Sunday News

Turkish Elections Begin
Amid worsening security and economic worries, Turks will be casting their ballots in a snap parliamentary election that could profoundly impact the divided country’s trajectory and that of President Tayyip Erdogan.

One pre-election survey suggested there had been a late surge in backing for the [Justice and Development Party[ AKP and that it could take as much as 47.2 percent, comfortably enough to secure more than half of the 550-seat parliament

“The political uncertainty, growing social divisions and insecurity which has characterized the period between the two elections seems set to continue,” Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Washington-based think-tank CSIS, said in a note on Friday.

Professor Ihsan Dagi, a well-known international relations expert at the Middle East Technical University and author of “What Went Wrong in Turkey?” was interviewed before the election on why he believes democracy in Turkey is dead.

Wealth Of Research On Online Radicalization Exists
The phenomenon of online radicalization, particularly the recruitment of young people by ISIS and Islamic jihadists, is one which counterterrorist analysts are having difficulty understanding. Rather than reinventing the research wheel, Daveed Gernstein-Ross and Nathaniel Barr suggest in an article in War on the Rocks that they explore the existing wealth of social science research on how the Internet affects human behavior.

“Academics have been studying the impact of online or ‘computer-mediated’ communication (CMC) on human behavior since the 1960s, and the literature on the subject, especially three concepts from the field of social psychology — identity demarginalization, group polarization, and the social identity model of de-individuation effects — can do much to inform our exploration of online radicalization,” they write.

Could US Exploit Russia’s Intervention In Syria For Its Benefit?
While not enemies, the US and Russia are clearly foes, particularly in Syria where Vladimir Putin’s aim is to keep the regime of Bashir al Assad in power. For many years the US has been the “far enemy” of Islamic jihadists and US counterstrategy has focused largely on them.

Could shifting those narratives and encouraging the replacement of the United States with Russia as jihadists’ “far enemy” work to America’s benefit, wonders Clint Watts in Foreign Policy Research Institute’s blog.

Watts acknowledges that given its previous failings, the US probably could not execute a strategy on its own, but he contends jihadi propaganda appears to be spinning away from the U.S. and toward Russia.

“Months ago, the leader of al Qaeda’s Syrian branch Jabhat al Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, said he was instructed by al Qaeda’s top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to avoid targeting the U.S.  Shortly after Russian airstrikes, Julani released an audio message calling Russia the “Eastern Crusaders” and calling for attacks inside Russia and on Shiite villages.  The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years’ aggression.  Russia would assuredly do that to the U.S.,” he concludes.


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