Islamists Exploit Burmese Rohingya Conflict

by Chris Lundry Another case of Muslim minority persecution, this time in Burma, has gotten attention in the last several weeks. Islamist extremists are using the incident to incite jihad, stoke religious violence, and criticize the Indonesian government. For the past several weeks, the Muslim minority Rohingya of Burma (Myanmar) has been in the news over reports of renewed oppression and in the context of a reforming Burma. The Rohingya story is long and complex, […] Read more »

The Latest Grossly Exaggerated Taliban Casualty Figures

By Chris Lundry Once again, the Taliban has released comically inflated casualty reports from the conflict in Afghanistan. The latest post (which I accessed through Indonesian extremist site ar Rahmah) claims that 1114 ISAF “crusaders” were killed and 584 wounded in the period June 23 – July 21. The report also claims that 2970 Afghan “puppet” soldiers were killed and 1546 wounded, 915 military vehicles were destroyed, 4 helicopters downed, 2 drones downed, and one […] Read more »

Taliban Casualty Inflation Getting Comical

by Chris Lundry In a blog post last month, I noted how the Taliban have been inflating their counts of American casualties to a ridiculous degree. This month it approaches comedy. As reported by Indonesian extremist site ar Rahmah, in the period May 24 to June 23, the Taliban killed 1384 “Crusader” troops and wounded 662. As reported by icasualties, there were 45 and 39 coalition deaths in the months of May and June. If […] Read more »

A Different Take on the ICG Indonesia Report

by Mark Woodward This ICG report recently reviewed by Chris Lundry is another example of that organization doing what it does best, providing detailed information about the activities of extremist groups linked to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in some way. But in my view the degree to which JI poses a threat to Indonesia has always been overestimated and there are more important developments in the country related to extremism and terrorism. The Indonesian security forces […] Read more »

Qur’an Verses Study: A Response to Our Critics

By Jeffry Halverson, Bennett Furlow & Steven R. Corman Our study, entitled How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur’an, released last week, seems to have touched a nerve in some and has generated some negative commentary. To date, we have received no criticism from other scholars or experts on these matters. Much of it seems to come from people who may have read a headline about the study in the press and reacted to it without […] Read more »

Critics Fret About Smith-Mundt Modernization Act

by Steven R. Corman The House of Representatives has been working to amend the laws that govern the dissemination of “propaganda” materials in the U.S.  What seemed like a good idea to me and others–one long overdue–is being spun by some observers as a dark effort by the DoD and State Department who want authorization to brainwash Americans. Last night Buzzfeed posted an article claiming that the changes were being quietly inserted into a defense […] Read more »

Review: “De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda”

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) has released a short monograph, De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda: A Jihad-Realist Approach, by sociologist Paul Kamolnick, a professor at Eastern Tennessee State University. Kamolnick criticizes current US efforts to counter al-Qaeda’s messaging and recruitment strategies as ineffective, and proposes an alternative two-fold solution to marginalize and defeat al-Qaeda. However, Kamolnick’s proposed strategy is problematic for several reasons. In the first component of his proposed strategy, Kamolnick suggests that […] 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 »

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 »

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 »