Editor’s Note: Programs for countering violent extremism—or CVE, as it is known in the jargon—may be in jeopardy. The incoming administration, in its rhetoric at least, has emphasized "tough" solutions to the problem of terrorism and seems little interested in softer approaches that might discourage radicalization or deradicalize existing terrorists.
Latest in Countering Violent Extremism
When Tashfeen Malik, along with her husband Syed Farook, killed 14 people in San Bernardino a year ago, she provided a stark reminder about the growing involvement of women in jihadist terrorism in the West. Since the attack, women have continued to advance jihadi efforts in the United States and abroad. While few follow in Malik’s footsteps and pursue violent plots, many disseminate propaganda, donate resources, or travel abroad to support jihadist groups, and the numbers are on the rise.
Editor’s Note: President Obama, in his rhetoric at least, emphasized trying to prevent people from joining terrorist groups in the first place as well as killing and arresting suspected terrorists. Programs to move people away from terrorism are often lumped together under the label "Countering Violent Extremism" (CVE), a rather ill-defined term but one that focuses on the non-kinetic side of counterterrorism. The rhetoric of President-elect Trump and key advisers, including incoming National Security Adviser Lt. Gen.
Editor's Note: Countering violent extremism (CVE) is a perfect sound bite, a magic wand to solve terrorism before it happens. Yet many programs initiated in the name of CVE are poorly designed, and some even make the problem worse. Talene Bilazarian, who is doing deep research on CVE programs at Oxford, looks at the UK experience as well as programs like the one in Montgomery County, Maryland and finds that, if CVE programs are properly tailored and implemented, they can help communities fight terrorism.
In the social media era, there have been a number of terrorist attacks in America that, at least in part, could be attributed to “self-radicalization.” Self-radicalization refers to the phenomenon wherein individuals radicalize by consuming extremist literature but have few, if any, formal ties to any terrorist organization. Prominent examples of self-radicalization incidents include Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the shootings in Chattanooga and San Bernardino.
Editor’s Note: Terrorism's biggest impact is rarely in the violence of the attack itself. Rather, it is the government’s response -- for better or for worse -- that often determines whether a terrorist attack will succeed on a strategic level. Looking at the November attacks in Paris, Colin Geraghty of Georgetown argues that the French government is moving in the wrong direction, playing into the narrative of the Islamic State and making the terrorism problem worse in the long-run.
Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University released an excellent report earlier this week entitled ISIS in America: From Retweets to Raqqa. The report, consisting of two parts, first examines all cases of U.S. persons arrested, indicted, or convicted in the United States for ISIS-related activities. The second part examines the individual's various motivations, path to radicalization, and the degree of their tangible links to ISIS.
The United Kingdom's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson, has released his annual report on the operation of the U.K.'s Terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2006.
Editor’s Note: A longstanding counterterrorism tension is how to balance a robust intelligence presence and tough legal measures against hardcore terrorists with the need to gain the support of local communities. In the struggle against the Islamic State, this tension seems particularly acute: too often community members and families are reluctant to identify potentially radicalized youngsters in their midst because they fear that doing so will lead to their incarceration.
It’s summertime in Raqqa, but rather than learning arts and crafts or singing campfire songs, children at the Farouq Academy for Cubs—an indoctrination and training center run by the Islamic State—are busy practicing beheadings.