad that will respect the rights of all ethnic groups in the region (Tuareg, Moors , Songhai and Peul). 

The MLNA has declared itself a partner of the West in the war on terrorism. However, despite its secular and pro-Western character, immediately after the secession the MNLA became the target of a smear campaign by international media, which tried to paint it as an Islamist movement. The campaign served the interest of the Malian government and of neighboring countries, which want to delegitimize the MNLA's struggle in order to avoid recognition of the State of Azawad.


7/9/2012 Airport & Aviation Security

Dr. Joshua Sinai

Since the advent of modern terrorism, the transportation sector has been among the most frequent targets of terrorist attacks. For those determined to kill indiscriminately and in massive quantities to inflict mass casualties, economic disruption, world headlines, and psychological anxiety and fear among wider publics, aviation transportation in the form of airplanes and airports are ideal targets. Also making them ideal as potential targets is that they cannot easily be protected without interrupting the flow of passengers and goods which the general public takes for granted.

 


30/7/2012 Illinois Islamic Radicalization Index

Jacob Parzen

Since the September 11 attacks, terrorism prevention has taken center stage in American security policy. It is imperative that both the government and the populous have the tools to counter such attacks in the future, and it is for this reason that so many resources have been put to this front in recent years. From the perspective of the United States, domestic terrorism is of particular concern because it is more controllable than foreign terrorism. In this paper this problem will be explored with two specific constraints. First, radical Islam will be the cornerstone because of its prevalence in terrorism cases. Ties between radicalized Islamists and the terror that has plagued Americans will be revealed as comprehensively as possible. Second, the geographical avenue will be Illinois, a large state with a similarly large Muslim population. The ultimate aim will be to show how local groups and Muslim communities produce and have the potential to produce radicalized individuals.

 


28/7/2012 Recent Terrorist Plots Against Jews and Israelis Abroad

Michael Whine

On 17 July 2012, Shasta Khan was found guilty of conspiring to bomb Jewish targets in Manchester. Her husband Mohammed Khan had pleaded guilty and therefore did not stand trial. The following day, both were sent to prison.

On 18 July, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb inside his rucksack within a bus full of Israeli tourists at Burgas airport, Bulgaria, killing himself, the driver and five of the Israeli visitors. CCTV footage of the so-far unidentified bomber, showed a European with long blond hair wandering around the airport terminal building for over an hour before he boarded the bus.

On 7 July, the Cypriot police arrested a man on suspicion of gathering intelligence on El Al flights to the island, and of bus tours catering for Israeli tourists.

These three incidents encapsulate the nature of the ongoing threat to Jewish communities and Israeli institutions abroad: both are targets, and the threat comes from different sources, with Iran and its surrogates and Al Qaeda and its affiliates in the global jihad movement presenting the major concerns.


16/7/2012 Pakistan - Drone Success

Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

Continuing it’s highly controversial but indisputably successful covert drone operations in Pakistan’s tribal area, the US, in one of its deadliest drone strikes, killed 24 suspected terrorists and injured another 10 at the Gorwaik village of the Dattakhel area in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), on July 6, 2012. Datta Khel is considered to be a stronghold of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a Taliban ‘commander’ accused of sending fighters across the border to fight NATO troops in Afghanistan. Unlike the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Hafiz Gul Bahadur has a secret deal with Islamabad not to attack Pakistani Security Forces (SFs) and, in lieu, has freedom to operate from Pakistan.

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