balkanssmAn enduring fixture of international affairs is the fact that, throughout the history of the world, nothing is static . Empires, countries, communities, and nearly entire civilizations have risen and declined while others became engaged in an endless struggle for power within and among social and political identifiable structures .

It is not surprising, then, that two historical lessons spring to mind when considering these socio- political fluctuations . The first recalls the old Chinese proverb which reads, “One who studies the past, knows the future” and the second observation, attributed to Hegel, asserts that “We learn from history that we do not learn from history .”

Indeed, these truisms have echoed continuously throughout the ages of different cultures and peoples located in every geopolitical region . The experience of the Balkans from antiquity to mo- dernity demonstrates both evolutionary and revolutionary developments of triumph and calamity with broader significant strategic implications .

roleof Diplo3 18From the dawn of history “diplomacy” has been utilized as a permanent mode of statecraft in the struggle for power within and among nations during peace and war. 

The purpose of this March 2018 report on “The Role of Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism: Selected International Perspectives” is to highlight insights from foreign diplomats on threats and challenges to officials and their missions, analysis of statecraft, and “best practices” responses to radicalization and violence.

Download the report here.

BiologicalTerrorismCoverRecent epidemics, such as Ebola and Zika, and the potential dangers of biological terrorism from both state and non-state actors highlight the urgent need to address these challenges through international partnerships and comprehensive biosecurity strategies to reduce the gravest health risks at home and abroad.

This January 2018 report on “Combating Biological Terrorism: Roadmaps for Global Strategies” follows several earlier related publications, such as “Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook” (June 2017) and “Preventing WMD Terrorism: Ten Perspectives” (August 2017).

Download the report here.



Role of Diplomacy Nov 2017 Cover lgIn view of the multiple security challenges to international peace and order posed by the intensification of terrorist attacks for over the past half-century, governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental bodies have developed tactical and strategic responses on national, regional, and global levels. The role of diplomacy is, indeed, a critical element in the evolving process.

The purpose of this report on “The Role of Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism: Selected U.S. Perspectives” to focus specifically on the role of diplomacy in combating terrorism relevant to experiences of the United States and their implications internationally. The key question is whether the U.S. and the international community is capable of crafting adequate responses to terrorism, diffusing expanding conflicts regionally and inter-regionally, engaging in constructive peace processes, and striking a delicate balance between security measures and democratic value systems.

Download the report here.

RuleofLaw1Ensuring the safety and interests of citizens at home and abroad continues to be every government’s paramount responsibility. The purpose of this report is to focus on the interface between terrorism and the rule of law. The key question is whether nations can strike a balance between security concerns and protecting civil liberties and constitutional order.

“Terrorism and the Rule of Law: Selected Perspectives” features presentations by experts with extensive academic and government experience. Some of the topics covered include the “War on Terror,” the role of intelligence, law enforcement, detention, civil and military trials, punishment of terrorists, hostage-taking, and other relevant issues.

Download the report here.

WMD8 17a

Preventing the proliferation of biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear weapons has been a major priority for many nation states in the post-World War II era. Additionally, in the aftermath of 9/11, there has been a growing awareness globally of the potential dangers posed by terrorist groups who may resort to WMD capabilities.

The purpose of this report on “Preventing WMD Terrorism: Ten Perspectives” is to provide some recent insights from experts on lessons learned, assessments of future challenges, and offer recommendations on response strategies to reduce the risk on national and international levels.

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Biological Terrorism cover june

Biological security concerns are permanent fixtures of history, ranging from Mother Nature’s infectious diseases to man-made threats by state and non-state actors. Thus, as the international community is currently approaching the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed an estimated 50-100 million people, it is assessing the implications of the recent epidemics of Ebola and Zika, considering potential dangers of biological terrorism, and beginning to offer recommendations on response strategies to reduce the risk on national, regional, and global levels.

This June 2017 report on “Biological Terrorism: Past Lessons and Future Outlook” serves as an academic effort to provide insights from former U.S. officials, members of Congress, and other experts on these looming security challenges.

Download the report here.

LatinAmerica1aLatin America continues to face multiple security challenges including natural disasters, infectious diseases, organized crime, terrorism, migration, economic development, and threats to democratic governance.

This April 2017 report on “Latin America’s Strategic Outlook: Populist Politics, Health Concerns, and Other Security Challenges” deals with recent security-related developments such as the Rio Olympics, the Zika epidemic, and post-Castro-era assessments.

Download the report here.

