This is a short introduction to my corner of FreeRad!cals which will look at radicalization, terrorism and extremism – with a particular focus on what is happening in Europe and Asia. An ambitious remit which I share with a number of co-contributors to FreeRad!cals, but I look forward to adding my two cents to the debate on this growing site.
My work over the last few years has increasingly focused in on what is happening in radicalization in Europe, and specifically the United Kingdom. I am in the process of working on a large writing project trying to understand where Britain’s jihadist culture has come from and this is likely to be a major focus of my contributing on this site. However, recent work has also looked at “Understanding the Shabaab Networks,” and I write regularly for the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitoron a wide range of terrorism-related topics. Further, I am currently spending most of my time in Asia on a European Community grant – so I hope to be able to bring some more information and analysis on that to the table too.
To give you some background about where I am coming from, I have been a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) since 2006, and before that I worked in Washington at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). I write for a wide array of other outlets, and my literary canon can be found here.
I plan on using this blog to add my thoughts on the increasing fragmentation of the Al Qaeda threat – which has evolved from its earlier franchise-based structure (as laid out by Jason Burke) into a wide array of different threats, encompassing traditional structured Al Qaeda threats, lone wolves, self-radicalizing seekers, and fellow traveler or affiliate groups like the Islamic Jihad Union or AQIM. And against this backdrop we continue to see the radicalizing impact of wars abroad amongst certain sections of Muslim diaspora communities.
I look forward to hearing your collective thoughts and reactions (positive and negative) to my contributions and hope to bring something useful in the ongoing debate of radicalization and where Al Qaeda and global jihadism is going.