Bottom Line Up Front The United Kingdom recently announced that it had taken back several children who were living in territory formerly held by the Islamic State. Britain has consistently argued against bringing home its citizens who traveled to join the Islamic State and has stripped citizens of citizenship. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Turkey recently sent a dozen Islamic State prisoners back to their respective home countries, while Erdogan has promised to send more home over the next weeks and months. Most countries, particularly in the European Union (EU), have refused to repatriate captured foreign fighters, stripping them ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Following the recent death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the so-called Islamic State announced its new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi. The selection of al-Qurayshi is intended to ensure continuity, signaling that the new leader will carry on the legacy of the caliphate. One of the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Dozens of protesters were killed in Iraq late last week, as anti-government demonstrations continued throughout the country. Iraqis have demonstrated civic solidarity in the protests, with older people joining younger protesters and a broader cross-section of society putting aside sectarianism and identity politics to join ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Al-Qaeda maintains a stronger position in the Sahel than Islamic State-affiliated groups. Although Western targets have been struck in recent years, the vast majority of jihadist attacks and resources have been focused on local-level operations in the Sahel. Besides jihadist groups, there are various vigilante, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While much of the discussion around disinformation focuses on the role of nation-states, violent non-state actors have also developed fairly sophisticated disinformation capabilities. Disinformation can take many forms, including the use of manipulated images and videos, digital engineering attacks, ‘truthing,’ and ‘social proofing.’ In 2017, ...

  Bottom Line Up Front It is probable that Islamic State core transferred its technological know-how to its West African province (ISWAP) through direct exchanges between fighters in Libya or Nigeria, or through encrypted online communications. Although ISWAP has used drones for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance, the group has so ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On September 20, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled a revised counterterrorism strategy which focuses as much on domestic hate groups as it does foreign jihadist terrorist groups. In the United States, more attacks have been committed by those motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Drones have become a trusted tool in the arsenal of non-state actors seeking to engage in asymmetric attacks against a more powerful adversary. Besides Hezbollah, a range of terrorist groups deploy drones in their operations, including the so-called Islamic State, Palestinian Hamas, Boko Haram in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front One of the most significant challenges facing countries seeking to prosecute foreign fighters is the difficulty of obtaining evidence of crimes committed on the battlefield. By creating a common database for all 28 members to work with, the EU has taken a meaningful step to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Several high-level reports published over the past few weeks reiterate what most terrorism and security analysts have been saying for months—the so-called Islamic State (IS) is alive and well in Iraq and Syria. Over the past several months, IS has waged a campaign of assassinations, ...

  Many European nations are avoiding the responsibility of taking back their citizens who traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State; this will only fuel the cycle of radicalization and extremism. Ensuring fighters are afforded a fair trial at home and suspected terrorists who have not committed ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On June 27, the Tunisian capital of Tunis was rocked by twin suicide blasts that killed one police officer and injured many others. One of the explosions hit a bus carrying Tunisia’s presidential guards, while the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack via Amaq ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. government has confirmed that it repatriated eight U.S. citizens—two women and six children—who were with the Islamic State in Syria. The eight had been held by Syrian Kurdish forces, part of the tens of thousands of former Islamic State militants and family members ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Just last week, seven members of the so-called Islamic State, all of them from France, were sentenced to death by an Iraqi court. Many Western countries have refused to take back citizens who traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State. An estimated ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: On May 19, 2019, a prison riot in Vakhdat, Tajikistan, left 29 people dead, including supporters of the so-called Islamic State. Allegedly orchestrated by militants, government information about the riot is limited and leaves many questions unanswered. Tajikistan has seen an uptick in jihadist-inspired violence ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Toward the end of May, John Walker Lindh was released from U.S. federal prison after serving 17 years of a sentence stemming from ten charges related to terrorism. At least 90 more terror-related offenders will be released in the United States over the next five ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Most states, particularly those in the West, have refused to repatriate their citizens who joined the Islamic State and who now reside in crowded camps. Thousands of Islamic State family members are being held in the al Hol Camp in Syria, living in fetid conditions ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On April 10, President Trump signed an extension of the emergency order authorizing the continuation of U.S. military operations in Somalia. Just last week, the U.S. military conducted an airstrike in Somalia, reportedly killing three Islamic State fighters, demonstrating the tactical nature of the counterterrorism ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The global jihadist movement is alive and well, even after the so-called Islamic State’s territorial caliphate has collapsed. The Iranian Threat Network has grown in strength and now extends further than at any point in recent memory. The threat posed by right-wing extremism is undeniable—several ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. Treasury Department recently imposed sanctions on the Rawi terrorist financing network, which helped move funds for the so-called Islamic State. The network was truly global in nature; headquartered in Iraq, it had connections that spanned the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Even without ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The conditions inside camps of displaced persons across Syria and Iraq, including family members of Islamic State fighters, presents an immediate humanitarian threat and a long-term strategic security opportunity. The camps are a mix of people who fled the Islamic State as well as hard-core ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In March, 130 civilians were killed in an attack in the Mopti region of central Mali, where a growing security crisis threatens to further destabilize the country. Despite sustained international efforts, several jihadist groups are active in Mali and have exacerbated pre-existing tensions within the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front A new U.K. law criminalizes accessing terrorist propaganda online, punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Responding to the ubiquity of this propaganda, the new law updates existing legislation that criminalized collecting or archiving terrorist materials. Proponents claim that these laws will ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Even though President Trump decided to keep a residual force of U.S. troops in Syria, it will not be enough to counter Russia and Iran. The U.S. will keep as few as several hundred troops in Syria, mostly around al-Tanf, focused on intelligence, surveillance, and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Within days, coalition forces expect to retake the Syrian village of Baghouz, the final sliver of territory held by the so-called Islamic State. As difficult as the military phase of the conflict has been, the next stage presents a host of challenges, including what to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran has built leverage over Iraq’s key power centers and its economy through its arming of Iraqi Shia militias and supplies of natural gas. The growing prospects for a U.S. military drawdown in Iraq are causing Iraqi leaders to draw closer to Iran than they ...

