Showing posts with label Counter Insurgency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Counter Insurgency. Show all posts

20 July 2017

Terrorist Use of Virtual Currencies: Containing the Potential Threat


Will virtual currencies (VC) increasingly replace traditional methods of funding terrorism, including the halawa system? According to Zachary Goldman et al, extremists in the Gaza Strip have already used virtual currencies to fund their operations and members of the Islamic State have been particularly receptive to the new technology, at least at the local level. To prevent the spread of VC funding on a larger scale, our authors argue that counterterrorism communities should adopt three guiding principles to shape their future policies. Explore them here.

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18 July 2017

Inequality and Armed Conflict: Evidence and Policy Recommendations


The data analysts in this article confirm a common belief – i.e., the onset and recurrence of armed conflict is likely where high inter-group inequalities exist. Indeed, groups that have strong shared identities, a collective perception of ill treatment, and opportunities to take up arms are likely to use violence to rectify existing inequalities. In response, policy makers should take concrete measures to ensure the fair distribution of public goods and more.

Research shows that the onset and recurrence of armed conflict is likely where high inter-group inequalities exist. Groups that have strong shared identities, a collective perception of ill treatment, and opportunities to take up arms are likely to use violence to rectify existing inequalities. Policy makers can take concrete steps to reduce group-level inequalities through measures that share political and economic power between groups, ensure the fair distribution of public goods and services, and recognize cultural identities.

Brief Points 

Inequalities can provoke and prolong conflict as well as its recurrence in fragile settings. 

Strong group identities coupled with salient grievances can inspire violence. 

Both objective and subjective inequalities are important predictors of conflict onset. 

Effective policies need to address underlying sources of inequality. 

17 July 2017

‘We Own the Night’: The Rise And Fall Of The US Military’s Night-Vision Dominance

by Adam K. Raymond

The sky was moonless on the night of May 1, 2011, as two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters flew toward a walled compound in an upscale enclave of Abbottabad, Pakistan. A power outage further drenched the city in blackness.

To the 23 Navy SEALs fast-roping to the ground, the conditions could not have been better. Under the cover of darkness, they crept toward the home of the world’s most wanted man and stormed inside.

The timing was by design. When retired Navy Adm. Bill McRaven, then the head of U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, scheduled the raid on Osama bin Laden’s home, he did so based partly on the lunar cycle. As for that power outage, although McRaven called it a total coincidence, it may have been more than that.

In the end, it took SEAL Team 6 just 38 minutes to blast its way into bin Laden’s bunker, erase him from existence, and collect a trove of intelligence strewn about his cluttered house. The ability to see in the dark made it all possible.

For decades, the U.S. military has prided itself on “owning the night” thanks to its unmatched night-vision technology. From the early days, when soldiers used clunky infrared scopes to detect and beat back Japanese night raids in Okinawa, the United States has maintained that advantage.

8 July 2017

Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communications: Back to the Future, Lessons from Past and Present

Read the Report.

This Report explores the lessons that can be learned from past communication experiences to aid Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communications (CTSC) campaigns targeting the current propaganda threat from so-called “Islamic State” (IS). It will do this by highlighting four lessons from the past from two different areas of communication practice – the history of propaganda and political communication – that are relevant for the current information war against IS. These are i) the need for multiple mediums of communication, ii) the say-do-gap, iii) defensive and offensive messaging, and, finally, iv) market research and targeting.

This Report was originally published as part of the book “Terrorists’ Use of the Internet: Assessment and Response”. This book compiles revised versions of a selection of papers delivered at an Advanced Research Workshop on ‘Terrorists’ Use of the Internet’ supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme and held at Dublin City University on 27–29 June 2016. The event was co-organised by Swansea University’s Cyberterrorism Project and the EU FP7-funded VOX-Pol project.

Today’s Terror Threat Poses Array of New Challenges

SUZANNE KELLY

When a suicide bomber in Manchester, England detonated a backpack full of explosives in May, killing 22 people at a concert venue, the National Counterterrorism Center took more than a passing interest.

