From the Editor
In this month’s feature article, Boaz Ganor looks at the lessons that should be learned from the spring 2022 terror wave in Israel. His analysis kicks off the “CTC-ICT Focus on Israel” series, a joint effort between the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point (CTC) and the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at Reichman University in Israel. In the coming months, the series will examine the terrorist threat landscape in Israel and the lessons other countries can learn from Israel’s counterterrorism efforts.
The two feature analysis articles focus on the foreign fighter problem set in Ukraine and the evolving linkages to far-right extremism of actors on both sides of the conflict. Kacper Rekawek finds that unlike in 2014, “the 2022 conflict has, for the most part, not energized Western right-wing extremists, nor persuaded them to travel. In what is for Ukrainians a war for national survival and a fight to secure a Western democratic future for the country, the allure of the far-right in Ukraine has dimmed. Ukrainian units with far-right histories are now deeply integrated into Ukraine’s armed forces and eschew foreign recruitment, and one of those units, the Azov Regiment, was decimated during the siege of Mariupol. Very few foreign right-wing extremists have been recruited into Ukraine’s International Legion. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests most of the foreign fighters who have traveled this year to fight on the Ukrainian side are fighting to safeguard Ukraine’s future as a Western democracy.” Don Rassler examines key concerns and questions about the war in Ukraine that are relevant to counterterrorism practitioners.
Continuing this month’s focus on the impact of nefarious Russian actions, Christopher Faulkner examines the activities in Africa of the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company closely tied to the Kremlin. He writes: “Wagner’s role in Africa poses a severe threat to the security and stability of African states as well as the strategic interests of the United States and allied nations.” Finally, Tara Candland, Ryan O’Farrell, Laren Poole, and Caleb Weiss assess the rising threat to Central Africa posed by the 2021 transformation of the Islamic State’s Congolese branch.
Paul Cruickshank, Editor in Chief