Countering Violent Extremism

Latest in Countering Violent Extremism

Foreign Policy Essay

Setting the Standard for CVE

Editor’s Note: Few people disagree with the goal of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), but in practice the programs have faced many problems. A big one is that it is hard to know if they are working, as existing metrics do a poor job of measuring success and failure. Evanna Hu of Omelas proposes a set of fixes to CVE programs that would make them more rigorous and more effective.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

Dignity and the Needs of Young Syrian Refugees in the Middle East

Editor’s Note: Programs to counter violent extremism (CVE) are often focused on established communities in the United States, Europe, and the Muslim world. However, refugees are among the most at-risk communities, often trapped in a world of violence and despair. Maira Seeley of Princeton University examines the risk of radicalization for refugee populations and finds that they have different needs for CVE programs than their host communities. She lays out a series of recommendations on how to design CVE better for the millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war.

Foreign Policy Essay

Connecting the Dots: Strengthening National-Local Collaboration in Addressing Violent Extremism

Editor’s Note: Counterterrorism is usually a national government concern, but much of the day to day of radicalization occurs in local towns and neighborhoods. However, integrating local actors into programs to prevent and counter violent extremism is often done poorly or not at all. This may be changing.

Foreign Policy Essay

Combating Terrorism Online: Possible Actors and Their Roles

Editor’s Note: Fighting terrorism online is one of those ideas that everyone agrees with in principle but disagrees on in practice. What should be regulated and who should do so are among the many areas of disagreement. Zann Isacson of Georgetown examines the different actors that might play a role, including Congress, technology companies and of course the executive branch, and assesses what each might bring to the table.

Daniel Byman

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Foreign Policy Essay

America’s Terrorism Problem Doesn’t End with Prison—It Might Just Begin There

Editor’s Note: Israel, France, the United Kingdom, and other countries that have faced a persistent terrorism threat have found that putting terrorists in jail does not solve the problem. In jail, terrorists network and proselytize, making the problem worse. Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes of George Washington University's Program on Extremism warn that released jihadists in the United States may pose a similar problem and call for a more comprehensive approach that recognizes and counters the risks of prison.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Preventing, Not Just Countering, Violent Extremism

Editor’s Note: Programs to counter (or, if you prefer, prevent) violent extremism are much talked about but rarely implemented. The Obama administration did some initial exploratory efforts, but even these small programs are on the chopping block in the Trump administration. Katerina Papatheodorou contends that this is a mistake: High levels of extremism make these programs necessary, and there are multiple models that offer lessons for the United States.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Reassessing Belgium’s ‘Failed’ Counterterrorism Policy

Editor’s Note: Belgium has earned a bad name in counterterrorism circles, with critics charging that its security services did too little too late when it came to disrupting the Islamic State and other groups on Belgian soil. The tragic terrorist attack in Brussels two years ago, however, marked a turning point. Thomas Renard and Rik Coolsaet of Egmont detail the significant steps Belgium has taken in recent years to improve its counterterrorism capacity.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Is President Trump Enabling the Islamic State’s Power of Persuasion?

Editor’s Note: Terrorists' use of the Internet in all its forms remains an important source of their power and influence. Michael Smith, an analyst focusing on jihadist influence operations, calls for a much more aggressive set of government policies and laws to push technology companies to do more for counterterrorism. Although many analysts contend technology companies have upped their game, Smith argues that there is far, far more to be done.

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Foreign Policy Essay

Marginalizing Violent Extremism Online

Editor’s Note: The call to take down terrorist-linked content on the Internet is both sensible and limited in its effectiveness. Terrorists use many different aspects of the Internet for many different purposes, and taking down propaganda and hostile accounts is not enough to stop the effectiveness of their strategies. Audrey Alexander and Bill Braniff, of GWU and Maryland respectively, call for a different approach. They argue for going after more portions of the terrorists' online ecosystem, expanding the campaign, and thinking more broadly about the problem.

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