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While Russia’s military involvement in the war in Syria has received great attention, less focus has been directed at the foreign fighters from Russia and other post-Soviet states who have joined the Islamic State and other Jihadist groups. The emergence of these Jihadists has been a gradual process, which began in the 1990s, and it has now led to a situation where an estimated 7,000 Russians and 3,000 Central Asians are fighting in Syria. These figures present a challenge for the various states fighting the Jihadist groups, but they pose a much greater problem for the Russian and other national authorities, who will have to handle the fighters, when they return home.
The article examines Islamic State’s expansion into North Africa and Sahel and the subsequent rivalry between Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb − the regional Al Qaeda group. Although IS managed to establish a province in Libya from 2014 through 2016, its presence in North Africa and Sahel (Libya, Sinai, Nigeria) is fragile. AQIM in contrast has a longstanding presence in the region, which appears to be much more consolidated. The rivalry between IS and AQ in this region has incited AQ splinter-groups to unite around AQIM, and in 2016 these groups stepped up their attacks on Western targets.
The Yemeni state has all but collapsed as the political transition that followed the popular protests in 2011 has been derailed. This has left Yemen without a functioning central government and thus provided a ripe context for the expansion of both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State in Yemen. This article focuses on the balance of power between AQAP and Islamic State in Yemen. Yemen is an interesting case of the international competition between al-Qaeda and Islamic State as the branch of al-Qaeda in Yemen, AQAP, is one of the strongest. The article argues that AQAP has sought to establish stronger local ties by enmeshing itself with the still strong tribal structures in Yemen whereas IS has sought to carve out a place for itself in Yemen by challenging AQAP on its religious zealousness, particularly by deepening sectarian divisions in Yemen.
The Islamic State (IS) movement has opened a new chapter in the Afpak region, changing the landscape of militant movements in the area. This article looks at the patterns of rivalry and collaboration between the Islamic State on one side and Al-Qaeda and Taliban-related movements on the other. It also surveys the way Al-Qaeda has developed during the past years where most of the international attention has been devoted to the formation of IS in Iraq/Syria, and shows that Al-Qaeda is still active, though it has become more locally oriented. Finally, the article looks at the prospects for the further expansion of IS especially in Pakistan where, on one side, a range of sectarian anti-Shia movements that resonate with parts of the IS agenda while, on the other side, there is no ideological tradition for embracing the kind of caliphate-jihadism that the IS advocates.
This article investigates references to early Muslim history by al-Qaeda and Islamic State, and notes a remarkable difference. While al-Qaeda has traditionally referred to the battles of the early Muslims during the time of the prophet Muhammad, the Islamic State centers its references on the successor to the prophet, the caliph Abu Bakr. Hence, Al-Qaeda, in line with Sayyed Qutb’s notion of a “Qur’anic program,” evokes a mythical past as if it is relived today. The Islamic State, in turn, takes a somewhat more pragmatic line, arguing that events today, like those of the earliest caliphs, are merely the outcomes of human decisions in a post-prophetic and post-Qur’anic age.
This article investigates the developments of al-Qaida and The Islamic State in the context of the war on terror. The Iraq war 2003–2010, including the US Counterinsurgency strategy implemented in Iraq in 2007 onwards, together with the political developments in Iraq after the US withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2011 is seen as the breeding ground for Islamic State in Iraq and thus for establishment of the Nusra Front (al-Qaida) in Syria. The chapter argues that without political developments based on reliable states in the Arab Middle East there is no solution in sight for ending the conflicts and wars in the region.
Art theft, particularly the looting of works of art from antiquity, is an element of today’s terrorism. Stealing and looting art works, including theft by destruction, are ancient and continuing practices. To counter art theft, modern hybrid, multifaceted or multidimensional warfare requires innovation. Integrated with the human dimension in countering art theft, there is an enduring moral imperative to combat and contain the worst effects of looting and the theft of art through anti-terrorism work. The idea of a European Army may be better thought of and developed as a Euro Border Guard, a gendarmerie with anti-smuggling art and antiquities training, leaving NATO to continue its mission.
