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Issue 18 | 2023

Terrorism & Digital Ecosystems

Federico Borgonovo, Giulia Porrino, Silvano Rizieri Lucini, Propaganda Hybridation: pmc wagner exploitation of islamic state content


The PMC Wagner is one of the main players that emerged during the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. The study aims to investigate the presence of communicative hybridisation in the communication of the PMC Wagner on Telegram. The study is based on a case study of a channel exploiting pro-IS propaganda and jihadist visual motifs with more than 100,000 subscribers. The analysis of the content related to the channel shows a good understanding of IS propaganda: those replicate the style of IS propaganda and are used to disseminate pro-Russia materials. Through the communicative hybridisation, the target audience expands to include extremist Muslims galvanized by jihadist propaganda and PMC Wagner veterans who fought in the civil war in Syria and who came into contact with the violent subculture typical of the Islamic State. The exploitation by PMC Wagner of different forms of communicative extremism is a phenomenon to be monitored as this strategy allows content to be modulated through styles, languages, and visual motifs.


PMC Wagner, Jihad, Propaganda, Telegram, Media House

Ali Fisher, Time to be realistic about Swarmcast 2.0: How terrorists use WhatsApp


This article addresses two significant gaps in the current literature. First it challenges the orthodox claims that Salafi-Jihadi are forced to use smaller platforms because of the success of ‘deplatforming’ strategies adopted by so-called internet giants and second it does this by highlighting the significant presence of Salafi-Jihadi networks on WhatsApp. With over two billion users, WhatsApp is an social giant by any estimation. 

Through the discussion of the networks on WhatsApp, the article demonstrates that while the Western metanarrative has long been accepted by the orthodoxy of Terrorism Studies, and is still resonates at events hosted by industry funded bodies, the challenge encapsulated by Swarmcast2.0 remains. Salafi-Jihadi groups and the media mujahidin maintain persistent networks which function across multiple platforms simultaneously, including networks on the some of the largest platforms. 

The paper argues for greater attention to be paid to an authentic understanding of the ways Salafi-Jihadi communicate shared meaning and maintain networks. It concludes, concludes there is a need for significantly greater understanding of the way Salafi-Jihadi networks are still able to operate on the largest platforms, requiring an understanding of dynamic networks in addition to the static content files they share.


Swarmcast; networks; Salafi-Jihadi; terrorism; platforms;

Francesco Balucani – Fabio Ottaviani, L’Italia alla prova del fondamentalismo radicale islamico. Indagine sul polimorfismo della minaccia terroristica e analisi ragionata dell’ordinamento giuridico italiano in materia di antiterrorismo. Parte seconda


This publication aims to analyze the most relevant features of today’s islamic terrorism, to list the critical issues that this kind of threath poses both in a strategic and a legal dimension, to examine the peculiarities and the attributes of the Italian legal system in terms of national security and counter-terrorism, and finally to analyze this issue in terms of international cooperation. The polymorphism and the irreducibility to pre-established schemes that have always distinguished the threath of terrorism require us to carry out an analysis free from generalizations, focused both on present days – foreign fighters, nuclear terrorism, Jihad 2.0, terrorism transnational – and historical past. Although in recent years the incidence of islamic terrorism has decreased more and more, probably as a consequence of the progressive dismantling of the Islamic State and the intensification of American search and destroy campaigns, conducted throught high-altitude military drones, satellite technologies and intelligence operations, we believe that it is appropriate to maintain high standards of security, since new potential threats may arrive unexpectedly and without great possibilities for prediction. The roots of the problem remain substantially unresolved – Islamic religious demands, the presence of political regimes close to the most extremist currents of the Islamic religion, the marginalization of Muslim populations within the global society, the presence of inter-ethnic conflicts and civil wars in regions of the world already affected by phenomena of poverty and by the externalities of climate change – and so it is possible that in the future the containment policies of Western societies may no longer be enough to contain the pressures arising from a a problem that we have repressed and suffocated, but certainly not completely eradicated. In any case, this period of calm could also be used to address the unresolved issues related to the definition of terrorism on an international level and the dilemmas of interstate cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism and intelligence, which may compromise the effectiveness of the policies to contain the terrorist threat developed both nationally and internationally. The following publication is divided into two parts, or sections: in the first one, which has been included in the past issue of the journal, we have dealt with the issues mentioned above, while in the second, which you are about to read, we will analyse in depth the protection of national security in the Italian legal system.


