20 October 2017

Islam and the Patterns in Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Recently Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at Center for Stratrgic and International Studies has come out with, as usual, a very well researched paper on Islam and the Patterns in Terrorism and Violent Extremism : Putting the Links Between Islam and Violent Extremism in Context

It is far too easy for analysts who are not Muslim to focus on the small part of the extremist threat that Muslim extremists pose to non-Muslims in the West and/or demonize one of the world's great religions, and to drift into some form of Islamophobia—blaming a faith for patterns of violence that are driven by a tiny fraction of the world's Muslims and by many other factors like population, failed governance, and weak economic development.It is equally easy to avoid analyzing the links between extremist violence and Islam in order to be politically correct or to avoid provoking Muslims and the governments of largely Muslim states. The end result is to ignore the reality that most extremist and terrorist violence does occur in largely Muslim states, although it overwhelmingly consists of attacks by Muslim extremists on fellow Muslims, and not some clash between civilizations.

If one examines a wide range of sources, however, a number of key patterns emerge that make five things very clear:

The overwhelming majority of extremist and violent terrorist incidents do occur in largely Muslim states.

Most of these incidents are perpetrated by a small minority of Muslims seeking power primarily in their own areas of operation and whose primary victims are fellow Muslims.

Almost all of the governments of the countries involved are actively fighting extremism and terrorism, and most are allies of Western states that work closely with the security, military, and counterterrorism forces of non-Muslim states to fight extremism and terrorism.

Vast majority of Muslims oppose violent extremism and terrorism.

Religion is only one of many factors that lead to instability and violence in largely Muslim states. It is a critical ideological force in shaping the current patterns of extremism, but it does not represent the core values of Islam and many other far more material factors help lead to the rise of extremism.

Deduction of Cordesman is : The trends in the current "wars" on terrorism, the degree to which partnerships between Muslim and non-Muslim states form the core of the effort to defeat extremism, and the extent to which the rise of extremism ensures that it may take several decades of active security partnerships to end the threat.

Global Patterns of Terrorism Are Dominated by Extremism in Largely Muslim States. 

The patterns of extremist violence are dominated by violence in largely Muslim states and by extremist movements that claim to represent Islamic values.Only a relatively small portion of the incidents can be attributed to ISIS.Defeating today's key perpetrators is critical, but it in no way will defeat the longer term threat. 

There is No “Clash of Civilizations.” The Vast Majority of Muslims Consistently Reject Extremism and Terrorism. the vast majority of Muslims do not support extremist violence, and that their primary concerns are jobs, the quality of governance, security, and the same practical values shared by non-Muslims. 

The Battle of Perceptions, and Popular Motives in the MENA Region and Islamic World. Only 17% of Muslims saw religion as the key factor in recruiting fighters for ISIS, and that interpretations of Islam ranked seventh in a poll examining Arab views of way to defeat extremism. 77% of Arabs polled still felt that the Arab peoples were a single nation, rather than focused on the actions of their government and their own nation situation. 

Casualties in the U.S. and Europe Are All Too Real. But, it is Muslims that Are the Overwhelming Victims of Extremist Attacks. No one can condone or ignore the numbers killed in the U.S. and Europe, but they are relatively tiny in actuarial terms. For example, there were 658 deaths in Europe and all of the Americas between January 1, 2015 and July 16, 2016. There were 28,031—or 43 times more deaths—in other regions—most of them consisting of largely Islamic countries. Almost all of the human impact of extremist attacks is Muslims killing or injuring fellow Muslims. 

Restrictions on Religion Attempt to Limit Extremism in Much of the Islamic World. Most governments in largely Muslim states are actively moving to suppress religious extremism in their country. 

Extremism Poses a Critical Threat to the Ability of Largely Islamic States to Meet the Needs of Their Rapidly Growing Populations. Many Muslims feel their governments are corrupt and that secular options fail to protect them and provide adequate future opportunities.Population pressure and corruption are critical factors, as are ethnic and sectarian divisions and hyperurbanization. Youth lack jobs and opportunity in many states, and per capita incomes are sometimes critically low. 

