Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses
Building a Global Network for Security
The Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) carries articles with in-depth analysis of topical issues on terrorism and counter-terrorism, broadly structured around a common theme. CTTA brings perspectives from counter-terrorism researchers and practitioners with a view to produce policy relevant analysis. Launched in 2009, Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses is the journal of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. The CTTA has a circulation of more than 11,000 subscribers.
Articles in this Latest Issue
Volume 12, Issue 05 (September 2020): How Extreme-Right Fringe Cultures and IS’s Exploitation of Social Media and Kin Networks affect the Threat Landscape
Terrorism is an ever-evolving phenomenon, which keeps morphing into new forms, amidst a shifting operational environment and socio-political circumstances. In this regard, this issue explores the growing mainstream attention given to violent fringe subcultures in the extreme-right, such as the Incel, Boogaloo and QAnon movements, which has triggered debates in the academic and policy communities, over whether such forms of violence conform to an emergent trend in terrorism. This particularly follows the indictment earlier this year of Incel activists involved in violent attacks under terrorism laws in Toronto, Canada.
Though these sub-cultures, which mainly operate online, are extreme in their behaviours and prone to violence, they arguably do not fit the orthodox definitions and classifications of terrorism. However, given the toxic operational environment in which these fringe sub-cultures operate (ethnically polarised, politically divisive and violence-prone), coupled with their ability to network on social media and the potential threat of cross-pollination, it is too dangerous to ignore them. Given these new sub-cultures are typically leaderless, lack formal structures and are disorganised, it is premature to regard their issue-specific narratives as terrorist ideologies per se, although they have the quintessential ingredients of evolving into ones. Hence, a new academic and policy discussion is needed to appropriately classify these emerging subcultures, along with the attendant policy measures to address the potential threat they pose.
This issue also focuses on the other end of the threat spectrum, with global jihadist groups like the Islamic State (IS), trying to make inroads through social media propaganda and kinship networks to recruit, radicalise and plot attacks. IS’ stepped-up propaganda outreach in India through its new propaganda magazine the Voice of Hind is a case in point. Likewise, IS’ networks in Southeast Asia continue to effectively use online platforms to appeal to potential recruits and incite them to violence. Last month, two female operatives, believed to be widows of deceased IS terrorists, participated in the twin suicide attacks in Jolo, a known stronghold of the IS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf Group, in the Southern Philippines, which resulted in 14 people being killed and at least 75 others injured.
First, Kyler Ong assesses the more diffused and diversified threat emerging from the extreme-right space in the West in recent years. According to the author, growing ideological convergence in the extreme-right landscape has come into focus, with attacks linked to individuals affiliated to loosely-aligned networks largely operating online, becoming more frequent and lethal. Increasingly, extreme-right lone actors and organisations have become more adept at exploiting social media to widen their echo chambers, and subsequently foraying into the violent space. The mainstreaming of fringe subcultures, such as the boogaloos and incels, which openly call for violence against Western governments, means a more focused and systemic counter-response is warranted. To support the authorities’ efforts, enhanced monitoring capabilities and more nuanced understanding of evolving extreme-right narratives are required.
In the next article, Ahmad Saiful Rijal Hassan and Nur Aziemah Azman examine various examples of online visual media propagated by the Islamic State (IS), from its heyday in 2015 to the present. By assessing a selection of videos, photographs, illustrations and infographics produced and disseminated by the group online, the authors argue that visual media remains a powerful tool utilised by IS in its radicalisation and recruitment efforts. Thematically, some of the visual media captures IS’ public service efforts such as in education and the civil service, while more recent images published online seek to portray IS’ continuing resilience and strength across its wilayat (provinces). The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is also framed as divine retribution against the group’s enemies. Given the importance IS places on its visual propaganda, the authors suggest that counter-responses need to be upgraded to include stronger visual elements and textual rebuttals.
In the third article, Kalicharan Veera Singam analyses the narratives found in the IS’ new flagship publication Voice of Hind, which is mainly targeted at an Indian audience. According to the author, articles found in the publication espouse a variety of IS themes, ideas and propaganda messages. The group’s messaging has also evolved from one of calling Indians to perform Hijra (migration) to its so-called Caliphate, to one of championing the rights of Muslims in India. The terror group’s evolved narratives are aimed at capitalising on the growing politico-religious polarisation in the country, with the intent of weakening India’s social fabric and spawning new pro-IS cells. Moreover, while India’s security agencies have been largely effective in thwarting the kinetic threat posed by IS, countering the group’s renewed propaganda campaign could prove to be more challenging.
Lastly, Farooq Yousaf explores the possibilities and implications of kin terrorism in South Asia. The author reasons that attempts by IS to indoctrinate and cultivate family networks, including the wives and young children of male operatives, and incite them to violence, such as in the form of suicide attacks, is a relatively new trend in the region. Yet while kin terrorism in Southeast Asia has received considerable academic scrutiny, it remains underexplored in the South Asian context. Given the social and cultural sensitivities among communities in South Asia, the potential challenges in effectively addressing terrorist-related indoctrination, radicalisation and recruitment that take place within family units, are assessed.
In conclusion, we hope for everyone to stay healthy as we surmount the COVID-19 pandemic, from wherever you are reading the CTTA.
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- Amresh Gunasingham Editor
- Abdul Basit Associate Editor
- Noorita Mohd Noor Senior Editorial Advisor
- Remy Mahzam Copy Editor
- Okkie Tanupradja Design and Layout
- Dr Jolene Jerard Adjunct Senior Fellow, Deputy Head of International Centre for Political Violence and Research, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
- Dr Rohan Gunaratna Professor of Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
- Dr Kumar Ramakrishna Associate Dean (Policy Studies), Head of International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research & Research Adviser to National Security Studies Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
- Dr John Harrison Associate Editor Journal of Transportation Security
- Dr Marcin Styszynski, Assistant Professor, Adam Mickiewicz University, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies
- Dr Fernando Reinares Director, Program on Global Terrorism, Elcano Royal Institute
Professor of Security Studies, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
- Dr Stephen Sloan Professor Emeritus, The University of Oklahoma Lawrence J. Chastang, Distinguished Professor of Terrorism Studies, The University of Central Florida
- Dr Hamoon Khelghat-Doost, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, Science University of Malaysia
Call for Contributions
Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) welcomes contributions from researchers and practitioners in political violence and terrorism, security and other related fields.
Issue Calendar 2020
The Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) series for 2020 welcomes topical, timely and relevant policy-oriented articles that allow readers to gain an in-depth understanding of the overall global and regional threat landscape. This could include strategic counter-terrorism issues, regionally focused articles as well as specialised topics.
Themes of Interest:
- Rise of right-wing extremist movements in North America, Europe, Australia and other regions.
- Analysis and policy responses to ethno-nationalist, separatist and non-Islamist extremist/terrorist organisations.
- Developing areas including cyber terrorism, cyber security, innovative policing techniques and evolving counter-terrorism responses.
CTTA Submission Guidelines/ Editorial Style and Policy
Please email your submissions to [email protected].
Submission deadlines: The CTTA is published quarterly; submissions are accepted each month for consideration.
Preferred file format: MS Word document. Please do not submit in PDF format.
Originality: The author should only submit her or his original work. The author should not submit concurrent manuscripts (or manuscripts essentially describing the same subject matter) to multiple journals. The author must first seek editorial permission, if he or she would like to submit an article which has previously been published elsewhere.
Editors are entitled to request the author to provide the raw data for her or his research for convenience of editorial review.
Manuscript title: The title should be limited to 15 words or less; the title should be a brief phrase describing the contents of the paper.
Abstract: The abstract should summarise the manuscript content in 70-100 words. The abstract should be informative and self-explanatory, and should state the argument of the article and its major conclusions. Standard nomenclature should be used, and if abbreviations are used they must be defined at their first mention.
