Welcome from the Editor

Dear Reader,

We are pleased to announce the release of Volume X, Issue 5 (October 2016) of Perspectives on Terrorism at www.terrorismanalysts.com. Our free online journal is a joint publication of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI), headquartered in Vienna (Austria), and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS), headquartered at the Lowell Campus of the University of Massachusetts (United States). Now in its tenth year, Perspectives on Terrorism has nearly 6,600 regular subscribers and many thousand more occasional readers and website visitors worldwide. The Articles of its six annual issues are fully peer reviewed by external referees while its Research Notes, Policy Notes and other content are subject to internal editorial review.

This issue begins with an announcement of the 2016 TRI Thesis Award Winner, Erin Miller of the University of Maryland’s Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). In the first research article of this issue, Dr. Miller summarizes parts of her dissertation, which uses a group-based trajectory analysis to model the ‘life course’ of 632 organisations, and illustrates a key challenge in the field of terrorism studies: applying the label ‘terrorist organisation’ masks enormous diversity among a broad range of entities, from organized crime groups to political parties and insurgents. An important implication of this is the need for researchers to establish an adequate model of complex realities; all terrorists are not alike and consequently, one set of counter-measures cannot fit all. Her piece is followed by a research article from another finalist in the TRI Thesis Award competition, Dutch scholar and former police officer Jasper de Bie, in which he draws from police dossiers to illustrate important differences and nuances in radicalization processes.

Next, three Canadian scholar-practitioners–Patrick McCaffrey, Lindsy Richardson and Jocelyn Belanger–explain why it is inaccurate to measure terrorism simply by the number of incidents investigated by authorities, given how many incidents either go unreported or are categorized under other labels. Then Martin Gallagher, a retired police officer in Scotland, examines the threat posed by Europeans who have fought with the Islamic State returning to their previously established criminal networks emboldened with new skills and connections obtained from their experiences in Iraq and Syria. In a further article, Ian Turner, a senior lecturer at Lancashire Law School (UK), examines the intersections of human rights law and recent counterterrorism-related legislative measures in the UK. And in the final article of this issue, American University of Nigeria professor Bill Hansen argues that major economic and social reforms are critical to prevent almajirai (street children) from being recruited by Boko Haram or other political and criminal groups in the region.

In our Research Notes section, senior Dutch scholar Bob de Graaff describes the historical implications of fighting movements with an apocalyptic narrative like the one that the Islamic State has embraced. This is followed by our Special Correspondence section, in which Ken Duncan (retired U.S. Senior Foreign Service Officer) explains the detailed nuances and challenges governments face when creating terrorist Watchlists. Psychoanalyst Nancy Kobrin describes how early childhood mal-developments can inform our understanding of jihadist terrorists’ absence of empathy for civilians and non-combatants.

The Resource Section of this issue features an extensive bibliography on (social) media and terrorism, by our Information Resources Editor, Judith Tinnes. This is followed by brief reviews of recent publications in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism studies by our Book Reviews Editor, Joshua Sinai, who also follows this with a brief movie review.

At the end of this issue of our journal we repeat out crowd-funding appeal. In an earlier appeal we had hoped to raise the modest sum of US $ 5,000 from our readers to cover server and other costs. However, we did not even reach half of that goal, receiving in more than four months of fundraising only US $ 2,275.- . We thank those 33 donors who contributed that but hope to hear and receive also something from our more than 6,500 other subscribers. To keep our online journal free and independent, we need your support to be able to carry on.

This issue of the journal was prepared by co-editor Prof. James Forest at the Lowell Campus of the University of Massachusetts. The next issue of the journal (December, 2016) will be prepared by guest editor Dr. Petter Nesser and his colleagues at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) in Oslo–in cooperation with the regular editors. It will be an extra-long Special Issue, dealing with Jihadi Terrorism in Europe, based on the proceedings of an international conference held in September 2016.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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