RUSI in the News: 21 March - 3 April

Op – Eds

The Age of the Lone Wolf is Far From Over

Even as the Islamic State evolves into a more sophisticated network, it will still cultivate unhinged, solo actors to further its fanatical ends.

Raffaello Pantucci in Foreign Policy 30 March

Brussels attacks show that terrorists can strike at will

The bigger issue, however, is not who is to blame for this atrocity but rather how much Europe will warp to address an acute terrorist threat, with cells apparently able to launch large-scale atrocities on an increasingly regular basis.

Raffaello Pantucci for The Financial Times 22 March

Palmyra's recapture a psychological boost for fight against IS

Palmyra's fall was a huge blow to the momentum built up by the counter-IS coalition and undoubtedly pushed back estimations of the jihadists' demise by months, if not years.

Michael Stephens for the BBC 28 March

India’s War by Srinath Raghavan

As India’s confident elites dust off and adapt these regional aspirations to the 21st century, Raghavan’s splendid history is a reminder not just of India’s historic contribution to the defeat of fascism, but also its geopolitical potential throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Shashank Joshi for The Financial Times, 25 March

#147notjustanumber: Reclaiming the hearts of Kenya’s youth a year on from Garissa

Responsibility for both was claimed by the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, and in the case of Garissa, it soon became clear that the principle victims of the assault were young Kenyans from all over the country.

Martine Zeuthen for African Arguments, 1  April

The Kurds' bloody struggle for a state of their own

Just about the only thing all these countries agree on is that the Kurds must be denied an independent existence, although that does not prevent the government of each one of these states from playing the "Kurdish card" against each other.

Jonathan Eyal for The Straits Times, 21 March and mentioned in Wrong for Kurds to resort to terrorism

Will Terrorists Build a Dirty Bomb?

Given the continued interest by terrorists in acquiring dirty bomb capabilities, it is essential that countries around the world recognise illicit procurement pathways and take action to secure radiological materials and the sites in which they are used.

Cristina Varriale for Prospect Magazine


Brussels Attacks

Karin von Hippel for the BBC, 23 March

Russia and Syria

Igor Sutyagin for Al Jazeera, 24 March

Airport Security

HA Hellyer for the BBC, 29 March

Afzal Ashraf for CNN, 29 March (Transcript)

Counter-Terrorist Financing

Tom Keatinge for Voice of America, 22 March

Quoted in the Media

Brussels Attack

Experts: Belgium often comes up short in preventing attacks
"There is sort of a perfect union," he said — a combination of homegrown, hardened Muslim radicals willing to act and possessing the tools and opportunity, as well as a government and law enforcement structure that simply isn't up to the task.

Raffaello Pantucci for Associated Press, 24 March
Also:  Chicago Sun-Times, Japan Times The Independent and The Daily Star The International Business Times, The Daily Express, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The Express

Brussels Airport and Metro explosions: How events unfolded as passengers killed in blasts at Zaventem airport and Maalbeek Metro station
“It is higher security than a metro stop or a concert venue. It’s an international site. It’s almost a trade-off between dealing with higher security and the number of headlines.”

Shashank Joshi in The Evening Standard, 22 March

Also: The Newsletter, Newcastle Chronicle, Press and Journal,  VOA, Wales Online

Syrian Crisis

Syrian Electronic Army now on FBI's 10 most wanted
Lawson told that “I suspect that the most likely reason for the action was to demonstrate that anonymity for hackers is not guaranteed and that the US can and will identify them. At first sight, this could appear an over reaction to what has until now been relatively petty crime. Whilst the actions of the SEA have been an irritant they have not done any significant damage albeit for the regime they demonstrate that it still has friends who have the capacity to have effects outside the country.”

Ewan Lawson in SC Magazine, 23 March

Are North Koreans fighting in Syria? It's not as far-fetched as it sounds
In a report published last year, Berger had described how the relationship was originally based upon military training but eventually graduated to weapons sales, including ballistic missiles and chemical weapons.

Andrea Berger in South China Morning Post, 28 March

Global Counter-terror

Isis in Libya: Stoking conflict

So far the west has been able to take slight reassurance from the fact that after four years of chaos in Libya, the situation isn’t worse,” says Jonathan Eyal, associate director of the UK’s Royal United Services Institute. “The real worry — which we have to face up to now with Isis growing — is that the mess spreads.

Jonathan Eyal in The Financial Times, 20 March

THAT'S how to treat ISIS: 20 jihadi recruiters face being KICKED OUT of Russia by Putin

Mr Sutyagin told "There is the threat [of homegrown extremists] because of the multinational structure of Russian society.

Igor Sutyagin in The Express, 31 March

German prosecutor: Hard to convict 'Islamic State' returnees

"There are people who genuinely go and have a bad experience and want to have a normal life, or could be useful as countermessaging tools. And there are people that went out there who aren't terrorist-motivated."

Raffaello Pantucci for Deutsche Welle, 29 March

Nuclear ISIS fears can only be quashed with western boots on the ground

She adds: “We need to improve our understanding of what drives young men and women to join radical groups and commit such appalling acts before we have any hope of a more comprehensive response to the threat.”

Karin von Hippel for The Mirror, 3 April

Europe’s quandary: Fighting a war on Isis within its borders

“There is a realisation that this is not a war you can bomb or shoot your way out of, but you have to deal with individuals who are radicalised at home, to examine the reasons that they are exploring this other identity,” said Pantucci.

