A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Terrorism Exchange staff are happy to bring you the August 2013 issue of CTX.

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When the Goldfish Meets the Anaconda: A Modern Fable on Unconventional Leadership

I have wondered many times whether external reality exists independently from how the observer sees it. What, in other words, is reality? A few years ago, in the Italian town of Monza, keeping a goldfish in a bowl was banned. The explanation was that it was cruel to keep a fish in a bowl with curved sides, because the fish would have only a distorted view of reality...

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Incentivizing Cooperation in Afghanistan

The United States’ prospects for success against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan seem inexorably linked to its ability to inspire co-operation among disparate actors in a land of dynamic alliances. To centralize power in a way that will keep the Taliban from establishing sanctuary—much less overt control—in significant regions of the troubled state, the United States and its allies must find ways to foster a capable Kabul government...

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Estonia’s Forest Brothers in 1941: Goals, Capabilities, and Outcomes

Immediately after the Soviet Union’s occupation and annexation of Estonia in June 1940, Estonians commenced various types of resistance, both passive and open, against this foreign power. In the context of the conventional warfare that prevailed in the 20th century, the resistance that arose in Estonia, culminating in the summer of 1941 as the German invasion of the Soviet Union commenced, was viewed by Soviet historians as an inseparable part of World War II...

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The Strategy and Activity of the Forest Brothers: 1947–1950

The Forest Brothers’ resistance movement in post–world war II Estonia is a topic that has received quite a lot of attention in recent literature, from many different perspectives. At the same time, no study has been published so far that examines the Forest Brothers’ activities as a military operation...

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Cutting the Link between Illegal Drugs and Terrorists

The nexus between some terrorist organizations and the illegal drug trade has broadened since the end of the Cold War.1According to a recent study, “The illegal drug trade is estimated to turn over more than $330 billion annually,” and terrorist organizations have actively participated in this trade. In order to combat terrorist activities effectively, counterterrorism forces and agencies should address the question of funding, of which drug trafficking is a main source...

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Human Rights as a Weapon of Terrorists: A Case Study

Human rights are recognized worldwide as a means to protect the individual from abuses and to guarantee each and every human being the freedom to pursue his own prerogatives. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was written in the midst of the French Revolution, and was followed by the Declaration of Human Rights issued by the U.N. in 1948, shortly after the Second World War...

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CTAP Interview: LTC Ramey Wilson

This interview is taken from the collection of the Combating Terrorism Archive Project.1 LTC Kashif Jamal Khan, Pakistani Air Force, spoke on 6 May 2013 with LTC Ramey Wilson, U.S. Army, about LTC Wilson’s career as a military medical officer...

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Ethics and Insights: The Real Double Bind

If you’re reading this column, odds are you’re involved to some degree in the service and defense of your country. The odds are even better that as a result of your service, you’re presumed to be a man or woman of high personal ethics. In most cases, that will be the default expectation, but there are, of course, exceptions...

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JSOU Publications

In this concise JSOU monograph, Dr. Rich Yarger considers the 21st century security environment, previous work on special operations theory, and various other perspectives of SOF gleaned from his research to synthesize an American SOF school of thought...

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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