NATO, as it marked its 68th anniversary, is still facing a broad range of old and new challenges, including piracy, terrorism, regional and global conflicts, humanitarian crises, proliferation of WMD, and cyber threats.
In light of these and other strategic concerns, the latest NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016 focused inter alia on strengthening and modernizing the Alliance’s deterrence and defense posture and projecting stability beyond its Eastern borders. The question arises whether the 28 nations’ partnership will continue to play its essential political and military role in the coming years.
This January 2017 report on “NATO’s Strategy: Continuity or Change?” provides a recent academic effort to analyze whether NATO, at this stage of its evolution, is capable of completing its transformation from an earlier static defense alliance into a more effective regional and global security provider.
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As the new administration of President Donald J. Trump is beginning to develop its Middle East foreign policy strategy, the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict still persists. In addition to the multiple outstanding issues to be resolved by the parties, such as the need for mutual recognition and the settling of boundary disputes, questions remain regarding the future of Jerusalem, the Holy City, which is considered by Israel as its eternal capital—and which the Palestinians also see as their own capital in a future state.
This current report on "The Holy Jerusalem: A Key to Middle East War or Peace?" provides a recent academic effort focusing on two questions. First, can religion in general serve as an effective bridge to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East and elsewhere? And second, will the antagonists and their partisan Jewish, Muslim, and Christian co-religionists be capable of a peaceful resolution on the final status of the Holy City?
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In the wake of the failed coup in July 2016, many questions have arisen both domestically and internationally regarding Turkey’s future political, social, economic, and strategic direction. Among them are how will Turkey to continue to maintain a balance between security concerns and civil liberties domestically, as well as contribute to international efforts, including NATO’s mission, to advance stability regionally and globally.
This current report on “Post-Attempted Coup in Turkey: Quo Vadis?” provides a recent academic effort focusing on these issues as well as other related strategic concerns include the refugee crisis, the impact on the fight against the Islamic State, and Turkey’s relations with regional and global powers.
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The failure of contemporary societies during the past sixty years in the post-World War II period to effectively combat terrorism at home and abroad is, indeed, puzzling. After all, all nations are fully aware that the most critical element in combating the challenge of terrorism is intelligence. That is, the knowledge acquired, whether overtly or covertly, for the purpose of both internal and external statecraft.
And yet, despite this awareness, the grim reality is that terrorism is still attractive and works. For instance, according to recent press reports, during the past year and a half alone some 2,063 attacks were recorded in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, with a death toll of 28,031. Likewise, 46 attacks occurred in Europe and the Americas, and as a result of which some 658 were killed.
The purpose of this introduction is to provide an academic context for the apparent lingering confusion regarding the nature and implications of intelligence in democracies. It presents a brief overview of the challenge of modern terrorism, outlines key aspects of the role of intelligence in confronting the threats at home and abroad, and reports on the two latest academic efforts in this security area that are incorporated in this study.
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The role of force in the struggle for power within and among nations is a permanent fixture of international life. As James Madison observed during a debate on the adoption of the Constitution in 1787, “There never was a government without force.” Likewise, Sir Winston Churchill in a note to the First Sea Lord on October 15, 1942 remarked: “Superior force is a powerful persuader.”
Clearly, the primary actors capable of resorting to power domestically during periods of peace are the police and other law enforcement agencies. They are mandated to implement the preservation of public order, and thus represent the first layer of protection for civilians, including citizens, permanent residents, and visiting foreigners. These designated governmental bodies seek to encourage “good behavior,” prevent illegal activities, warnof potential internal threats, and develop strategies to assure an effective national security environment in accordance with the requirements of the administration of justice.
And yet, from time immemorial, military forces in particular have projected power at home and abroad during periods of both war and peace. It is not surprising therefore that there exists a comprehensive literature in this field, from antiquity to the contemporary era. Suffice to mention the infinite theological and secular sources covering the nature, role, and impact of armies on the direction of the statecraft of nations. For example, early religious texts focused on God’s directing military operations (e.g., assurance of victory),organizational structures (e.g., standing armies and mercenaries), arms supplies (e.g., slings, chariots, provisions), strategies and tactics (e.g., intelligence and spoils of war), and the virtues and vices of battles (e.g., magnanimity in victory and treatment of prisoners)...
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From time immemorial humanity has been challenged by a wide range of manmade calamities, usually resulting from criminality, corruption, political violence, and economic and technological disasters. These events have been labeled by historians and contemporary observers as dangers bringing fear, suffering, destruction, and death. Such misfortunes were also characterized as multiple forms of “humanitarian and security crises” facing all societies.
One of the most lingering and devastating manifestations of this reality is the “refugee crisis.” According to a popular definition “refugees are people who vote with their feet,” as described by Berliner Illustrirte on crowds fleeing from Communist East Germany in its 1961 Special Issue. A more “formal” articulation of the term is provided by Merriam-Webster dictionary, stating that a refugee is “one that flees; especially: a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.”