This research paper examines the extent to which both the United States (US) intervention in 2003 and sectarian conflict in Iraq and the region contributed to the rise and consolidation of the Islamic State (IS). It is argued that the US intervention contributed to the rise of IS by creating a strategic cause for mobilization of insurgency while insufficient counterinsurgency resources and doctrine, and the lack of a post-war plan enabled the insurgency to consolidate. Although the US adapted its strategy and deployed additional resources as part of the “surge,” which succeeded in weakening of the insurgents significantly, the premature withdrawal of US troops allowed for a revival of the insurgency which eventually evolved into IS. The sectarian conflict in Iraq and the region further contributed to the rise and consolidation of IS by helping in prolif-eration of the group’s underlying ideology, increasing funding opportunities for the insurgents and driving the Sunni communities to support the Islamic State
Effective cooperation between the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is not only desirable, but rather mandatory in this interdependent and interlinked World. The contemporary multifaceted security threats and challenges have diminished the importance of the national borders and made the members of the institutions almost equally vulnerable. Due to the inherited similarities among organizations, the perception of burden sharing seems natural. However, the existing cooperation framework leaves a big room for improvement. The article explores the factors limiting effective cooperation between the organizations and the analysis is derived from studying individual states’ (dual and non-dual members) behavior in shaping institutions’ interaction. The paper analyzes the roles of the EU and NATO during the Libyan crisis in the neighborhood of Europe and their interaction in Afghanistan – beyond the Euro-Atlantic area. The findings of the analysis show that some of the non-dual members of the organization “hold institutions hostage” ; fragmented positions of the dual members impede the elaboration of a holistic EU policy on crisis management (CSDP) and eventually, hamper formation of a joint EU-NATO strategic vision. Furthermore, lack of division of labor on the ground leads to overlapping of functions to certain extent and cooperation among institutions is better on operational rather than on the strategic level.
In this paper, the challenges and prospects of cooperation between the South Caucasus countries and NATO have been analysed. The geo-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic importance of the region for both NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia particularly) and reciprocal expectations of further cooperation with the Alliance have been considered. The regional state of affairs in the South Caucasus has been analyzed and the possible impacts of Russian influence on forging closer relations with NATO have been examined. The security environment after the Russo-Georgian war and its repercussions for the South Caucasus-NATO cooperation have been illustrated. NATO’s vested interest in the region to contribute to a European security system for the foreseeable future was brought to the fore. The reasons for the Alliance’s reluctance to actively engage in the region are examined. The recommendations are intended to counterbalance the Russian military presence in the region, without antagonizing the incumbent government in Moscow and to eradicate the so-called 'frozen conflicts' in order to maintain security and prosperity for the South Caucasus region as a whole.
This paper analyzes Britain’s position towards the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) of the European Union from 1998 to 2016. The paper considers the reasoning for Britain’s position toward CSDP through posing the research question: Why did Britain backed the launch of the CSDP and then not consistently support all its developments? Using a case study approach, it concentrates on the main developments of the CSDP, which are: Launch of the CSDP (1998-1999); Development of the operational headquarters (2010-2011); Role of Britain in the Libyan crisis, which is not related to the institutional developments, but still is very important as the first real chance for the CSDP to be tested after its launch.
Through Putnam’s Two-Level Game Theory, the paper seeks to support the twin hypotheses that domestic affairs influence Britain’s decisions towards CSDP; and that developments within the European Union impact on Britain’s position towards CSDP through the interplay with domestic factors.
The U.S. should remain committed to Central Asian security cooperation, but must carefully evaluate each program for merit and value added to U.S. security goals in the region. Programs designed to increase Kazakhstan’s military professionalization will have the most significant impact towards accomplishing these goals. U.S. security cooperation effforts to foster the development of a non-commissioned officer corps as part of Kazakhstan’s military would serve as an excellent example of effective professionalization and a way to further our strategic relationships with non-NATO countries. Training programs that professionalize the Kazakh military can offer a cost-effective way for the United States to further a lasting partnership with Central Asia’s most stable country.
Defense Institution Building focuses on change management at the Ministry of Defense level. In order to make sustainable change in any government, the solution has to work through and with the culture of that society. There are ways to reduce hierarchy and uncertainty in national strategy development, national defense organization, legal constructs, human resource management, financial management, and educational processes. Cultures change from within. If advisors understand the cultural foundations at work, they can better help countries chart paths toward sustainable, transparent governance.
