November/December 2014 Newsletter

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November/December 2014 Newsletter
 
The Jamestown Foundation Leadership: Glen E. Howard, President
At a Glance

Eighth Annual Terrorism Conference

Follow Jamestown on Social Media

A Look Back at 2014

2014’s Most Read Articles

New Report on Terrorism in Egypt Available

Media Appearances

Ukrainian Visiting Fellow

Featured Publication

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Eighth Annual Terrorism Conference a Great Success!
John McLaughlinOn December 9, The Jamestown Foundation hosted its Eighth Annual Terrorism Conference. Held in Washington, DC, the conference brought together a range of experts on al-Qaeda and affiliated militant groups around the world. A DVD of the all-day event is available for sale on the Jamestown website.
 
The first panel of the day explored the implications of the Islamic State’s rise for the United State. Bruce Riedel suggested that the Islamic State is more focused on the near enemy (i.e. states or groups in the Middle East) as opposed to the far enemy (i.e. the United States). Bruce Hoffman listed six possible scenarios that might take place in the next 18-24 months, including the fall of the Yemeni government and the possibility of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State reuniting.
 
The second panel focused on the impact of the Islamic State on Iraq and Syria, covering the evolution of the group through to its local challenges and financial opportunities. Ahmed A.S. Hashim detailed the Islamic State’s transition from al-Qaeda affiliate to an independent militant organization, while Michael W.S. Ryan articulated the Islamic State’s definition of victory. Nicholas Heras discussed the non-state threats to the Islamic State within the context of the wider Syrian civil war. Murad Batal al-Shishani then covered the political economy of the Islamic State, one of the wealthiest terrorist groups in the world. Finally, Wladimir van Wilgenburg talked about the Islamic State’s relationship with the Kurdish population in Iraq and Syria.
 
The third panel covered trends and strategies in militant groups in Egypt and northwest Africa, exploring how the Islamic State has impacted these organizations. Adel El-Adawy offered an Egyptian perspective on the need for a more comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy in order to combat jihadist groups in the region. Dario Cristiani talked on Libya’s warring tribes and how they impact the stability of the country and broader North Africa. Jacob Zenn examined the relationship between the Islamic State and Boko Haram in Nigeria, noting the latter’s move toward establishing a caliphate and improving their video messages.
 
John McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of the CIA, closed the conference with remarks on the way forward in the fight against the Islamic State. 
Jamestown on Social Media
Are you following Jamestown on Twitter yet?
 
The Jamestown Foundation: @JamestownTweets
 
China Brief: @ChinaBriefJT
 
Eurasia Daily Monitor: @EDMJamestown
 
Terrorism Monitor: @TMJamestown
Perspectives on 2014
Kathryn Basinsky, Editor of Militant Leadership Monitor:
 
Looking back on 2014, the rise of the Islamic State as the dominant jihadist group in the world stands out as the most important development with regards to terrorism. The group’s seizure of Mosul and other areas in Iraq in addition to their territory in Syria allowed leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to declare a caliphate and himself the caliph. With their savage brutality displayed in high-quality videos and magazines, their influence has spread around the world with unexpected consequences. Dozens of groups have declared allegiance to the Islamic State. For example, a small part of Libya has been declared part of the Islamic State’s caliphate and Boko Haram has announced their own caliphate in northeastern Nigeria. Al-Qaeda should not be considered down for the count, however. In September, the group’s newest branch, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, was announced and quickly demonstrated their lethality with a series of attacks against the Pakistani military.
 
 
Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, Editor of China Brief:
 
2014 saw Chinese President Xi Jinping increasingly exert his vision for China and his “China Dream,” both at home and abroad. President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign intensified and entered unprecedented territory, snaring former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang and a senior aide to former president Hu Jintao, Ling Jihua. Despite a greater-than-expected slowdown for the Chinese economy, President Xi continued to wield China’s economic might on the world stage for global influence, founding two international banks and laying the groundwork for a New Silk Road. The Chinese government also further challenged the United States’ role in Asia, using two major Asian conferences to offer a model of the region’s future that placed China in the center of an Asian economic and security community that excludes the United States.
 
 
Matthew Czekaj, Editor of Eurasia Daily Monitor:
 
The most profound event of 2014 to affect the wider Eurasian region was undoubtedly the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, which not only threatens to permanently upend the European post–World War II and post–Cold War order, but has also seemingly crystallized Ukraine’s pro-Western identity and orientation. Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula sparked fears across the post-Soviet space of further Russian irredentist claims in countries such as Moldova, Kazakhstan and some NATO and European Union members such as the Baltic States. These fears have been further exacerbated by the ongoing deadly clashes in eastern Ukraine (Donbas region) between Ukrainian forces and Moscow-backed separatist militants, which reached a climax in late August with a more overt—albeit brief—invasion by regular Russian army units. Several agreed-upon ceasefires notwithstanding, the war in Donbas has reached the status of a frozen conflict, with mostly low-level fighting continuing along the line of control.
 
