A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Terrorism Exchange staff are happy to bring you the November 2012 issue of CTX.

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The New Battlefield: The Internet and Social Media

On November 6, 2011, a Filipino man with long hair uploaded a three-minute, twenty-second video on YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine. It was a video of himself, wearing a camouflage jacket and a mask covering his face and head...

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From al-Zarqawi to al-Awlaki: The Emergence and Development of an Online Radical Milieu

Radical milieus have been described as specific social environments whose culture, narratives, and symbols shape both individuals and groups, and the social networks and relationships out of which those individuals and groups develop and emerge. Researcher Peter Waldmann and his co-authors attribute distinct and independent qualities to these environments, portraying them as social entities in their own right, that is, a collective of people sharing certain perspectives and a unitary identity: a “subculture” or a “community.”..

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Rethinking the Role of Virtual Communities in Terrorist Websites

Many security officials, policy analysts, and researchers are quick to identify the internet as a powerful terrorist recruiting tool that poses a growing security threat. Some worry that rapidly evolving technical capabilities offer terrorist groups a new strategic weapon with which to attack their enemies...

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Countering Individual Jihad: Perspectives on Nidal Hasan and Colleen LaRose

In December 2011, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Na-politano told an interviewer that the risk of attacks by so-called “lone wolves,” individuals with no apparent ties to known extremist networks or conspiracies, is on the rise, and is an indication that the global terrorist threat has shifted.1 Secretary Napolitano’s statement is a sobering assessment of the violent Islamist threat to the United States...

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Artisanal Intelligence and Information Triage

Social media hold out the promise of discovering previously unidentified threats, as well as the peril of information overload. It is pos-sible to utilize social media to find the unknown unknowns, those violent extremists who we can assume exist but whose identities are not currently known to us. It is also possible to triage social media profiles in order to identify those most likely to generate useful investigative leads...

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Another Tool in the Influencer’s Toolbox: A Case Study

Much of the recent writing within military circles surround-ing social media has centered on what can be learned from “bad guys’” use of social media sites, or the role social media played (and play) in events such as the Arab Spring and Haiti disaster relief. However, from an information operations perspective, the “golden ticket” in our operations is the ability to influence behavior and attitudes. The questions we address in this article are: “Can an information operator use social media to influence audiences, and if so, how?”

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Mining Twitter Data from the Arab Spring

In this article we draw on social movement theory to help explain how the use of social media, in particular Twitter feeds, may have played a role in the emergence of the Egyptian Arab Spring revolution. More precisely, we suggest that activists’ uses of Twitter may have facilitated the framing of grievances in ways that resonated with their target audience.

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ETHICS AND INSIGHTS: Should Military Members Really Call Themselves “Professionals”?

In today’s military, the word “professional” has become a catch-all for anything good or worthy of praise. You’ll hear it used by a commander who, one suspects, is simply reaching for something—anything—positive to say...

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STATE OF THE ART: Contemplating the Future of Social Media, Dark Networks, and Counterinsurgency

The spectacular growth in social media over the last decade, led by Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and their potential usefulness have not been lost on insurgents and others using what we call dark networks.3Over the last few years, such groups have increasingly turned to social media to communicate with and motivate their followers and supporters.

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THE WRITTEN WORD: The Harkis: The Wound that Never Heals

In the 2007 movie, L’ennemi Intime (Intimate Enemies), a cinematic tour de force of the French-Algerian War, some soldiers in a French company are ordered to take a fellagha, a captured insurgent out for a “walk in the woods” and dispose of him. During this walk, Saïd, a Harki (an Algerian fighting on the French side) in the company strikes up a conversation with the fellagha.,,

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This journal is not an official DoD publication. The views expressed or implied within are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any governmental or nongovernmental organization or agency of the United States of America or any other country.


Copyright © 2023 by the author(s), except where otherwise noted. The Combating Threats Exchange journal (CTX) is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research, or educational purposes free of charge and without permission, except if otherwise noted. Any commercial use of CTX or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published herein rests with the author(s) of the article, unless otherwise noted.


  • SALLY BAHO, Copy Editor
  • LAYOUT AND DESIGN, Graduate Education Advancement Center, Naval Postgraduate School


  • VICTOR ASAL, University of Albany SUNY
  • CHRIS HARMON, Marine Corps University
  • TROELS HENNINGSEN, Royal Danish Defense College
  • PETER MCCABE, Joint Special Operations University
  • RAJAN RAVINDRAN, Indian Army (Ret.)
  • IAN C. RICE, US Army (Ret.)
  • ANNA SIMONS, Naval Postgraduate School
  • SHYAMSUNDER TEKWANI, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
  • CRAIG WHITESIDE, Naval War College


  • AMINA KATOR-MUBAREZ, Naval Postgraduate School