After the rise of the Islamic State, I was part of this race for cash, working on CVE projects from media messaging to radicalization research, and it slowly dawned on me how flawed the industry is. Not only has expertise been invented to snag funding, but existing development work has been molded into the shape of “CVE,” stigmatizing entire communities as terrorist-producing.
Contrary to how some understand the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan, the lesson extremists are taking from the Taliban’s success is not simply that jihad works, but that diplomacy and engagement are a necessary part of the process, which includes reassuring the West about external threats emerging from their areas.
Nafees Hamid is a cognitive scientist of political violence who wrote “The Neuroscience of ‘Devoted Actors’ Within Extremist Groups”, on why people join violent groups. In this podcast, he explores similarities between jihadists who joined ISIS and the insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol.
Documents and pictures, made public in English by Newlines for the first time, that indicate Qardash was in fact a leading figure among Iraqi jihadist groups over the past two decades who has steadily worked his way up the security and religious hierarchy within the Islamic State group.
People join violent groups for a variety of reasons, and they differ in their levels of commitment. Brain scans offer new insights into a particular type of members, the backbone of these groups we call “devoted actors.”
Opportunities to meet a caliph are pretty rare. Yet in London in the 1990s, you could bump into a protector of the entire Muslim world on the Central line. He wore no finery, of course, and his palace was a two-bedroom government apartment in Dagenham.