At the end of June, Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan announced that his country will continue to command NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) until November 2020, rather than handing off leadership to another country in November of this year, as had been previously planned.
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Editor’s Note: In recent years, so-called homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) have eclipsed returned foreign fighters and other sources of terrorism. National Defense University’s Kim Cragin assesses the HVE threat and finds that, contrary to popular opinion, Western security agencies are disrupting many HVE plots and otherwise doing well against this potentially dangerous threat.
In recent years, counterterrorism policy has focused on making social media platforms hostile environments for terrorists and their sympathizers. From the German NetzDG law to the U.K.’s Online Harms White Paper, governments are making it clear that such content will not be tolerated. Platforms—and maybe even specific individuals—will be held accountable using a variety of carrot-and-stick approaches.
On Monday, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office alleged in a motion for detention pending trial that Rondell Henry stole a U-Haul with the intent of ramming the vehicle into crowds of people at National Harbor in Potomac, Maryland. Henry was arrested on April 3 pursuant to a criminal complaint charging him with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. A motion for pretrial detention explained that Henry poses a flight risk and public safety threat by revealing that his actions were inspired by the Islamic State and the 2016 truck attack in Nice, France.
Editor’s Note: What to do with captured foreign volunteers for terrorist organizations is one of the toughest issues facing Western governments today. (See my views on a current U.S. case here.) Human rights organizations are particularly critical of governments that revoke citizenship or otherwise try to prevent their citizens from returning. Robin Simcox of the Heritage Foundation believes this opposition is simplistic.
Fitna, a Failed Coup and a Squandered Opportunity to Undermine the Islamic State’s ‘Intangible Power’
Editor’s Note: The Islamic State seeks to project an image of strength, and that image has attracted many followers. In the past few years, the above-ground caliphate has collapsed and infighting is growing, but the group still stresses its prowess and leadership in its propaganda. Michael Smith II, a terrorism analyst who specializes in jihadist influence operations, calls for the United States to exploit the Islamic State’s internal dissent in its own counter-propaganda, playing up these divisions to further weaken the group.
Editor’s Note: Whether the Islamic State is out as well as down is hotly debated in the terrorism world. President Trump believes the group is defeated, but most analysts argue that it remains a major threat. How to measure defeat, though, is not given much consideration. Jacob Olidort of American University argues that the president basically has it right: If you look at a broad range of measures, the Islamic State is defeated and U.S. policy should reflect this win.
The Jan. 29 Senate testimony by intelligence community leaders highlighted a number of crisis areas that were of little surprise to most followers of the news: U.S. troops and advisers are engaged around the globe working with allies and others to address critical issues in Syria and Iraq, and managing threats from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and elsewhere.