Terror Threat Snapshot – February 2017
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the threat of terrorism has been on the American public’s radar. Though terrorism has long existed as a tactic used by a variety of different groups – everyone from anarchists to nationalists to separatists to religious extremists has engaged in it – the threat of terrorism motivated by religious extremism has been particularly salient in the wake of 9/11 and other mass casualty attacks around the world. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security recently released a report titled, Terror Threat Snapshot, February 2017 that provides a summary of the “persistent terror threat[s] to the United States,” the key players involved in those threats, recent incidents of terrorism motivated by religious extremism, U.S. counterterrorism efforts and actions, and related issues and affairs.
The report opens with a page of infographics about some of they key points contained therein, and provides a helpful visualization of some of the data and statistics that the report discusses. The “Key Points” section, which immediately follows the graphics on the opening page, highlights the threat of ISIS [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] in particular, while also discussing the threat of homegrown Islamist extremism and the vulnerabilities of Europe and its countries to terrorist attacks. The report also dedicates specific sections to outlining the recent developments (helpfully listed with dates and summaries of events) in “Homegrown Islamist Extremism” and “ISIS Terror Plots Against the West.” However, the bulk of the report discusses “The Campaign Against Islamist Terror,” which goes through a detailed outline of the key players involved in “Islamist Terror” including ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban, indicating recent attacks by each group, U.S. operations against each, and noting any specific targeting of group members.
Two interesting sections are saved for the end of the report, and speak more to U.S. Homeland Security in general, and less specifically to terrorism. There is a section on the latest decisions regarding Guantanamo Bay, particularly related to the transfer of power from Former President Barack Obama to current President Donald Trump. There is also a section on Iranian ballistic missile testing, which discusses Iran’s recent MRBM [medium-range ballistic missile] test, and whether or not it violates the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, which prohibits Iran from “undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”
For more resources related to Jihadist/Islamist domestic terrorism, check out the Featured Topic on this subject at the Homeland Security Digital Library. Other Featured Topics that might be of interest include: Domestic Terrorism and Extremism, Lone Wolf Terrorism, Suicide Bombers, and Nuclear Weapons.