Raffaello Pantucci for The Irish Times 24 March

Terrorism and Euro 2016: What the ISIS Attacks Mean for the Upcoming Soccer Tournament

"It has to be a concern because we know that ISIS is looking for soft targets," Margaret Gilmore, senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said Wednesday. Thus, attacking a football event, like Euro 2016, would have great value for a terrorist group, given the sport's popularity and what it represents to some extremists.

Margaret Gilmore, for News Mic, 25 March

Islamic State Better Resourced Than Al-Qaida for Long Terror Campaign

“The purpose of any of these attacks is get the headline, show the capability of the network and provoke fear among European public,” he says.

Shashank Joshi for VOA, 25 March

Counter-terrorism is a relentless challenge to spot the critical intelligence

“Anything that gets very high priority will be acted on immediately, but even things given a fairly high priority may get left for 48 hours or a week because there aren’t enough analysts. In the case of Belgium, information can bounce around before it is picked up.”

Michael Clarke in The Observer 27 March

REVEALED: UK and Jordanian special forces target al-Shabab in Somalia

Joshi said it was unsurprising to him that Jordan and Britain would cooperate on military matters given their closeness, adding that Jordanian troops may have the “niche skills” required to operate in East Africa against Islamist groups whose members speak Arabic.

Shashank Joshi for Middle East Eye 25 March

An attack on the fabric of Western society

Terrorism expert Margaret Gilmore of the Royal United Services Institute said that one of the key questions now was how the Belgian authorities, after arresting key members of the Paris cell in Brussels based on good intelligence, allowed another cell to have access to bombs and firearms.

Margaret Gilmore for The Irish Examiner 23 March

Paris, Brussels attacks highlight EU security challenges

“I think they vastly underestimated the size,” said Raffaello Pantucci, director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute. “The scale of people you see going to Syria and Iraq… they didn’t realise it could escalate so quickly.”

Raffaello Pantucci for France 24 29 March

Brussels Attacks Show Zero Risk Impossible as Terror Spreads

The events in Brussels are the result of “a very big problem that has quite strong roots in this country,” said Raffaelo Pantucci, director of international security studies at London’s Royal United Services Institute. Even with suspected extremists under tight watch, “you don’t know that you’re not just looking at a partial piece of the picture,” he said.

Raffaello Pantucci for Bloomberg

Airport Security

Spotlight on Aviation Security Following Brussels Attacks

“We are likely to see a review of airport security as there is political expectation in these circumstances that something must be done and defenses increased, and if you are caught out twice there will be political hell to pay,” Joshi says.

Shashank Joshi for Voice of America 23 March

British airport security checks face review in wake of Belgian attacks

“People will now wonder whether we have to increase physical security in airports and other places. But these targets are very difficult to protect.”

Raffaello Pantucci for The Telegraph 22 March

Brussels Attacks: Belgian Intelligence Services 'Overwhelmed and Outnumbered’ by Jihadis

“If you go to some countries around the world like Pakistan, the [airport] security starts very far out. The security starts in some places at the car park, someone will check your car,” he adds. “In other countries, in China for example, they check you at the door of the building itself. In other countries, they check it at the gate. It really varies. That depends on the country that you live in and the level of the threat that you are looking at.”

Raffaello Pantucci for Newsweek  and The Daily Mail  22 March

Terror in the terminal: Chilling footage shows moment passengers cower under desks and run for their lives in immediate aftermath of twin blasts

'At this point, there has not been a claim of responsibility,' he said. 'An airport usually suggests international terrorism, but it would not surprise me if it was linked with the wider community around that network.'

Raffaello Pantucci for The Daily Mail 23 March

ISIS targeting UK airports: British jihadist warns Gatwick is next target for attack

If someone's threatening airports, you’ve got to check it out just in case this person turns out to be someone who is serious.”

Raffaello Pantucci in The Express and Daily Mail 1 April

North Korean Sanctions

The dirty reason China can't always tell North Korea what to do

"I think it's an indication that the Chinese managed to negotiate a wide exemption for the coal trade," Andrea Berger, deputy director of the proliferation and nuclear policy program at the Royal United Services Institute, told Reuters.

Andrea Berger in Business Insider UK  29 March

A Hole in North Korean Sanctions Big Enough for Coal, Oil and Used Pianos

“Whenever there are provocations, the traders say that the higher-ups call for enforcement, and then a few months later there is no systematic implementation,”

Andrea Berger for New York Times  and Boston Globe 31 March

Financial Crime

Barclays case threatens to expose secrets of bank de-risking

De-risking is not just impacting individuals and charities, it also affects global trade and isolates smaller nations from the financial system, but, thus far, the banking community seems unwilling to relent.

Tom Keatinge for Middle East Eye, 2 April

Saudi Arabian politics

Who Are the New Faces of the Saudi Monarchy?

“If you compare his style to King Abdullah, he’s less of a father figure than Abdullah was, and more of a man who’s overseeing a transition period. He’s been fast-moving in the way he’s wanted to reorganize a bunch of government departments and ministries, firing a lot of the old princes, getting a lot of new guys in.”

Michael Stephens for PBS Frontline, 29 March

Events At RUSI

Mysterious arrest of Taliban supreme leader’s arch rival in Pakistan

“Earlier we were thinking that the Afghan Government wanted peace talks with all Taliban, but when we saw that it is interested only in making peace with Mullah Mansur because of the dictates of the Pakistani Government, we decided we cannot start peace talks with the Afghan Government,” Rasool told the UK-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Khaama Press 22 March

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