In an article published last month for MENA Analysis, I review major developments in Turkey over the past few years and explore prospects for the country moving forward in 2016. Turkey is surely a country to watch: In line with its geographic position straddling the continents, it faces an identity crisis between its European and Asian halves. Over more than a decade of AKP rule, it seems to have swung back and forth on whether its priority is to become a member of the European Union or the Neo-Ottoman leader of the Middle East. Lire la suite
In word and deed, fears of cyberwar appear to be growing. In 2013, Le Monde reported, “One Billion Euros to Face Cyberwar,” after the French Defense Ministry released a White Paper endorsing the development of offensive cyber weapons. France of course is not alone in its will to evolve in the cyber realm. According to Peter Singer of the New America Foundation, more than 100 of the world’s militaries have developed cyber warfare organizations, 20 of which are serious players. Lire la suite
In my last blog, part 1 of “The Information War,” I argued that online propaganda is an important element in the radicalization and recruitment of jihadists. Story after story in the media have continued to demonstrate this observation, beyond the examples already mentioned in my last post. For example, in mid-March, the Islamic State (ISIS, Da’ech) published a video showing the execution in Syria, by a child soldier of an accused spy. The victim was later identified as an Israeli Arab, whose brother claimed he was lured to the group via Facebook. Moreover, in late March, Rolling Stone Magazine featured an excellent article, “The Children of ISIS,” detailing the story of American teenage siblings who sought to join the group in Syria. Their radicalization and recruitment were substantially via social media. Their parents had noticed no changes in their behavior other than them spending more time alone on the computer. Lire la suite
In his remarks at the recent Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Obama noted the role of Al Qaeda and Da’esh (Islamic State) propaganda in “reaching and brainwashing young Muslims,” especially via the Internet, seeking “to target today’s young people online, in cyberspace.” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve echoed these sentiments following the Summit, pleading for more “regulation and responsibility” in the fight against jihadist propaganda and recruitment via the Internet. Shortly thereafter, he took off to discuss the subject with Silicon Valley executives. Lire la suite
Will State Fragility and Crisis Dampen the Success Story?
When it comes to assessing the greatest threats to peace and security in the post-Cold War world, it has long been pointed out that internal conflicts and crises outpace inter-state ones. What is more is that these conflicts tend to a brutal character. “At the beginning of the twentieth century, approximately 90 percent of war victims were soldiers; during the 1990s, by contrast, an estimated 90 percent of those killed in armed conflicts were civilians,” as explained by Roland Paris in At War’s End. Lire la suite
The Multifaceted Networks Driving Jihadism
A decade ago, an article in Foreign Affairs coined the term, “Protean Enemy” to describe the shape-shifting nature of the Al Qaeda (AQ) threat. A key reason for the terrorists’ malleability, according to its author Jessica Stern, was their innovation of “new style networks,” characterized by a “leaderless” kind of organization. Lire la suite