RUSI in the News: 23 July - 29 July


Raffaello Pantucci on Attacks in France, TodayFM


Coup attempt in Turkey remains misunderstood
Turkey dodged a bullet with the failure of the reckless coup attempt, but paid a considerable price, in blood, in the process. Many in the international community haven’t appreciated that adequately – and that will continue to have repercussions in future engagements with Ankara.

HA Hellyer, The National, 28 July

Analysis: Isil knows its priorities - and killing Christians is one of them
Isil's so-called “soldiers” in Europe appear to share some characteristics. They frequently have criminal backgrounds, while many have experienced mental difficulties. Most have a poor grasp of religious ideas, and are rarely pious. Isil’s war in Europe will evolve in unpredictable and erratic ways, because the generals do not command the troops.

Sashank Joshi, The Telegraph, 27 July

Happiness is a huge gun: Cold War thrillers and the modern nuclear deterrent
As what is known officially as Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent (“Trident” to everyone else) returns to the top of the political agenda, the cultural dimension of the debate will no doubt continue to be overlooked. Yet culture matters in politics, especially when the issue is a weapon.

Andrew Glazzard for The New Statesman, 25 July

A Shift in Tactics for ISIS in Afghanistan?

The Afghan context does not provide a fertile breeding ground for ISIS. Many Afghans are deeply suspicious and hostile to outsiders and the country, despite its divisions, has remained less riven by sectarian tensions than elsewhere in the region.

Emily Winterbotham in Newsweek, 25 July

What does a modern terrorist look like and what motivates them?
It is almost impossible to turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about Isil, terrorism or political violence. If you are a socially awkward individual with violent tendencies who is seeking some sort of meaning in your life, then the methodology of a “lone wolf” spree under the banner of such a group may be appealing. It will provide you with a way to punish the world around you whilst also giving meaning to your act.

Raffaello Pantucci for The Telegraph, 23 July

Lone Actor Terrorism

Amateur terror attacks may mark a new chapter in the ISIS war in Europe
“It’s a mass diffusion of the phenomenon, and it’s quite worrying that we’re seeing the attacks go in that direction,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at London’s Royal United Services Institute. “If it’s happening in remote villages in God knows where, what does that say for the levels of policing you’re going to need across the country?” Pantucci added.“Security forces have already been at full tempo for a very long time. You can’t maintain that intensity for a prolonged period. People just get tired.”

 Raffaello Pantucci in The Washinton Post 28 July

How Merkel reacts to crises better than other leader
The worst thing you can do is overreact by [making] mass arrests or declaring states of conflict. That can have a self-fulfilling prophecy; these groups are saying there’s a war of the west against Islam, and if we refer to a war it breathes life into their narrative,” said Pantucci, from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

Raffaello Pantucci for The Local, 28 July

Terror 'contagion' hits a fragile Europe
Emily Winterbotham, a senior researcher at RUSI, said the recent surge in violence "could be because people are emboldened by seeing others' acts, seeing they can cause so much damage by driving a lorry down a busy road. "They are emboldened by seeing other people 'succeed'."

Emily Winterbotham in France 24, 28 July

Terror 'contagion' hits a fragile Europe
"It's a tipping point. Where do we go from here?" asked radicalisation expert Tahir Abbas of the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank. "My fear is that it could get a lot worse because of the underlying conditions, and the economy is weak."

Tahir Abbas in France24, 28 July

Amateur terror attacks may mark a new chapter in the Islamic State war in Europe
If it's happening in remote villages in God knows where, what does that say for the levels of policing you're going to need across the country?" Pantucci added."Security forces have already been at full tempo for a very long time. You can't maintain that intensity for a prolonged period. People just get tired."

Raffaello Pantucci in Stars and Stripes, and The Straits Times, 27 July

Extremism and vilification of minorities is greatest threat to prosperous world

A paper by the think tank Royal United Services Institute that mapped terror activities around Europe over a period of 14 years, found that while 38 per cent of lone wolf terrorism was religiously inspired, as much as 33 per cent was right-wing extremism. The paper warns of the excessive media hype around Islamic-linked killings while ignoring the threat of right wingers.

The Economic Times, 26 July

Lone wolf attacks raise the tempo of terror in Europe
“It seems fairly clear that it is speeding up,” says Rafaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at the Rusi think-tank. “We are seeing a greater number and a greater degree of frequency — though there is still a lot that is hard to know. It’s still a hard task to parse just what is pre-planned and what is spontaneous; what is directed by Isis or what is in between.”

Raffaello Pantucci in The Financial Times, 26 July

Germany attacks: What is going on?
"Was the Ansbach bomber waiting for the right moment because all these other things were happening? It would not surprise me to find out that some activity was accelerated," he said.

Raffaello Pantucci, BBC News, 25 July

Gordon Campbell on the IOC’s treatment of Russian sport
Earlier this year, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) security think tank in London released a report on the phenomenon of lone wolf terrorism that included this telling observation:  The media, and consequently public attention, is largely focused on violent Islamist extremists; while this may reflect the broader threat, it is at odds with that from lone-actor terrorism… These findings have clear implications for policy-makers and practitioners; right-wing extremists represent a substantial aspect of the lone-actor threat and must not be overlooked. However, analysis of the CLAT database suggests that intelligence machinery may currently be more finely attuned to detecting [Islamic] religiously inspired lone-actor terrorists by comparison to their right-wing counterparts.

NZ NewsUK, 25 July

Europeans Ask if Violence Is Becoming Fact of Life
“When they used to hijack a plane, the idea was to swap passengers for some of their imprisoned comrades,” said Mr. Pantucci. “Now, you make a statement through the number of people you kill.”

Raffaello Pantucci in The Wall Street Journal, 24 July

Munich shooting: link to Anders Breivik is reminder of rising tide of far Right anger
A recent study led by the Royal United Services Institute found that when it came to attacks by lone actors without guidance from an outside group, the extreme Right was behind as many as Islamic extremists.

The Telegraph, 23 July


Intelligence officials have 'high confidence' Russian gov hacked DNC
Ewan Lawson, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and expert in cyber-warfare, gave some insight on the matter. He told, “Foreign powers interfering in elections is nothing new but arguably this is one of the first times when this has been enabled by cyber.”

Ewan Lawson, SC Magazine, 27 July

Democrats hacked: Russia trail sees Moscow accused of wider aims
 “The really big departure here is that this is a very direct involvement in US domestic politics of a kind that even under the KGB was only ever contemplated on the margins,” says Jonathan Eyal, international director at the think-tank Rusi.

Jonathan Eyal in The Financial Times, 25 July


Vietnam requests updates to UN Security Council resolution listings
“Vietnam is clearly requesting a change to the designation explanations for Choe Song Il and Kim Jung Jong. It does not wish to be publicly associated with sanctions breaches and has given evidence that the individuals have left the country, which it claims should be sufficient for the ‘Vietnam’ portion of the designation text to be stricken,” Andrea Berger of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) told NK News on Thursday.

Andrea Berger in The Local, 28 July


Backwardness of the Muslim world
There is concern among informed political quarters that Turkey may move in the opposite direction. “It may well be that democracy in Turkey has triumphed only to be strangled at a slower pace,” says Jonathan Eyal, the international director at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute.

Jonathan Eyal in The Express Tribune, 24 July


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