Cover IUCTS 2017On April 13,2017,the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS) published its eighth annual report, "Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2016," 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. The rise of the Islamic State and the resilience of al-Qa’ida and their affiliates in Africa in 2016 have resulted in continued 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.”



Download the report here.

loneWbThe latest terrorist incidents in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, are once again a grim reminder of the expanding operational roles of "lone wolves." Whether they are self-radicalized or linked to home-grown or foreign groups, their involvement reflects a worrisome weakness in the security chain of modern society.

This February 2017 report on “The Lone Wolf Terrorist: Past Lessons, Future Outlook, and Response Strategies” focuses on some of the “lone wolf” challenges. These include security threats to the safety, welfare, and rights of ordinary people; the stability of the state system; the impact on national, regional, and global economic development; the expansion of democratic societies; and the prevention of the destruction of civilization by biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

Download the report here.

NatoNATO, 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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roleofMilitaryThe 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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roleofInfo1smThe 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.1

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.2

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RefugeeCrisiscoverFrom 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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roleofLaw3The 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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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.

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Introduction excerpt:
Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

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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.

Professor Yonah Alexander

Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

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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Download Full PDFForeword 
Professor Don Wallace, Jr. 
Chairman, International Law Institute 

I am happy to have been asked by Professor Alexander to prepare this foreword to “Europe: Quo Vadis? (Political, Legal, and Security Perspectives).” Yonah Alexander’s Introduction to this volume recites the many dimensions of our subject. Dimensions in which he, organizations in which he has been involved or with which he has cooperated, and programs that they have conducted, have touched upon and opened up.

To be sure, Professor Alexander’s central concern, the permanent need to be cognizant of, knowledgeable about and determined to resist the insidious threats of terrorism, is always front and center in his work. But “Europe: Quo Vadis?” encompasses much more, as does the world in which Europe finds itself today. The Eurozone, and the EU itself, is challenged by the financial and economic straits of some of it members. Its expenditures on defense and especially as these relate to NATO, and issues such as some of Turkey’s vagaries, are causes for concern. The antics and behavior of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, towards Ukraine and neighboring countries may be the greatest threat to Europe, and thus to us. How Europe relates itself to the rise of Asia, especially its economic rise, will be of paramount concern. But Europe’s economy and society remain powerfully attractive: to Africans risking their lives to find livelihood, and to terrorists seeking to upend its values, as in the cowardly assaults in Paris on Charlie Hebdo, and a Jewish supermarket on that day. Extremists of various ilks challenge mainstream political parties. And one of Europe’s most lethal bacilli, anti-semitism, as Yonah points out in his Introduction, has returned, in several strains, traditional as in Greece and Hungary, and possibly in an equally virulent form in France and elsewhere.

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Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

Since the division of the subcontinent in 1947, South Asia has continuously been facing multiple threats to peace, stability, and economic development. Regional countries -- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan -- have experienced various forms of intolerance, extremism, and violence. Suffice it to mention organized crime, terrorism, insurgency, periodic flare-ups, armed skirmishes, and outbreaks of civil and external wars. An ongoing critical security concern is the unresolved conflict between India and Pakistan over the control of Kashmir. Indeed, this challenge contains the seed of a potential nuclear escalation that might drag the entire region to the brink of an unprecedented disaster.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the academic community worldwide has closely followed strategic developments in South Asia for decades. For example, the Institute for Studies in International Terrorism at the State University of New York (SUNY) cooperated in 1968 with educational partners in India to hold an international conference in New Delhi dealing, inter alia, with communal violence as an obstacle to peace. Similar academic undertakings were co- sponsored with numerous institutions in the region and elsewhere in Asia, including China, Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea.

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Ebola & Extremism: Rising Security Threats from Natural & Man-made Challenges in Africa
Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

Two major security challenges are facing contemporary societies in Africa and elsewhere. The first stems from natural disasters, and the second is from calamities caused by man-made actions. More specifically, “mother nature’s” profound impact on Africa’s security ranges from earthquakes to famine to infectious disease epidemics.

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Download PDFIntroduction excerpt:
Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

As this report goes to press, the world once again has been facing an alarming upsurge of threats to peace in the form of terrorism, insurgencies, and outbreaks of full-scale wars. Some of the expanding manifestations of violence have been aggravated by ideological extremism, nationalistic fanaticism, ethnic hatred, racial prejudices, religious animosities and justified in the name of “rights,” “justice” and even “peace.”

The current security challenges include the renewed Palestinian-Israeli hostilities in Gaza, the apparent “Balkanization” of Syria and Iraq, and Iran’s continued nuclear ambitions. These concerns threaten not only the future destabilization of the region itself but also contain the seeds for grave strategic implications globally.

