26 January 2016
RSIS LAUNCHES ANNUAL TERRORISM THREAT ASSESSMENT
Mapping 2016 Threats in view of the Growth of ISIS
1. SINGAPORE (GMT+8) – The year 2015 was marred by a series of terrorism-related incidents and the growing clout of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) worldwide. With the rise of ISIS, the terrorist threat confronting the international community has undergone a profound and dangerous transformation. Even as Al Qaeda remains significant despite diminishing in size, strength and influence, the threat from this group has been surpassed by that of ISIS and its supporters.
2. It is against this backdrop that 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) in Singapore launched its Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis (CTTA) 2016 Annual Terrorism Threat Assessment.
3. Professor Rohan Gunaratna, Head of ICPVTR, listed the core issues characterising the future trajectory of the ISIS threat:
- On 14 January 2016, ISIS mounted a terrorist attack in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta. The terrorist attack in Jakarta was portrayed as a success by ISIS. The possibility of future similar attacks by ISIS remains, unless their capabilities in Southeast Asia are dismantled.
- Despite losing territory in Syria and Iraq, ISIS will attempt to continue expanding into parts of Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, Caucasus and Asia by reaching out to local groups to form ISIS branches. In Southeast Asia, ISIS is likely to gain a firmer foothold in Eastern Indonesia and Southern Philippines.
- ISIS is also likely to attempt high-profile attacks in countries currently conducting an offensive against the group. The Paris attacks of November 2015 demonstrated ISIS’ capability to collaborate with locals to launch attacks on foreign soils.
- ISIS will continue to leverage the Internet, especially social media, to recruit and spread its radical ideology. Unfortunately, the lack of political will and the absence of a clear strategy have hindered most governments and their agencies from successfully taking down ISIS platforms, degrading ISIS’ strategic communication and information capabilities and from effectively countering ISIS’ message.
- Offensives against ISIS will continue to be ad-hoc and ineffective, without unanimity and unity among the countries involved. The lack of strategic cooperation and coordination of operations beyond exchange of information and intelligence have hampered the fight to defeat ISIS.
- Refugees and asylum seekers from conflict zones are susceptible to ISIS propaganda and are likely to be exploited. This is compounded by the lack of effective policies and plans by concerned governments to mitigate a humanitarian crisis of this scale.
4. The 2016 annual CTTA issue presents an overview of the terrorist threat in countries across Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central and East Asia, Middle East, North Africa and South America. Each article provides a comprehensive analysis of key trends and developments in terrorism and extremism in the particular country in 2015, with analyses and projections for the year ahead.
5. Launched in 2009, CTTA (ISSN -2832-6444) is the journal of ICPVTR and currently has a circulation of more than 11,000 subscribers. It features articles with in-depth analysis of topical issues on terrorism and counter-terrorism, broadly structured around a common theme for each issue. Listed with EBSCO Information Services, CTTA was ranked among the top “Core Journals for Terrorism Research,” with “significant importance for students, researchers, and professionals in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism studies (2013).”
Last updated on 07/05/2019