ICCT’s Most-Read Publications in 2021

2021 has been another tumultuous year in counter-terrorism. During this time, ICCT has produced policy briefs, research papers, and reports to reflect on the key developments in counter-terrorism, such as the attack on the Capitol, the fall of Afghanistan, extremist responses to Covid-19, and the prosecutions of returning foreign fighters and their families.

Read the five most-read long-form publications of the past year:

1️⃣ Our most-read publication is Lorne Dawson’s comparative analysis of Western Foreign Fighters who travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS. In this analysis, Dawson tries to find out who these people are and why they left for Syria and Iraq.

2️⃣ The report ‘Cashing in on Guns: Identifying the Nexus between Small Arms, Light Weapons, and Terrorist Financing’ presents the main findings of ICCT’s year-long research project on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) as a source of terrorist financing.

3️⃣ Bethan Johnson and Matthew Feldman researched radical far-right groups and their rehashing of revolutionary National Socialism. This ICCT report shows how the terroristic advocacy of “Siege Culture” has a radicalising effect on right-wing extremists.

4️⃣ In this report, Tore Hamming details the internal conflict within the Islamic State after the emergence of the al-Hazimiyya faction, how it evolved over time, and its impact on the group.

5️⃣ This study by Liselotte Welten and Tahir Abbas establishes how Salafism has been able to influence Dutch Muslim communities in the current period, and what misconceptions around Salafism still prevail.

Read our five most-read short-format publications of the past year:

1️⃣ In the perspective ‘The Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan: Regional Responses and Security Threats’, Tanya Mehra and Matthew Wentworth analyse the response from neighbouring countries and the implications they had for the Afghan people.

2️⃣An Attack on the Capitol and Democracy: An Act of Terrorism?’ is a perspective by Tanya Mehra and Joana Cook, exploring the question of how the attack was initially perceived and framed, and what consequences that might have.

3️⃣ The perspective ‘Why Terrorism Studies Miss the Mark When It Comes To Incels’ by Eviane Leidig does not focus on attacks itself —the perpetrator’s backgrounds, his/her modus operandi, etc.— but critiques terrorism studies’ intrinsic approach to researching and understanding incels.

4️⃣ The perspective ‘The Fall of Afghanistan: A Blow to Counter-Terrorism and Rule of Law Efforts’ by Tanya Mehra and Julie Coleman sheds light on the aspirations of the Taliban to gain recognition, the legal obligations to prevent and suppress terrorism, and what threats the group may pose to international and national security, and in particular to Afghan citizens.

5️⃣ ‘ISIS and Sexual Terrorism: Scope, Challenges and the (Mis)use of the Label’ by Christophe Paulussen conceptualises sexual terrorism and ISIS’ use of the tactic, as well as consequential prosecutorial challenges.