The stopping of the unfolding violence and building a lasting peace in the region overshadows any other immediate security considerations. For example, as members of the academic community we have an obligation to provide an intellectual context to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict as well as to participate in the international effort to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East and elsewhere. In this connection it is noteworthy to mention several studies that were undertaken over the years. First is a book titled Crescent and Star: Arab and Israeli Perspectives on the Middle East Conflict edited by Yonah Alexander and Nicholas N. Kittrie and published by AMS Press in New York and Toronto in 1973. This volume focused on various questions that underlie the regional and global challenges. Some of the issues addressed were the following: a conflict between two antagonistic nationalisms; religious and ethnical tensions; violations of minority and human rights; expansionism and boundary disputes; conflict over the control of Jerusalem and the Holy Places; hostilities concerning the use of the Jordan River and freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba and Suez Canal; a competition among world powers.

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Download Full PDFIntroduction excerpt: Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

The resort to force as a tactical and strategic tool in the struggle for power within and among nations is as old as history itself. As Homer observed more than three thousand years ago: “The blade itself incites to violence.”1 Thus, the modus operandi of both strong and weak actors has been to deploy a wide range of arms, from primitive to high tech to mass destruction (biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear).

Suffice to mention several historical examples of this evolutionary process. During the first century, Jewish extremists known as Zealot Sicarii used daggers in surprise attacks against Roman leaders in occupied Judea. Similarly, primitive martyrdom missions were undertaken by the Hashashin (Assassins) against the Crusaders in the Middle East in a campaign lasting some 200 years between the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries. The strategic implications of this record have amply demonstrated that even “low-level” tactics are durable and effective.

Indeed, over the subsequent centuries, violent conflicts featured the evolution of weaponry from swords and catapults to guns and explosives and increasingly to more sophisticated land, sea, and air arms. Antoine-Henri Jomini (a military philosopher and general under Napoleon and Tsar Nicolas I who was best known for his influential book, “Summary of the Art of War,” published in 1838) keenly predicted that “the means of destruction are approaching perfection with frightful rapidity.”

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Tehran's Bomb ChallengeIntroduction
Professor Yonah Alexander
Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies

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The rise of power in Iran of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the November 1979 seizure of the United States Embassy in Tehran and of some 60 American hostages by “revolutionary students” triggered a flurry of introspection in Washington concerning the policies which successive Administrations had followed with a country of enormous strategic and economic importance in the Middle East.

Among the questions that have been raised during that historical period were the following: What had gone wrong? Why had the United States failed to assess correctly the strength of the elements that brought down the Shah [Shahanshah, King of Kings, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in January 1979, after a 37-year rule]? Why had the United States linked its fortunes so closely to those of the Shah in the first place? What did the national interests of the United States consist of as applied to Iran? What were the full implications of the transformation of Iran from a friendly ally to a hostile adversary of the United States?

These and related issues were analyzed in a study on The United States and Iran: A Documentary History, co-edited by Yonah Alexander and Allan Nanes and published by the University Publications of America in 1980. This work was prepared in association with the World Power Studies Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University.

During the next 34 years, other research efforts have been undertaken, focusing on Iran’s strategic and tactical intentions, capabilities, and actions. For instance, Tehran’s expanding terrorism role was discussed within the framework of the study, Terrorism: As State-Sponsored of Covert Warfare, co-authored by Ray S. Cline and Yonah Alexander and published by Hero Books in 1986. This work was undertaken in cooperation with the Center of Strategic and International Studies of Georgetown University and prepared at the request of the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. This publication underscored the fact that the goal of psychological terror and physical violence employed by totalitarian dictatorships, like the Iranian regime, is to maintain control of their own people and to expand this kind of control over other regions and nations. In the face of Iran’s terrorism challenge, the United States, its friends and allies, particularly Israel, have developed a wide range of countermeasures. They consisted inter alia of intelligence, economic and security assistance, political and diplomatic pressures, economic sanctions, clandestine counter-terrorism infiltrations, and overt military operations.

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On February 17, 2015 the Inter-­‐University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS) published its sixth annual report, “Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2014,” 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 so-­‐called 'Islamic State' and resilience of al-­‐Qaida & affiliates contributed to a 25% jump in terrorist attacks in N. Africa & the Sahel in 2014, the highest level since 9/11. The study recommends the US & allies engage more effectively to slow a security crisis that is erupting across Africa’s “arc of instability."

