Research Papers

ICCT Research Papers series includes the Centre’s academic research papers that offer in-depth research on a topic, theme or issue related to counter-terrorism. All publications have been peer-reviewed by ICCT’s Editorial Board and reflect the high standards of the Centre that focus on original and independent research and analysis.

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Policy Briefs

ICCT Policy Briefs series reflects one of the core tasks of the Centre, namely exchanging knowledge and experiences with policymakers. Within these series, the aim is to provide a general overview of a certain topic, offering background information and policy recommendations. All Policy Briefs have been peer-reviewed by the Editorial Board prior to publication.

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ICCT Reports offer reflections of Meetings, Events and Projects. Reports offer the possibility of looking into ICCT meetings and events, and/or full reports on research and projects.

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ICCT Perspectives are Commentaries and Op-Eds, mainly written by Research Fellows. Perspectives respond to or analyse timely topics. The aim is to offer background and a deeper understanding for a wide public. Perspectives are the author’s own views.

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Policy Brief | 19 Jan 2016
Rehabilitation for Foreign Fighters? Relevance, Challenges and Opportunities for the Criminal Justice Sector

This Policy Brief aims to inform the current debate on integrating rehabilitation into the overall approach to foreign fighters by highlighting the challenges and opportunities within the criminal justice sector response.

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Research Paper | 23 Dec 2015
Foreign (Terrorist) Fighters with IS: A European Perspective

In this Research Paper, ICCT Research Fellow Dr. Alex P. Schmid analyses the widely diverging foreign fighter estimates. Having identified push and pull as well as resilience factors that facilitate or inhibit young Muslims joining ISIS, he argues that stopping them from departing to Syria is not enough; political solutions have to be sought.

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Report | 27 Nov 2015
Report: NATO Workshop on Violent Extremism in Central Asia

New Report: On 2 and 3 September 2015, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) and the Center for Security Programs (CSP) in Astana convened a NATO Advanced Research Workshop titled 'Violent Extremism in Central Asia: Indicators, Trends and Possible Responses', with support of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. The main aim of the workshop was to identify to what extent radicalisation and violent extremism are on the rise in the region, what can and should be done about it and how actors can advance on a countering violent extremism (CVE) agenda in the future.

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Report | 27 Nov 2015
Report: NATO Workshop on Counter-Terrorism in the MENA Region

New Report: From 6 to 7 October 2015, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) and Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ convened a NATO Advanced Research Workshop in Brussels. This workshop was titled ‘(Counter-)terrorism in the post-Arab Spring context’ and supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.

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Policy Brief | 20 Nov 2015
Paris: 11/13/15 – Analysis and Policy Options

In this Policy Brief, experts of ICCT and Clingendael shed light on some of the pressing questions that currently take central stage in the debates following the Paris attacks.

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Perspective | 18 Nov 2015
So What Does IS Want Us to Do Next…?

In this Op-Ed, ICCT Research Fellow Dr. Alastair Reed outlines three potential responses that the so-called "Islamic State" may want to provoke with the Paris attacks.

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Perspective | 14 Nov 2015
Mumbai-Style Attacks in Paris

Once more, after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in January, Paris has been shaken by a series of terrorist attacks. Contrary to the events earlier this year, the 13 November events were much more complex and coordinated, reminding us of the Mumbai 2008 attacks.

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Perspective | 10 Nov 2015
What Next for the Sinai?

In this Op-Ed, ICCT Director Mark Singleton elaborates on how to read into the assumed bombing of the Russian Metrojet 9628 flight by the Sinai franchise of the so-called "Islamic State" on 31 October 2015.

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Research Paper | 10 Nov 2015
Jihadist Foreign Fighter Phenomenon in Western Europe: A Low-Probability, High-Impact Threat

In this Research Paper, Prof. Dr. Edwin Bakker and Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn explore the threat that returning foreign fighters may pose to Western societies. By analysing four distinct areas where the impact of this phenomenon is most visible, the authors determine the extent of the threat in physical, political and social terms.

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Policy Brief | 27 Oct 2015
Foreign (Terrorist) Fighter Estimates: Conceptual and Data Issues

In this Policy Brief, Dr. Alex P. Schmid discusses various definitions of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) by disaggregating the “foreign”, “terrorist” and “fighters” elements of the UN Security Council definition in resolution 2178 (2014). Subsequently, an attempt is made to bring structure to the widely diverging estimates of the numbers of foreign fighters and their origins.

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Policy Brief | 26 Oct 2015
Reintegrating Violent Extremist Offenders: Policy Questions and Lessons Learned

In this article published in the framework of George Washington University's Program on Extremism, ICCT Research Fellow Dr. Tinka Veldhuis discusses rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for violent extremist offenders.

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Research Paper | 19 Oct 2015
Fickle Foreign Fighters? A Cross-Case Analysis of Seven Muslim Foreign Fighter Mobilisations (1980-2015)

In this Research Paper, Dr. Isabelle Duyvesteyn and Bram Peeters study seven conflicts that in the past 35 years have triggered Muslims worldwide to leave their home country and become a so-called foreign fighter.

