• Hemispheric securityVenezuela Failed Raid: U.S. Has a History of Using Mercenaries to Undermine Other Regimes

    By Andrew Thomson

    In early May, the Venezuelan military intercepted a group of dissidents and American mercenaries. These events in Venezuela echo past U.S. secret sponsorship of private armies to overthrow governments elsewhere. The U.S. has an extended history of sponsoring insurgents and mercenaries to undermine unwanted foreign regimes.

  • PerspectiveSome Synthetic Biology May Not be Covered by the Biological Weapons Convention

    The study of viruses once challenged the world’s notion of what is “biological,” and for a time it was not clear whether viruses were regulated by the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Durward Johnson and James Kraska write that “SynBio and its convergence with emerging technologies may create weapons not currently banned by universal disarmament obligations or customary international law, and this legal gap raises the prospect of weaponization of nonbiological threat agents tailor-made to create targeted effects. These tactical biotechnological capabilities could have potentially strategic consequences and yet may fall outside the existing regime.”

  • TerrorismCOVID-19 and Terrorism: Assessing the Short and Long-Term Impacts

    A new report reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic is already having a significant impact on terrorism around the world. “One genuine concern is that COVID-19 may lead to a resurgence in interest among terrorists for using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons,” says one expert. “While serious obstacles certainly remain, the huge impact of COVID-19 may re-ignite some interest in biological weapons.”

  • TerrorismData on Islamic State Attacks Could be Masking Growing Problem, Some Fear

    By Jeff Seldin

    Across Iraq and Syria there is a growing sense of unease that when it comes to the Islamic State terror group, data showing the jihadist force on its heels should not be trusted. While the U.S.-led military coalition argues Islamic State is a shadow of its former self, some officials with U.S. partner forces argue the terror group has actually become more powerful and more dangerous.

  • ExtremismAnti-Semitic Incidents in U.S. Hit All-Time High in 2019

    The American Jewish community experienced the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents last year since tracking began in 1979, with more than 2,100 acts of assault, vandalism and harassment reported across the United States. The record number of incidents came as the Jewish community grappled with violent and lethal anti-Semitic attacks against communities in Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, and a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn.

  • Ethnic cleansingRussian, Syrian Forces Continue a Campaign of War Crimes in Syria: Amnesty

    In a new report, Amnesty International offers details of a continuing Syrian and Russian campaign to destroy hospitals, clinics, and schools in the Sunni-majority province of Idlib, in order to drive as many Sunnis as possible out of Syria. Since 2011, the Assad regime has conducted the largest ethnic cleansing campaign since the Second World War, aiming to change the ethnic composition of Syria. “Even by the standards of Syria’s calamitous nine-year crisis, the displacement and humanitarian emergency sparked by the latest onslaught on Idlib has been unprecedented,” said Amnesty.

  • ExtremismGermany: Politicians Worry about Radicalization at Anti-Lockdown Protests

    By Elizabeth Schumacher

    German lawmakers from across the political spectrum on Monday warned that the growing wave of anti-lockdown protests could provide fertile ground for radicalization and recruitment for far-right extremist groups and anti-vaccine campaigns. Over the weekend, thousands of people gathered in cities across Germany to demand an end to restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Hemispheric securityCaptured U.S Contractor says Venezuelan President was Target of Foiled Attack

    Venezuela has aired a video in which captured American ex-serviceman Airon Berry said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was a target of a foiled raid on Sunday. This is the second video released by the Venezuelan government purporting to show the questioning of Berry and fellow American Luke Denman, both former members of the U.S. Special Forces. In the video aired Thursday, Berry said the Venezuelan Intelligence Services and the airport tower were also targets.

  • TerrorismExperts Split on Impact of Germany’s Hezbollah Ban

    By Sirwan Kajjo, Ezel Sahinkaya, and Mehdi Jedinia

    Germany’s recent decision to ban the political activities of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has sparked a debate among experts, with some believing the move was necessary while others arguing it would have little impact on Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.

  • IranIran Pulling Military Out of Syria in Response to Intensified Israeli Attacks

    Israeli defense officials told reporters Tuesday that Iranian forces are pulling out of Syria and closing military bases, arms depots, arms manufacturing facilities, and military research labs there. In recent months, Israel has intensified its air attacks against Iranian forces, and against Hezbollah targets, in Syria, as well as against the Assad regime forces protecting Iranian and Hezbollah targets.

  • Hemispheric securityPlot Led by a Former Green Beret to Topple Maduro Foiled

    Jordan Goudreau, a former Green Beret soldier linked to a foiled or bungled plot to topple Venezuela’s leader, Nicolás Maduro, has insisted on Sunday that his troops are still in operation in Venezuela after launching what he described as “a daring amphibious raid” into economically and politically troubled country. The Venezuelan government said that in a short firefight, its forces killed eight members of the incursion force, which landed on the shore from three speedboats, and detained thirteen, two of them American citizens.

  • TerrorismIslamic State Could Be about to Hit Back – and the World Is Paying Little Attention

    By Aviva Guttmann

    In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic the crises of tomorrow can fester. A resurgence of Islamic State (IS) is likely to be one of them. The threat of a resurgent IS is mounting and governments around the world could be about to make the same mistake again of missing it and reacting too late.

  • PerspectiveCOVID-19 and America’s Counter-Terrorism Response

    Since the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. foreign policy, national security, and law enforcement have been dominated by counter-terrorism considerations, even while a number of counter-terrorism experts have cautioned against overemphasizing the terrorist threat. Lydia Khalil writes that, at the same time, for various reasons, U.S. law enforcement has found it more challenging to deal with the more serious threat of terrorism the United States is facing – far-right domestic terrorism – a threat which now eclipses the threat posed by foreign Islamist jihadists, and which is only going to grow. If anything could ever shake the United States out of its counter-terrorism fixation it would be a crisis of even greater magnitude than 9/11. It seemed like that moment finally came with the COVID-19 pandemic, “[y]et what we have seen so far is the opposite. Instead of reorienting toward other paradigms and reexamining its strategic priorities, the United States continues to reflexively overextend its counter-terrorism tools to deal with some of the more problematic aspects of the virus’ spread,” she writes.

  • CoronavirusCoronavirus “Not Man-Made”: U.S. Intelligence Community

    The U.S. intelligence community, in a rare public statement on Thursday, said that evidence shows that the virus was not engineered in a Chinese laboratory. The U.S. intelligence community “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. Talk that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese lab, or escaped from a lab, has persisted for weeks, as have other theories, many of which have been discredited as conspiracy theories or as part of disinformation campaigns.

  • TerrorismGermany Bans Hezbollah

    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Thursday banned all Hezbollah activities in the country. Until Thursday, Germany distinguished between the political and the armed wings of Hezbollah, banning the latter but allowing the former to operate in Germany. On Thursday, the German government designated the group in its entirety as a terrorist organization. The police raided several buildings, including four mosques and Islamic associations in Berlin, Dortmund, Bremen, and Münster where, the police said, Hezbollah supporters were active.