Islamic States Are Key Strategic Partners in the Fight Against Extremism, and the Rising Global Impact of Islam Makes These Partnerships Steadily More Critical. Almost all of the states with large Muslim majorities have governments that already cooperate with the U.S. in the struggle against extremism. The need for lasting strategic partnerships with Muslim states is reinforced by key demographic trends on a global basis. The total number of Muslims will increase from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.76 billion in 2015—an increase of 73% or 1.16 billion people. 

ISIS, Al Qaida and the Taliban Are Key Current Threats. But are Only One Small Part of a Far Broader Problem that Will Endure for Decades. Al Qaida, ISIS, the Taliban, and the other main targets of today's anti-terrorism and anti-extremist efforts are only a comparatively limited part of even current threats. 

Even Total Victory in Syria and Iraq Could Only Have a Limited Impact: Most IISS “Affiliates” Outside Iraq and Syria Are Not Closely Linked to the ISIS “Caliphates” and Will Survive ISIS Defeats in Iraq and Syria. 

he Current Fighting in Syria and Iraq is Unlikely to Bring Any Lasting Security and Stability. This is Even More True of the Fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Terrorism and Extremism in Yemen Have Become a Strategic “Black Hole” 

As usual there are lot of statistics and graphics in this paper. Some are appended below. 

The Wounded Lion in Dragon’s ‘Peaceful Rise’

By S Rajasimman

As defence and strategıc analyst ın Indıa and China begın to present theır post-crisis analysıs on the recent near-sımultaneous wıthdrawal of troops along the trı-junctıon between Indıa-Chına-Bhutan (Doklam), thıs presentation ıntends to present a synthesis wıth a objectıve to address the overall health of Sıno-Indıan relatıons. In addition to multiple categories used to classify China and India – Land neighbours, undemarcated but tranquil borders, civilisational entities, great powers, regional hegemons etc – both these countries have had varying approach towards their respective recent past. While China has committed itself to undo its past in order to seek its rightful place among the commity of nations.

India informs US it’s ready to buy Raytheon ISTAR aircraft

By: Vivek Raghuvanshi   

NEW DELHI ― India has made an official request to purchase two ISTAR aircraft under a government-to-government deal. The move comes within a month of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to India.

A formal letter of request was sent to the U.S. Defense Department earlier this month expressing intent to procure two intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft via the Foreign Military Sales program, a Ministry of Defense official said.

The Future of US Troops in Afghanistan: Assessing Potential Roles

By Rajat Ahlawat

In his new strategy for Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump recently decided on increasing the number of American troops in the country. He said a hasty withdrawal would create a power vacuum for the terrorists, which would pose a serious threat for the struggling Afghan security forces. Many previous reports have indicated that the majority of Afghan forces still lack independent operational capabilities and more ground-level advisors embedded within their units are required to provide advisory and assistance. The US military is also conducting ground and aerial counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) and Taliban targets.

China: Towards the 19th Party Congress

By Bhaskar Roy

The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is scheduled to start on October 18. The date was announced well in advance, indicating everything has been set, including personnel changes in the Politburo (PB) of the Central Committee, as well as its Standing Committee (PBSC). This suggests that power broking by heavy weighs, especially former senior leaders, have been reduced or eliminated by Xi Jinping. There are no contemporaries of Xi who can question him.

Secretary Mattis at AUSA: The Threats the US Military Must be Prepared For – Modern War Institute

by Liam Collins 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis kicked off the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on Monday. The meeting is billed as the “largest landpower exposition and professional development forum in North America” and is attended by much of the Army’s civilian and military leadership, as well as defense industry leaders. Much of the coverage of his speech focused on what he said about North Korea. But in his prepared remarks, he deliberately touched on several threats that give a sense of his view of the world from the Pentagon’s E-ring.