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In 2013 terrorism has continued to challenge global stability and security.  It represented the highest annual total of attacks since 9/11. The role of international cooperation in combating terrorism has therefore become more critical than ever before.

A new report titled "International Cooperation in Combating Terrorism: The Next Phase?" provides the context and discussion on this important topic, based on a seminar that highlighted security concerns of the League of the Arab States, African countries, and the European Union during the sixty-eighth session of the U.N. General Assembly.

To assess the various strategic efforts both regionally and inter-regionally, a group of diplomats discussed past lessons and future outlook during a seminar held on September 27, 2013 at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

The event was co-sponsored by the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies, the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies, at the International Law Institute and the Center for National Security Law, University of Virginia School of Law.

Prof. Alexander provided the introduction, both in the seminar and in the report.  The remainder of the report contains the presentations by:

Ambassador Dr. Mohammed R. Al Hussaini Al Sharif, Chief Representative Of the League of Arab States in Washington D.C.
Ambassador Al Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, Ambassador of the Republic of Mali to the United States
Simonas Satunas, Deputy Chief of Mission Embassy of Lithuania
Abderrahim Rahhaly, Deputy Chief of Mission Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

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Two major security and stability challenges are facing contemporary societies in Africa and elsewhere. The first stems from natural disasters such as earthquakes, famine, drought, and wildfires. The second is man-made threats, including crime, piracy, terrorism, ethnic and religious strife, and war.

Starting in the late 1960’s and subsequent three decades, the Institute for Studies in International Terrorism (ISIT), initially administered by the State University of New York system, in collaboration with educational bodies in the US and abroad, conducted academic work dealing with Africa’s security concerns and their global implications. For instance, in the early 1980’s ISIT, in cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University, the Institute for Social and Behavioral Pathology at the University of Chicago, and the University of Abadan in Nigeria, was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation grant to scholars from around the world to conduct a cooperative study on exploring solutions to conflicts in Africa and elsewhere. This project resulted in a publication of the book International Violence co-edited by Tunde Adeniran and Yonah Alexander (Praeger 1983).

Since that early academic effort, numerous seminars, conferences, and publications have been undertaken by the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS), a consortium of universities and think tanks in more than 40 countries. This entity was subsequently administered by the Terrorism Studies program at George Washington University, and for the past 15 years by the International Center for Terrorism Studies (ICTS) at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va. and the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies (IUCLS) at the International Law Institute (ILI) in Washington, D.C.

The current study, “Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2013,” published in January 2014 by IUCTS, represents the Fifth Annual Report focusing on terrorist threats in the Maghreb—Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia—as well as adjacent areas of the Sahel—Chad, Mali, Niger—and their strategic security implications regionally and globally. The first Special Report in this series “Why the Maghreb Matters: Threats Opportunities & Options for Effective U.S. Engagement in North Africa” was published by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and Conflict Management Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies on March 31, 2009. This initial study was guided by a bipartisan panel of experts, including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, General (ret.) Wesley Clark, Ambassador (ret.) Stuart Eizenstat, Professor William Zartman, and other distinguished former officials and academics. The panel recommended more effective engagement in the region to prevent the brewing security crisis from erupting in the region and beyond.

This fundamental recommendation was also underscored in subsequent annual reports published in 2010, 2011, and 2012, which contained alarming statistics on the growing “arc of stability” in the region. The 2013 study hopefully provides data and analysis required for policymakers to unilaterally and collectively develop coherent and realistic strategies to combat the global expansion of terrorism.

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In light of the growing debate over the Geneva deal with Iran, the tactical and strategic role of Hizballah, Tehran’s major terrorist proxy in the Middle East and beyond, is becoming more critical for any future diplomatic negotiations.

The new timely publication on “Combating Hizballah’s Global Network” provides an updated reality-check on the nature and potential challenges of Iran’s most effective terrorist tool in the coming months and years. It was co-authored by Professor Yonah Alexander (Director, Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies), Dr. Matthew Levitt (Director, Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy), Professor Amit Kumar (Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown), and Dan Mariaschin (Executive Vice President at B'nai B'rith International).

The just released report focuses on Hizballah’s ideology, objectives, organizational structures, major terrorist activities around the world, the Iranian connection, and what the international community, particularly the United States and Europe can do to confront the growing threat to all societies.

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Professor Yonah Alexander, Ph.D., Member, Board of Regents, Senior Fellow, and Director, International Center for Terrorism Studies presents a new report on Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel: Global Reach and Implications. 

