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Todays GCTI Blog on CT and Security Around the Globe

Updated: Jan 25

In the realm of counter-terrorism, the focus areas and influential voices in 2024 are diverse and critical to understanding the global landscape of this field. Here’s a consolidated view based on current trends and analyses:

1. Sahel Region’s Challenges: The Sahel region in sub-Saharan Africa remains a central area of concern. Groups like Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), Islamic State Sahel Province (ISSP), and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) are key players, exploiting weak governance and porous borders. The involvement of external actors like the Wagner Group further complicates the situation, potentially increasing local support for jihadist groups .

2. Al-Qaeda’s Evolution: Despite some beliefs about its decline, al-Qaeda, particularly its affiliates in the Sahel and South Asia, continues to be a significant threat. Its resilience and ability to regenerate in failed states, alongside the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan, which has led to increased terrorism in Pakistan, is a major concern .

3. Islamic State’s Persistence: The Islamic State, though weakened in Iraq and Syria, continues to pose threats through low-level insurgencies and efforts to establish shadow governance. The situation in detention facilities like al-Hol and the potential for ISIS prison breaks add to the complexity. ISIS affiliates in other regions, like Southeast Asia, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, are also trying to regain momentum .

4. Shifting Dynamics in the Middle East: In the Middle East, the focus may shift from Sunni Salafi-jihadist groups to Shia groups backed by Iran, like Lebanese Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, and various Iraqi Shia militia groups. The situation in Gaza and its impact on the wider Arab world, particularly Saudi Arabia, could also reshape the regional terrorism landscape .

5. REMVE and Salad Bar Terrorism: Racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists (REMVE), including far-right and neo-Nazi groups, remain a decentralized but persistent threat. The emergence of ‘salad bar’ terrorism, where extremists pick and choose ideology components across the spectrum, is facilitated by online culture and poses a unique challenge .

6. NATO’s Counterterrorism Strategy: NATO emphasizes the national responsibility of allies in counterterrorism, focusing on awareness, capabilities, and engagement. This includes intelligence sharing, understanding the role of women in terrorism, developing counter-IED strategies, and countering unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). NATO also aims to strengthen partnerships and international cooperation in counterterrorism efforts .

7. Atlantic Council’s Insights: The Atlantic Council’s Future of Counterterrorism Project highlights the need for reimagining counterterrorism strategies. It stresses the importance of partnerships between governments and the private sector, and the consideration of threats from groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS, and nation-state proxies like Iran, as well as ideologies rooted in divisive chapters of history .

These areas and the insights from organizations like the Atlantic Council and NATO provide a comprehensive understanding of the current counter-terrorism landscape. It’s crucial for professionals in this field to stay informed about these developments and the influential voices leading the discourse.

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