We are at a dangerous intersection in the counterterrorism (CT) world as it becomes second tier priority against great state competition. The next decade of domestic CT will be defined by the ideological fragmentation of extremists which complicates CT work at the backdrop of exacerbating mental health and criminality overlaps. However, we are also seeing a return of upstream sanctuary-based terrorism with the fall of Afghanistan and ungoverned space in the Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa. The shock terror attacks launched by Hamas in October, underwritten by the threat of Hezbollah and Iran, also hammers home that CT and COIN is back – not that it ever went away. The exquisite capabilities and sensors of today and tomorrow must not forget the basics of yesterday as Israel’s catastrophic intelligence failure has reminded us. A back to basics of intelligence collection and assessment is vital, whilst not falling behind in the arms of race of AI enabled intelligence operations. Overall, the CT environment is getting more complex and mutative, and this threatens to rapidly undermine successes of last two decades.
Joshua Stewart is the National Security Research Fellow at the Airey Neave Trust and a postgraduate at the University of Oxford, where he also held a Fellowship with the Changing Character of War Centre.
Christopher Morris runs a weekly discussion group. Please be aware that group attendance may be limited. It is required to contact Christopher (Christopher.Morris@politics.ox.ac.uk) in advance for availability. Meetings will run both in person and online.
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