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The International Center for Terrorism Studies produced a report in May reflecting on past and current assessments as well as anticipated future outlooks for the role of law enforcement in combating terrorism. The purpose of this report is to deal only with some selected terrorism-related dangers, focusing on law enforcement and police responses.
Additionally, a wide range of academic and practitioners’ phraseology must be noted in connection with the meaning of “terrorism.” Generic terms such as radicalization, extremism, violence, conflicts, armed struggle, war, and even peace spring to mind. Thus, “terrorism” challenges include organized crime, piracy, low intensity or low-level conflicts, guerrilla campaigns, insurgencies, asymmetric warfare, civil wars, cyber dangers, and weapons of mass destruction (e.g., biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear).
In the face of such and other security concerns, the missions of law enforcement and police agencies are therefore linked directly or indirectly to broad frameworks of national, regional, and inter-regional response strategies and tactics. Among the numerous prevalent concepts, mention should be made of those such as anti-terrorism, combating terrorism, counter-insurgency efforts, clandestine operations, overseas contingency activities, targeted killings, and the global war on terrorism.
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Contemporary Syria (formally the Syrian Arab Republic) is a United Nations member state under the regime of President Bashar Assad. Tragically, it ranks as one of the most brutal dictatorships in the history of mankind. As the country’s raging war grinds through its fifth year, a total of an estimated 300,000 citizens, including women, children, and elderly, have been killed and thousands more wounded. The gravity of the humanitarian crisis is demonstrated by the four million Syrian refugees who fled the unbearable costs of the unending battles, into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq and, with hundreds of thousands even journeying from the Middle East towards safety in Europe and elsewhere.
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The “cloud” over Russia’s intentions, capabilities, and actions still lingers on. For nearly a century its conduct in the Eurasian region, the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Baltics, the Middle East, and elsewhere has consistently been characterized as an “enigma.” This current report on “Russia’s Strategic Puzzle: Past Lessons, Current Assessment, and Future Outlook” provides a modest academic effort to focus on the historical and contemporary context as well as on several case studies such as the Ukraine crisis and the Kremlin’s involvement in Syria. Contributions to this publication are by former government officials, a serving diplomat, and academics. The co-sponsors of the report are the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, the International Center for Terrorism Studies at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies at the International Law Institute.
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On March 30, 2016, the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS) published its seventh annual report, “Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2015,” authored by Prof. Yonah Alexander, Director-IUCTS. The report finds the region & global community facing the most serious security challenges since 9/11, from natural and man-made threats ranging from Ebola to extremism. The rise of the co-called “Islamic State” (Daesh) and the resilience of al-Qa’ida and their affiliates in Africa in 2015 have resulted in much greater instability on the continent with a costly strategic impact inter-regionally. The study recommends the U.S. & allies engage more effectively to slow a security crisis that is erupting across Africa’s “arc of instability.” Other recommendations include:
- “Strengthen U.S. and NATO intelligence assets by broadening cooperation through AFRICOM, NATO’s Partnership for Peace, and other modalities that supply and support training, equipment, and monitoring of resources throughout the region”;
- “Continue to expand U.S. counterterrorism technical assistance and training to internal security personnel”;
- “Work to settle intra-regional conflicts that provide openings for extremists to exploit and impede security and economic cooperation — including the Western Sahara dispute and the problem of refugees in the Polisario-run camps in Algeria;
- “Recognize the importance of and provide quiet encouragement to Muslim leaders in promoting the practice of a moderate Islam, as well as counter-radicalization programs that limit the appeal of extremist recruiters”;
- And “Promote regional trade and investment by expanding the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement to include goods and products from North, West, and Central Africa."
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As NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, celebrates its 67th anniversary, it still represents the most significant defensive and offensive alliance in the past two centuries. And yet, in early 2016 its twenty-eight nation-state members are still facing a broad range of old and new horizontal and vertical challenges. These include piracy, terrorism, regional conflicts, humanitarian crises, high-seas piracy, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and cyber threats. Indeed, the status quo and combined deterrence and containment of the forty-years’ Cold War have been replaced by the realities of the changed world from Europe to the Middle East and beyond. Suffice it to mention the ongoing Russian military operations in Ukraine and now in Syria, the escalation of radicalization and violence perpetuated by an array of state and sub-state actors such as al-Qa’ida affiliates, and the ominous emergence of the newly declared caliphate by the “Islamic State” (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh).
The current report on “NATO: Confronting Regional and Global Challenges” is a modest academic effort to provide a context for the Alliance’s political and military missions in the coming months and years.
Download the full pdf here.
Download the full pdf here.
