As this special issue on “Disunity in global Jihad” goes into print in January 2017, the Islamic State (IS) is facing a possible military defeat throughout its territory in Northern Iraq and Syria. Yet, at the same time, it has proudly claimed responsibility for the 19 December 2016 lorry attack on a Christmas market in Berlin and the 1 January 2017 attack on a nightclub in Istanbul. Experts warn that as the self-proclaimed IS caliphate is crumbling, the organization may re-direct its attention, through its many supporters, to carrying out still more terrorist attacks throughout large parts of the rest of the world, including of course in the West.
The heavy focus in the Western media on IS has pushed al-Qaeda (AQ), until recently the subject of most of our counter-terrorist thinking and efforts, into the background of our collective consciousness. AQ, now serving mostly as a unifying brand for the smaller groups operating under its name, is still active, however, and in several places locked in a bloody conflict with IS. The possible military defeat of IS in Northern Iraq and Syria by a combination of local and foreign troops may pave the way for AQ to re-assert itself on the global Jihadist scene. Several of the contributions in the special issue suggest such a development as they discuss the rivalry of IS and AQ in several theaters.
The special issue is based on work done mainly at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), where, as a consequence of the emergence of especially IS, the more traditional counter-terrorist studies have been complemented by more recent counter-radicalization research. Special funding by several Danish ministries has allowed DIIS to build up a considerable research base, part of which is now offered to the readers of Connections. The contributors express their gratitude to the Editorial Board of the PfP Consortium for the opportunity to launch this special issue.
Copenhagen, 4 January 2017
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.
This paper provides Counter Violent Extrmism (CVE), Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF), and migration challenges policy recommendations based on a tabletop exercise involving national and local governments, civil society, the private sector, and multilateral bodies.
Durres, Albania (September 16, 2016) – To address the challenge of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF), 85 practitioners and researchers from over 30 countries gathered in Durres, Albania for the "Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Irregular Migration Routes: Prevention and Resilience" tabletop exercise (TTX) from 13-15 September. The TTX incorporated scenarios from emerging security challenges to engage participants and develop actionable recommendations regarding FTF recruitment, travel, and return.
This paper contains policy recommendations that were developed as a follow-up to the June 2016 Migration Crisis: Foreign Terrorist Fighters Challenges & Responses Tabletop Exercise that was conducted by the PfPC's Combating Terrorism Working Group at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch-Parkenkirchen, Germany.
This report contains policy recommendatoins for preventing, intervening in and mitigating radicalization that leads to violent extremism. The report is based on a countering violent extremism table top exercise held 1-3 March 2016 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (June 10, 2016) – Experts from a broad spectrum of society came together at the George C. Marshall Center from 1-3 June to discuss security challenges related to the European migration crisis, including facilitating travel by foreign terrorist fighters to Europe and North America. They shared perspectives and challenged conventional practices to produce a draft set of policy recommendations on how to best respond to the current international security environment.
Tallinn, Estonia (Jan. 15, 2015) – In the wake of this month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the development of a new Counterinsurgency (COIN) Curriculum is underway through a joint effort between The Partnership for Peace Consortium’s (PfPC) Conflict Studies Working Group and the Baltic Defence College. Upon completion, the curriculum will be available to NATO and coalition partners.