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Raffaello Pantucci

Position: Senior Research Fellow

Raffaello Pantucci's research focuses on counter-terrorism as well as China's relations with its western neighbours.

Prior to coming to RUSI, Raffaello lived for over three years in Shanghai where he was a visiting scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). Before that he worked in London at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. He has also held positions at the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR) and International Center for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King's College, London.

He is the author of a forthcoming history of jihadism in the UK, 'We Love Death As You Love Life: Britain's Suburban Mujahedeen' (Hurst/Columbia University Press), and is currently working on a writing project looking at Chinese interests in Central Asia. His journal articles have appeared in Survival, The National Interest, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, and RUSI Journal amongst others, and his writing has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CNN, Guardian, Foreign Policy, South China Morning Post, and more.

For more information on Raffaello's work please visit: and for his work on China and Central Asia: He is also the co-founder of YCW, a network organisation focused on China:


RUSI articles and analysis by this author

Putin and Xi Jinping Tensions Over Ukraine: Where Does China Sit? 11 Apr 2014
On the growing crisis over Ukraine, China has remained quietly supportive of Russia. Yet, Russia overestimates and exaggerates China’s level of support that is closer to acquiescence rather than actual support for the turmoil that Russia is engendering.

Free Syria Army Idlib February 2012 - Photo by tinyccSyriaFreedom Thick As Thieves: European Criminals Take to Syria’s Battlefield 31 Mar 2014
Individuals with known criminal histories are a surprisingly common feature of the current Syrian battlefield. While their motives may be a combination of redemption and opportunism, returnees in this mode pose a complicated threat picture for security services to process if they return.

AbdulWahidMajeed Syria's First British Suicide Bomber: The UK Jihadist Backdrop 14 Feb 2014
The revelation that the Syrian conflict has perhaps claimed its first British suicide bomber poses urgent questions for the radical group he came from in the UK, and the threat from extremists radicalised over a long period of time.

Pakistan China flags China in Pakistan: An Awkward Relationship Beneath the Surface 15 Jan 2014
In seeking to protect its growing investment in Pakistan, China will need to nurture its regional ‘little brother’ – but this may not ultimately be to the West’s advantage (Free access)

RUSI CREST Reviews 17 Dec 2013

Pavlo Lapshyn 2 From Ukraine with Hate: What Pavlo Lapshyn Conviction Says About the Far-Right Extremism 25 Oct 2013
Far-right extremist Pavlo Lapshyn has today been imprisoned for murdering a Muslim man and attempting to bomb mosques. The incident highlights that violent Islamists are not the only ones willing to murder in advance of a political ideology.

Al-Shabaab Fighter The Westgate Nairobi Attack: A Sign of the Diversified Threat from Al-Qa’ida 4 Oct 2013
The locus of countering Al-Qa’ida style terrorism has now shifted overseas, with Western governments facing a new and complex set of issues that have been brought into particular focus by recent events at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.

Free Syria Army Flag How Might Syria Come Back to the UK? 20 Aug 2013
Day by day, the Syrian Civil War is attracting foreign fighters, particularly from Europe. While there is no clear evidence of such individuals being sent back to carry out terrorist acts, historically similar jihadist battlefields have produced terrorist threats of one form or another.

Al-Shabaab Somalia Al-Qa'ida's August Surprise? 5 Aug 2013
US officials are speaking of a level of terrorist chatter as high as that prior to 11 September 2001. With Embassy closures across the Muslim world, large-scale prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, the threat tempo is rising. Is Al-Qa'ida planning an August surprise?

Abu Qatada cropped Abu Qatada Leaves the United Kingdom 9 Jul 2013
Abu Qatada symbolised an era of British jihadism that relied on radical preachers to motivate a generation of terrorists. His departure, alongside a general degradation of al Qaeda's capacity to launch large-scale orchestrated plots from Waziristan marks an end of an era that had its peak during the 7 July 2005 attacks on London.

201307 NB Pantucci thumbnail Beyond the Ladakh Border Dispute 24 Jun 2013
The relationship between China and India will be critical to future regional dynamics but ongoing uncertainty over the Ladakh border threatens to undermine the two countries’ efforts at co-operation.

Woolwich attacker The Woolwich Murder: Initial Assessments of Another Lone Actor Attack 23 May 2013
From film and eye-witness footage, it is quite clear that the perpetrators of the Woolwich attack were motivated for terrorist ends. The trend is now quite apparent, as is their intended objective of sowing societal discord.

We Hate the EDL More Than We Love Life? 9 May 2013
Last week, Islamist extremists were found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack on a rally of the English Defence League. The case shows how extremists from both sides are turning to violent means. It also shows how Jihadists in the United Kingdom are focusing on domestic targets.

Boston Marathon thumbnail Boston Bombers Highlight Difficulties of Countering Isolated Terror Cells 24 Apr 2013
As motives and operational set-up of the Boston bombers become known, urgent questions will be asked about how US intelligence agencies are prioritising threats in the United States. The case reveals the huge dilemma faced in collecting, evaluating and acting on credible intelligence leads.

Boston Marathon thumbnail Boston Marathon: 'Keep Calm and Carry on Running' 16 Apr 2013
The authorities in the United States are rightly cautious in ascribing blame to yesterday's incident in Boston. The explosions - killing three and injuring over 140 - highlight the importance of securing public events without being governed by fear.

al-Nusra Front thumb The al-Nusra Front 'Merger': Underscoring the Growing Regionalisation of Al-Qa'ida 15 Apr 2013
There is much confusion over the supposed 'merger' between Syria's Jabhet al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq group. The confusion itself emphasisesthe erosion of Al-Qa'ida's supra-national aims and the reduced focus on Western targets.

Birmingham 3 February 2013 The Birmingham Terrorist Plotters: Lessons for Counter-Terrorism Today 22 Feb 2013
The convictions of three Birmingham residents of a terrorist plot reveal classic linkages between homegrown bombers and Pakistan. The supply side of the terrorist threat in the UK continues to prove a problem.

Al-Shabaab Somalia France Confronts Terror Threat in Africa, Risks Attack at Home 17 Jan 2013
The French assault on militant jihadists in Mali reflects a recognition in Paris that the long-brewing Islamist trouble in North Africa is something that has started to spiral out of control, and has potential to have a direct impact within France.

Predator Deep Impact: The Effect of Drone Attacks on British Counter-Terrorism 30 Oct 2009
Drone air strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan have proven a contraversial tactic in the War on Terror. But they may have further complications back in the UK

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