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 13, Issue 01 (January 2021): Annual Threat Assessment
The year 2020 was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of December 18, 2020, with more than 75 million cases and over 1.7 million deaths worldwide, the struggle against COVID-19 is, likely to be the defining struggle of this generation. Unsurprisingly, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt across the board, including within the domain of countering and preventing transnational terrorism and violent extremism, in various ways. That said, strategic trends evident in recent years remained robust into 2020, certainly as far as the violent Islamist terrorist threat – still the most potent terrorist threat to global peace and stability – was concerned. Despite the military demise of its so-called territorial caliphate carved out of Iraq and Syria last year, the Islamic State (IS) managed to remain resilient and active, not just on the ground in the Middle East – where it launched notable attacks on civilian sites, oil fields and security forces – but also in the cyber domain.
In fact, IS has re-envisioned the caliphate as an overarching global state rather than one that is confined to Iraq and Syria, and has sought to make opportunistic virtue out of a strategic necessity. IS thus reframed the inclement strategic situation it faced in 2020 as a “protracted resistance” strategy that had to be waged stoically, taking supposedly temporary military setbacks in stride. As far as the estranged ideological cousin of IS, Al-Qaeda was concerned, the year in some ways proved particularly traumatic. The loss of several senior leaders significantly impacted the network. Rather than tight strategic control, both IS and Al-Qaeda have sought through social media to provide a broad strategic narrative to guide the actions of a widely scattered global network of affiliates and cells. This violent Islamist global strategic narrative remained centred on three core themes, as in previous years, but adapted to diverse local contexts across the world: armed jihad to establish the khilāfa (caliphate); hatred of the non-Muslim Other, and the End Times and the coming of the Mahdi.
Across the regions surveyed in this volume, the evolving global violent Islamist threat could be deconstructed by way of six major trends. 1. The Continuing Salience of Lone Actor Attacks against Civilian and Government Targets. 2. The Involvement of Women, Youth and Family Networks. 3. Returning Foreign Fighters and their Families. 4. The Role of Diasporas. 5. Ideological Ecosystems Sustaining Violent Islamist Ideology and Perspectives. 6. The Diversity of Terror Financing Mechanisms.
The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the transnational Islamist terrorism and extremism landscape in 2020 was felt on both the ideological and operational fronts. Ideologically, many Islamist extremist ideologues exploited the pandemic to push out the narrative that the End Times and, hence ultimate victory, were nigh. The pandemic also impacted the operational efficiency of both security forces and terrorist networks alike. Security forces had to split attention and limited resources between operations to enforce physical lockdowns to limit the spread of the virus and ongoing operations against terrorist networks – a situation quickly exploited by the latter. However, the imposition of border controls and lockdown measures also significantly reduced terrorist operating space. Cross-border movement – was generally tightened, while domestic lockdowns prevented the face-to-face meetings that facilitate the radicalisation of new recruits. On the other hand, lockdowns also compelled vulnerable individuals to spend more time online, where they were potentially able to immerse themselves even more deeply in violent extremist ideological content.
Additionally, three important Extreme Right Movements also characterised the terrorist threat landscape in 2020: those fueled by Buddhist, Hindu and White Nationalist extremism. In particular, what stood out was the ways in which such Extreme Right social movements were linked to, or influenced the agendas, of somewhat ideologically related Far-Right political parties and entities across the regions surveyed in 2020.
Finally, given the challenging transnational terrorism and extremism landscape in 2020, the issue offers several policy recommendations for governments and other relevant stakeholders to consider. Two broad observations are as follows: First, there should be a judicious blend of hard, short-term counter-terrorist and softer medium to longer-term counter-terrorism approaches to deal comprehensively with the full spectrum of the threat. Further, there is a growing need to better understand how the ideological ecosystems that propagate the extremist ideologies that sustain terrorist and support networks operate.
In conclusion, we thank you for your continued subscription to the CTTA and hope for everyone to stay safe and healthy going into the new year!
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Subscribing to CTTA
To be added to the CTTA mailing list, please email your full name, organisation and designation, with the subject ‘CTTA Subscription’ to [email protected].
- Noorita Mohd Noor Senior Editorial Advisor
- Amresh Gunasingham Editor
- Abdul Basit Associate Editor
- Kalicharan Veera Singam Assistant Editor
- Remy Mahzam Copy Editor
- Okkie Tanupradja Design and Layout
- Dr Jolene Jerard Adjunct Senior Fellow, 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 2021
The Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) series for 2021 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 05 (September 2020)
- 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 04/01/2021