Sunday News

How ISIS Uses Twitter And How To Counter Their Effort
New analysis from J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan of the Brookings Institution sheds light on how ISIS has successfully used Twitter to spread violent propaganda.

The writers report that between September and December 2014, an estimated  46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters, although not all of them were active at the same time.

Of those accounts, only 1,000 ISIS-supporting accounts were suspended by Twitter, but those that had the most activity were the ones suspended.

The authors do not offer advice to Twitter, but attempt to answer three important questions in an attempt to offer guidance.

Three crucial questions surround the debate over suspension of terrorist social media accounts in general, and ISIS accounts in particular.

• Is it ethical to suppress political speech, even when such speech is repugnant?

• Do suspensions destroy valuable sources  of intelligence?

• Do suspensions have a detrimental effect on targeted networks?

“This point needs to be crystal clear: social media companies can and do control speech on their platforms. No user of a mainstream social media service enjoys an environment of complete freedom. Instead, companies apply a wide range of conditions limiting speech, using possibly opaque guidelines that may result in decisions executed on an ad hoc basis. Furthermore, companies typically do not disclose information about who they suspend and why, nor are they required to,” the authors assert.

Time For Some Straight Talk On NATO
he urgent question raised by the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war of whether NATO is prepared today, both militarily and politically, to respond should the continued Russian pressure along its northeastern flank.

Because NATO functions best when the United States firmly and unequivocally leads and that the reality that it is “leading from behind” on security in Europe but guarantees Europe will remain adrift, he argues.

Is Yemen The Next Syria?
Peter Salisbury warns in Foreign Policy that deepening proxy war in Yemen threatens to tear the country apart.

Salisbury notes that the US has frequently been involved in the affairs in Yemen, but that the danger is that the administration has not learned the lessons of the past in Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

“Iran and the Gulf states are more than happy to treat Yemen as a proxy battleground regardless of the outcome, and it’s entirely possible that the U.S. and other Western powers will back the Gulf states once they have gone to war. If a war breaks out along sectarian lines, it will not be because that is where historical divisions have lain in Yemen; it will be because the war’s foreign funders are inflaming previously unimportant divisions. This would not be the inevitable outcome of longstanding rivalries, but a tragic self-fulfilling prophecy,” cautions Salisbury.

African Nations Launch Offensive Against ISIS
Concerned about the rise in violence and a new audio message released by Boko Haram formally pledging allegiance to ISIS, Chad and Niger have launched an offensive against the radical Islamic terror group.

The sincerity of its pledge, however, does not clarify any uncertainty about whether it is a true alliance or merely an evil marriage of convenience.

The pledge over time “might lead to the internationalization” of a threat that until now has been mostly confined to a single region of Nigeria with occasional spillover into neighboring countries, warned J. Peter Pham, director of the Washington-based Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.



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