Officials from NCTC, as it’s more often referred to, immediately began reaching out to their British counterparts via representatives in London, with the intention of making sure that every U.S. counterterrorism resource, from the FBI to the NSA, was available to assist in gathering information on the culprit and potential planners of the attack. That was mission number one. Mission number two hit a little closer to home.

“From a selfishly, narrowly U.S. perspective, we are of course at the same time trying to think about what links do those individuals potentially have to anybody who has traveled to the U.S. or who may be in the U.S.” said Nick Rasmussen, Director of NCTC.

Rasmussen was at NCTC in its earliest days. The Counterterrorism Center was established as a direct result of the 9/11 Commission Report, with the intention of making sure that information was more widely shared among federal, state, and local counterterrorism officials. In part, to ensure to the highest extent possible, that the intelligence mistakes leading up to 9/11 didn’t ever happen again. 

4 July 2017

A View From The CT Foxhole: LTG Michael K. Nagata, Director, Directorate Of Strategic Operational Planning, NCTC


Lieutenant General Michael K. Nagata assumed the position of Director, Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counterterrorism Center on May 13, 2016. Previously, LTG Nagata served as the Commander, Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT), a sub-unified command of CENTCOM, from June 2013 to October 2015. A native of Virginia, Lieutenant General Nagata graduated from Georgia State University and commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1982. He initially served as a Platoon Leader in the 2d Infantry Division before volunteering for Army Special Forces in 1984.

Throughout his career he served in various positions within Army Special Forces to include: Detachment Commander, Executive Officer, Battalion S-3, Operations Center Director, BN Executive Officer, and Group Operations Officer. Later, he served as the Commander of 1st BN, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, responsible for the Special Forces Qualification Course. In 1990, he volunteered and assessed for a Special Missions Unit (SMU), in which he served at various times throughout his career as a Troop Commander, Operations Officer, Squadron Commander, and SMU Commander. After graduating from the National War College, Lieutenant General Nagata served in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He then served within the Intelligence Community as a Deputy Director for Counter Terrorism. As a general officer, he has served as the Deputy Chief, Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan (ODRP), the Deputy Director for Special Operations and Counter Terrorism (J-37) of the Joint Staff, and Commander, SOCCENT.

A VIEW FROM THE CT FOXHOLE: LTG MICHAEL K. NAGATA, DIRECTOR, DIRECTORATE OF STRATEGIC OPERATIONAL PLANNING, NCTC

Brian Dodwell, Don Rassler 

Lieutenant General Michael K. Nagata assumed the position of Director, Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning at the National Counterterrorism Center on May 13, 2016. Previously, LTG Nagata served as the Commander, Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT), a sub-unified command of CENTCOM, from June 2013 to October 2015. A native of Virginia, Lieutenant General Nagata graduated from Georgia State University and commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1982. He initially served as a Platoon Leader in the 2d Infantry Division before volunteering for Army Special Forces in 1984. 

Throughout his career he served in various positions within Army Special Forces to include: Detachment Commander, Executive Officer, Battalion S-3, Operations Center Director, BN Executive Officer, and Group Operations Officer. Later, he served as the Commander of 1st BN, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, responsible for the Special Forces Qualification Course. In 1990, he volunteered and assessed for a Special Missions Unit (SMU), in which he served at various times throughout his career as a Troop Commander, Operations Officer, Squadron Commander, and SMU Commander. After graduating from the National War College, Lieutenant General Nagata served in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. He then served within the Intelligence Community as a Deputy Director for Counter Terrorism. As a general officer, he has served as the Deputy Chief, Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan (ODRP), the Deputy Director for Special Operations and Counter Terrorism (J-37) of the Joint Staff, and Commander, SOCCENT.

3 July 2017

BEYOND THE CALIPHATE: ISLAMIC STATE ACTIVITY – INSPIRED OR LINKED – OUTSIDE OF THE GROUP’S DEFINED WILAYAT


This project documents and identifies activity linked to and inspired by the Islamic State outside of the territory it claims as part of its physical Caliphate. In doing so, the project seeks to provide insights into how the influence, operational reach, and capabilities of the Islamic State are changing in certain locales over time.