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Research Paper | 1 Sep 2015
Operation ‘Serval’: A Strategic Analysis of the French Intervention in Mali, 2013–2014

In this Article published by Leiden University's Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism, ICCT Research Fellow Sergei Boeke and Bart Schuurman discuss the French military intervention in Mali, launched in 2013.

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Policy Brief | 27 Jul 2015
Motives and Considerations of Potential Foreign Fighters from the Netherlands

In this Policy Brief, Prof. Dr. Edwin Bakker and Peter Grol studied several cases of potential foreign fighters. These observations form the basis of policy suggestions that could contribute to the prevention policy within the framework of the “Comprehensive Action Programme to Combat Jihadism” of the Dutch government.

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Research Paper | 1 Jul 2015
Identifying foreign terrorist fighters: The Role of Public-Private Partnership, Information Sharing and Financial Intelligence

In this Research Paper, Visiting Research Fellow Tom Keatinge asks what barriers exist to greater partnership and information sharing between the security authorities and the financial-services industry in tackling terrorism.

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Research Paper | 4 Jun 2015
Challenging the Narrative of the “Islamic State”

Dr. Alex Schmid identifies a dozen narrative themes of ISIS and discusses them from different angles in an attempt to show vulnerabilities and point the way towards developing convincing counter-arguments.

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Perspective | 26 May 2015
Austria’s Reformed Law on Islam – a Model for Europe?

In this Commentary, Dr. Alex Schmid discusses the recently passed reformed law on Islam in Austria and the possibilities these reforms give for developing a so-called "European Islam".

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Research Paper | 26 May 2015
The Role of the Military in Securing Suspects and Evidence in the Prosecution of Terrorism Cases before Civilian Courts: Legal and Practical Challenges

In this Research Paper, by Dr. Bibi van Ginkel and Dr. Christophe Paulussen, the role of the military when performing law enforcement activities in terms of collecting evidence and/or securing suspected terrorists is analysed.

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Policy Brief | 26 May 2015
Pathways of Foreign Fighters: Policy Options and Their (Un)Intended Consequences

In this Policy Brief, Dr. Alastair Reed, Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn and Prof. Dr. Edwin Bakker look at the different pathways foreign fighters could take once they have arrived in Syria or Iraq.

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Policy Brief | 26 May 2015
European Female Jihadists in Syria: Exploring an Under-Researched Topic

The number of young Western women travelling abroad to join the "Islamic State" (IS) continues to increase. However, little is known about these women, including their motivations and roles within organisations such as IS. This Background Note provides preliminary answers and explain what is known so far.

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Research Paper | 30 Apr 2015
Towards a European Position on Armed Drones and Targeted Killing: Surveying EU Counter-Terrorism Perspectives

In this Research Paper, Jessica Dorsey and Dr. Christophe Paulussen gauge the extent to which European Union Member States share the position of the United States on armed drones and targeted killings.

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Perspective | 21 Apr 2015
Responding to Foreign Fighters: A Quick Overview for People with Little Time

In this Commentary Dr. Christophe Paulussen gives a quick snap-shot of the foreign fighters phenomenon, which is a complex and multi-faceted issue.

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Research Paper | 31 Mar 2015
Responding to Cyber Jihad: Towards an Effective Counter Narrative

Research Fellow Dr. Bibi van Ginkel analyses the role of the internet and social media in processes of radicalisation.

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Perspective | 30 Mar 2015
The (In-)Effectiveness of “Deterrence” as an Instrument Against Jihadist Terrorist Threats

In this commentary, ICCT Research Fellow Dr. Bibi van Ginkel discusses deterrence as an instrument against terrorism: does implementing new policies and laws deter potential terrorists or does this have little effect?

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Perspective | 18 Mar 2015
Understanding Instability in Libya: Will Peace Talks End the Chaos?

In this Commentary, Ms. Floor El Kamouni-Janssen and Ms. Iba Abdo discuss the complex situation in Libya.

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Perspective | 3 Mar 2015
Do-it-yourself Islam? Views on the Religious Credibility of the IS

In this opinion piece, Erwin van Veen and Iba Abdo analyse the religious credibility and message of the "Islamic State".

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Research Paper | 26 Feb 2015
Dignity and Dawn: Libya’s Escalating Civil War

This Research Paper provides a detailed examination of the armed conflict in Libya between the Operation Dignity and Libya Dawn military coalitions.

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Research Paper | 5 Feb 2015
Mali’s Long Road Ahead

The authors discuss recent military operations in Mali and warn against the temptation to treat the various jihadists as a homogenous group.

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Perspective | 22 Jan 2015
Accountability and Transparency in the United States’ Counter-Terrorism Strategy

In this Commentary, Research Fellow Jessica Dorsey responds to the recently released CIA "Torture Report" and discusses the accountability and transparency in the counter-terrorism strategy of the United States.

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Perspective | 9 Jan 2015
Paris 7-8 January: Darkness in the City of Light

In this Op-Ed, Mark Singleton discusses the downside of increased securitisation and the need for a comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism.

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