And a final catch-up piece, this time a chapter in a report colleagues (Liz and Jonathan) at RUSI pulled together looking at the UK government’s response to the threat from ISIS. The whole thing is available here for free, but I have pasted the first few paragraphs here to give you a flavour. V. ISIS, […] Read more »
Last Monday marked a year since the declaration of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria by the extremist group Daesh (Islamic State, ISIL, ISIS). Despite maintaining and even expanding their territorial claims over the past year, some argue that their greatest accomplishment is their social media campaign. Assisting in attracting fighters and spreading their extremist […]Read more »
President Barack Obama delivers a statement and answers a few questions from the press following his meeting with Defense Department and military leadership regarding the campaign against ISIL, at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., July 6, 2015.... Read more »
This past weekend, intense fighting between Daesh and Syrian-Kurds in areas of Northern Syria forced more than 23,000 Syrians to cross into Turkey, adding to the 1.7 million registered Syrian refugees already living in the country. Since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in March 2011, nearly 4 million Syrians have fled the country […]Read more »
Boko Haram has recently declared its allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and renamed itself the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP).Read more »
A new brief reaction piece for my home institute RUSI looking at some of the current trends in ISIS and jihadism. My preference is to use ISIS, but it appears as though the institutional choice is Daesh. Undoubtedly more on this topic to come. In the meantime, I have been doing book promotion events around […] Read more »
While the recent nuclear framework agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is a major step towards ensuring that Tehran does not obtain nuclear weapons, some justifiably point out that a final deal might turn Iran into a “second Saudi Arabia,” albeit one that will wreak much havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond. As Benjamin […]Read more »
"I witnessed horrible crimes committed by ISIS.
It's not a revolution or jihad ... it's slaughter ... I was shocked by what I did.
This isn't what we came for, to kill other Muslims.
I'm 28 -- is this the only future I'm able to imagine?"
So said one of the many former terrorists in the world who have come to reject such violence.
What is violent extremism?
When we think of the issue, many immediately imagine the terrorists who kill innocent people -- in America, in Europe, in the Middle East, and across the world.
But violent extremism runs deeper than the barbaric acts it breeds. It’s the ideologies, the propaganda, the recruitment, the funding -- the entire infrastructure that extremists use to radicalize and recruit people to commit violence.
"We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."
A violent extremist could be anyone -- a person of any color or creed. What we do know is that their extremism is rooted in common challenges: the unchecked spread of extremist ideologies, their economic grievances, and their political grievances.
This week, the White House is hosting a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism -- a gathering of governments, civil society groups, and community leaders from more than 60 nations in Washington, D.C. to find ways we can empower local communities to overcome these challenges.
President Obama addressed the Summit yesterday and today on these issues. Watch his remarks from February 18: