Hayat Tahrir al-Sham's unusual request to be removed from the U.S. terrorism lists is unlikely to be fulfilled, but this reflects bureaucratic inertia and political incentives as much as the group's radical politics.
Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a visiting research scholar in the Department of Politics at Brandeis University, and the founder of Jihadology. He is also the author of the book “Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad” (Columbia University Press, 2020) and the recent booklet “The Age of Political Jihadism: A Study of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.”
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Over the past few years the idea of countering violent extremism (CVE) has become part of the lexicon when discussing issues related to terrorism. But contrary to popular misunderstanding, CVE is neither a replacement to counterterrorism (CT) efforts nor a way for the US government to spy on citizens. Rather, CVE is a complement to CT and has become all the more relevant in the aftermath of the Boston bombings and the Islamic State and other jihadi groups’ recruitment of unprecedented numbers of Americans to fight abroad.
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