al qaeda

"We don't negotiate with terrorists," has long been the standard refrain of governments when it comes to violent extremists. But these days, in the realm of social media, at least, they are talking to them.

After the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, al-Qaeda became one of the great modern bogeymen, claiming credit for terrorist attacks all over the world. However, the jihadist group is less a centralised organisation than a loose coalition of franchises, writes Annabelle Quince.

Governments worldwide are increasingly facing a fundamental question: how to deal with the causes of violent – often religiously motivated – extremism. They are not short of advice – and from a wide range of sources.

They are known as Afghanistan's "Generation America" — young people who've grown up with American forces in their midst — or at least in their country. And now they represent a vital force for their nation's future, as Afghanistan chooses a successor to President Hamid Karzai.

The Saudi royal decree against terrorism in February 2014, and later the Interior Ministry declaration in March banning several Islamist groups, can be considered as the general framework of the new security doctrine that will govern the behavior of the Saudi government in the coming period.

In his first public comments since stepping down as US ambassador to Syria on Friday, Robert Ford addressed the failure to contain Syria's bloody civil war, laying most of the blame at the feet of President Bashar al-Assad and his government's international backers. Speaking at a conference at Tufts University last night, his outlook was bleak, warning that a fractured rebellion, the presence of Al Qaeda inspired fighters on the battlefield, and the fears of the country's minorities are a recipe for prolonged conflict. 

The five-day ultimatum by the leader of Jabaht al-Nusra (al-Nusra front) - Abu Mohammed al-Golani - to the leadership of the  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and other Islamist factions, to end fighting or be "expelled" from the region is the latest in the troubled affair between the two al-Qaida affiliates in Syria. 

Our thesis put forth that today’s terrorism threat picture looks far different than a decade ago--more complicated and subsequently more challenging to navigate. Appropriately understanding the true terrorist threats to the U.S. and the West requires in-depth analysis from multiple disciplines and an open mind to pursue counterterrorism strategies informed by the lessons learned from the past decade but not constrained by past models of al Qaeda activity.