Posts Tagged ‘woolwich’

With apologies for the silence, it has been a very busy and hectic time in a number of different directions. Things ramping up in many different ways for the end of the year, so am only now getting around to posting my latest journal article for my institutional home’s in-house publication the RUSI Journal. It looks at Lone Actor terrorism in the UK in the wake of the Woolwich attack, something that abruptly became very relevant again recently as a result of a number of disparate attacks in Canada and now Australia. More on this topic to come.

Over the past few weeks have also spoken to a few journalists, including the Los Angeles Times about the UK’s counter-radicalisation efforts, the Financial Times and Jewish Chronicle about the difficulties posed to counter-terrorists across Europe due to the free movement around the EU, to the Guardian about the ongoing chaos in Libya, to NBC about ISIS, and the Financial Times and Telegraph about events in Sydney and lone actors. On the other side of the docket, spoke to Bloomberg about the Silk Road Economic Belt and Li Keqiang’s visit to Kazakhstan, to Voice of America about Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive in the wake of the charging of Zhou Yongkang, and to the Associated Press and South China Morning Post about terrorism in Xinjiang. Finally, I was on the BBC’s Newsnight about the Sydney attack last night, which can be seen here for the next month.

The RUSI Journal article is freely available online here, and rather than post it on this site

A Death in Woolwich: The Lone-Actor Terrorist Threat in the UK

RUSI Journal, Oct 2014, Vol. 159, No. 5 

By Raffaello Pantucci

OBM RUSI Journal

Recent events in Syria and Iraq have shown in horrifying starkness the increased participation of British jihadists in terrorist fighting in the Middle East. In response, many have called for increased measures against home-grown radicals, to prevent them from travelling abroad to fight for the Islamist cause and, crucially, to stop them from carrying out attacks upon their return. Raffaello Pantucci analyses the difficulties of identifying potential terrorists among the many individuals who move within radical Islamist circles, and the even more challenging task of pinpointing those susceptible to self-radicalisation who could, without direct guidance, carry out dangerous acts of lone-actor terrorism.
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A very brief piece for the BBC as part of a group of pieces they commissioned about radicalisation and what to do about it in the wake of last week’s incident in Woolwich. It was longer, but got shrunk, and I owe colleagues at RUSI a debt for helping keep it focused.

Viewpoints: How should radicalisation be tackled?

Radicalisation is defined in the government’s Prevent strategy as “the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism”.

It is a social process but also a deeply personal experience. The pathway by which one person is radicalised can have a completely different effect on someone else. This makes it very difficult to devise a one-size-fits-all answer to the problem. Instead, a menu of tools is necessary to address different causes.

Countering influences online and offline is harder than it might sound. Simply shutting down websites and arresting individuals do not necessarily eliminate the problem.

On the contrary, such moves can drive people underground, making them potentially more appealing and attractive, or they will simply adapt to be on the right side of any ban.

This is not just a law enforcement issue. As a society we need to counter the all-encompassing narrative that states that the West is at war with Islam. This is a message that should be repeatedly rejected at every level: politician, community worker, citizen.

Coupled with this, our societies should engage in practices that highlight how open and free we are, and hold power to account when mistakes are made.

The sad truth, however, is that certain decisions that are made will be interpreted by extremists as something that supports their worldview. Very little will be ultimately possible to persuade them otherwise.

The answer is to recognise and acknowledge where we make mistakes and realise that society will always have its discontents.