Nearly a decade ago, five young men from the Washington, D.C., suburbs disappeared. Confusion about their whereabouts caused a panic within the national security community, which was only made worse by their reappearance a few days later when they were arrested in Pakistan for allegedly attempting to join Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the charity wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani terrorist organization.
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2018 represented a sharp departure from previous years in terms of the sheer number of jihadist attacks in the West. Though attacks in Western Europe and North America were on a steady rise prior to this year, in 2018 they plunged, and jihadist attacks in the West in 2018 were fairly unsophisticated and significantly less lethal.
Editor’s Note: Myanmar has produced one of the world's worst human-made humanitarian crises, with the government there persecuting the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, with thousands dying and hundreds of thousands being displaced. C. Christine Fair, my Georgetown colleague, warns that violence related to this crisis may grow over time. A range of radical groups are focusing on the Rohingya, as are political leaders seeking to burnish their Islamist credentials. All this may produce violence in the years to come.
Editor’s Note: Despite the size of its population and growing importance, Bangladesh gets little attention in policy circles. This is true even though radical terrorist groups like the Islamic State are making inroads there. To help remedy this neglect, my Georgetown colleague Christine Fair presents an overview of Islamism in Bangladesh and assesses the terrorism threat there today.
Editor’s Note: Boko Haram is one of the most violent, and least understood, militant groups in the world. Despite this bloody record, many counterterrorism policymakers and analysts misrepresent the group's history and ambitions. Alexander Thurston, my colleague at Georgetown, has an awesome new book on Boko Haram (buy it here).
Every unhappy terrorist movement is unhappy in its own way, and the global jihadist movement is no exception. Disagreements over targeting, tactics, organization and the fundamental question of what it means to be a good Muslim have plagued the movement since its inception and remain a source of weakness.
Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared in Markaz.
During the campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised to eliminate the jihadist threat to the United States. Although he diagnoses the problem very differently from his predecessors, President-elect Trump will be just as disappointed in the results of his prescribed treatment if he follows through with it.
Welcome to the first episode of the Jihadolgy podcast!
The first part of this episode covers primary sources released between May 10th - June 1st: