• Bruton quoted in The Michigan Daily on counterterrorism efforts in Africa

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  • Fifth Anniversary of Westgate Mall Attack: Fighting Al-Shabaab in Africa

    September 21, 2013, started out like any other day at the Westgate mall. Shoppers in search of deals strolled unaware that their lives would soon be changed forever. At midday, heavily armed militants lobbing grenades and firing indiscriminately turned the upscale shopping center in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, into a war zone. Security forces, caught off guard and woefully unprepared, struggled to rescue hundreds of shoppers and hunt down the assailants. By the end of a four-day siege—the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 US Embassy bombing by al Qaeda—sixty-seven people were dead and more than two hundred wounded. Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terrorist group that has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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  • 20 Years After the Embassy Bombings: The Long War in Africa

    It has been twenty years since that morning of August 7, 1998, when suicide bombers detonated, almost simultaneously, trucks laden with explosives outside the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The attacks, the first claimed by al-Qaeda against US targets, left 224 people dead, including a dozen Americans, and around 5,000 wounded. While the bombings took place eight years to the day after US troops arrived in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait—Osama bin Laden took offense at the presence of American forces in the land of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina—they also opened in Africa what would become a major front in what only came to be recognized in the years after 9/11 as the “long war” against jihadist militancy.

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  • Pham Quoted in the New York Times on the US Military Presence in Africa

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  • Not Just a Numbers Game: NATO, Women, and Countering Terrorism

    Women Critical to Countering Violent Extremism

    Female suicide bombers carried out more than 230 deadly attacks between 1985 and 2008, according to research conducted by Mia Bloom, the author of Bombshell: Women and Terrorism. Female terrorists, including the Chechen Black Widows, and members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), were responsible for about a quarter of all terrorist attacks in that period. And yet, women have been largely ignored when it comes to addressing the challenge of terrorism.
  • Islamist Terrorism in Mozambique: An Emerging Threat?

    In October 2017, a little-known Islamist insurgency by the name of “Ahlu Sunna wa-Jama” or “Swahili Sunnah,” attacked the town of Mocimboa da Praia in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province. The attack began a campaign of terror that has paralyzed Mozambique’s northern coast and threatened $30 billion in offshore natural gas projects, a key lifeline for Mozambique’s future development. As casualties rise and civilian displacement continues, the government’s heavy security response has not effectively countered the Islamist group, which has already been compared to the early stages of the Boko Haram insurgency in northeastern Nigeria. However, it should be cautioned that information on the group is difficult to find and separating fact from speculation is harder still. The below timeline, compiled from open sources, seeks to catalogue and differentiate confirmed and unconfirmed reports on the Islamist group’s emergence, ideology, and development in

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  • Basque Terrorist Group ETA Disbands, Ending Decades of Violence

    One of Europe’s longest terrorist campaigns is finally over.

    The dissolution of Basque separatist group ETA puts an end to the use of deadly violence for political goals in Spain, namely, establishing an independent nationalist state in the country’s Basque region.

    Like the Good Friday Agreement that sealed the peace process in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, the end of ETA contributes to the long-term decline of violent nationalist movements in Western Europe.  

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  • Ullman in UPI: Austin Bombings Could Be Precursors of Terror to Come

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  • Atallah Quoted in The Cipher Brief on Terrorist Threat in Mali

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  • US Strikes on ISIS in Somalia Underscore Threat, Vulnerabilities

    On November 3, the United States carried out two separate airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Somalia, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced in a statement. The operations marked the first time that US forces have targeted ISIS militants in the conflict-ridden Horn of Africa country, where al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab has been the primary focus of American and partner efforts in recent years.

    The strikes also underscore the shift in ISIS’ center of gravity following the group’s losses not only in Iraq and Syria this year, but also the routing of its affiliate in Libya last December. These developments have sent surviving fighters and arms flowing into more remote areas, including the Sahel, where the killing of four US Special Forces troops in an ambush in Niger in October focused...

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