Given the increasingly familiarity of video conferencing during working from home arrangements, we thought to take the opportunity to commence a new series of interviews with key policy makers and observers in world affairs. To kick off, we were fortunate to interview Brett McGurk, currently a
Remarkably, for all the international attention on the plight of the Yazidi back in 2014 as Islamic State ravaged Iraq, it has taken until now, six years later, to bring the first charges of genocide.
A trial commenced last month in a German court of a man accused of murdering a Yazidi girl traded
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, regional security agencies have flagged the potential for a new wave of violent extremism to emerge within Somalia. World Health Organisation figures show that Somalia has had more than 1200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 50 deaths. However, the
Three months have passed since the United States and the Taliban signed an “Agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan”. For the Americans, it aims to put an end to the US military intervention in Afghanistan, which has lasted more than 18 years. The provisions of the agreement stipulate a
Insurgents have resumed attacks in Thailand’s south after Thai security forces killed three rebels during a ceasefire declared unilaterally by the main separatist group, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN). The raid bodes ill for a quick political solution. But insurgents will stay focussed on
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the heart of Europe. The severity of the virus has forced policymakers to shift their priorities almost exclusively to the home front. As a result, international security concerns, particularly the fight against the remnants of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which had until
It’s often said you can’t be what you can’t see. Whether or not that’s true (hello … what about the pioneers in their field?), shining a light on the role of women in male-dominated professions has become mainstay of International Women’s Day. National security, counterterrorism, and the
This project documents the characteristics of Australians’ contribution to global jihad in the Islamic State era. The dataset represents the largest open-source examination of Australian terrorist offenders to date. It collates data on Australian citizens and residents charged with terrorism
The London Bridge attack by a knife-wielding terrorist who was attending a rehabilitation program and who had been released with monitoring provisions has again raised serious questions about contrition among the growing cohort of Islamist terrorists held in prison.
My research paper into this
In order to better understand what motivates Australian radical islamists to join or support a terrorist group it is first necessary to get a better understanding of who they are. This working paper examines data sets from 173 Australian citizens and residents to paint a picture of our own
On 26 October, the infamous caliph of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who rose to prominence in 2014 when he announced the creation of the caliphate of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was killed in Northern Syria. Two days later, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, spokesperson and deputy of al-
News broke last night that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – self-styled caliph of the Islamic State, murderer, rapist, and the man responsible for the trauma, displacement, and destruction of entire communities in Iraq and Syria – had been killed in a raid in Idlib, in north-western Syria.
Sceptical of US interests in the Middle East, averse to military deployments and non-committal to the value of alliances, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he will pull US troops out of Syria. As he puts it: “We want to protect the Kurds but I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’
The stabbing attack last Thursday by an ISIS supporter on Wiranto, Indonesia’s top security minister, was a shock for several reasons. Attacks on senior officials in Indonesia are very rare, though terrorist attacks on police are common. Protection proved to be disturbingly lax – the stabber got
The difficulties of establishing a coherent policy towards women and children detained as members of the Islamic State or their dependents presents a longstanding challenge. One key question from an Australian point of view is whether all the women involved were still Australian citizens. News
Book review: Common enemies: crime, policy and politics in Australia–Indonesia relations, by Michael McKenzie (Oxford University Press, 2018)
Next month marks the 17th anniversary of the Bali Bombing, which on 12 October 2002 claimed the lives of 202 people and injured 209 others. The attack
Terrorist attacks inevitably generate frenetic global media coverage, with pundits examining motives, ascertaining network links, and theorising new developments or political repercussions. Numbers of deceased and injured are central to initial reports, but eventually victims are reduced largely to
This week at least two US officials have anonymously confirmed to US news outlets that Hamza bin Laden, the son of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was killed in a targeted operation. It is clear that counterterrorism and intelligence officials from around the world have been tracking him for
On 28 June, two suicide bombers carried out an attack in the Philippines, targeting the headquarters of 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) in Indanan, Sulu. Days later, one of the suicide attackers was identified as Norman Lasuca, a 23 year-old resident of Jolo, now considered the first Filipino to be
The Easter bombings in Sri Lanka killed 258 people, including two Australians among 46 foreign nationals, and injured 500 more. Its perpetrators according to Sri Lankan State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene were “well-educated and come from the middle or upper-middle class”, and were “
Should domestic labour be valued the same as work outside the home? What is the contribution of a stay at home wife and mother? How can we evaluate emotional labour when it often goes unseen?
No, these are not topic questions during a “Lean In” circle. These are questions that many courts are
This year’s Eid-al-Fitr festival has been a bleak affair for Sri Lanka’s Muslims in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings. The steep increase in retaliatory Islamophobic attacks has struck fear into the hearts of the Sri Lankan Muslim community. As if that was not enough, 11 Sri Lankan
Opposition to the death penalty has a long and quite public history in Australia. Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug smugglers received support from artists, singers, actors, media personalities and sports stars, while a crowd of about a thousand people
Four times Masood Azhar escaped the formal designation as an international arch-terrorist. Each time India had sought to add his name to a UN Security Council blacklist as the head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, China had cast a veto.