To provide a nuanced analysis of the group’s operational activity, the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) has created a database that categorizes different indicators of such activity (see methodology overview here for details). The temporal starting point for the data collection is June 2014, when the group’s Caliphate was officially created. Since that point in time, CTC researchers have collected open-source data regarding the Islamic State’s operational activity in select locations outside of the physical territory claimed by the group.

As collection and analysis continues, the CTC plans to release a number of short country and regional reports that leverage the data CTC has collected. All releases will be available on this page.

1 July 2017

Four steps we’re taking today to fight terrorism online


Terrorism is an attack on open societies, and addressing the threat posed by violence and hate is a critical challenge for us all. Google and YouTube are committed to being part of the solution. We are working with government, law enforcement and civil society groups to tackle the problem of violent extremism online. There should be no place for terrorist content on our services.

While we and others have worked for years to identify and remove content that violates our policies, the uncomfortable truth is that we, as an industry, must acknowledge that more needs to be done. Now.

We have thousands of people around the world who review and counter abuse of our platforms. Our engineers have developed technology to prevent re-uploads of known terrorist content using image-matching technology. We have invested in systems that use content-based signals to help identify new videos for removal. And we have developed partnerships with expert groups, counter-extremism agencies, and the other technology companies to help inform and strengthen our efforts.

Today, we are pledging to take four additional steps.

First, we are increasing our use of technology to help identify extremist and terrorism-related videos. This can be challenging: a video of a terrorist attack may be informative news reporting if broadcast by the BBC, or glorification of violence if uploaded in a different context by a different user. We have used video analysis models to find and assess more than 50 per cent of the terrorism-related content we have removed over the past six months. We will now devote more engineering resources to apply our most advanced machine learning research to train new “content classifiers” to help us more quickly identify and remove extremist and terrorism-related content.

28 June 2017

SOF Operational Design and Strategic Education for the 21st Century Warrior-Scholar

by Tony Rivera and Robert Schafer

Introduction

In August of 2011 a special working group was assembled at the Pinewood Campus of the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) on MacDill, Air Force Base in Florida. In attendance were “Eleven participants from various SOF and academic backgrounds... the SOF Chairs from PME institutions; Senior Fellows from the JSOU Strategic Studies Department; and other academic and strategic thinkers with an interest in SOF’s strategic utility.”[1] The attendees were given three very difficult questions to answer: What is Special Operations Forces (SOF) power? What is the theory and art of SOF power? How can SOF power be better implemented by civilian leadership? “The workgroup confirmed the Special Operations community lacks a unifying theory and associated literature on how Special Operations fit into national security policy even as preference for their use as an instrument of national policy increases.”[2] The recommendations were thoughtful, serious, and worthy of further consideration. What was striking, however, was the virtual absence of the mention of SOF Operational Design.

The United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) has been taking the lead in answering some of these questions through their development of SOF Operational Design. SOF Operational Design emerged from the work done by the J-7 Operational Design Planner’s Handbook[3] and the School of Advanced Military Studies’ Art of Design curriculum—a curriculum that embraces the complex adaptive nature of the battlefield and the operational environment. “These continually emerging realities require adaptive leadership techniques, new strategic and tactical cognitive approaches, and organizational learning methodologies to keep pace with the multiple adversaries who are confronting our country. These lethal assemblages have a strategic perspective and are using asymmetric

27 June 2017

HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? THE FITZGERALD, THE U.S. NAVY, AND COLLISIONS AT SEA

BRYAN MCGRATH



On Saturday, at about 2:30 AM local time, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and the Philippine container ship ACX Crystal collided southwest of Yokosuka, Japan — the home of the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet. Several crew members were injured (including the commanding officer), and when flooded spaces were accessed pier-side, the bodies of seven sailors were found.

