I have written a paper setting out how the Internet is used by terrorists – from radicalisation and recruitment, to communication, planning attacks and spreading violent narratives. It also begins to explores some of the ways that governments and civil society do – and could – use the Internet as a weapon against terrorists. But more work is needed on this issue of growing importance, as highlighted last week by the Home Affairs Select Committee report on the roots of radicalisation.
I have written a new piece for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue on the changing face of al Qaeda. It traces four key trends – the shift from a centralised to de-centralised organisational model, the rise of lone wolves, the increasing reliance on the internet and a geographical reorientation. Read it here.
Over the last decade, many millions of pounds have been spent on efforts to prevent radicalisation. This ‘upstream’ work has included everything from intense personalised programmes with young people deemed to be ‘at risk’ of radicalisation, through to broader projects to build community resilience and provide positive alternatives to youth who might otherwise be attracted to radical violent rhetoric.
But how do we know if we are making a difference?
This paper puts forward some practical ideas about how governments could evaluate these projects and activities. I’m busy putting the theory into practice with some pan-European evaluation work over the next few months…