This week, Daesh released a video in which the Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh was burned to death. The images have triggered retaliation by Jordan, including execution of some prisoners and strikes on Daesh targets.
A few weeks ago, Wikistrat conducted a two-day crowdsourced simulation in which its more than 45 analysts (including me) were asked to identify the ways in which the Islamic State could seek to penetrate Jordan.
Conquests by ISIS have put the country of Jordan at risk. The group has proclaimed a caliphate that aspires to consolidate political and religious control over the entire region. An attempt by Sunni Islamist militants to infiltrate Jordan would pose a significant challenge to the embattled kingdom. But there are opportunities for the country as well.
Jordan already finds itself under great pressure, hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees — some affiliated with the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other Salafist groups. Originating from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, the country’s diverse population makes it vulnerable to the influence of radical forces. A serious infiltration by ISIS into Jordan would not only pose a threat to the stability of the Hashemite Kingdom but could also drag Israel and the United States into the conflict.
The result of our simulation is this summary report, which highlights four paths the Islamist organization could take to infiltrate Jordan. While none of the scenarios seem promising for the Islamic State, Jordan is under significant pressure from unprecedented numbers of refugees, chaotic civil wars on two borders, turbulent politics and an overall weak economy. Any major misstep could provide the Islamic State with an opening that is not readily apparent. At the same time, recent events may present Jordan with opportunities to improve its security as well.
If you wish to continue reading, the whole report can be accessed here.
As supply control policies for illegal drugs achieve partial successes elsewhere, international drug markets are shifting production and transit to West Africa and the Sahel. Facilitated by limited law enforcement and border control, the drug trade has been redirected along the historical trading routes of the Sahel. Though an integrated international approach would seem logical in the current context of a worldwide ban on the drugs trade, we need to be aware that conventional state-oriented, security-minded agendas tend to harm civil society more than criminals.
If you wish to read the complete article, click here to access The Broker.
I published this book review in 2013 in the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF). Both books are relevant to understand and clarify concepts and processes related to radicalization, extremism, and terrorism. I suggest the lecture of both for those interested in these processes in the wake of the Paris attacks.
George Joffé, ed., Islamist Radicalisation in Europe and the Middle East: Reassessing the Causes of Terrorism , London and New York: IB Tauris, 2013.
Anne Speckhard, Talking to Terrorists: Understanding the Psycho-social Motivations of Militant Jihadi Terrorists, Mass Hostage Takers, Suicide Bombers and “Martyrs” , McLean: Advances Press, 2012.
Why and under what circumstances do individuals, groups or larger parts of societies radicalise? What are the drivers of extremism? Why do some individuals and groups engage in terrorism? Are today’s radicals tomorrow’s terrorists? The two volumes addressed here provide important insights in answer to these questions. Although they have rather different approaches, both share features that make them remarkable within current debates about radicalisation, extremism and terrorism, i.e. (1) a clear understanding of the differences among concepts and how to approach them; (2) a non-deterministic vision of the origins and nature of radicalism that rejects generalisations; and (3) an analysis of radicalisation(s), extremism(s), and terrorism(s) as context-bound processes that are both multiple and diverse, and that rely on a series of interactions of internal and external drivers.
The whole text can be accessed in the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF).
Regional Maintenance of Peace and Security under International Law: The Distorted Mirrors, by Dace Winther. London / New York: Routledge, 2014. 264 pp, $140 hardcover 978-0-415-85499-3, $135 e-book 978-0-203-79735-8
The role of regional organizations adds a new mid-level layer in the hybrid global system of the governance of peace and security. The ‘soft’ regionalism embedded in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter was reactivated mainly after the end of the Cold War, and regional organizations became a tool for UN operations of peacekeeping and peace-enforcement in a context of proliferating crises, increased demands, and overwhelmed capacities. Most regions updated their mechanisms to deal with peace and security affairs and/or created new ones. The scope of potential operations widened and new concepts were applied, raising legal issues with regard to the use of force.
What action is appropriate and legal for regional institutions in the maintenance of peace and security? What are the scope and limits and how have they evolved? This book addresses these questions through a review of the legal documents and practice of selected regional organizations. The aim is a comparative analysis of eight regions to illuminate how they deal with crisis management in institutional and legal terms, and how their documents and practice adapt to – or challenge – the universal regulations of the UN.
You can read the Book Review in the Global Policy Journal.
How to deal with members of irregular forces that have been involved in violence and armed conflict, and facilitate their (re)integration into civilian life in a post-war society is one of the main dilemmas affecting countries in transition from war to peace. The fate of former combatants is inextricably linked to wider efforts to build sustainable security institutions and, in more general terms, to build peace after war.
Check my review of Demobilizing Irregular Forces, by Eric Y. Shibuya, published in the Global Policy Journal, 28 August 2014.