Countering Violent Extremism - An Update from Europe, Australia and Canada

On Friday, December 9, 2011, the Homeland Security Policy Institute hosted a Policy and Research Forum event featuring Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, HSPI Senior Fellow and Research Director for the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College.

Dr Ranstorp has worked for years advising EU institutions on CVE issues, especially in the establishment of the Radicalisation Awareness Network by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

The event provided an overview of key trends and issues in CVE from Europe, Australia, and Canada. It represented the final leg of a world tour that has seen Dr. Ranstorp and an accompanying Swedish National Defence College delegation consult with intelligence and law enforcement community leaders on CVE issues and developments in Australia, Canada and the U.S.

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Magnus Ranstorp
Research Director
Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defence College
Senior Fellow

Moderated by:
Frank J. Cilluffo

Speaker Biography

Dr Ranstorp is Research Director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies (CATS) at the Swedish National Defence College, where he has directed two major research projects in the last 5 years, funded by the Civil Contingency Agency: one on radicalisation processes and counter-radicalisation policies within Europe, and one on CBRNE terrorism. Dr. Ranstorp has also led a Cabinet assignment on radicalisation (2008/9); a SIDA-funded project on counter-radicalisation efforts in Indonesia (2009); and a Armed Forces HQ study on forecasting terrorism in 2018 (2008).

Prior to CATS, Dr Ranstorp was the Director of the world-renowned Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews. Since 1994 he was largely responsible, with Dr. Bruce Hoffman and the late Professor Paul Wilkinson, for the unparalleled reputation CSTPV gained worldwide before and after 9/11.

Dr. Ranstorp is the author of Hizballah in Lebanon (Macmillan, 1997) and editor of Mapping Terrorism Research (Routledge, 2006); International Terrorism and Unconventional Weapons (Routledge, 2009); and Understanding Violent Radicalisation (Routledge, 2010).

Dr. Ranstorp is on the advisory board of several peer-reviewed international academic journals, most notably Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict; and Civil Wars.

Dr. Magnus Ranstorp is internationally recognised as a leading expert on Hizballah, Hamas, al-Qaeda and other militant Islamic movements. During the course of his field research Dr Ranstorp interviewed most of the senior leadership as well as the rank-and-file of Palestinian Hamas in Gaza, West Bank, Amman and Beirut and the Lebanese Hizballah movement in Beirut, Bekka valley and in southern Lebanon. His work on the behaviour of the Hizballah movement was recognized by Israeli media in March 2000 as among the contributing factors leading to the decision by the Israeli government to withdraw from southern Lebanon. It was preceeded by a 3-year secret back channel between Hizballah and Israel (publicly revealed in 2000).

Dr. Ranstorp has briefed many senior government and security officials from around the world, and lectures regularly to most major universities, think tanks and intergovernmental organisations. In 2003, he was invited to testify before the 9/11 Commission in its first hearing. Both before and after 9/11, he was a consultant on terrorism issues to CNN and its investigative unit assisting on stories in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. On 12 September 2001 Dr. Ranstorp briefed CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and the link between Pakistani ISI and al-Qaeda.

In the Middle East and North Africa, Dr Ranstorp has made briefings to several Middle Eastern governments, military and civilian agencies in: Lebanon; Jordan; Israel; Egypt; Libya; Bahrain; Saudi Arabia, UAE. In 2008 he visited the Saudi rehabilitation prisons where he met and interviewed al-Qaeda members caught in Iraq on suicide-missions as well as Saudi Guantanamo detainees. In 2007 he was also the only European and civilian invited to lecture in a high-level CENTCOM conference held in Abu Dhabi on the role of special operations (SOC) before several Gulf states royal families and SOC representatives from across the Middle East and the United States. He has also taught at the Special Operations University at Fort Hulburt in the United States.

In 2006 Dr Ranstorp was invited to join the European Commission Expert Group on Violent Radicalisation, an official advisory body on all matters relating to violent radicalisation and recruitment of extremists within the EU. In 2007 he was invited to join the European Network of Experts on Radicalisation and he is an invited member of the BKA-led initative European Expert Network on Terorrism Issues. He is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Terrorism. Since 2009 he has been a Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute at the George Washington University.

He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences.