Articles on Foreign fighters

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Governments have generally invested much more in hard-edged military and policing responses than in smarter and more sustainable ‘soft power’ approaches to countering violent extremism. EPA/Bagus Indahono

Tough is not enough: ten smarter ways to counter violent extremism

More than a decade of security-based transnational approaches to combating terrorist activity and propaganda have demonstrated that these alone are ineffective. Sometimes, security measures can actually…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and US president Barack Obama meeting in Washington earlier this year. EPA/Ron Sachs

Detail lacking on Obama-Abbott Ebola talks

Tony Abbott and US president Barack Obama discussed the Ebola crisis in a telephone conversation on Wednesday morning. But the Prime Minister’s Office declined to say whether there had been any presidential…
Sydney teenager Abdullah Elmir, who uses the alias Abu Khaled, speaking in an Islamic State video. ABC News

Foreign fighters need more than punishment – they also need rehab

New powers targeting foreign fighters and political “hate crimes” are set to be amended, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed in the hope of pushing the legislation through parliament next week. But…
Bronwyn Bishop had to drop her interim edict on people wearing face coverings during question time. AAP/Inter-Parliamentary Union, Lucien Fortunati

Parliamentary committee only tinkers with foreign fighters bill

Parliament’s presiding officers, Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Parry were hung out to dry by Tony Abbott over their ill-judged plan that veiled women would be segregated behind glass…
The new laws would make it easier for authorities to prevent people fighting in foreign conflicts, as happened to this man arrested in December for allegedly attempting to travel to Syria. AAP/Australian Federal Police

Bill targets foreign fighters before departure and after return

The Abbott government has today introduced the second tranche of its national security amendments – the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 – into the Senate. As its name…
The ultimate test of success of raids such as last week’s is whether those charged can be deradicalised so they do not present a threat after the justice system has dealt with them. EPA/NSW Police

It’s far too early to declare counter-terrorism operations a success

The dust is settling after the extensive police raids across Sydney and Brisbane last week. Authorities say this was the largest counter-terrorism operation in Australia’s history. Not only was it the…
If refused re-entry, foreign fighters such as Australian Mohamed Elomar are likely to become professional jihadists for life. Facebook

If blocked from returning home, where will Australia’s jihadists go?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spent recent weeks attempting to rally support for mooted anti-terror laws that would block the return of Australian jihadists fighting alongside Islamic State (IS) in Syria…
Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf spent time in prison for terrorist activities, but he clearly did not abandon his radical beliefs there. Twitter

When foreign fighters return: managing terrorists behind bars

The government’s mooted legislation to tackle returning foreign fighters will undoubtedly make it easier to detect and prosecute those involved in terrorism overseas. This means many returned fighters…
Where are you going? It doesn’t matter why. miskan

Public backs removing citizenship from Britons fighting abroad – even for a good cause

The UK government is making noises about potentially stripping British people of their citizenship if they join conflicts abroad. But while the proposal is aimed at deterring people from joining Islamic…
James Foley: highly respected and professional journalist. EPA/Nicole Tung

James Foley murder: inside the mind of Britain’s jihadis

The chilling video showing the apparent murder of the journalist James Foley by the Islamic State has reinforced the terrible risks involved in the brave and important role that journalists play in reporting…
Personal dispositions, feelings and beliefs may play a decisive role in explaining why people become radicalised. EPA/Stringer

What goes on in the mind of a militant extremist?

So far, the ongoing discussions about radicalisation of extremists both at home and abroad have tended to emphasise its sociological aspects. It has focused on concepts such as the religion and social…
The government wants to toughen laws to prosecute and deter Australians, such as alleged Syria suicide bomber ‘Abu Asma al-Australi’, from fighting in foreign conflicts. Twitter/@AbuSiqr

Foreign fighter passports and prosecutions in government’s sights

The Abbott government will soon unveil the legislative details of its second tranche of revamped anti-terrorism measures. The government introduced the first set of reforms into the Senate in July. One…
The jihadi fighters in Iraq and Syria include hundreds of Australians. EPA/Mohammed Jalil

Why hundreds of westerners are taking up arms in global jihad

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are attracting many westerners, including young Australians, as jihadi fighters. Last December, Australian intelligence agencies reported that they were aware of at least…
Australia sends more foreign fighters to Syria than any other western nation - including suspected suicide bomber ‘Abu Asma al-Australi’. What problems does this pose? Twitter/@AbuSiqr

Is it a problem that Australia sends the most foreign fighters to Syria?

A married Queenslander using the nom de guerre “Abu Asma al-Australi” featured as a suicide bomber in a promotional video released by the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jahbat al-Nusra earlier this month. He…
There are reports of up to 200 Australians joining up to fight with Syrian rebel groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, which may pose a threat to security at home. Jabhat al-Nusra

Australians fighting in Syria: what is the threat at home?

The Syrian insurgent group Jabhat al-Nusra’s recent pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda, alongside reports of Australians fighting in the insurgency, highlights a security threat to Australia. According to…
Australian Syrians protest in Hyde Park, Sydney, in February calling for the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down immediately. AAP Image/Lauren Farrow

The conflict at home and abroad: Australian involvement in Syria

In Syria, the optimism which accompanied the Arab Spring uprising has faded into the reality of a bloody sectarian civil war. Recent media reports have highlighted the involvement of foreign fighters in…

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