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10/7/2012 The Motivational Elements and Characteristics of ‘Home-Grown’ Islamic Terrorists

Ron Ben-Simhon

This paper intends to prove that with the combination of several character traits and/or behavioral patterns, as well as motivational elements, presented as independent variables, ‘home-grown’ Islamic terrorism is a potential outcome. This will be proven via a sample of analyzed case studies. By determining certain characteristics, perhaps the act of profiling suspected individuals will help in terrorism prevention.

The first section of the paper outlines the research problem, hypothesis, definitions, variables relevant theoretical approach and method in which the hypothesis will be proven.

Section two gives validity to the independent variables via a thorough literature review, citing academics and experts in the field who have studied the phenomenon of ‘home-grown’ Islamic terrorism.

The third section analyzes six case studies in order to discern whether or not the hypothesized independent variables are present in each of them. With the combination of the literature review and analysis of the case studies, one can be certain that the findings present an accurate depiction of reality and indeed characterize or profile the characteristics and motivational elements of ‘home-grown’ Islamic terrorists.

The findings were hardly surprising. There is no doubt that religious extremism is a primary factor in the motivation of ‘home-grown’ Islamic terrorism. Furthermore, there is strong evidence showing that several other variables, presented in this paper, also contribute to the motivation of Islamic extremists. Finally this paper hopes to present a partial blueprint for a policy recommendation on how to combat radicalization, rather than terrorism.

26/5/2012 “...And Inspire The Believers”

Edan Landau

In June 2010, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published the first issue of an English-language magazine. Although this was not the first magazine published by the organization's media branch, Sada Al-Malahem, or by other Al-Qaeda affiliates, this was the first magazine written entirely in the English language and aimed at both Muslims and non-Muslims living in the West. The magazine was named Inspire, with the intention of inspiring its readers to join the cause of global jihad. Although the magazine was intended to be shared over the Internet, it was designed in a graphic manner not so different from that of “normal” Western media publications.

This paper will provide an analysis of the seven issues of the magazine published to date, in light of the agenda of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (hereinafter, AQAP). This will be done by examining the background of AQAP’s media establishment and the inception of Inspire itself, as well as by taking a more thorough look at five different elements presented in the magazine, among them AQAP’s ideology; various strategies and themes; methods of operation; and knowledge.

28/3/2012 The Iran/Hezbollah Strategic and Terrorist Threat to Africa

Ely Karmon

This paper summarizes the information concerning the Iranian, and Hezbollah, presence and activities in Africa and attempts to evaluate the importance of Africa in the overall Iranian strategy to advance its “global power” ambitions, to balance the pressure of the international community on its nuclear project and prepare the ground for subversive and terrorist responses in case of crippling sanctions or a military strike at its nuclear facilities. 

12/3/2012 Teetering on the Brink

Ajit Kumar Singh

Despite the US-Pakistan relationship approaching its nadir, and Pakistan’s continuing domestic crises, there is little to suggest that Pakistan is going correct course and to improve, in the foreseeable future, its current rank, as the 12th among the countries approaching state failure. Indeed, available indices suggest that none of the power players in the country have altered the fundamentals of their devastating, indeed, suicidal, approach to the instrumentalization of Islamist extremism and terrorism, both for domestic political management and for strategic extension across and beyond the country’s neighbourhood. Increasing cooperation, outside state patronage, among Islamist extremist formations, under umbrella organizations such as the Shura-e-Muraqba and the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council (DePC) (the latter, forging unity between more than 40 religious and extremist formations under the leadership of the LeT-JuD), creates the spectre of even greater radicalization and a progressive loss of control by state agencies that have, in the past, ‘handled’ Islamist terrorism in the region. A flight of elites from the country has long been in evidence, even as those who remain within the country build up their assets abroad for eventual and quick escape. The progressive evisceration of state structures and institutions of governance, the visible weakening of the Army’s stranglehold over the country’s affairs, and the increasing accumulation of armed force among non-state actors can only combine with rising popular frustrations and anger against arbitrary, repressive, indiscriminate and often brutal state action against groupings that seek justice and redressal of real grievances, to push the country further into the embrace of a rising anarchy.

First published in the South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR)

21/2/2012 Are we Nearer to a Major CBRN Terrorism Threat?

Ely Karmon

In light of the revolutionary events and the growing instability in much of the Greater Middle East and South Asia and the growing threat of failing states losing control on their chemical, biological and nuclear assets, an international effort to monitor, control and foil CBRN terrorist attacks is vital for the security of the international community. 

IDSA 14th Asian Security Conference: Non-Traditional Security Challenges - Today and Tomorrow
(New –Delhi, India 13-15 February 2012)


8/2/2012 Bioterrorism: Still a Threat to the United States

Leonard A. Cole

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks prompted reflections on the current status of the terrorism threat to the United States. One aspect of an assessment—the threat posed by biological weapons—is especially challenging because of the unique character of these weapons. A prime distinction is the fact that exposure to minute quantities of a biological agent may go unnoticed, yet ultimately be the cause of disease and death. The incubation period of a microbial agent can be days or weeks; unlike a bombing, knifing, or chemical dispersion, a bioattack might not be recognized until long after the agent’s release. Accordingly, bioterrorism poses distinctive challenges for preparedness, protection, and response.

First published by the CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Vol. 5. Issue 1

26/1/2012 Hezbollah in 2011

David Fankhauser and Olivia Lichaa

The finger pointing that followed the assassination of Rafik Hariri caused mounting tensions inside Lebanon, pitting opposing sides even further apart, and creating fear of possible crippling sectarian violence with which the country is all too familiar. The STL’s June indictments of four Hezbollah members, and their subsequent and expected denial of those charges, prompted many to fear retaliation from the group, who vowed it would do so if implicated. The government collapse in January paved the way for Syria and Hezbollah-backed parliament members to nearly double their seats, creating a seemingly irreparable rift between the March 8 coalition and Saad Hariri’s pro-Western Future Movement. The continuing fall-out over the Tribunal’s indictments will be a telling and decisive event in Lebanon.

19/1/2012 Hizballah Poised to Strike in Southeast Asia

Matthew Levitt

Last week, Thai police arrested Atris Hussein, a suspected Hizballah operative, at the Bangkok airport, while another suspect escaped. Elsewhere in the capital, authorities seized a large cache of chemical explosives composed of ammonium nitrate and urea fertilizer, leading the United States and Israel to issue emergency alerts warning their citizens in the country of a possible imminent terrorist attack. According to local authorities, initial intelligence indicated an attack would occur over the weekend in Thailand, yet they now believe some or all of the explosives were intended to be shipped out of the country. The U.S. embassy in Bangkok, meanwhile, continues to warn U.S. citizens of a "real and credible" threat of a terrorist attack in the capital.

Although the news may read like a made-for-Hollywood plotline, the fact that Hizballah is active in Southeast Asia should come as no surprise. Indeed, the case strongly parallels several previous Hizballah plots in Thailand and elsewhere in the region. Hussein is not the first Hizballah operative to be arrested at a Southwest Asian airport, nor is he the first to be tied to weapons caches and terrorist operations in Thailand. Hizballah operations in the country date back to at least April 1988, when group members hijacked a Kuwaiti airliner departing from Bangkok. And the discovery of chemical explosives is reminiscent of the group's use of a bomb built with the same chemicals in a 1994 plot targeting the Israeli embassy in Bangkok.

First published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

13/1/2012 Sinai: A New Front

Ehud Yaari

Since Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the Sinai Peninsula has emerged as a new hotspot in the complex Arab-Israeli conflict, with an expanding terrorist infrastructure that makes it another front of potential confrontation. The Bedouin are now in a position to initiate crises that neither Israel nor Egypt wants, while also influencing the struggle against Hamas. In this Policy Note, leading Israeli commentator Ehud Yaari outlines the steps needed to prevent the total collapse of security in and around the peninsula, avoid the rise of an armed, runaway Bedouin statelet, and minimize the risk of Israeli-Egyptian peace imploding under the pressures of the wild Sinai frontier.

First published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

22/12/2011 Generating complicities: Iran´s inroads in South America 2010-2011

Ivan Witker

The ongoing deployment of extra-hemispheric powers in the region is not exactly a gentle breeze across the region. Among Latin America’s policy-makers and scholars two contradictory visions have erupted when evaluating these deployments. On one side are those who assess it just in accordance with the globalizing tendencies that would span the world in despite of country, culture, economy or society features. On the other side are those who assess it sceptically differentiating intensities of the pursued objectives by one or other extra-hemispheric power. Indeed, China, India, Russia and Iran, by far the most active ones, have shown different goals and motivations. The receptivity has been also uneven. However, in the niches and interstices where the extra-hemispheric influence circulates the relative absence of the once ubiquitous U.S. influence as common feature is also expressed.

First published in Letras Internacionales, ORT University in Montevideo, Uruguay

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