I. PERSPECTIVES ON CULTURAL DIPLOMACY
IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND MITIGATION
The new, uncertain structures of the reticular global world call for innovative strategies. In particular, the new forms of diffuse conflict demand that international diplomacy give effective answers in terms of handling the crisis and reducing conflicts. In this context, cooperation has to regain credibility and competence to prove itself as a system of intervention suited to the new challenges, able to project itself into the new scenarios that are changing significantly and rapidly.
This brief note proposes to highlight some important factors of the change taking place, followed by the description of recent experiences in the field, concluding with the proposal of new kinds of involvement expressed in the Cultural Diplomacy Partnership, an experience of reticular cooperation formulated and promoted by our research centres, ITSTIME in the Università Cattolica, Milan, and CAARI at the Addoun University in Somalia.
Culture, diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, crisis and conflict reduction.
This paper aims to provide an analysis of the contribution that resilience, especially in its cultural dimension, can provide in post-crises and conflict scenarios, along with the pragmatic approach of cultural diplomacy.
The key premise is the concept of resilience and its role in crisis management and risk analysis. Cultural resilience is regarded as an essential factor to build national, collective and individual identities that are able to define, interpret and manage new hybrid threats.
Both the cultural factor itself and the concept of identity need to be seen as drivers for the required relationship between the cultural dimension of resilience and cultural diplomacy.
The final remarks consolidate a social anthropological perspective associated with the cultural dimension and the application of the concept of resilience in the framework of cultural diplomacy, with the aim to manage socio-political tensions and conflicts in many parts of the world.
Cultural resilience, cultural diplomacy, security, adaptation, proactivity.
II. Perspectives on Terrorism & Counter-terrorism
An often overlooked aspect in explaining the Italian efficiency in countering and preventing terrorism, be it domestic or international, is the institutional setting established in 2004 to manage this issue. In this respect, the role of the Antiterrorism Strategic Analysis Committee (CASA – Comitato di Analisi Strategica Antiterrorismo), the Italian counterterrorism fusion centre, has proved to be essential. While the need for centers like this was a direct consequence of 9/11, indeed being the US those starting this kind of center, other European countries started working on similar centers as a consequence of homegrown jihadist attacks.
The Committee primary task was originally to prevent terrorist-related incidents through real-time information sharing among state security agencies.. Since its creation however, the CASA chores widened and changed; homegrown terrorism (leaderless jihad phase), Foreign Terrorist Fighters and the resurgence of domestic violent extremism led to an evolution in the CASA competencies. The Committee proved to be particularly useful in strengthening the synergy between all the actors involved in counterterrorism activities, also representing a thriving hub to ‘institutionalise’ the national security system culture originating from previous experiences in countering domestic terrorism (The Red Brigades, Neofascist Organizations) and organized crime groups (Mafia, Camorra, N’drangheta).
Due to the contained number of terrorism-related events in Italy, there is just a basic perception of the role played by CASA in the national public opinion and, more broadly, among international observers, as the Committee is seldom mentioned as a synergic counterterrorism tool. The Committee however, proved to be a flexible, efficient tool and, despite its ambition to institutionalise the Italian approach to counterterrorism, was not burdened by the classic bureaucratic problems often characterizing the public administration. An in-depth analysis of this fusion centre can also highlight lessons to be learned for other countries facing the same type of threat as Italy.
Antiterrorism, jihadismo, estremismo violento, intelligence, forze di polizia, Counterterrorism, jihadism, violent extremism, intelligence, law enforcement
The common denominator in the exploitation of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups, can be found in the grey legal framework where cryptocurrencies operate. This contest, even though indirectly, allows the diffusion of a propaganda related to the rejection of the idea of State, by depicting the decentralized control of cryptocurrencies as a mean of payment that belongs exclusively to the people, avoiding the interference of a centralized government control or any sort of middleman.
Focusing on the analysis of the ideological justification and opaque financing patterns used by international organizations as Hamas, global movements as alt-right extremist groups and their sympathizers, then describing in depth how small jihadist private military contractors as the Malhama Tactical Team or suspicious online humanitarian crowdfunding campaigns are developing their skills both in the online communication and in the cryptocurrency field, this essay is aimed at providing an either overall or specific view of the current terrorism-FinTech nexus. It will explain how, even though extremist groups’ skills in the cryptocurrency sector may seem at an infancy level, they are evolving very fast and creating a trickle-down diffusion of know-how and ideological or political justifications. These elements can generate a twofold outcome: turn terrorism financing into an unprecedented occasion to improve investigative and analysis methods or, on the other hand, turn exploitation of modern finance for terrorism purposes into a total undetectable sector.
Jihad, Alt-right, Financing, Cryptocurrency, Cybercrime
Within the complex framework of the Hybrid and Information Warfare, this study analyses a Twitter account dataset related to the Russian company Internet Research Agency (IRA) that was potentially used for Information Warfare operations, from 2009 to 2018.
The objective of the analysis is to reconstruct the representation of terrorism disseminated by the IRA through the actions carried out by the analysed Twitter accounts. Using the construct of Social Representations and methods of Latent Semantic Analysis (cluster analysis and multiple correspondence analysis) explicit and implicit themes associated with the concept of terrorism are explored. Out of a general sample of 8,768,633, 22,764 messages were filtered containing the lemma «terror». The results show peculiar temporal dynamics and contents that subtend two main themes: the nature of the threat represented (known / unknown) and the positioning of the enemy (internal / external). The limits and the practical implications of these results are discussed with particular reference to: methods and contents of online communications related to the concept of terrorism, capability demonstrated by the accounts analysed, further applicability of the analysis with a perspective of countering Information Warfare operations.
Hybrid Threat, Information Warfare, Latent Semantic Analysis, Social Media Intelligence, Social Representation, terrorism