Word length: We publish articles within three different categories with varied word lengths. This includes, (i) commentaries: between 1,000 to 1,500 words, (ii) regular articles: between 2,000 to 3,000 words, and (iii) in-depth feature articles: between 4,000 to 5,000 words.
Structure: Please divide your article into subtopics with subheadings.
Style: British spelling and language style are used for the CTTA (as with other publications of ICPVTR and RSIS).
References and citations: Chicago Manual of Style (Footnoting system) is used.
If the author has used work, ideas and/or words of others, appropriate citations are required within the text of the article. Author should provide a list of references to indicate all sources that have supported the research at the end of the article.
Author information: Please include complete names and affiliation/ and or experience of author(s) in a few lines at the end of the article; contact email address of author(s) can be included.
The author should give due acknowledgement to all individuals who have made contributions to the research, and those who have contributed significantly to the research should be listed as co-authors. The author should ensure that all co-authors have affirmed the final version of the paper and have agreed on its final publication.
Copyright: The copyright of a published article will remain with the author(s); the author(s) agree to require that the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis (CTTA) journal be given credit as the original publisher in any republication of the article authorised by the author(s). Such credit shall include a proper citation to the article’s publication in the CTTA, including the author(s), the journal, the volume and issue numbers, the year of the article’s publication in the journal and the internet address for the issue.
The Editorial Team reserves the right to make changes to the content of submissions for publication and/or reject a submission at its discretion.
Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any queries pertaining to the CTTA submission guidelines or editorial style and policy.
- Volume 12 Issue 04 (June 2020)
- Volume 12 Issue 03 (April 2020)
- Volume 12 Issue 02 (March 2020)
- Volume 12 Issue 01 (January 2020)
- Volume 11 Issue 07 (September 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 06 (June 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 05 (May 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 04 (April 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 03 (March 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 02 (February 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 01 (January 2019)
- Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 10 (October 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 09 (September 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 08 (August 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 07 (July 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 06 (June 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 05 (May 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 04 (April 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 03 (March 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 02 (February 2018)
- Volume 10, Issue 01 (January 2018)
- Volume 9, Issue 11 (November 2017)
- Volume 9, Issue 10 (October 2017)
- Volume 9, Issue 09 (September 2017)
- Volume 9, Issue 08 (August 2017)
- Volume 9,Issue 07 (July 2017)
- Volume 9,Issue 06 (June 2017)
- Volume 9,Issue 05 (May 2017)
- Volume 9.Issue 04 (April 2017)
- Volume 9,Issue 03 (March 2017)
- Volume 9,Issue 02 (February 2017)
- Volume 9,Issue 01 (January 2017)
- Volume 8, Issue 11 (November 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 10 (October 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 8 (August 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 7 (July 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 6 (June 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 5 (May 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 3 (March 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 2 (February 2016)
- Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2016)
- Volume 7, Issue 10 (November 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 9 (October 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 8 (September 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 7 (August 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 6 (July 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 5 (June 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 4 (May 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 3 (April 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 2 (March 2015)
- Volume 7, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2015)
- Volume 6, Issue 10 (November 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 9 (October 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 8 (September 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 7 (August 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 6 (July 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 5 (June 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 4 (May 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 3 (April 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 2 (March 2014)
- Volume 6, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2014)
- Volume 5, Issue 11 (November 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue10 (October 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 9 (September 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 8 (August 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 7 (July 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 6 (June 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 5 (May 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 4 (April 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 3 (March 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 2 (February 2013)
- Volume 5, Issue 1 (January 2013)
- Volume 4, Issue 11 (November 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 10 (October 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 9 (September 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 8 (August 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 7 (July 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 6 (June 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 5 (May 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 4 (April 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 3 (March 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 2 (February 2012)
- Volume 4, Issue 1 (January 2012)
Last updated on 02/09/2020