  With the so-called Islamic State losing its remaining territory, the focus has pivoted to geopolitical competition between the major powers involved in Syria. Assad has accused Erdogan of having imperial designs on Syrian territory, while Damascus leans on Moscow and Tehran for support. The shifting web of alliances in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Between 2009 and 2018, 73.3% of all domestic extremist-related killings have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists. On February 15, authorities arrested an active duty Coast Guard lieutenant who had plotted to kill Democratic politicians and members of the media. By every metric, right-wing extremism is ...

  Bottom Line Up Front As the last territory held by the so-called Islamic State is reclaimed, the issue of what to do with returning foreign fighters and their families is vexing the international community. The U.K. is considering stripping one of its citizens, Shamima Begum of her citizenship, and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On February 10, U.S.-backed forces surrounded the Syrian town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani, the ‘last’ remaining stronghold of the so-called Islamic State. President Donald Trump expects to make a formal announcement declaring the ‘official defeat’ of the Islamic State, which could come as early as this ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Given its history, geography and demographics, Southeast Asia has proven to be hospitable terrain for myriad terrorist and insurgent groups. A recent attack against a church in Jolo in the southern Philippines highlights the enduring nature of the threat posed by jihadist militancy. Indonesia, the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On January 19, a car bomb exploded in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, believed to be the work of the New IRA. On January 17, the National Liberation Army (ELN) killed 20 police cadets after exploding a car bomb at a training center in Bogotá, Colombia. Colombia ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will give terrorist groups like al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) more room to maneuver. AQIS is a major node in a network with deep roots in South Asia, and it works closely with other terrorist groups, including the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On January 10, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech in Cairo, Egypt that portrayed the U.S. as a force for good in the region. The speech was a direct repudiation of former President Obama and his administration’s policies in the region, especially ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.K. Parliament has issued a report detailing shortcomings with how its security services handled five terrorism cases in 2017. The challenges came not in the responses to these attacks, but rather the inability to ‘connect dots’ or deter people already identified as potential threats. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Boko Haram has evolved from a group focused on economic and social development in Nigeria into a transnational terrorist organization, which has targeted the UN, kidnapped nearly 300 female students, and launched suicide attacks to terrorize security forces and intimidate the local population. At its ...

Bottom Line Up Front: With the caliphate in ruins, the Islamic State is likely to focus more attention on the ‘virtual world’ and shaping its narrative. One of the reasons the Islamic State has been so successful in its use of propaganda is that the group deliberately dedicates substantial resources ...

The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Michael W.S. Ryan, Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, to discuss ISIS’ recent battlefield losses, the group’s current level of influence, and what to expect from ISIS in coming months. The Cipher Brief: Today, ISIS controls significantly less territory than it did ...

Nearly three years ago, the Islamic State (ISIS) catapulted to the top of the news worldwide after the group seized vast swaths of Syria and Iraq, used Mosul’s revered Great Mosque of al-Nuri to announce the creation of an Islamic caliphate, executed tens of thousands of civilians, and committed genocide ...

There are two schools of thought about the nature of the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Some experts say the group is nearly vanquished as it struggles to hold on to Mosul, Iraq, and prepares for the inevitable fight for its capital in Raqqa, ...

Sunday’s horrific terrorist attacks on Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria during Palm Sunday services, in which dozens have been killed and many more injured, should convince the Egyptian military to update its strategy against jihadis based in the Sinai Peninsula. While these aren’t the first bombings for which the Islamic State’s ...

MOSUL, IRAQ — Ahmed Salam received a printed citation signed by an Islamic State fighter for shaving his beard and wearing tight-fitting, Western-style clothes. Considering how others were treated for similar infractions under the extremist group’s rule in Mosul, Iraq, Salam got off extremely light. “If Daesh (what Iraqis call ...

Forces on all sides of the sectarian divide are aligning against the Islamic State in Iraq ahead of the much anticipated and well-telegraphed effort to retake the northern city of Mosul. Last week Iraqi forces, with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, retook the northern district of Shirqat, bringing an Iraqi ...