Knife stabbings: operational advantages and countering options – by Maria Alvanou

Lately in Europe, apart from suicide attacks, it is the knife attacks that have spread death and the seed of fear. In Paris a Muslim perpetrator who attributed his actions to IS (and IS accepted them under its ideological umbrella) entered the home of a police officer and killed both him and his wife (also working in the police), before getting killed by the law enforcement authorities and fortunately before harming the small child of the family. The killer filmed and posted his actions in Facebook. A few months before on a train in Germany another perpetrator attacked passengers with a knife. Although he shouted “Allahu Akbar” the German authorities seem to connect the incident with the perpetrators phychiatric problems and not with a terroristic cause. Shot but also stubbed a dozen times, a young female MP in Leeds died by the hand of an attacker, who appears to be driven by political reasons. The three events show of course no relevance between them and there is still research about their circumstances, as well as about the extend extremism and organized group activity could be behind the killings. Nevertheless, the above stabbings are a good reason to start contemplating on a possible new operational threat: knife attacks. Continue reading


The Importance of Being Local. Framing AQAP’s intra-jihadi Hegemony in Yemen – by Eleonora Ardemagni

In Yemen, the intra-jihadi rivalry between al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and local cells of the so-called Islamic State has been gaining momentum, exacerbated by the ongoing multilayered conflict in the country. Since the beginning of the crisis, jihadi networks were able to capitalize on security vacuum, local resentment against central institutions and the sectarian narrative promoted by Saudi Arabia and Iran as a power politics tool. Notwithstanding escalating “spectacular” attacks against Shia civilians and security/governmental forces, IS didn’t manage to challenge AQAP’s supremacy within the Yemeni jihadi camp so far. Nevertheless, the intra-jihadi rivalry is now on the rise, due to a gradual convergence in operational areas and targets between AQAP and IS. Continue reading