Handbook, Part III: Prevention of Preparatory Acts

15 Jan 2021
 

In the third part of the Handbook of Terrorism Prevention and Preparedness, the authors explore methods to disrupt the traditional tools of terrorist groups and preparatory actions that can considerably hinder or remove their capacity to function as an organisation. The full table of contents can be found here.

The Handbook consists of five parts. New chapters will be released on a weekly basis. To receive a monthly update on chapter releases, subscribe here.

Part III: Prevention of Preparatory Acts

by Ahmet S. Yayla

Abstract
The long-term survival of terrorist organizations relies on their ability to attract new members and maintain an ongoing terrorist recruitment cycle. The numbers of terrorist organization members may decrease due to counterterrorism operations or defections, forcing the leaders of those groups to seek new members. Preventing terrorist recruitment is one of the most effective and least lethal methods of countering terrorism, and yet it is often overlooked by those combating terrorism. Western governments did not stop Al-Qaeda from recouping its losses, even after it suffered devastating losses in the months following the 9/11 attacks. The fact is that Al-Qaeda had only around 400 armed members at the time of 9/11, as opposed to thousands of affiliated members in 2019. Although the recruitment strategies of different organizations may vary, they follow a similar historical pattern. All recruiters must first identify qualified candidates, then establish secure connections, build rapport, indoctrinate them, and slowly pull them into an organization. ISIS proved that this process could be fast-forwarded through online propaganda and social media. Preventing recruitment in the first place can be the most fruitful, and maybe also least expensive, method used to counter terrorism. Successfully short-circuiting the recruitment cycle may save thousands of lives of prospective recruits and many more lives by thwarting future attacks. This chapter aims to present a holistic and comprehensive road map for interrupting and preventing terrorist recruitment by identifying relevant societal factors and triggers that recruiters use to find and control their subjects.

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by Jessica Davis

Abstract
This chapter on the prevention of the financing of terrorism will examine the international instruments and mechanisms in place to identify and prevent terrorist financing and describe and analyze the roles of the bodies involved in countering terrorist financing. It will also provide a general overview of some national-level programs, including the role of domestic financial intelligence units (and the different types generally employed.) The bodies, laws, regulations, and norms in place to prevent terrorist financing will be examined in the context of a terrorist financing framework that explores how terrorists raise, use, move, store, manage, and obscure their funds, and how (and to what extent) these bodies are able to detect such activities. Finally, a brief analysis will be offered on their role in detecting and preventing organization and operational financing, drawing the distinction between how terrorist organizations finance their activities, and how terrorist cells and individual actors finance their plots and attacks.

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by Sajjan M. Gohel

Abstract
Securing borders is a realm of state activity that is frequently considered to be prone to vulnerability, especially in terms of how borders might provide opportunities for exploitation by terrorist actors. However, borders can also be utilized to disrupt and intercept terrorist threats. In crossing borders, terrorists potentially expose themselves to detection if their activities are properly monitored and recorded. It requires cooperation and collaboration between neighboring states, international institutions, and regional agencies. This chapter will begin by seeking to present three currently pressing regional situations that may reveal the most pertinent issues in terms of border security as these relate to terrorism. These are the European Union (EU) borders with Turkey and Syria as well as Africa, the southwestern border of the United States (US), and the Afghanistan-Pakistan-India borders. Next, it will analyze and evaluate political, institutional, and operational/technical obstacles to border security, specifically focusing on assessing the recently employed externalization strategy of the EU. The roles of immigration agencies, interagency cooperation, battlefield and military intelligence will also be examined, as well as technological factors and the usage of border walls.

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by Mahmut Cengiz

Abstract
This chapter analyses how to prevent the procurement of arms and explosives used by terrorist organizations. It defines arms and explosives broadly, ranging from conventional arms to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and close combat weapons. It explains key factors that lead to the creation of favorable environments for terrorist groups to gain access to arms and explosives. With a focus on terrorist groups who have perpetrated frequent attacks, the chapter showcases the jihadist and Maoist groups and their commonalities in terms of procurement of arms and explosives. Finally, the chapter explores the challenges to develop a policy model that can be applied to whole regions where terrorist groups procure arms and explosives, and discusses policy implications and actions that need to be taken in order to prevent such procurement. It is meant as a primer for experts, academics, and boots on the ground law enforcement officers to prevent organized as well as ad hoc acquisition of arms and explosives by terrorists.

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by Ioannis Galatas

Abstract
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threats are ranked very high οn the list of near future threats due to their expected extraordinary impact on societies affected. After the 9/11 attacks that raised the terrorism concerns to a new level, many security experts believed that a CBRN attack was only a matter of time (“when, not if”). The fact that the world has not experienced a major CBRN incident from non-state actors since then does not mean that terrorists are not pursuing the acquisition of hazardous materials, namely chemical weapons, biological agents or nuclear and radiological materials to be deployed with or without the use of explosives. Therefore, it is imperative to prevent CBRN materials and substances getting into terrorists’ hands. In order to do this, we need to explore and map all the sources and pathways for terrorists to achieve their goals, so we can better provide assistance, guidance, support, and technical expertise to relevant actors. This chapter will focus on prevention and will try to uncover existing gaps, thereby facilitating possible solutions and develop countermeasures that will lead to better control of CBRN agents and a more efficient management of a very serious (near) future problem.

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by Alex P. Schmid

Abstract
This chapter explores both the use of mass media by terrorists and the use of terrorism-generated news by mass media. Ever since the attention-raising effectiveness of “propaganda of the deed” was discovered in the second half of the 19th century, terrorists have exploited the mass media’s propensity to cover “bad news” extensively, first with the help of the rotary press, then followed by radio and television. Mass media, in turn, have often given broad coverage to terrorist attacks since the “human interest” generated by acts of demonstrative public violence attracts large audiences and generates extra revenue. There is a fine line between the media adhering to the public’s right to know, and broad media coverage creating exaggerated anxiety and thereby intimidating the public. Some existing media guidelines for covering terrorist news are discussed and evaluated with an eye on harm prevention resulting from the coverage of terrorist incidents.

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by Branislav Todorovic and Darko Trifunovic

Abstract
The internet has become an indispensable tool for human communication, offering an abundance of information and a great variety of applications. However, the worldwide web also offers ample opportunities for malefactors (e.g., criminals, terrorists, demagogues) to carry out activities cause serious damage. Due to the internet's wide-reaching nature, any investigation of its (ab)use has to be defined in terms of boundaries. This chapter addresses the (ab)use of the internet for terrorist activities and seeks to provide useful information to detect and address this issue. In doing so, this chapter covers five issues. The analyzed forms of use/abuse of the internet by terrorists are classified and structured by type and purpose. Possibilities for prevention are discussed for each group or cluster.

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