Osama bin Laden's demise in May 2011 marked only the symbolic end of an era. By the time of his killing, he no longer represented the Robin Hood icon that once stirred global fascination. Ten years after the 11 September 2001 attacks, jihadi terrorism has largely lost its juggernaut luster. It now mostly resembles a patchwork of self-radicalising local groups with international contacts but without any central organisational design - akin to the radical left terrorism of the 1970s and the anarchist fin-de-siècle terrorism.
This volume addresses two issues that remain largely unexplored in contemporary terrorism studies. It rehabilitates the historical and comparative analysis as a way to grasp the essence of terrorism, including its jihadi strand. Crucial similarities with earlier forms of radicalisation and terrorism abound and differences appear generally not fundamental.
Likewise, the very concept of radicalisation is seldom questioned anymore. Nevertheless it often lacks conceptual clarity and empirical validation. Once considered a quintessential European phenomenon, the United States too experiences how some of its own citizens radicalise into terrorist violence. This collective work compares radicalisation in both continents and the strategies aimed at de-radicalisation. But it also assesses if the concept merits its reputation as the holy grail of terrorism studies.
The volume is aimed at an audience of decision makers, law enforcement officials, academia and think tanks, by its combination of novel thinking, practical experience and a theoretical approach.
Introduction, Rik Coolsaet
The State of the Threat: Jihadi terrorism: a global assessment of the threat, Paul R. Pillar
Al-Qaeda: a true global movement, Olivier Roy
Logics of jihadi violence in North Africa, Hugh Roberts
'Terrorism studies': a critical appraisal, Teun van de Voorde
Cycles of Terrorism and Radicalisation: The debate over 'old' vs. 'new' terrorism, Martha Crenshaw
Radicalisation and terrorism in history: lessons from the radical left terrorist campaigns in Europe and the United States, Leena Malkki
Cycles of revolutionary terrorism, Rik Coolsaet
Radicalisation in Europe and the US: Muslims in Europe and the US: a shared but overrated risk of radicalism, Jocelyne Cesari
The turn to political violence in the West, Marc Sageman
Characteristics of jihadi terrorists in Europe (2001–2009), Edwin Bakker
Dutch extremist Islamism: Van Gogh's murderer and his ideas, Rudolph Peters
The rise and demise of jihadi terrorism in Belgium, Rik Coolsaet
De-Radicalisation Experiences: Disengagement, de-radicalisation and the arc of terrorism: future directions for research, John Horgan and Max Taylor
Group desistence from terrorism: the dynamics of actors, actions and outcomes, Clark McCauley
(De-)escalating radicalisation: the debate within immigrant communities in Europe, Tarik Fraihi
Competing counter-radicalisation models in the UK, Robert Lambert
Counterterrorism and counter-radicalisation in Europe: how much unity in diversity?, Rik Coolsaet
Counter-radicalization in the United States, Lorenzo Vidino
Epilogue: terrorism and radicalisation: what do we now know?, Rik Coolsaet