Terrorismo, fondamentalismo jihadista, antiterrorismo, sicurezza nazionale, intelligence, cooperazione internazionale, terrorism, jihadism, counter-terrorism, homeland security, intelligence, international cooperation

Evolving security issues & perspectives

Giacomo Buoncompagni, Within the informative-cultural chaos. Migration issue, national politics and anti-Jewish conspiracy


Among the various phenomena of hostility and aggression towards different groups, anti-Semitism has become increasingly prevalent in Europe in recent years.

Considering recent crises and the emergence of collective traumas, hate crimes and novel forms of anti-Semitism have materialized in political discourse and the digital sphere. This is due to the public and interactive nature of new information technologies.

The phenomenon of neo-anti-Semitism highlight’s identity issues in multicultural societies, specifically difficulties comprehending other cultures and histories or more recent transformations. This has significantly eroded the relationship between the public sphere and online societies, while at the same time encouraging anti-Semitic sentiments, conspiracy theories, infodemics, new forms of racism and denialism that are difficult to report even in the media. The overall objective of this study is to investigate the coverage of anti-migrant hate and obscured types of anti-Semitism. Despite being distinct topics, both are linked by the presence of stereotypical, occasionally aggressive, and confused narratives in the public discourse. Journalism frequently fails to identify and rectify these narratives, thus perpetuating information disorder.


Migration; conspiracy; journalism; media; discrimination; hate speech, migrazione; cospirazione; giornalismo; media; discriminazione; discorso di odio

Kamil Yilmaz, Hate speech predicts engagement on social media: A case study from Turkey


What drives engagement on social media has been the focus of social scientific inquiry especially in recent years. Among various established predictors of virality on social media are emotional language, language about in- and out-groups, and notions of positivity and negativity.  In light of prior work, this study explores whether hate speech in the form of demonization of a social group is associated with engagement on social media by using a case study from Turkey: The Gülen Movement (GM), a once-admired social movement that has been going through a decade-long demonization, stigmatization, criminalization and persecution. The results show that demonizing language against GM (a specific out-group) is a strong predictor of virality in three of the largest social media platforms in Turkey’s social media ecosystem: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The results also show that demonizing language about a specific out-group has the largest effect size compared to other well-established predictors of virality such as the moral-emotional language, language about the in-group and language about the (general) out-group.


Hate speech, demonization, social-media, specific out-group, Gülen Movement, Turkey

Barbara Lucini, Medical Intelligence: definizione, metodi, prospettive e gruppo nazionale Medint


This paper, for the first time in Italy, offers a reflection on the theme of Medical Intelligence which has become increasingly crucial over the last few years, due to the occurrence of events such as the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Russian-Ukrainian war and the Israeli-Palestinian war; all events which possess characteristics of interdependence, mutual influence and high levels of uncertainty and complexity.

The focus of this paper concerns not only an innovative definition of Medical Intelligence and its specific areas of study, but also the consideration of the possibilities it offers in revising the intelligence process, in light of the impact of new technologies and the characteristics of emerging threats. 

Specific attention will then be devoted to the establishment and launch of the national Medical Intelligence group at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. 

Finally, perspectives and lines of work that are already being developed to continue to expand the knowledge of Medical Intelligence in a rapidly changing world will be proposed.


