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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 187 – Freedom of Speech, the Other, and War

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section. World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – In the aftermath of the Jihadi attacks in Paris during the second week of 2015, a crucial debate surrounding freedom of speech is emerging. It is not only a philosophical and intellectual debate. It mobilizes populations across the world and can divide populations within countries, as show the exchanges on the social networks on the topic. It is translated in diplomatic terms, as show the decision of the Kingdom of Morocco not to participate to the march in Paris on 11 January, the 14 January reactions in the Middle East […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 190 – The Islamic State, Puppet Master of Emotions

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section. World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – This week was overwhelmingly dominated by three main issues, the horrendous burning alive of the Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State, its use as psyops products, and more largely the war against the Islamic State, the never abating tension between North America and Europe on the one hand, Russia on the other, along the Ukrainian conflict (with an unusual number of videos on the situation within Ukraine) and the showdown between the new Greek government and the EU (see more details in the economy section, although the potential […]

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The Red (Team) Analysis Weekly 192 – Denying the Islamism of the Islamic State

Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section. Read the 19 February scan →  World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – The focus this week stems from the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism currently held in Washington D.C. (see White House Fact sheet). First, in a very “Washingtonian” way, the summit leads to the publication of a host of reports and articles, as think tanks, newspapers, researchers, experts and pundits try to have their voices heard by policy-makers, some of them having been crowd-sourced here and worth checking and reading. Second, the summit forces the various actors to face an issue that […]

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The Impact of the Islamic State Terrorist Attacks – Geopolitics, Uncertainties and Business (5)

Since the Islamic State declared a Khilafah on 29 June 2014, it carried out, worldwide, 6 attacks or series of attacks in 2014, which killed 2 and wounded 12 people, 23 in 2015, which killed 1020 and wounded more than 2171, 36 in 2016, which killed more than 1455 and wounded more than 3505 and so far 3 in 2017, which killed more than 109 and wounded more than 169 people, assuming all attacks are known and referenced as such (Wikipedia “List of terrorist incidents linked to ISIL“). As a whole, we thus faced 68 attacks, during which more than 2586 people lost their lives and more than 5857 were injured. Prospects for the near future look no less grim as reminded […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 2 (1) – The Joint Arab Force Takes a Side

After having examined the first scenarios – diplomatic negotiations between the Council of Representatives (COR) and General National Congress (GNC) towards peace – with this article we shall begin detailing a second set of scenarios focusing on external intervention and evaluating their likelihood. The organization of the whole series for the future of Libya can be found here. This scenario and its sub-scenarios are grounded in the premises that despite the advocacy of external actors to avoid foreign involvement in Libya’s civil war, consideration of intervention increases as Libya heads closer to a failed state, and as Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida affiliates expand their areas of operation. In our first intervention scenarios category, external actors decide to intervene in […]

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Update – Islamic State Psyops – Dar al-Islam 2 and Dabiq 7

(Update 3 Dec 2015: Since this post was published, other issues of Dar al Islam (1 to 7) and Dabiq (1 to 12) – as well as new Islamic States magazines aiming at other countries – were published by Al Hayat – See the Portal to the Islamic State War. Update 16 Nov: The Islamic State claims regarding the attacks on Paris can be found on the – safe – website of Pietervanotsayen). (This post is an update of “The Islamic Pysops – A Framework“, which sets the stage for our series on the Islamic State psyops, their targets, aims, as well as the mindset behind them.)  The Al-Hayat Media Center started producing a new magazine with France as target audience, Dar […]

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The Islamic State Psyops – Ultimate War

The dreadful burning alive of the captive Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State and its video broadcast by Al-Furqan Media Foundation, as well as the reactions it succeeded in eliciting, such as Jordan’s retaliations (e.g. ISIS Study Group, 3 Feb 2015; BBC News, 6 February 2015), show once more the crucial importance to fully consider the Islamic State psyops as they are completely part of the war it wages and of the order it thus aims at establishing. These psyops, beyond the influence they aim at generating (see “A Framework“), offer us a way inside the Islamic State and its Khilafah’s worldview.  Understanding the latter is crucial is we want to fight the Islamic State victoriously, because its belief system and induced actions impact all other actors, be […]

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Understanding the Islamic State’s System – The Calif and Legitimacy

In this section of our series on the Islamic State, we seek to assess the Islamic State’s ability to create a real and sustainable polity. The capture of Ramadi (Iraq, Anbar, e.g. Mitchell Prothero, McClatchy DC, 17 May 2015) on 17 May and Palmyra (Tadmur, Syria, Homs) three days later on 20 May 2015 (e.g. Oryx blog, 21 May 2015) by the Islamic State – showing among others the ability to win against two different governmental armies, one supported by the US-led coalition of 60 plus states (U.S. Gov) plus Shi’a militia and probably Iran, the other by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, two strategic cities on two fronts separated by 620km – the sudden acknowledgement by U.S. officials, that no, the war against the Islamic State […]

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The Islamic State Psyops – Foreign Fighters’ Complexes (2)

After having seen the threats linked to the existence of foreign fighters within the Islamic State (The Foreign Fighters’ Threat), we focused on identifying the reasons why those foreign fighters would join the Islamic State, using the latter psyops products and locating them within the framework of existing findings (Attracting Foreign Fighters (1)). With that post, we presented the psyops “recruiting” products used for this study, then, taking stock of the research done on foreign fighters  by the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation  and Political Violence (ICSR) and by the Sufan Group, we focused on two core elements that are meant to be present for all recruited foreign fighters: a quest for meaning and purpose and a need for belonging. Using the Islamic State […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Islamist Forces (2)

In Part I of Libya’s Islamist and Misrata forces, we examined Dawn of Libya forces and the underlying dynamics created by the General National Congress (GNC). In this second post, we shall focus on the state-affiliated Islamist militias in Benghazi, the Salafist militias in Benghazi and Derna – as well as their Islamic State and Al-Qaeda links. In the next post, we shall look at actual and potential international involvement, from the UNSMIL peace talks to countries supporting the GNC and Dawn of Libya. Here, we shall notably address the religious dynamic of the Salafist groups, which are increasingly fundamentally important to note, in Libya – as in the rest of the region and beyond. The Salafi movement, or Salafism, strives for […]

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