Noordin Top and Latent Conflict Between Indonesia and Malaysia

The 17 September death of Noordin Top at the hands of Indonesia’s anti terror squad Densus 88 brought a sense of relief to many in Southeast Asia. Noordin was Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist. Following the July 17 hotel bombings in Jakarta, a message attributed to him signaled a split from Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and a move toward more radical and deadly tactics. A not-so-subtle subtext of Noordin’s death is the strained relationship of Indonesia […] Read more »

Out of Their Heads and Into Their Conversation: Countering Extremist Ideology

by Angela Trethewey, Steven R. Corman & Bud Goodall Ideology is often ignored or deemed irrelevant to strategic communication because it is an old, possibly leftist, idea that is associated with academic social critique. It is treated as something that lives in the heads of individuals, driving them to radical action. From this point of view the concept is not really practical because by the time someone has adopted an ideology, it is too late. […] Read more »

Rap is Da Bomb for Defeating Abu Yahya

by Jeffry Halverson In the September 10 cover story on ForeignPolicy.com Jarret Brachman warns the Obama administration to pay careful attention to al-Qaeda’s new Libyan-born media darling, Abu Yahya al-Libi. He writes: Whether he’s shown traipsing through valleys, target shooting with his buddies, reciting poetry on a mountaintop, or breaking bread with his students, Abu Yahya seems to have made al-Qaeda ‘cool’ for a younger generation. . . A lifelong student with an easy smile […] Read more »

New White Paper on Extremist Ideology

The Consortium for Strategic Communication has just released a new white paper entitled Out of Their Heads and Into Their Conversation: Countering Extremist Ideology by Angela Trethewey, Steven R. Corman and Bud Goodall. The complete paper can be downloaded at http://comops.org/article/123.pdf Executive Summary Ideology is often ignored or deemed irrelevant to strategic communication because it is an old, possibly leftist, idea that is associated with academic social critique. It is treated as something that lives […] Read more »

Recent Developments in Indonesia’s Anti-Terrorism Efforts

by Chris Lundry In the aftermath of the 17 July bombings at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, some interesting developments have emerged in Indonesia’s anti-terrorism efforts. The incident has shattered the illusion that Indonesia was safe from the threat of terrorism following four years without a major terrorist incident.  It also led to some puzzling rhetoric from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in which he likened terrorists to vampires, speculated that some of his political rivals […] Read more »

Understand What Narrative Is and Does

by Scott W. Ruston Admiral Michael Mullen’s recent essay in Joint Forces Quarterly criticizing “strategic communication” lambastes the US government for its failures of strategic communication and the growth of a bloated bureaucracy fueling an agency-funded, contractor-filled cottage industry.  We have previously flagged Admiral Mullen as someone who “gets it,”  and it is welcome news that a US government official with his level of respect and stature continues to bring attention to the myopia that […] Read more »

Turning Up the Heat on Wahhabi Colonialism

by Mark Woodward* Over the last year it has become increasingly apparent to progressive Indonesian Muslim intellectuals and political leaders that there is a clear association between the spread of Wahhabi religious teachings and political extremism. In the weeks following the Ritz-Carlton and J. W. Marriott bombings in Jakarta, discourse about the dangers of Wahhabism has intensified because it is now clear that Wahhabi-oriented Indonesian extremists carried out the attacks. It is also clear that […] Read more »