Designated by the United States as a terrorist group in 1997, Hezbollah is a Shia extremist organization and political party based in Lebanon that wears many faces. Today, with its outspoken ambitions of destroying Israel, staunch military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the Syrian civil war, and status ...

Tehran likes to style the alliance between itself, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime in Syria as the core of an “Axis of Resistance.” The name tries to evoke the strength of will to confront, if not overthrow, foreign occupiers and oppressors—that is Israel and the United States—by Iran and its ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Matt Levitt, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Treasury Department, to discuss Hezbollah’s roles in Lebanon, Syria and as a proxy for Iran. According to Levitt, despite losses in Syria, Hezbollah remains a threat to Israeli security and U.S. interests ...

Moving ahead with what President Barack Obama calls the “most significant reinforcement of our collective defense [at] any time since the Cold War,’’ NATO allies approved over the weekend upgrading and expanding their air, land, sea, and cyber capabilities to face unprecedented challenges coming from all directions — including from ...

Whoever the American people elect to be our next president in November, she or he will inherit numerous problems, including terrorism, the hollowing out of nation states by narcotics traffickers, and instability in the Middle East.  All of these problems have at least one thing in common.  They arise and/or ...

The deadly spate of terrorist attacks that have been connected to ISIS over the last week and throughout the holy month of Ramadan demonstrate the group’s deadly global reach even as it loses territory in Iraq and Syria. As Ramadan draws to a close, attacks seemingly directed or inspired by ...

In the years since 9/11, the FBI has refocused its efforts beyond law enforcement to include, and even prioritize, intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations.  As the United States’ official domestic security agency, the FBI’s responsibilities have become quite expansive. “Today’s FBI is a threat-focused, intelligence-driven organization,” stated FBI Director James ...

After the San Bernardino terrorist attack there were the usual cries “to do something” to better protect the nation. We will surely again hear similar concerns in the face of the brutal massacre in Orlando.  To this point, however, not much, if anything, has happened.  However, another domestic terrorist attack—especially ...

When the Cipher Brief asked me to write an article assessing how well the FBI has done since 9/11 in protecting our country from terrorism threats and whether there was a need for a separate domestic intelligence agency, I agreed without hesitation.  On 9/11, I had been in the FBI ...

After Orlando (and now Istanbul on top of San Bernardino and Paris and Brussels), will we ever feel safe again?  Why can't our governments protect us from these senseless atrocities?  These are the kinds of questions many Americans are asking.  Despite the campaign based claims of some, the answers aren't ...

Turkey’s tourism industry had been in trouble before Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attack — and with the targeting of Istanbul’s international airport, analysts say the impact on the industry will resonate far beyond this week. Tourism experts and Cipher Brief network contributors Dr. Yeganeh Morakabati and Dr. John Fletcher of Bournemouth ...

The coordinated terrorist attack at the international airport in Istanbul on Tuesday is the latest in a rash of deadly attacks that have struck Turkey in the past 18 months. The Cipher Brief spoke with Aykan Erdemir, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member ...

Tuesday evening’s terrorist attack at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul may have severe implications for Turkey moving forward. Although there have yet to be claims of responsibility and questions still remain unanswered, many, including Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, have pointed their fingers towards ISIS as the culprit for Tuesday’s ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Soner Cagaptay, Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, to discuss the dramatic implications of Tuesday’s terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. The Cipher Brief: How could Tuesday’s attack on Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul impact Turkey’s security ...

Terrorists killed at least 41 people and wounded hundreds more in a deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport Tuesday evening. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the coordinated terrorist attack at the third-largest airport in Europe. Three attackers arrived at the airport by taxi and began shooting, officials ...

Terrorists killed at least 41 people and wounded hundreds more in a deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport Tuesday evening. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the coordinated terrorist attack at the third-largest airport in Europe. Three attackers arrived at the airport by taxi and began shooting, officials ...

Bosnia and Kosovo are two of the biggest exporters of jihadists joining the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria) from the Balkans. As The Cipher Brief reported last month, legacies of the Communist era and the wars of the 1990s – presence of foreign fighters, economic and ...