This paper examines NATO’s perception of climate change as a non-traditional threat multiplier. For well over a decade, European as well as Pentagon and other U.S. government studies and policy documents have noted that as the planet continues to warm, arable land continues to disappear, cyclones become more powerful, droughts increase in impact, food shortages are more frequent, and thousands of climate migrants are on the move. All of these climate change-related factors significantly increase the likelihood of conflict escalation. The threat multiplier characteristic of climate change will only exacerbate problems such as government instability, the spread of disease, conflicts over water supplies, the strengthening of terrorism, and widespread migration. This research explores NATO’s initiatives to deal with this non-traditional threat multiplier and analyzes how different schools of international relations theory define climate change and address this security concern. In addition, the article provides insights into how climate change-induced threats affect the socio-economic and political security of nation states and what that means for NATO. Finally, the research provides a review of the Alliance’s engagement, policy frameworks, operations, and units re-sponsible for tackling threats originating from climate change. It concludes with the recommendation that NATO has made significant progress on placing climate change on its threat radar, but that the Alliance will have to do more to integrate these concerns because current efforts are not sufficient to meet future security challenges stimulated by increase in the average global temperature.
Understanding the nature and the extent of the future threat from ISIS has been a key question for scholars, policy makers and security professionals since ISIS started losing significant grounds in Syria and Iraq. This article analyses ISIS terrorism and its possible spillover effects from a regional security perspective by presenting a strategic model to develop options for the policy makers. A strategic understanding, supported by a model that has been designed to capture all possible variables and their interaction which each other, is necessary to understand the future direction of the threat. Many scholars agree that the threat is not only about the organizational structure of ISIS but also its ideological aspect, therefore the model presented here connects the facts and the ideology with variables at three different levels: regional political level; ISIS and its organizational structure; and individual level variables. The model was designed to capture changes with relevant data thus providing a strategic data-driven understanding of the threat.
Regional political developments and how ISIS reacts to those developments are the main concerns at the first two levels of analysis. Foreign fighters and other sympathizers are the most important subjects of the study at the individual level with the assumption that the future threat will diffuse through foreign fighters and self-radicalized lone actors.
On December 19th, 2016 Germany saw the first major Islamist terror attack on its soil. A Tunisian asylum seeker crashed a hijacked truck into one of the main Berlin’s Christmas markets. The assault resulted in 12 casualties. In the aftermath, several attempts were made by German parliaments on Länder-level, as well as on federal level, to investigate how the terrorist was able to use 14 different identities, how he carried out the plot, how he escaped and where security authorities failed to prevent the attack.
This article examines the advanced technological, information and cyber components of hybrid war and the introduction of suggested countermeasures to counter information and cyber threats and attacks. The main hypothesis of the authors is that revolutionary development and rapid implementation of technologies in innovative ways in all spheres of life facilitate and shape the basis for the transformation of theoretical and practical paradigms of war and conflict. The focus of the article is on the hybrid nature of modern conflict.
Why do young Muslim women from the whole world join the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, despite the fact that the group is notorious for conducting terrible sexual violations against women? Through comparing how al-Qaeda (AQ) and IS are positioning women in their ideological literature, this article sheds light on IS’ appeal to women. This is interesting, as AQ in a historical perspective only attracted a handful of European women to physically join the group. The comparison highlights that AQ and IS position women in different ways: as housewives, migrants, warriors and sex slaves. Both groups’ ideologies agree that a woman’s primarily role is to be a housewife and mother, and exclude in principle women from the battlefield. However, only IS is emphasizing that Muslim women have a right and duty to migrate to its territory. Through using ideological arguments in its literature, IS convinces its supporters that it is a religious duty to enslave women the group defines as idolaters. For this reason, IS’ brutality against non-Muslim women will not discourage its female supporters from joining the group.
This article reviews important differences in how Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham perceive the role of the foreign fighter and outlines local dilemmas integrating foreign fighters entails for the three movements. It shows how, in addition to boosting fighting capacity, a high number of foreigners might also represent a crucial weakness.