Tag: Terrorism

Why Not Nuke ISIS?

Last week I received a call from a journalist doing background research for an article.  The journalist wanted to know whether I thought a nuclear weapon could be used against ISIS. I was admittedly surprised at this question.  But apparently the journalist queried me about this issue because others are asking about it as well…. Read more »

How did the 13 November Paris Killers get their Guns?

Full details of the arms used in the 13 November massacres will emerge in time. This post provides some information on illicit automatic weapons, such as the Kalashnikov, in France, and how they reach illicit markets. Overall, it appears that there is a pool of several thousand illicit military style firearms in France and relatively… Read more »

Paris Attacks may have Consequences for European Cities

Attacks in Paris show how urban security challenges are becoming more complex. They ask difficult questions and present no easy answers. Friday’s attacks in Paris were an alarming reminder of the threats of organised violence in European cities. This comes less than a year after the assault against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and days… Read more »

Why the ISIS Threat is Totally Overblown

One of the most remarkable phenomena of the last year is the way ISIS, the vicious insurgent group in Iraq and Syria, has captured the imagination of the public in Western countries. And as usual, officials and the media have fallen over themselves to respond with urgency. Americans had remained substantially unmoved by even worse… Read more »

The Dangers of Alarmism

Threat identification and threat inflation are clearly important elements in international affairs. However, determining which threats and fears people and policymakers will embrace as notable and important is difficult. Thus, the American public and its leaders have remained remarkably calm about the dangers of genetically modified food while becoming very wary of nuclear power. The… Read more »

Social Media Responses to this Winter’s Terror Attacks

Social media have brought Kenya into focus recently, with people’s reactions to the attack at the University of Garissa spreading on Facebook and Twitter. Social media users have been sharing an image of a candle against a black background, accompanied by the single word “Kenya”. In this way they have demonstrated sympathy for the 148… Read more »

Legality and Courtesy

In his opinion article in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten on 21 January, Per Edgar Kokkvold (secretary general in the Norwegian Press Association) stated the obvious, “It is people who must be protected – and who are protected under current legislation, under the law that prohibits discriminatory or hateful utterances, persecution or insults based on religion… Read more »

After Charlie Hebdo: We Must Never Cease to Protect the Rights of People who Provoke and Challenge

Why do satirists and critics of religion have to be so provocative? Why must they publish images that they know to be offensive to some people’s beliefs and traditions – and that brutal extremists may use as a pretext for terrorist acts? That such questions are asked is understandable. But for many reasons they must… Read more »