North Korean Hackers Now Have Another Link to the Outside World Thanks to Russia

On October 1st North Korea established a second link to the worldwide Internet via Russia. This link is via a fiber optic line that extended to the North Korean border along the Russian railroad (which is how Russia has long strung long distance telephone and telegraph access). The Chinese fiber optic link near the west coast remains thus for the first time North Korea has two high speed connections to the international Internet. As much as North Korea fears the Internet, especially given its vulnerabilities North Korea eventually figured out (with a little help from Russia and China) that the Internet has many benefits for those with the proper attitude. North Korea found that while restricting Internet access for North Koreans it could create an elite group of Cyber Warriors who could make lots of money, obtain your enemies military, diplomatic and technology secrets. Meanwhile it was relatively easy, especially for a brutal police state, to leave your victims with insufficient evidence to pin the blame on the North Korean hackers. But with success comes new demands, like more high speed Internet access to the outside world.

Military Stalemate: How North Korea Could Win a War With the US

North Korea’s defeat in a war with South Korea and the United States is inevitable. At least that’s the consensus among most military experts. The war would be “nasty, brutish, and short” and could cost the lives of up to 20,000 per day even before the use of nuclear weapons. Yet the outcome would never be in doubt: the defeat of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK). This conclusion is drawn based on analyzing the relative military capabilities of North Korea, primarily seen as a function of its military hardware and munitions stockpile, versus the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States.

Raising the Consequences of Hacking American Companies

In early October, lawmakers were attempting to glean information from Facebook and Twitter about Russia-backed bot accounts deployed to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. At the same time, U.S. businesses and critical infrastructure face a distinctive state-cyber interference threat of their own. In May of this year, the “WannaCry” cyber-attack took the world by storm. For many ordinary people, it was their first encounter with the phenomenon known as ransomware. The hackers hijacked computers across the globe—from Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) to FedEx—and demanded that the owners pay to recover their data. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the attack was WannaCry’s source, which the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and private U.S. cybersecurity researchers have suggested is North Korea.1 A few weeks later, another purported ransomware attack named NotPetya emerged, this time mostly affecting Ukrainian computer networks. Through NotPetya ostensibly sought to extort its victims, some researchers quickly concluded that the malware’s true purpose was to harm the devices it infected. The Ukrainian government blames Russia for the hack, which Ukraine claims was politically motivated.2



Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes. Yes, it could. Last Wednesday, referring to potential American responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, President Donald Trump told Sean Hannity “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them it’s gonna get knocked out.” If Trump believes — or is being told — that American missile defenses are that accurate, not only is he factually wrong, he is also very dangerously wrong. This misperception could be enough to lead the United States into a costly war with devastating consequences.

Trump’s War on Knowledge

Ariel Dorfman

The date October 12 has been much on my mind this year. It was on this day in 1936 that the fascist forces of General Francisco Franco celebrated El Día de la Raza, the Hispanic world’s alternate version of Columbus Day. Some three months earlier, Franco had begun a right-wing insurrection against the elected government of the Republic. His Falangist army soon controlled a large part of the country, including Salamanca. It was in the central hall of that ancient city’s university, founded in 1218 and the most renowned institute of higher learning in the land, that the fascists commemorated their “Day of the Race.” In front of numerous dignitaries and emboldened by a mob of nationalist youth and legionnaires, Franco’s friend and mentor General José Millán Astray desecrated that temple of learning with six words: ¡Abajo la inteligencia! ¡Viva la muerte!

The Middle Eastern Roots of Nuclear Alarmism over North Korea

By Rebecca Friedman Lissner

Nuclear alarmism is reaching a fever pitch in Washington. President Donald Trump has responded to North Korea’s push toward a nuclear-capable ICBM with paroxysms of bluster: He warned that North Korean threats to the United States would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” proclaimed Kim Jong Un a “Rocket Man” (and now “Little Rocket Man”) on a “suicide mission,” and averred the North Korean regime “won’t be around for much longer.” Other members of the administration have echoed the president’s rhetoric: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster suggested that Kim is undeterrable. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley trumpeted “plenty of military options.” The White House has engaged in open discussion of preventive war.

Why the world should worry about North Korea's cyber weapons

By Joshua Berlinger

North Korea's hackers have been accused of carrying out some of the most audacious cyber attacks of the past few years, from siphoning millions of dollars to stealing state secrets.

