Ambitious national CVE policies are trapped in a vicious circle that restarts after every major terrorist attack.
Bennett Clifford is a senior research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. He studies violent extremist movements and organizations in the United States, as well as in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Balkans.
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There’s been an ongoing “sea change” in the U.S. government’s domestic counter-extremism policy, but also on domestic violent extremist actors, groups, and movements themselves.
Some American law enforcement and national security officials speculate that the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan may embolden American jihadist sympathizers.
As the U.S. government faces downsizing in both its terrorism prevention staff and congressional funding, a quiet shift has begun at the local level. The future of CVE programs will be determined by state-level and city initiatives.
There is an ongoing debate within policy circles on when and where countering violent extremism programs began in the U.S. There is, however, little debate on whether the strategy has been implemented effectively. By every objective measure, it has not.
During the past several years, platforms like Twitter,YouTube and Facebook have used a combination of automated detection and human review to identify and remove extremist accounts and content from their sites—in effect “de-platforming” extremists from mainstream social media.
On Jan. 9, the People’s Defense Units (YPG) announced the capture of eight individuals, ostensibly foreign fighters for the Islamic State, in a series of operations conducted by the group near the town of Deir-ez-Zor in eastern Syria. Reportedly among the captured are fighters from seven different countries.