– “What Idlib means to Syria’s key players”: As the Syrian regime continues its attempts to regain control of Idlib, increased and complex tensions between Turkey, Syria, Russia, and Iran are placing the future of the remaining rebel and jihadist groups there in the balance. BBC Monitoring experts provide insightful analysis of what is at stake for each key player in this conflict, including that of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – the dominant Islamist terrorist group in the province. (BBC Monitoring, 11.02.2020)
– “Tracking Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, West Africa’s most wanted jihadist”: As governments in the Sahel region, as well as the France through operation Barkhane, are bulking up their efforts to counter the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), The Africa Report paints a detailed portrait of group’s leader: Abu Walid al-Sahraoui. From his childhood in Western Sahara, to the creation of the EIGS and the further integration of the group into the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAS) in 2019, this article is a comprehensive biography of al-Sahraoui. (The Africa Report, 12.02.2020).
– “The enduring legacy of French and Belgian Islamic State foreign fighters”: As a significant number of French and Belgium foreign fighters still in Iraq and Syria are likely to look for opportunities to travel back home, there have been concerns that their returns could pose significant security threats. This article raises concerns that, due to perceived weaknesses within the French and Belgium penitentiary system, there is a risk that foreign fighters might radicalise other inside prison. To appropriately deal with this pressing question, the authors argue that there is a need for France and Belgium to rethink their existing policies regarding foreign fighters, from extradition to penitentiary policies. (Gartenstein-Ross, Clarke and Chace-Donahue, Foreign Policy Research Institute, 05.02.2020)