Analysts say cyber capabilities have become a key asset in North Korea's war chest, used for a wide range of purposes including hacking adversaries like South Korea and pilfering money.

Massive drill validates Israel’s cyber-secure C4I network

By: Barbara Opall-Rome 

A two-week drill of the Israel Defense Forces’ Northern Corps ― nearly a year in the making ― involved some 20 brigades, air power from all Israeli Air Force bases, the bulk of the Israeli Navy surface and submarine force, and more.

After-action analysis from last month’s massive drill at Israel’s northern border has validated, with very few exceptions, more than a decade worth of development, deployment and operational procedures associated with the military’s cyber-secure, C4I-operational network, the military’s chief signal officer said.

Data Bust: Created to Help Counter the Threat of IEDS, the Pentagon’s JIEDDO Turned Out to be a Huge and Very Costly Flop

Kelsey Atherton
Source Link

On Oct. 1, 2017, a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad killed Spc. Alexander W. Missildine. The 20-year-old was the latest American soldier to die in a war that had lasted, in some form or another, since he was in kindergarten. And as much as the Iraq War had changed over the past 14 years, the weapon that killed Missildine—the improvised explosive device, or IED—remains just as potent, and just as vexing, as it was when the U.S. originally invaded Iraq.

‘Safe Cities Index’ highlights paradox of tech advancement, cyber vulnerability

By: Brad D. Williams 

The Economist Intelligence Unit released its 2017 Safe Cities Index, a biennial study that ranks 60 global cities using 49 indicators of safety across four categories, including digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security.

Tokyo, Singapore, Osaka, Toronto and Melbourne top the global index using all four categories of indicators. At number 15, San Francisco ranked as the safest U.S. city, with Los Angeles (18), Chicago (19), New York (21) and Washington, D.C., (23) rounding out the U.S.‘s top five in the index.

Cyber Command stands up planning cells at combatant commands

By: Mark Pomerleau

The entities, called Cyber Operations-Integrated Planning Elements, or CO-IPE, are weeks-old. They will do all the planning for Department of Defense Information Network operations, defensive cyber operations, internal defensive measures and offensive cyber operations, said Army. Col. Paul Craft, the director of operations J3 at Joint Force Headquarters-DoDIN, who spoke Tuesday during a presentation at the Cyber Pavilion of the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference.

Army doubles down on WIN-T’s ‘fight tonight’ problem

By: Amber Corrin 
Source Link

Less than two weeks after Army officials announced they plan to nix the service’s $6 billion battlefield network backbone, leaders are emphasizing the need to immediately move forward with alternate solutions in order to save troops’ lives.

Amid congressional inquiry, officials said Sept. 27 that the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, program would end as Army leaders reroute funding to alternate capabilities that are more agile, secure and threat-responsive. The move involves shifting nearly half a billion dollars in funding in order to better secure communications in the theater.

4 areas where military cyber forces should focus in cyberspace

By: Mark Pomerleau

The cyber domain as an operational environment is still relatively new, and the Department of Defense is still working out tactics, techniques, procedures and authorities in cyberspace for military operations.

But despite the DoD and NATO declaring cyberspace a domain of warfare, “nobody has defined what that means,” said Alex Crowther, of the National Defense University.

A device for every soldier? The Army is considering it

By: Meghann Myers 
Source Link

Between the hours soldiers have to spend online for professional military education and the possibilities a handheld, touchscreen device could hold downrange, the Army is taking a step toward developing a standard-issue device for every soldier.

The team at PEO Soldier has come up with a prototype that they recently presented to the Army’s top enlisted soldier, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey said Tuesday.

Decentralize The Air Force For High-End War: Holmes

AUSA: After a generation of centralized control and absolute air superiority, the US Air Force needs to decentralize to handle high-tech adversaries, the head of Air Combat Command said Wednesday. Top-down direction won’t always work against enemies who can hack or jam our communications networks, Gen. Mike Holmessaid. That means we need to devolve some planning and command functions to lower-level headquarters, he said, and to reemphasize initiative and independence by junior officers.