Those who use radical and extremist methods to achieve their political goals employ the most horrifying and inhumane ways to kill, terrorize, and punish people, and do so with a high level of resilience and transformative abilities. The skills and intimidation they utilize allow them to successfully recruit among communities ...

Every second year is an election year in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For this “heart shaped land” in the center of the forever-stigmatized Western Balkans, local and general elections have become the ideal stage for nationalist leaders to not only remind citizens of the dangers that permeate their country, but also ...

Often hailed as an island of stability amidst a region of chaos, Jordan’s security remains an issue of paramount importance for the United States. Jordan’s close cooperation with Washington has proven vital to U.S. endeavors in the Middle East, with Amman playing a critical role in the U.S.-led coalition to ...

On June 6, five Jordanians were killed during an assault on a General Intelligence complex twelve miles north of Amman. The incident was Jordan’s largest terrorist attack in more than a decade. With its unabashedly pro-west, pro-peace orientation, King Abdullah’s Jordan has long been a target of Islamist militants, but ...

Despite a recent wave of terrorist attacks in northern Jordan, the country’s government remains strong. In fact, according to Sultan Barakat, Director of Research at Brookings Doha Center, “it is quite remarkable, despite the recent attacks, that things are reasonably good.” However, Barakat cautions that stability “can’t just be maintained ...

There are heightened security concerns in France, as the Euro 2016 football tournament begins today at multiple sites throughout the country.  France is particularly on edge in light of the devastating coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last November that left 130 dead and hundreds injured.  In an interview with The ...

Islamic militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in November 2014, after a deadly attack on Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula. The group, based in Sinai and now known as ISIS-Sinai Province, has escalated attacks over the past ...

The U.S. government has continued providing military support to Egypt despite the 2013 military coup that overthrew then-president Mohamed Morsi. Moreover, the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense have failed to conduct proper vetting of human rights violations by Egyptian forces that receive U.S. aid, according to a recently ...

The U.S. and Egypt remain allies  although relations have been strained since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, which resulted in the ousting of then-President Hosni Mubarak. Since then there was  a brief period of military rule, the election and subsequent ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, a transitional government led by ...

Three interlinked conflict dynamics are discernible from last week’s developments on the ground: 1) increased lawlessness and militia rivalry in Tripoli and the western region; 2) increasing momentum of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Misratan-led assault on ISIS; and 3) rising tension between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and ...

World leaders met in Qatar over the weekend for the 16th annual Doha Forum on security. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attended, as well as UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft. Heads of State from Afghanistan, and other Middle Eastern countries. Africa also participated, along with NATO representatives, European security ...

On Thursday, May 19, EgyptAir flight 804 crashed over the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 66 people aboard.  Although terrorism is on the list of possible culprits, the cause of the crash is still under investigation. But the flight joins a list of similar tragedies that have struck since 2014. These ...

Today, commercial aviation is growing at a rapid rate.  Unfortunately, commercial aviation is also the primary target of several terrorist groups and other malicious actors around the world.  Since the late 20th century, commercial aviation has been attacked from a variety of threat vectors—the methods used to hit a target ...

Commercial aviation is an industry in which safety and security are paramount. However, as with other critical infrastructure, consumer demand has brought the systems that run the aviation industry into greater contact with the Internet – and created more opportunities for cyber attack. The Cipher Brief asked Chad Gray of ...

At 11:00 AM, five years ago Monday, sailors on the USS Carl Vinson watched the shrouded body of Osama bin Laden slide into the North Arabian Sea. Thus concluded a ten-year manhunt which, from the fall of the Twin Towers to the secret drama of a midnight raid in the ...

Five years ago, U.S. special operations forces killed Osama bin Laden in a raid on his hiding place in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Although al Qaeda had been dispersed from its bases in Afghanistan and its support networks had been largely dismantled, nearly 10 years after the 9/11 attacks al Qaeda was ...

The Pentagon announced Friday that U.S. forces have killed Abu Sayed, the leader of ISIS-Khorasan – ISIS’ affiliate in Afghanistan – in a drone strike conducted in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar Province. In a statement released after the announcement of Sayed’s death, General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in ...

An emerging nexus between terror and crime in Europe needs to be addressed with an even stronger nexus between law enforcement, the intelligence community, and the financial industry. The crime-terror nexus is not a new phenomenon. Forgery, weapons procurement, and cross-border smuggling are but a few examples of criminal activities ...

In 2012, the European Parliament commissioned and published a study entitled: “Europe’s Crime-Terror Nexus: Links between terrorist and organised crime groups in the European Union.” The report comprehensively argued that variations of the crime-terror nexus are evident in Europe, with trends strongly suggesting the presence of a “marriage of convenience” ...

Terrorism and crime have always been closely linked and the dividing line between them blurred.     For terrorist groups, criminality can be an end in itself. If the aim is the overthrow of the capitalist system, robbing banks and extorting money from the business community serves the purpose of inflicting damage ...

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on Thursday comes at a pivotal time as conflicts roil the region, and the United States faces an increasingly fractious relationship with its Gulf allies. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama will meet with leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and ...

As the Taliban causes havoc on the battlefield and with terrorist attacks, The Cipher Brief asked Daniel Markey, a former State Department official and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations to weigh in on the outlook for Afghanistan.   Markey says the Taliban’s car bombing in Kabul on Tuesday ...

When Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook killed 14 people at a holiday office party in San Bernardino, California, the detail that stood out the most is that the perpetrators were a man and a woman, and that Tashfeen was not just a woman but a mother.  Indeed, that the couple ...

The year was 1980, and the 21-year-old son of Norwegian Defense Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg accompanied his dad on a trip to the United States. The talk of the town, according to the son, centered on concern over the U.S. distancing itself from Europe. Decades later, the same fear permeates political ...

With fifty percent of U.S. imports travelling by sea, ensuring that ships have a secure place to dock poses a challenge to American law enforcement. With such a heavy economic importance placed on U.S. ports, they have become a target for those wishing to inflict harm on the United States. ...

In 2006, Congress passed the Safe Port Act to help ensure that maritime transportation infrastructure was effectively secured from the threat of terrorism. Today, 10 years since the enactment of the law, are U.S. ports safe? This is a complex issue with an equally complex answer. The established security measures ...

In the nineteenth century, American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan helped define a new understanding of maritime security and the role of the U.S. Navy in ensuring American global influence. Mahan believed that a strong Navy and robust maritime trade were both integral to national and economic security. He also recognized ...

Terrorism has emerged as a global threat to security. We might not be able to fully grasp the complexity of the matter until we look at it on a global scale. Belgium is the latest country in Europe to be hit by cowardly acts of terror. The private security industry ...

One year after the April 2015 attack that left 148 people dead at a university in Garissa, Kenya, a combination of forces is strengthening the militant Islamist organization that carried out the attack, al-Shabaab. The al-Qaeda-affiliated group came to prominence in neighboring Somalia in 2006 after the collapse of the ...

April 2 marked one year since the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked the Garissa University in Kenya and killed 148 people, galvanizing Kenya to intensify its counterterrorism efforts. Yet al-Shabaab’s operational capacities and intimidation power have grown in the past year. Many of Kenya’s counterterrorism policies have been counterproductive, and ...

Washington DC is currently hosting the fourth and perhaps final Nuclear Security Summit, President Obama's signature initiative to secure the supply of nuclear material. Terrorism has always been a sub-theme of the NSS given its objective of keeping fissile materials away from terrorist groups. But in the wake of the ...

Michael Morell, the former Deputy Director and twice Acting Director of CIA, spoke with The Cipher Brief about battling ISIS and how the terrorist attacks in Brussels last week could impact U.S. and European strategies moving forward.  The Cipher Brief:  A week has passed since the attacks in Brussels.  Can ...

If you attend a Congressional hearing on the state of U.S.-Pakistan relations, you’ll probably hear one of the lawmakers refer to Pakistan as a “frenemy,” sometimes friend, sometimes enemy.   It is one of the more contentious relationships the United States has with a nation that is ultimately so critical to ...