CTX Vol 8 No 1 May 2018


A Quarterly Peer Reviewed Online Journal

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Letter from the Editor   |   Vol. 8, No. 1, May 2018

The Combating Terrorism Exchange staff are happy to bring you the Spring 2018 issue of CTX. The terrorism landscape looks different and also very much the same since our last issue came out in spring 2017. ISIS is on the run and no longer has a secure stronghold in Syria or Iraq. It has been pushed out of the large cities and towns it once held, but even partial victory has come at a tremendous cost in military and civilian lives, in treasure, and in the very structure of the besieged cities that ISIS held. Much of Mosul was destroyed to save it.

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Confronting an ISIS Emir

Most experts agree that the most successful counter-messaging campaigns against ISIS are the ones that use the voices of insiders—both ISIS victims and ISIS cadres who have firsthand knowledge of the group’s brutality, corruption, religious manipulation, and deception. With this in mind, we at the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSV E) have spent the last two years in Western Europe, Turkey, Iraq, Central Asia, and the Balkans interviewing ISIS defectors, ISIS prisoners, and ISIS cadre returnees from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
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Maps in the Analysis of Insurgencies: The Case of ISIS

When the Mongols invaded parts of Europe in the early thirteenth century, they possessed an uncontested cavalry, highly sophisticated siege weapons, great discipline, and unmatched tactics and strategies. They defeated the great empires of the East and tried to achieve similar successes by expanding west into a vulnerable Europe that was weakened by the struggle between the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX. After the Mongols succeeded in invading Poland and Hungary, however, they abruptly retreated from Europe amid serious preparations to invade Austria.
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Media Demobilizing and Reintegrating Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has experienced armed conflict both internally and with its neighbors since the mid-1990s. The presence of a variety of armed groups, including foreign fighters, Congolese militias, and rebel forces, has become a major obstacle to peace and security in the region. These armed groups have violated human rights through acts that include murder, kidnaping, torture of civilians, mass rape, the use of child soldiers, and the burning of houses and entire settlements. These conflicts have killed hundreds of thousands and affected millions of lives.
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The Dealing with Contingencies in South Sudan 

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was established by UNSecurity Council Resolution 1996 (2011) to “consolidate peace and security, and help establish conditions for development in the Republic of South Sudan.”1Over the past few years, however, UNMISS has been highly criticized by the international community for failing to carry out its mandate. The Security Council’s mandate tasks the peacekeepers with protecting civilians, deterring human rights violations, creating conditions conducive for the delivery of humanitarian aid, and supporting the conflict resolution agreement in South Sudan.
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This interview is taken from the collection of the Combating Terrorism Archive Project (CTA P).1 On 21 March 2018, noted military historian Max Boot visited the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, Cali-fornia, where he and Major Anders Hamlin discussed Boot’s recently published biography of Edward Lansdale and the legacy of Lansdale’s efforts to establish and support stable governments in the Philippines and Vietnam between 1950 and 1957.
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This interview is taken from the collection of the Combating Terrorism Archive Project (CTA P).1 On 12 September 2016, Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council, visited the USNaval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California. Dr. Doug Borer of the Defense Analysis Department at NPS spoke with Marashi about the then-recently concluded multilateral agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s tactics in the Persian Gulf, and the role of Hezbollah and Iran in Syria.
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The Written Word

The violent Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram exhibits a rare ideological complexity compared to other similar movements. Over time, the group grafted political motives and religious pretexts onto the core economic and social grievances that gave birth to it. Now, after seven years of conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian army in northeastern Nigeria, the humanitarian situation is catastrophic, and the socioeconomic fabric of the region is completely devastated.
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This journal is not an official DoD publication. The views expressed or implied within are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any governmental or nongovernmental organization or agency of the United States of America or any other country.


Copyright © 2018 by the author(s), except where otherwise noted. The Combating Terrorism Exchange journal (CTX) is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research, or educational purposes free of charge and without permission, except if otherwise noted. Any commercial use of CTX or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published herein rests with the author(s) of the article, unless otherwise noted.


MICHAEL FREEMAN Executive Editor
ANNA SIMONS Executive Editor
RYAN STUART Design & Layout



University of Albany SUNY


Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies


US Naval Postgraduate School


Royal Danish Defense College


US Army


National Defense Univesity


US Naval Postgraduate School


US Naval War College