Countering Violent Extremism, Pt. 1: Definition

At Jihadica, we usually don’t weigh in on policy debates. I’m reluctant to break that tradition but I have a few thoughts on countering violent extremism that I’d like to workshop with Jihadica readers before turning them into something more. The United States and its allies devote considerable financial and human resources to countering violent extremism (CVE). Nevertheless the definition of CVE is unclear, ranging from fighting bad guys to creating good guys. This lack of precision makes it hard to design, execute, and evaluate CVE programs and makes it easy to slap the CVE label on all manner of initiatives, including many that seem to have little to do with stopping terrorism and might otherwise be cut by Congress. The lack of precision also inhibits thinking about whether the CVE enterprise is worthwhile and what should constitute it. In the interest of clarifying the activities covered by CVE and

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Against Palestinian Reconciliation

With the recent news of a Palestinian deal between Fatah and Hamas, which is supposed to result in a unity government in which both are represented, a long-standing feud between the two organisations looks like it is coming to an end. (Having said that, the prospects of Palestinian reconciliation have looked hopeful before, only to end in disappointment later on.) Whatever the outcome may be, it seems obvious that, from a Palestinian point of view at least, the process of reconciliation is a good thing. One might think that this even applies to more radical Islamic groups in the Gaza Strip. Sure, these groups don’t exactly like Hamas and they probably hate the secular Fatah even more, but you might think that even they would agree that Palestinian infighting serves no purpose and that a united opposition against Israel is certainly better. Well, think again. In this post, I will look at a document called

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