Senior Researcher and Project Manager, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel
Dr. Michael Barak is a researcher at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) of Lauder School of Government Diplomacy and Strategy, at The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, and serves as the Team Leader of the Global Jihad & Jihadi Websites Monitoring Group and the Team Research Manager of the ICT Cyber-Desk In addition, He teaches as well in IDC courses on Terrorism and Islamic radical movements.
Dr. Michael also serves a researcher and a member of the Social Media Networks in the Arab World (Beehive) research board at The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies (MDC) in Tel Aviv University (TAU).
Prior to his current post he was the Team Leader of the Arabic, Turkish & Persian Online Media at The Arabic Press Archive of MDS, and a researcher assistant on Palestinian issues at the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at TAU .
He has been teaching Spoken and Colloquial Arabic for more than a decade at various institutes including the Arabic Language department at TAU, the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel, as well others.
Dr. Barak holds both a B.A. and an M.A. degree in “Middle Eastern Studies” and “Arabic Language” from Tel Aviv University. He has finished his PhD at the School of History in Middle Eastern and African Studies, TAU. His PhD dissertation is concerned with “Sufism in Wahhabi and Salafi Polemic Discourse in Egypt and the Mashriq (Arab East) 1967-2001”.
He has published several articles in Hebrew and English on Modern Salafism and Sufism in Egypt and on prominent trends in the Social Media Networks in the Arab World. He has lectured in several research forums including the IDC, TAU, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
He has participated in several international programs including: “Study of Turkish Language and Culture” at Boğziçi University, Istanbul (2006) and “Study of the US National Security Policymaking” at the Institute for Training & Development (Amherst), USA (2014).
The global Corona crisis provides Hezbollah a unique opportunity to position itself as an actor determined to protect the Lebanese citizens from the pandemic threat. It is evident that its enlistment to this fight expresses its wishes to restore its image that was damaged in the wake of the recent popular uprising against government corruption, the severe financial crisis and the political instability. That said, its plan seems to have been doubted by the public and it has a hard time marketing itself as an entity that holds the public interest paramount. Yet, as a hybrid terror organization it shows high organizational capabilities and leverage them to consolidate its rule as a hybrid terror organization, over Shiite regions in southern Lebanon through the supply of healthcare services.
ISIS is interpreting the above pandemic as a divine intervention, propelled by a divine plan to punish the infidels. Per it, the world, the west in particular, fell into hard times manifested by an economic crisis, low civilian morale and increasing attrition of its security forces due to their allocation for additional public safety and civilian assistance duties. Per ISIS, should the trend continue it will lead to anarchy and therefore they need to capitalize on the west’s current weakness and execute quality attacks as has happened in Paris, Brussels and other countries.