Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Study: disrupting recruitment more important than targeting leadership

Filed under: Counter-terror, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:18 pm on Saturday, September 29, 2012

Meh, maybe if we exempt bomb makers. Thwarting recruitment doesn’t get much or enough attention as an vital CT strategy, its always tomorrow’s problem.

Balt Sun: U.S. counterterrorism efforts monitor and sort vast databases of information for clues on potential plots. Now a team of University of Maryland researchers have used data-mining techniques employed by online giants like Google and Amazon.com to aid in the fight against terror.

In the same way corporate America uses algorithms to predict what consumers are most likely to buy or what ads they might click, the researchers analyzed two decades of data on Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. They were looking for patterns around attacks, including the 2008 shootings and bombings in Mumbai that some compare to the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

The study found that the most effective means of thwarting such violence include stirring dissension within the terrorist group, promoting government crackdowns on its activity and thwarting recruitment efforts — not arresting or attacking the group’s leaders.

The research has implications for current counterterrorism efforts, its authors say, and could give insight into other terror networks and how to best prevent future attacks.

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