Medical Intelligence, Medint, Intelligence, Covid-19, pandemics

Rene D. Kanayama, Dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh – A Local Conflict with Global Implications


Early 2022 unleashing the chain of internationally significant events and starting the new era of struggle over the geopolitical control of key parts of the world by most of the superpowers, the number of new conflicts with legacy roots continues to emerge in 2023. The Caucasus region of the former Soviet Union has always been prone to the bloodiest kinds of inter-regional and inter-ethnic conflict throughout the past several hundreds of years, and the clash between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the region of Nagorno Karabakh has proven to be of no exception.

While the chaos following the demise of the Soviet Union in early 1990’s saw multiple military conflicts in many of its former domain – from Moldova to Georgia, to Tajikistan’s full-fledged civil war as well as localized ethnic skirmishes in other parts of the Central Asia, the Nagorno Karabakh issue has probably been the most prolific and seemingly never-ending throughout the past thirty years.

Even though the United Nations resolution viewed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as an unlawful occupation of Azerbaijan’s territory by Armenia, the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, consisting entirely of the ethnic Armenian population continued to relatively flourish for most of the thirty years between 1991 and 2023, and in the last decade of its existence (recognized only by other internationally unrecognized entities of the former Soviet Union), it managed to attract international attention especially in its tourism sector.

The ultimate Azerbaijan’s supremacy over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh, following the so-called Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in September 2020 and culminating by full take-over of all remaining territory populated by the Armenians in September 2023, needs to be seen not only as a result of a significant economic rise of Azerbaijan propelled by its natural resources, but also as a consequence of other regional strifes often more important for the superpowers eyeing the control of the region. Most notably, the strong and strategic relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel, forged on the background of international isolation of Iran and countering many of the Iran’s regional geopolitical ambitions, is, in the opinion of the author, one of the key elements deserving attention and analysis.

Rather than providing another outline of the individual periods of this long-term dispute with roots even before the demise of the Soviet Union – the topic to which manifold academic treatises have been dedicated in the past thirty years – the article focuses on the comparative implications of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with other regional conflicts looming in its vicinity, taking into account the extremely fast revolving nature of today’s international relations, where new pacts sometimes inexplicably and unexpectedly replace the former alliances.


Azerbaijan, Armenia, Caucasus, Ethnic Discord, Regional Security, Global Conflict

Sara Brzogyny; Terrorism; Radicalization; Locus of Control.

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Issue 17 | 2023


Andrea Castronovo, Karenni Revolution: the centrality of border territories in Myanmar’s national insurgency


In the aftermath of the 2021 military coup, hundreds of non-state armed groups have been established across Myanmar to fight the regime, known as State Administration Council (SAC). The newly formed revolutionary forces, generically called People’s Defence Forces (PDFs), have transitioned from poorly armed and uncoordinated small cells to structured, well-trained and semi-regular companies and battalions capable of operating through a wide range of guerrilla warfare tactics. After two years of war, the nation descended into a state of violence characterized by the collapse of legitimate central state authority, the regime’s countrywide scorched-earth campaigns against the population, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs), an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and a failing economy. Myanmar has become a war-torn country in the heart of the fastest-growing region in the world: Southeast Asia. Although, the dominant Western narrative frames the current national crisis as a never-ending conflict, political deadlock or a failed state, what’s happening in Myanmar is a multidimensional Revolution that aims, not only to overthrow the military regime, but to redefine the socio-political structure of the entire country. By analyzing both the Karenni leading guerrilla force, the KNDF, and the interim Government of the ethnic State, the KSCC, this paper investigates how Karenni youth, coordinating with local Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and civil society groups, have established one of the most advanced anti-regime fronts in Myanmar.