Since time immemorial war has been a permanent fixture in the struggle of power within and among nations. It is not surprising therefore that Sun Tzu, China’s foremost strategist, observed over 2500 years ago that “war is a matter of vital importance to the state, the province of life or death, the road to survival or ruin” (400-320 BC, The Art of War, II). Similarly, in modern times, Winston Churchill, Britain’s great former Prime Minister, famously noted that “in mortal war, anger must be subordinated in defeating the main immediate enemy” (The Gathering Storm, 1948).
Despite this stark reality, a related political concept, “terrorism” (constituting fear and psychological and physical violence as an instrument of tactical and
strategic power employed by individuals, groups, and sovereign entities seeking to achieve single-issue or broader policy objectives at home or abroad) has
consistently evaded universal agreement on the meaning of the term. Specifically, there is no consensus as to who are the “terrorists,” what are the
root causes of the phenomenon, and how societies should combat national, regional, and international threats.
Suffice it to mention that in the Twentieth Century even the League of Nations Convention of 1937 was never enacted by member states because of contradictory political and ideological perceptions of the security dangers posed by “terrorism.” Likewise, the United Nations, thus far at least, has failed to craft and adopt a comprehensive global legal instrument intended to provide theoretical and practical clarity to various manifestations of violence short of allout war.
In light of the post-9/11 era, characterized by the dramatic expansion of terrorists’ modus operandi by “propaganda by deed” and the “deed by propaganda,” the question arises whether contemporary states will continue to reserve to themselves the legal and moral authority to define “terrorism” or perhaps usher in a more inclusive universal framework in the coming years.
To be sure, this question has continuously been on the academic agenda for the past fifteen years. For example, within the context of the mission of the Inter- University Center for Terrorism Studies (administered by both the International Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies at the International Law Institute), we have undertaken a number of interdisciplinary research projects covering different security challenges from shutting down international terror networks to combating weapons of mass destruction threats.
Several studies are noteworthy. Al-Qa’ida Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond (2012), as well as Al-Qa’ida’s Mystique Exposed: Usama bin Laden’s Private
Communications (2016), were co-authored by Yonah Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam and published by Potomac Institute Press. The purpose of the later volume is to provide a rare window into the covert life of the founding leader of one of the most dangerous terrorist movements in modern times. Fortunately for the U.S. government and subsequently for the international community at large, untangling a substantial part of al-Qa’ida’s enigmatic nature became easily possible following the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Selected declassified correspondence of the infamous leader that is contained in this book is provided courtesy of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Another recent work is The Islamic State: Combating the Caliphate Without Borders (2015), co-authored by Yonah Alexander and Dean Alexander and
published by Lexington Books. This study offers insights into the nature of the Islamic State (also known as IS or ISIS) and what the international community can do to combat it. In order to achieve this objective, the origins, intentions, leadership, capabilities, and operations of the IS are explored. The Islamic State’s multifaceted efforts and effects in the region and beyond are described. Also, national, regional, and global strategies that are being pursued to address the new threat are examined. To this end, a range of recommendations are offered on specific steps that governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental bodies can take to counter the IS menace. Lastly, additional insights are presented relevant to combating the IS and undermining its potential future capabilities.
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Purpose and Scope
There exists the need to educate policy-makers, and the public in general, on the nature and intensity of the terrorism threat in the twenty-first century. As a member of the academic and research community, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies has an intellectual obligation, as well as a moral and practical responsibility, to participate in the international effort to arrest the virus of terrorism. The purpose of the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS) is four-fold:
1. To monitor current and future threats of terrorism;
2. To develop response strategies on governmental and non-governmental levels;
3. To effect continual communication with policy-makers, academic institutions, business, media, and civic organizations;
4. To sponsor research programs on critical issues, particularly those relating enabling technologies with policy, and share findings nationally and internationally.
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TERRORISM STUDIES AT POTOMAC INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES "Latin America's Security Outlook: Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Castro Era" December 16, 2016 Latin America’s multiple security challenges include organized crime, terrorism, migration, economic development, and threats to democratic governance. Experts with governmental, academic, and professional experience discussed current and future trends as well as regional and global policy implications. Opening remarks were given by General Alfred Gray, USMC (Ret.), Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the United States…
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TERRORISM STUDIES AT POTOMAC INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES "Middle East Strategic Outlook: Regional and Global Implications" November 21, 2016 The current deteriorating Middle East security architecture gravely challenges the international community more than ever before. The lingering crisis of national identities coupled with escalating extremism and violence is resulting in unprecedented social, economic, and strategic costs. These regional calamities require most urgently comprehensive conflict resolution policies and actions by all concerned nations.…
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TERRORISM STUDIES AT POTOMAC INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES "The Fifteenth Anniversary of 9/11: Past Lessons and Future Outlook" October 14, 2016 As the U.S. just marked its 15th anniversary of 9/11 and as the UN general assembly began its 71st session, terrorism continues to plague the international community with escalated, complex security challenges. The latest attacks from New York to Aleppo have once again underscored the brutalization, victimization, and globalization of contemporary…