It is difficult to understand how something like this could happen, given the size of the vessels, the well-understood rules that govern the movement of ships, the expanse of the ocean, the technology available to avoid collisions, and the (relatively) slow speed at which ships move. As this tragedy unfolded in near-real time, on Friday night (Eastern time), I participated in a robust exchange on Twitter, trying to offer what little I could to concerned people trying to make sense of the news. Concern for the crew dominated the discussion, but there were many well-intentioned “how does something like this happen?” tweets. It would be premature and irresponsible to comment on the specifics of this collision, because I know nothing of them. What we have are photographs of two ships which give us some idea of the alignment of the vessels at impact, but which tell us little about their relative positions when the error chain began. There will be investigations and they will affix responsibility — such is the way of admiralty law and the practice of the U.S. Navy. Blame and responsibility have no place in this essay.

The (Overblown) Concerns Linking Foreign Fighters, Civil Wars, and Terrorist Campaigns

By Alex Braithwaite and Tiffany Chu

More than 30,000 foreign fighters from 100 countries have entered ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq since 2011. While the flow of these fighters has decreased dramaticallyover the past twelve months, two important concerns remain regarding foreign fighters. First, foreign fighters could radicalize rebel groups causing an escalation of violence in conflicts, lengthening their duration, and/or reducing opportunities for their resolution. Second, upon the conclusion of their participation in foreign conflicts, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks. In two articles at Research & Politics and Journal of Conflict Resolution, we suggest that both of these concerns are easily exaggerated.

Previous studies present divided evidence as to whether foreign fighters aid or undermine the rebels that they join. On the one hand, data summarizing foreign fighter participation across the period 1900 to 2006 suggest that conflicts involving foreign fighters were more likely, on average, to conclude with insurgent victory than with government victory. On the other hand, in Chechnya, the arrival of foreign fighters perverted the goals of local rebels, negatively affecting their resource and recruitment bases and losing them support within local populations.

26 June 2017

The Battle for Marawi City

by Time Magazine

On what was to be her wedding day, Stephanie Villarosa ate chocolate-flavored rice porridge out of a styrofoam cup. Under normal circumstances—rings exchanged, fidelity promised, bride kissed—she and her family would have been feasting on lechón, roasted suckling pig, a delicacy in her fiancé’s hometown of Iligan City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Instead, Villarosa was huddled on an institutional plastic chair 38 km south of Iligan, inside Marawi City’s provincial government building. Outside, sniper fire crackled over the mosque-dotted hills to the east and military FA50 fighter jets thundered overhead. Wedding or no, the porridge was nourishing, and Villarosa was happy: “God is good. Today we survived.”

Survival has become a daily battle in Marawi, the capital of Mindanao’s Lanao del Sur province and whose mostly Muslim 200,000 population make the city the biggest Islamic community in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly Catholic country. Villarosa, a teacher in Marawi, was handing out wedding invitations when black-clad fighters of what the locals call Grupo ISIS swarmed the streets. She ran, hid, and took shelter in a nearby house with 38 other people. Outside, she heard, her workplace Dansalan College was burning, and Christians were being killed. “We rescued ourselves—no military,” says Villarosa. “We had to run, walk, crawl.” Seven of her colleagues, including the school’s principal, were unaccounted for, but, low on food and water, and with news that the military was set to bomb the area, Villarosa decided to get to the sanctuary of city hall. “It looked like a movie outside, it looked like The Walking Dead,” she says, referring to the post-apocalypse U.S. TV series.

Theresa May's Troubles and 'The Troubles'


Meghan L. O'Sullivan

On Monday, the newly elected Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, emerged from his meeting with his British counterpart, Theresa May, promising good news. Varadkar said he was satisfied May would not jeopardize the peace agreement in Northern Ireland in her efforts to secure the support of that province’s Democratic Unionist Party for her government.

Yet even if this is true, it is unrealistic to hope that a deal between the Tories and the DUP will have no impact on the politics of Northern Ireland. And if Varadkar is wrong, we could be headed toward a political stalemate or worse, and a possible economic crisis in that corner of the United Kingdom.