Myanmar, military coup, Revolution, PDF, Karenni State

Giacomo Buoncompagni, ‘Sexdemic’: counter genderbased hate crimes. Virtual practices, cyber-bodies, microcelebrity and sex crimes


The various forms of participation on the web, such as likes, posts, tweets, leave ‘traces of our selves’, fragments of our identities that we are unaware of, that we cannot control and that we cannot delete.
In recent months, we have witnessed more and more diverse situations online, such as those involving groups of teenagers who use social networks to build identities, micro-celebrity paths and distribute photos/videos of beatings, torture, murders, but especially live suicides.
The causes and consequences of these forms of deviant behaviour, which are reproduced in the virtual dimension, are many and varied: depression, envy, the search for power and visibility, the transformation of a simple user into a cyber-victim, sometimes without even realising it, and the “telling off” on social networks, especially through self-produced videos and photos. Drawing on international sociological and psychological literature, this paper aims to reflect on some forms of online deviance related to ‘pathological’ communication practices concerning the body and (cyber) sexual violence.


Sex; crime; digital media; celebrity; online reputation; bodies, hate speech; crimini sessuali; media digitali; celebrità; reputazione online; corpi

Francesco Balucani – Fabio Ottaviani, L’Italia alla prova del fondamentalismo radicale islamico. Indagine sul polimorfismo della minaccia terroristica e analisi ragionata dell’ordinamento giuridico italiano in materia di antiterrorismo. Parte prima



This publication aims to analyze the most relevant features of today’s islamic terrorism, to list the critical issues that this kind of threath poses both in a strategic and a legal dimension, to examine the peculiarities and the attributes of the Italian legal system in terms of national security and counter-terrorism, and finally to analyze this issue in terms of international cooperation. The polymorphism and the irreducibility to pre-established schemes that have always distinguished the threath of terrorism require us to carry out an analysis free from generalizations, focused both on present days foreign fighters, nuclear terrorism, Jihad 2.0, terrorism transnational – and historical past. Although in recent years the incidence of islamic terrorism has decreased more and more, probably as a consequence of the progressive dismantling of the Islamic State and the intensification of American search and destroy campaigns, conducted throught high-altitude military drones, satellite technologies and intelligence operations, we believe that it is appropriate to maintain high standards of security, since new potential threats may arrive unexpectedly and without great possibilities for prediction. The roots of the problem remain substantially unresolved – Islamic religious demands, the presence of political regimes close to the most extremist currents of the Islamic religion, the marginalization of Muslim populations within the global society, the presence of inter-ethnic conflicts and civil wars in regions of the world already affected by phenomena of poverty and by the externalities of climate change and so it is possible that in the future the containment policies of Western societies may no longer be enough to contain the pressures arising from a a problem that we have repressed and suffocated, but certainly not completely eradicated. In any case, this period of calm could also be used to address the unresolved issues related to the definition of terrorism on an international level and the dilemmas of interstate cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism and intelligence, which may compromise the effectiveness of the policies to contain the terrorist threat developed both nationally and internationally. The following publication is divided into two parts, or sections: in the first one, which you are about to read, we will deal with the issues mentioned above, while in the second, which will be included in the next issue of the journal, we will deal in depth with the issue concerning the protection of national security in the Italian legal system.


Terrorismo, fondamentalismo jihadista, antiterrorismo, sicurezza nazionale, intelligence, co- operazione internazionale / terrorism, jihadism, counter-terrorism, homeland security, intelli- gence, international cooperation

Federico Borgonovo – Ali Fisher, Mapping a Telegram-centred Accelerationist  Collective


This paper aims to map the accelerationist collective known as Terrorgram and reconstruct its basic morphological characteristics through propaganda study and social network analysis. The core of the study focuses on digital ethnography within Telegram platform, and it is aimed at the recognition of narratives, communication objectives, techniques and strategies. And finally, a Social Network Analysis (SNA) is implemented, identifying actors and subgroups involved in pro-violence online propaganda within the the digital ecosystem.


