Bloomberg economics commentator Justin Fox is tired of being told that his chances of getting killed in a terrorist attack are (much) lower than his chances of slipping, falling, and dying in a bathtub. Implication being—suck it up, people, and quit being such irrational babies when it comes to assessing risks from terrorism.
Latest in terrorism
Police in New Jersey have located and arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami, the prime suspect in the Chelsea and New Jersey bombings. Rahami fired on the officers who found him, striking two of them and then being shot himself (in the shoulder, possibly). He is now in custody and receiving medical care at a hospital in Newark. And now officials face an important—and potentially quite controversial—set of decisions regarding how to go about interrogating Rahami.
A review of Charles Lister's The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency (Oxford, 2015).
Editor's Note: Although the presidential candidates, our media, and most importantly, Lawfare, tend to focus on the danger from Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, right-wing groups have been a more lethal terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland since 9/11 than have jihadists. Michele St-Amant of GWU's Program on Extremism looks at this trend. She focuses on the notorious Ku Klux Klan, perhaps the worst group America has ever produced, and assesses the troubling reasons that explain its resurgence today.
Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared on Markaz.
Editor's Note: There is a popular misconception that the serious study of Islam is a step on the road toward radicalization and terrorism. Christine Fair, Jacob Goldstein, and Ali Hamza (all of whom I'm proud to say share my Georgetown University universe) come up with a heartening finding for those of us who believe knowledge is good: that those who know more about Islam are more resistant to extremist appeals.
It didn’t take the Brussels bombings to convince most experts that the terrorist threat to Europe is greater than that to the U.S. homeland. The November 2015 Paris attacks, the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings, the 2014 Jewish Museum of Belgium shootings, and other attacks and plots in Europe indicate that Europe’s jihadist terrorism problem is greater than America’s in both frequency and intensity.
Editor's Note: What if most terrorism isn’t really terrorism? In past decades, much of what we call terrorism today would have been seen as insurgent violence, revolutionary war, or civil war: a group like the Islamic State, which uses tanks as well as suicide bombing, is a prime example of an organization that is wrongly classified as a terrorist group. John Mueller of Ohio State University and Mark Stewart of the University of Newcastle in Australia unpack this definitional confusion and argue that it leads to a gross misunderstanding of the true threat we face.
The Islamic State opened up a new front when it downed a Russian passenger plane in October over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. U.S. and allied attention understandably focuses on the terrorism threat posed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) to their own homelands or on the carnage in Syria, now estimated to have consumed almost 500,000 lives.
In the rhetoric of American leaders, the Islamic State is a terrorist group. The terrorism label, while accurate, is also misleading, obscuring more than it enlightens. One of the top scholars of terrorism, Audrey Kurth Cronin, sharply criticizes the label “terrorist” to describe the Islamic State, arguing that doing so confuses us as to the true nature of the group and how best to fight it.