Should Captured AQ Documents Have Been Released?

By Steven R. Corman & Jarret Brachman The release last week of documents captured from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad has generated a flurry of interest in the press and blogosphere.  Yet a question has arisen as to whether the release was wise, since the documents are intelligence assets that could give the enemy valuable information regarding what we know about them.  We argue that the release makes sense from a strategic communication perspective, […] Read more »

“We are All Afghans” in Iran

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Arab Spring showed the world how social media can help organize mass political dissent. In the cases of Tunisia and Egypt, single issues coalesced online into far broader and diverse campaigns that toppled ruling regimes. Recently, outside of the Arab world, discriminatory government policies  in Iran against Afghans have come to light. Decried by critics as overt state-backed racism, it is a scandalous hot-button issue that the rulers of the […] Read more »

Germans Find AQ Treasure-Trove Encrypted in Porno Videos

by Steven R. Corman CNN is re-reporting a story from Die Zeit about a treasure-trove of al-Qaeda documents and manuals found encrypted in pornographic videos.  The encryption was done using a technique call steganography. The videos were found in the possession of Maqsood Lodin, a 22 year old Austrian and suspected al-Qaeda member.  He was detained by authorities in Berlin as be returned from a trip to Pakistan.  The documents discussed plans to attack cruise […] Read more »

Suharto Era Comops Backfire in 2012 Indonesia

by Chris Lundry Indonesian extremists continue to portray Ambonese Christians as engaged in separatist rebellion against Indonesia, and a crusade against Muslims. This isn’t true, but raises the question: where on earth did they get this idea? The adage that if a lie gets repeated enough times it becomes true is, apparently, applicable in Indonesia’s Ambon region. It was home to a brief separatist insurgency following the Indonesian revolution (1945-49).  Following their defeat in 1950, […] Read more »

Cooking the Books

by Steven R. Corman The CSC has an article in the current issue of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism on casualty inflation by the Taliban in the Afghanistan conflict.  The abstract follows, and the full text is available here (subscription). Cooking the Books: Strategic Inflation of Casualty Reports by Extremists in the Afghanistan Conflict Chris Lundry, Steven R. Corman, R. Bennett Furlow, & Kirk W. Errickson Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and elsewhere are exaggerating their […] Read more »

NATO’s Narrative Vacuum

by Steven R. Corman Last month, James Appathurai, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy,  agreed to participate in an electronic Q&A sponsored by the Atlantic Community.  He answered 20 questions in four installments, on global partnerships and the Arab spring, partnerships in Asia, questions on Central Asia/Caucasus, and the NATO mission.  The latter includes an item on the NATO narrative that illustrates the large challenge the alliance faces in filling […] Read more »

CSC Launch Event. Dr. Jarrett Brachman presents “Al Qaeda in a post-Bin Laden World”

23 February 2012 Celebrating the designation of the CSC as an ABOR-recoginized Research Center, the CSC hosted a kickoff event with leading terrorism researcher Dr. Jarrett Brachman delivering a keynote address.  Hosted by the CSC in the ASU Foundation Conference Room, this event brought together ASU administrators, faculty, students and interested members of the public to hear about current trends in counter-terrorism research and contemporary security threats.  Dr. Corman also shared with the group a […] Read more »

Indonesia Events Show Increasing Extremist Influence

by Chris Lundry The past couple of weeks have been interesting in Indonesia, especially for those concerned with religion and conflict in the world’s most populous Muslim country. Ahmadiyya sentences. On February 6 in Banten, West Java, some 1000 villagers attacked a house with several members of Ahmadiyya inside. Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, but many Muslims consider Ahmadis heretics because of their belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet who came after Mohammad. The […] Read more »

The Tariq ibn Ziyad Master Narrative

by Jeffry R. Halverson Master narratives provide important insights into the cultures and societies that analysts and diplomats encounter on a daily basis. Understanding how those narratives are utilized by factions hostile to the interests of the United States can be the difference between successful diplomacy and international catastrophe. Given the current geo-political climate, master narratives employed by Islamist extremists are among the most important. Many of those narratives are recorded and analyzed in the […] Read more »

A New Cultural Path for Indonesia’s Islamist PKS?

by Mark Woodward, Ali Amin, Inaya Rohmaniyah, Chris Lundry With the commencement of Indonesia‟s transition to democracy, following 32 years of rule by the military dictator Suharto, political space has opened for dozens of political parties to form and regularly contest elections. The Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (the Prosperity and Justice Party, PKS) is an Islamist party that emerged following the first post-1999 democratic elections, with roots that extend to the pre-Suharto era. Although Indonesia has […] Read more »