Accelerationism, right, propaganda, terrorgram, terrorism

Simone Castagna, Exploring the Telegram Hacker Ecosystem


The study of hacker groups, their activities and the communities they form is becoming increasingly relevant in an even more digitalised world. Historically, academic research has portrayed hackers as solitary, misanthropic, and malevolent figures that reside within the depths of the underground web. This stereotype has led to a research focus only on the activities that occur within underground forums and markets. However, this narrow perspective is not entirely accurate, and it is crucial to understand the interactions and relationships that exist between hackers, even within more accessible and secure platforms such as Telegram. The current study employs a range of research techniques, including non-discriminative snowball sampling and social network analysis to explore the digital ecosystem of hacker groups on the Telegram instant messaging service. The aim of this research is to offer insights into the network’s organizational structure and dynamics, as well as to identify key actors, their relationships, and the dissemination patterns of content. The findings of this research provide an original approach to investigating the digital ecosystems of hacker groups, thereby enhancing the understanding of their structures, dynamics, and behaviours, and facilitating the development of effective strategies for monitoring, identifying, and countering their activities. Lo studio dei gruppi di hacker, delle loro attività e delle comunità che formano sta diventando sempre più rilevante in un mondo sempre più digitalizzato. Storicamente, la ricerca accademica ha dipinto gli hacker come figure solitarie, misantrope e malevole che risiedono nelle profondità del web underground.


Hacker groups, Social Network Analysis, Telegram, Digital Ecosystems

Silvano Rizieri Lucini — Federico Borgonovo, Exploring the Whitejihad Digital Ecosystem


A new generation of extremist is raising and it’s becoming able to establish self-created communities combing Salafi-Jihadism and extreme right. Such community originally hinged on a few influencers and self-named Islamogram has grown and contaminated within various platforms. Using a set of metaphors and visual motifs typical of the alt-right and far-right, they accuse a loss of tradition and a corrupt view of life. The community build networks, drive narratives across several platforms and spread violent propaganda. One way to study how this type of extremist develops and branches out within social platforms through the covert observation of their interactions. Reconstruct the morphology of the network in which these interactions occur. This article attempts to contribute to an advance of the literature on terrorism studies, through a combination of content analysis and ethnographic observation. 


Islamogram, Whitejihad, alt-right, propaganda, content

Giulia Porrino, Pro-Wagner gaming subculture: how the PMC gamified recruitment and propaganda  processes


With the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, several new players have emerged. Among these, PMC Wagner has assumed an ever-increasing role and has been described as a Russian proxy in warfare. Internet and social media have become essential, and the group uses video games to spread propaganda and recruit mercenaries. The gamification of propaganda tools, extremist online communities, and, ultimately, radicalization processes not only move forward but accelerate given the rising popularity of online gaming and the fact that extremists frequently take advantage of new technological advancements first. Also, the PMC Wagner has begun to exploit the use of video games for various purposes, from recruitment to fascination with violence. At the same time, using classic game-based marketing methods, they managed to reach not only the users of gaming platforms but also the citizens who, walking through the streets of the Russian capital, come across the illuminated billboards. More investigations are required into the precise workings and varied gamification strategies used by PMC Wagner and their supporters under various conditions. 


PMC Wagner, Gamification, Video games, Russia, War

Sara Brzuszkiewicz, L’androsfera: marginalità e minacce


The term androsfera – the Italian translation from the English manosphere, describes the heterogeneous and complex set of websites, blogs, and online forums promoting non-mainstream and – at times – radical forms of masculinities. 

Users in these communities are active and passive consumers of contents and values that openly oppose feminism and what they believe to be the unbalance of power that favors women over men from both a social and a sexual perspective in contemporary society.

In Italy the androsfera is still largely unknown. Researchers and journalists do not really talk about its users, let alone with its users and, if any effort is made, it is usually carried out in simplifying and sensationalist terms. For this reason, the author chose to write the paper in Italian. The present work aims at partly filling these gaps, scrutinizing the major components of the manosphere, their worldviews and narratives, with particular attention to the inceldom, i.e. the involuntary celibates galaxy. 