In several respects, however, Russian aggression has had a galvanizing effect on Ukraine and much of Europe and Eurasia. The Ukrainian presidential and parliamentary elections that took place this year were a historic repudiation of the corrupt and authoritarian Putinist political-economic model that Moscow has been trying to force onto its closest neighbors. For Europe, Russia’s unprovoked aggression against a smaller neighbor—coupled with the tragic downing of civilian flight MH-17 by separatist forces using Russian-supplied advanced anti-aircraft systems—underscored the need to respond.
 
A simmering war on Europe’s doorstep, as well as increasing and ever more flagrant Russian military and clandestine provocations of NATO airspace, meanwhile, has pushed many countries to arrest or reverse their years of defense budget cutbacks are now boosting their armed forces spending in response to this process. Likewise, Russian aggression is now slowly reversing the retrenchment of US military forces stationed in Europe and provided NATO with a new raison d’etre as it races to respond to the hybrid warfare tactics introduced by Moscow in the annexation of Crimea and its war in eastern Ukraine.
 
Moreover, European resoluteness has succeeded in forcing Moscow to cancel its South Stream project, which would have severely undermined Central Eastern Europe’s ability to secure diversified natural gas sources and transit routes.
 
During 2014, the West has managed to mostly stand united in the face of Russia’s disregard for the international legal order, but such steadfastness will face further challenges in the new year due to sanctions fatigue against Russia and a souring European economy.
Most-Read Articles of 2014
Terrorism in Post-Mursi Egypt: A Militant Leadership Monitor Special Report
In this Quarterly Special Report (QSR) on terrorism in post-Mursi Egypt, we focus on the changing nature of Egypt’s political transition and insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. Since the military removed Muhammad Mursi from power, terrorism has escalated against both the military and civilians.
 
The QSR begins with Muhammad Mansour providing an overview of how terrorism has changed in Egypt since Mursi’s ouster in June 2013. The following articles examine other aspects of the ongoing conflict and are arranged in the order that they were published. The QSR also includes profiles of Aboud al-Zomor, a former Egyptian military colonel and fugitive Islamist, Shadi al-Manei, the leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and Faisal Suliman Salma al-Mahsna, a recently killed Sinai militant. Finally, a timeline of events in the ongoing Egyptian transition is provided for context.
Recent Media Appearances
Board Member Matthew Bryza appeared on CNN to discuss the South Stream Pipeline. 
 
Middle East Eye interviewed Wladimir van Wilgenburg on Kurdish politics and their impact on the fight against the Islamic State.
 
Senior Fellow Willy Lam was interviewed by the Associated Press on the political implications on the ongoing Hong Kong protests.
 
The Washington Post published an op-ed by Jacob Zenn on U.S. efforts against Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram.
 
Wladimir van Wilgenburg discussed Gill Rosenberg, a Canadian-Israeli woman who has supposedly joined the YPG in Syria and has now gone missing, with The National Post.
 
The Wall Street Journal quoted Jacob Zenn on the recent suicide bombings in northeastern Nigeria by women.
Ostap Kryvdyk: Visiting Ukraine Security Fellow
Ostap KryvdykOstap Kryvdyk is Jamestown’s latest visiting fellow from Ukraine. Ostap recently served on the Ukrainian National Defense and Security Council. Before that, he served as a foreign affairs adviser to Andriy Parubiy, Secretary of the National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine. Mr. Kryvdyk began his career in television and media, first serving as an editor of the documentary programs on Ukrainian television (1+1, Inter, 5th channel) and as local producer for ARTE and RSI.  He also has worked as a political adviser and consultant to various political parties, such as Nasha Ukraina (Our Ukraine), Rukh, Batkivshchyna and UDAR. In 2004, he actively participated in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, serving as a coordinator of the civic youth group PORA (“It’s Time!”), which advocates non-violent resistance. In 2014, he participated in the Maidan self-defense forces and served in the position of international secretary. Ostap received a BA in Political Science from Lviv I. Franko University in 2002 and an MA in Comparative Political Science from Kyiv Mohyla University in 2004.
Featured Publication
Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared by Janusz Bugajski

The Jamestown Foundation is proud to announce the release of Janusz Bugajski’s landmark study of the increasingly unstable North Caucasus. Comparing the region to the war-ravaged Western Balkans of the 1990s, Mr. Bugajski argues that the North Caucasus are poised to inherit the status as the “powder keg” of Europe. In addition to reviewing the region’s recent history and making forecasts for the future, Mr. Bugajski offers suggestions and proposals for a more active approach by Western governments to defuse conflicts in the region.

 
**Conflict Zones is available for free on our website! To download your copy, please click here**
 
Janusz Bugajski is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DCand host of “Bugajski Hour” and “Bugajski Time” television shows broadcast in the Balkans. Bugajski has authored 19 books on Europe, Russia, and trans-Atlantic relations and is a columnist for several media outlets. His recent books include Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared (2014), Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and U.S. Disengagement (2013), Georgian Lessons: Conflicting Russian and Western Interests in the Wider Europe (2010), Dismantling the West: Russia’s Atlantic Agenda (2009), America’s New European Allies (2009); and Expanding Eurasia: Russia’s European Ambitions (2008).

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