May needs the DUP, which is dedicated to keeping Northern Ireland part of the U.K., to join in a “confidence and supply” arrangement, in which its representatives in Westminster would vote with her Conservatives on votes of no-confidence or other key matters such as the budget. This would give the DUP outsized influence, which some worry might be used to put off a referendum on whether the province should remain part of U.K or join Ireland, which was allowed for under certain circumstances by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended the “The Troubles.” Varadkar says he’s confident May will not yield to any DUP request to put off the vote.

25 June 2017

Too Little, Too Late? White House-Pentagon Review of the War in Afghanistan Pushes Cracking Down on Pakistan For Its Support of Taliban and ISIS


President Donald Trump’s administration appears ready to harden its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan, U.S. officials tell Reuters.

Potential Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding U.S. drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Some U.S. officials, however, are sceptical of the prospects for success, arguing that years of previous U.S. efforts to curb Pakistan’s support for militant groups have failed, and that already strengthening U.S. ties to India, Pakistan’s arch-enemy, undermine chances of a breakthrough with Islamabad.

U.S. officials say they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, once the administration finishes a regional review of the strategy guiding the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Precise actions have yet to be decided.

The White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the review before its completion. Pakistan’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Why has Italy been spared mass terror attacks in recent years?


Each time Youssef Zaghba landed in Bologna, there was someone waiting for him as he got off the plane. It was no secret in Italy that the 22-year-old Moroccan-born Italian, identified as one of three terrorists behind the London Bridge attack, was under close surveillance.

“They would talk to him at the airport. Then, during his stay, police officers would come a couple of times a day to check on him,” his mother, Valeria Collina, said in an interview with the Guardian. “They were friendly to Youssef. They would say: ‘Hey son, tell me what you have been doing. What are you doing? How are you?’”

In the weeks since the attack, Zaghba’s role has shone a light on the differences between how terror suspects are handled in Italy and the UK. Upon his arrival in London, Zaghba’s mother said, he was never once stopped at the airport or interrogated, even though Italian officials had warned British counterparts that he was a threat.

Franco Gabrielli, Italy’s chief of police, has said of Italy’s efforts to alert the UK: “Our conscience is clear.” Scotland Yard, in turn, has said Zaghba “was not a police or MI5 subject of interest”.

Italy has suffered from its share of political violence in recent decades, including the murder of two prominent anti-mafia judges in the 1990s. But unlike almost all of its big European neighbours, it has not witnessed a major terrorist attack since the 1980s.

Is Italy just lucky? Have the country’s counter-terrorism policies – born out of years of anti-mafia policing and intelligence work and a decade of bloody political violence in the 1970s – given Italian officials an edge in the age of Isis? Or are there other factors at play?

“The main difference is Italy doesn’t have a big population of second-generation immigrants that have been radicalised or could potentially be radicalised,” said Francesca Galli, an assistant professor at Maastricht University and an expert in counter-terrorism policies.

Hard Questions: How We Counter Terrorism

By Monika Bickert,

In the wake of recent terror attacks, people have questioned the role of tech companies in fighting terrorism online. We want to answer those questions head on. We agree with those who say that social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice. We want to be very clear how seriously we take this — keeping our community safe on Facebook is critical to our mission.

In this post, we’ll walk through some of our behind-the-scenes work, including how we use artificial intelligence to keep terrorist content off Facebook, something we have not talked about publicly before. We will also discuss the people who work on counterterrorism, some of whom have spent their entire careers combating terrorism, and the ways we collaborate with partners outside our company.

Our stance is simple: There’s no place on Facebook for terrorism. We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them. When we receive reports of potential terrorism posts, we review those reports urgently and with scrutiny. And in the rare cases when we uncover evidence of imminent harm, we promptly inform authorities. Although academic research finds that the radicalization of members of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda primarily occurs offline, we know that the internet does play a role — and we don’t want Facebook to be used for any terrorist activity whatsoever.