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Download PDFCanada's experience with homegrown "foreign affinity" terrorism, namely threats with international connections, are expanding. In 2013, for example, Canadian citizens inspired by Al-Qa’ida's ideology, plotted to bomb the British Columbia legislature in Victoria as well as derail a New York City-Montreal train full with innocent passengers. And it has been reported that Canadian nationals have joined the al-Shabaab terrorist group that attacked a mall in Nairobi (Kenya) and others have participated in operations elsewhere, including Algeria, Yemen, Syria, and Pakistan.

The report on “Canada and Terrorism: Selected Perpetrators” (published in September 2013) provides a context for understanding the challenge of radicalization, extremism and violence in Canada that is rooted in regional, ethnic and political conflicts at home and abroad. Selected profiles of Canadian citizens as well as foreigners residing in Canada personify the ugly face of the terrorist challenges.

The research for this study initially began in 2006 and completed in Spring 2013. A larger study on "Canada and Terrorism: Threats and Responses" is expected to be completed in 2014. This work is undertaken by the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (administered by both 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). Professor Edgar H. Brenner, the late co-director of the Inter-University Center for Legal Studies and Professor Yonah Alexander, director of the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies are the principal investigators of the study. Academic support is provided by Professor Don Wallace Jr., Chairman, International Law Institute; Bill Mays, International Law Institute; and Marie-Aude Ferrière, Université Paris II Pantheon Assas- France.

For further information, please contact the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, 901 North Stuart Street Suite 200 Arlington, VA 22203 Tel.: 703-525-0770
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., ICTS@

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Download PDFThis report details the local, national and regional security challenges which the nations of Central Asia currently face. Given the growing international demand for energy and raw materials, this region importance to the international community increases daily. The vast geographical and demographic differences have already been, and will continue to be, a source of contention between state and non-state actors alike for years to come.

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Download Full PDFCurrently, one year after the beginning of the unprecedented explosion of the Arab Spring, the only certainty about future developments in the broader Middle East is uncertainty, and therefore the United States’ strategic and tactical responses are understandably at a foggy cross-road. It is for this reason that a realistic analysis of the factors that contribute to stability or instability in the turbulent region is critical if America, as well as its friends and allies, are adequately prepared to craft a pragmatic approach in this emerging security environment.

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Download Full PDF2011 Report Update:
The Consequences of Terrorism—Update on al-Qaeda and other Terrorist Threats in the Sahel & Maghreb
Yonah Alexander

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We learn from history that nothing is permanent in world affairs. Empires, nations, and people rise and decline, and others take their place. The only certainty is uncertainty and consequently a realistic analysis of factors that contribute to stability or instability of national, regional, and global security frameworks is critical.

Tragically, the Maghreb – Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia – as well as adjacent parts of the Sahel – Chad, Mali, and Niger – have emerged as one of the most worrying strategic challenges to the international community, and yet for decades these regions have mostly been neglected by United States diplomacy. Consider, for example, the empirical data generated since September 11, 2001.

Terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other extremist groups in both the Maghreb and Sahel increased 558% from their low during the period to a new high of 204 attacks in 2009, and remain dangerously high, with 178 in 2010. Thus, over the past nine years, more than 1,100 terrorist bombings, murders, kidnappings, and ambushes against both domestic and international targets have claimed almost 2,000 lives and 6,000 victims of violence. Moreover, according to open intelligence sources and a recent fact- finding trip to the region in January 2011, there exists growing evidence that AQIM, local traffickers, and possibly members of the Polisario are forming links with Latin American organized criminal groups for trafficking drugs and humans via transit networks into Europe.

What is particularly of grave concern is that AQIM, jointly with the other al-Qaeda affiliates (e.g. al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP – operating in Yemen, as well as al- Shabaab members in Somalia) currently and for the foreseeable future, represent a most dangerous threat both regionally and inter-regionally. Clearly in the failed and fragile states bordering the Sahara, al-Qaeda has established a safe haven and breeding ground for its activities.

Two major concerns feed into this arc of instability that stretches from the Red Sea and is poised to reach to the Atlantic. First, is the lingering 35-year old Western Sahara conflict, which is creating an opening for AQIM’s expansion and also recruitment of hard-core Polisario members among the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, further complicating the viability of a diplomatic resolution for the Western Sahara issue.

And second, the sudden and explosive recent popular street protests in Tunisia that ousted the authoritarian President, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for 23 years, open up the possibility that al-Qaeda will attempt to take advantage of the unfolding drama in its effort to destabilize the region.


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