But in a sudden turn-around this month that
This week, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the world’s most wanted man, appeared in a 20-minute video released by al Furqan Media, the official media outlet for ISIS. This is only the second time he has been shown on video as he has stayed assiduously out of the public eye since he was selected as the ISIS
It is very early in the aftermath of the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks and like all such attacks, more information will emerge in the coming days and weeks. But a few early observations:
1. This was a well planned and coordinated attack: seven suicide bombers attacking six targets on the west
The fate of perhaps as many as 70 children born to Australian mothers and caught up in the Iraq-Syria conflict has been the focus of Australian media attention. There are calls for them to be repatriated on the grounds that they should not be tarred with the same brush as their parents.
The fall of the so-called ISIS caliphate and resultant outflow of fighters’ families into temporary refugee camps highlights the plight of Australian women and their children who are seeking to return to Australia.
In many cases the children have been born overseas to Australian mothers who
One country town, two people. One of them a hero who added to the legacy of the uncomplicated stoicism and selflessness that Australians popularly associate with “the bush”, and the other someone who betrayed it.
Last week two people from the small Riverland town of Loxton in South Australia (
A woman believed to be Melbourne-born Zehra Duman has recently resurfaced among the thousands of women and children at al Hawl refugee camp fleeing the last vestiges of the so-called ISIS caliphate.
At just 19 years old, Duman left Australia to join the Islamic State. She married fellow
“The nihilist … acts out the violence that so many others perpetrate verbally and virtually on the web: he is, in that sense, the avenging angel of post-truth and the rant made flesh.”- The Revolt of the Public
The cold-blooded murder of 50 persons while at prayer at mosque in
The death of UK teenager Shamima Begum’s newborn son and the recent video of an Australian woman in Syria calling to be returned home with her sick infant daughter has brought the issue of ISIS minors and the role of the home government in safeguarding these citizens to the forefront.
Following the deadliest terror attack in New Zealand’s history, a flood of articles have been devoted to “understanding” the accused shooter, Brenton Tarrant, decoding his manifesto, and finding reason in his actions. Yet such assessments overlook a deeper, more chilling reality: Tarrant’s
The terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch by an Australian white supremacist accused of killing 50 people as they gathered for prayer has rightfully horrified people the world over. While police and security agencies grapple with how the attack came to pass without their
The tendency to downplay the agency of female ISIS members was explored last week by my colleague Lydia Khalil (Repatriating female foreign fighters: political not personal). In media interviews, detained women or their families often make self-serving claims to have been brainwashed or
The Islamic State is on the verge of total defeat. As a result, many of the remaining foreign fighters who travelled to the caliphate are coming out of the woodwork. One of those is Shamima Begum, a former student from the United Kingdom who at the age of 15 travelled along with two other
The horrific bombing of the cathedral in Jolo last Sunday underscores the need for the Philippines government to understand more about the operations of pro-ISIS groups in Mindanao. The best way to get that information is to find, arrest, and debrief the perpetrators of violent extremist crimes.
In the aftermath of the Bourke Street attack in Melbourne last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced two updates to Australia’s citizenship laws: increasing power to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals, and a period of exclusion from re-entry of foreign fighters returning to
Last week the Australian government successfully passed contentious national security legislation granting security and law enforcement agencies greater access to the encrypted messages of suspected criminals.
The Telecommunications and Other Legislation (Assistance and Access) Bill is part of a
The violence in Melbourne’s Bourke Street last Friday is still being investigated as a terrorist incident and, as with all terrorist incidents, the media and public are rightly eager for information.
While the authorities have been as open as they can be, this early in the process there
If the outrage about China’s forced re-education camps serves to do anything, it will be to again demonstrate that we have very short memories. Worse than being simply misguided, our outrage risks being ineffective.In Myanmar, despite all the warning signs which myself and many colleagues
It has been nearly two decades since the Council of Australian Governments agreed to a national framework to combat terrorism. Now, in the long shadow of the September 11 attacks, some of Australia’s convicted terrorists are nearing the completion of their custodial sentences. From 2019 onwards,
Indonesia has again exploded in a paroxysm of terrorist violence, but with a new twist: family suicide bombers. This may be the first time in the world that parents took their children on a family outing to blow themselves up.
The three families included the six killed in the bombings of
After the Bali bombings of 2002, security forces within the Government of Indonesia, like their Western counterparts, worked towards incorporating “ideological” or “soft” approaches into counterterrorism portfolios. This approach later became commonly known as Countering Violent
The nexus between charitable aid and terrorism is a delicate and often difficult subject to discuss, let alone research. Some troubling relationships do exist, but the number of charities involved is small relative to the vast number of organisations doing good work.
Although the sums
Nearly seven years after the killing of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda is numerically larger and present in more countries than at any other time in its history. Indeed, the movement now boasts of some 40,000 men under arms, with approximately 10,000–20,000 fighters in Syria; 7000–9000 in
A group of ten Muslim students gathered in the shady courtyard of central Jakarta’s Roman Catholic Cathedral are reluctant to pass through its neo-Gothic doorways.
Some argue that entering the cathedral would contravene their devotion to Islam and equate to an abandonment of faith.
Relationships built over time between police officers and the communities they serve are essential for countering the so-called homegrown terrorism many nations now face.
Neighbourhood residents who believe local police officers have their best interests at heart are more likely to share
This article is part of a series for the Australia-UK Asia Dialogue, co-hosted by the Lowy Institute and Ditchley Foundation, and supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
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