We believe technology, and Facebook, can be part of the solution.

We’ve been cautious, in part because we don’t want to suggest there is any easy technical fix. It is an enormous challenge to keep people safe on a platform used by nearly 2 billion every month, posting and commenting in more than 80 languages in every corner of the globe. And there is much more for us to do. But we do want to share what we are working on and hear your feedback so we can do better.

24 June 2017

*** THE BATTLE FOR MARAWI CITY


On what was to be her wedding day, Stephanie Villarosa ate chocolate-flavored rice porridge out of a styrofoam cup. Under normal circumstances—rings exchanged, fidelity promised, bride kissed—she and her family would have been feasting on lechón, roasted suckling pig, a delicacy in her fiancé’s hometown of Iligan City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Instead, Villarosa was huddled on an institutional plastic chair 38 km south of Iligan, inside Marawi City’s provincial government building. Outside, sniper fire crackled over the mosque-dotted hills to the east and military FA50 fighter jets thundered overhead. Wedding or no, the porridge was nourishing, and Villarosa was happy: “God is good. Today we survived.”

Survival has become a daily battle in Marawi, the capital of Mindanao’s Lanao del Sur province and whose mostly Muslim 200,000 population make the city the biggest Islamic community in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly Catholic country. Villarosa, a teacher in Marawi, was handing out wedding invitations when black-clad fighters of what the locals call Grupo ISIS swarmed the streets. She ran, hid, and took shelter in a nearby house with 38 other people. Outside, she heard, her workplace Dansalan College was burning, and Christians were being killed. “We rescued ourselves—no military,” says Villarosa. “We had to run, walk, crawl.” Seven of her colleagues, including the school’s principal, were unaccounted for, but, low on food and water, and with news that the military was set to bomb the area, Villarosa decided to get to the sanctuary of city hall. “It looked like a movie outside, it looked like The Walking Dead,” she says, referring to the post-apocalypse U.S. TV series.

Trump, Who Said He Was Smarter Than All America’s Generals, Has Outsourced the War in Afghanistan

Mark Landler and Michael R. Gordon

WASHINGTON — When President Trump made his first major decision on the war in Afghanistan, he did not announce it in a nationally televised address from the White House or a speech at West Point.

Instead, the Pentagon issued a news release late one afternoon last week confirming that the president had given the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, the authority to send several thousand additional troops to a war that, in its 16th year, engages about 8,800 American troops.

Mr. Trump, who writes avidly on Twitter about war and peace in other parts of the world, said nothing about the announcement. But its effect was unmistakable: He had outsourced the decision on how to proceed militarily in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, a startling break with how former President Barack Obama and many of his predecessors handled the anguished task of sending Americans into foreign conflicts.

The White House played down the Pentagon’s vaguely worded statement, which referred only to setting “troop levels” as a stopgap measure — a tacit admission of the administration’s internal conflicts over what to do about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

With a president who ran for office almost never having talked about the war, a coterie of political advisers who bitterly oppose deeper American engagement in it, and a national security team dominated by generals worried about the consequences if the United States does not act quickly, the decision could succeed in buying time for Mr. Trump and his advisers to fully deliberate over what to do in Afghanistan.

New playground for non-state actors

M. K. Narayanan

‘Internet-enabled’ terrorism has introduced greater complexity in an already difficult scenario

Hidden terror was, till now, believed to be confined mainly to the less developed regions of the world — the 9/11 attack in the U.S. was seen as an aberration, or exception, rather than the rule in this respect. Since 2015, however, with the attack in January of that year on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, followed by a series of major terrorist incidents in Brussels, Paris, Nice, Berlin and Istanbul during the past two years, it is evident that the developed world is no longer immune from terror strikes.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the vast majority of these attacks, though this may not be true in all cases. What is not disputed any longer is that the West now has a sizeable number of radicalised Islamist elements who are willing to perpetrate acts of terror — either on their own, or under instructions from elsewhere.

Timeline of the new phase