ATbar Moghadam, Assaf (Prof.)

Moghadam, Assaf (Prof.)

Senior Researcher, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) & Dean, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel

Assaf Moghadam is a Senior Researcher at the ICT and the Dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), Israel, which he joined in 2011. He is also a fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC); a fellow at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School (CNS); and a research affiliate at the Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland. Prof. Moghadam has taught courses at Columbia University, the United States Military Academy, and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, in addition to the IDC Herzliya.

Prof. Moghadam previously served as Director of Terrorism Studies and Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and as Director of Academic Affairs at the ICT. He held pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, both at Harvard University.

Prof. Moghadam’s research examines the dynamics within and between militant actors, with a particular interest in terrorism, the global jihad movement, insurgency, and sponsor-proxy relationship. His latest book, Nexus of Global Jihad: Understanding Cooperation among Terrorist Groups (Columbia University Press, 2017, paperback edition 2019), examines empirical and conceptual aspects of cooperative behavior between terrorist entities. He is also the author of The Globalization of Martyrdom: Al Qaeda, Salafi Jihad, and the Diffusion of Suicide Attacks (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), which won a Choice award for Outstanding Academic Title, and of The Roots of Terrorism (Chelsea House, 2006). He is the co-editor (with Brian Fishman) of Fault Lines in Global Jihad: Organizational, Strategic, and Ideological Fissures (Routledge, 2011), and the editor of Militancy and Political Violence in Shiism: Trends and Patterns (Routledge, 2012). Two of his books are listed among the top 150 books on terrorism in the journal Perspectives on Terrorism.  

Prof. Moghadam has lectured widely on terrorism issues before audiences in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East and has consulted various government agencies on issues related to terrorism and counter-terrorism. He is a Contributing Editor for the journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and an editorial board member of Democracy and Security, and Perspectives on Terrorism. He was a founding member of the editorial board of the CTC Sentinel and he is a member of the advisory board of the International Counter-Terrorism Youth Network (ICTYN).

Prof. Moghadam’s articles have appeared in International SecuritySecurity StudiesStudies in Conflict and TerrorismTerrorism and Political Violence, Perspectives on Terrorism, and Democracy and Security. His writings have also appeared in other outlets including the Washington Post, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, Orbis, CTC Sentinel, War on the Rocks, Lawfare, Political Violence @ a Glance, and Die Zeit, among others. He has authored various chapters in edited volumes, and his book reviews have appeared in Perspectives in PoliticsPolitical Science Quarterly, and Transcultural Psychiatry, among other journals.  

Prof. Moghadam holds a Ph.D. in international relations and an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy (MALD), both from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.A. in political science from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is married with three children.


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Publications by the Author

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THE EVOLUTION OF IRAN AND AL-QA`IDA’S TACTICAL COOPERATION

14/04/2017
The relationship between Iran and al-Qa`ida goes back at least a quarter of a century, but it remains one of the most understudied and poorly understood chapters in the history and evolution of the jihadi organization founded by Usama bin Ladin. Recently declassified letters seized in 2011 from bin Ladin’s Abbottabad hideout and U.S. government and court documents, however, have shed some additional light on their partnership
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Terrorist Affiliations in Context: A Typology of Terrorist Inter-Group Cooperation

19/03/2015

This article offers some conceptual explorations of cooperation between militant organizations—a topic that, like affiliations, is both understudied and under-theorized. Specifically, the article offers a new typology of terrorist cooperation between established militant groups, arguing that cooperative ties between these organizations span across a spectrum ranging from high-end to low-end cooperative relationships. High-end relationships include mergers—the ultimate form of cooperation—and strategic partnerships. Low-end cooperation includes tactical cooperation and, at the bottom end of the spectrum, transactional cooperation.

First published in CTC Sentinel

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The Jihadi Threat to Israel

26/06/2014

Israel and the West have a common stake in ensuring that the deep divisions among jihadis remain in place.

"There are some 30,000 jihadi fighters in Syria alone. They see this as the perfect opportunity to act against Israel".

Published in the Jerusalem Report, June 24, 2014

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Top-Down and Bottom-Up Innovation in Terrorism: The Case of the 9/11 Attacks

02/07/2013

Between Security scholars and analysts often refer to Al Qaeda as a nimble and adaptive actor—attributes cited to point out Al Qaeda's survivability and the extraordinarily high level of harm it can periodically inflict on its enemies using innovation as a tool to ensure success. While Al Qaeda's ability to adapt and innovate is often assumed, it is rarely the subject of intense academic scrutiny on the part of international security scholars—a lacuna that applies to the study of terrorist innovation at large. This article seeks to deepen our understanding of terrorist innovation by adopting an influential framework from military innovation studies—the distinction between "top-down" and "bottom-up" processes. The framework is applied to the attacks of September 11, 2001—a case of terrorist innovation that, it is argued, exhibits signs of a synergistic interplay of both top-down and bottom-up innovation processes. The article contributes to our understanding of the nature of Al Qaeda, military innovation, and terrorist innovation alike, and concludes with suggestions to further the research agenda of military and terrorist innovation studies.

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