The paper will then include the account of the major incel-inspired attacks, which are crucial to understand the potential threat, and will later focus on the Italian androsfera, which is not as known and radical as the anglophone manosphere, yet, and this is what makes it particularly worth researching further. 

Indeed, the relative delay in the Italian manosphere’s radicalization process compared to what has been happening in other contexts represents an opportunity for terrorism experts and counter-terrorism actors to act with farsightedness, implementing crucial lessons learned elsewhere. Il termine androsfera, con cui di recente si è iniziato a tradurre l’inglese manosphere, indica l’insieme diversificato e complesso di siti, blog e forum online che promuovono forme di mascolinità non mainstream e a tratti radicale. I frequentatori di queste comunità online sono fruitori e produttori al tempo stesso di contenuti e ideali di opposizione al femminismo e a quello che percepiscono come maggiore potere sociale e sessuale delle donne rispetto agli uomini nella società contemporanea. 


Androsfera; Celibi involontari; Misoginia; Terrorismo; Radicalizzazione.

Manosphere; Involuntary Celibates (Incels); Misogyny; Terrorism; Radicalization; Locus of Control.

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Issue 16 | 2022

Luca Cinciripini, La nuova sicurezza europea tra Baltico e Artico


Following a geopolitical phase that has seen the Mediterranean at the center of European security studies, the northern part of the continent is assuming a new centrality. In particular, we are now witnessing the relevance of the Baltic Sea and the Arctic as new geopolitical sce- narios of confrontation between great powers, in particular Russia and the member countries of NATO. The Ukrainian conflict, in fact, is producing serious consequences in these regions as well, as in the case of the request for accession by Sweden and Finland to NATO, with a consequent increase in international tensions. In addition, the multilateral governance that has so far governed the fate of the Arctic, both in terms of security and scientific research, is being severely tested by the tough confrontation between Russia and the West. Furthermore, climate warming opens new trade routes and provides access to huge deposits of raw materials, accelerating the competition between the players also thanks to the inclusion of powers such as China. In the light of their geographical, political and military characteristics, it is therefore useful to observe the Baltic and the Arctic as two regions of peculiarity, with points of contact that link their future security scenarios.
Dopo una fase geopolitica che ha visto il Mediterraneo al centro degli studi di sicurezza europei, la parte settentrionale del continente sta assumendo una nuova centralità. In particolare, si as- siste ormai alla rilevanza del Mar Baltico e dell’Artico come nuovi scenari geopolitici di confron- to tra grandi potenze, in particolare la Russia e i Paesi membri della NATO. Il conflitto ucraino, infatti, sta producendo serie conseguenze anche in queste regioni, come nel caso della richiesta di adesione di Svezia e Finlandia alla NATO, con conseguente aumento di tensioni internazion- ali. In aggiunta, la governance multilaterale che ha sin qui retto le sorti dell’Artico, sia in termini di sicurezza che di ricerche scientifiche, è messa a dura prova dal duro confronto tra Russia e Occidente. Il riscaldamento climatico, inoltre, apre nuove rotte commerciali e fornisce accesso a immensi giacimenti di materie prime, accelerando la competizione tra gli attori anche grazie all’inserimento di potenze come la Cina. Alla luce delle caratteristiche geografiche, politiche e militari, risulta pertanto utile osservare Baltico e Artico come due regioni con caratteristiche peculiari ma con punti di contatto che ne legano gli scenari di sicurezza futuri.


Artico, Baltico, Russia, NATO, UE

Rene D. Kanayama, Renewed Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Conflict – Cui Bono?


Following the July 2022 4th Consultative Meeting of the heads of state of Central Asian Coun- tries at the Lake Issyk-Kul, hosted by Kyrgyzstan, and literally on the eve of a high-level summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, where among other agenda, the regional powerhouse Iran, so far active as an observer state, formally submitted an application to join the regional geopolitical organization increasingly aspiring to become a global one, and Turkey, an invited guest, announced its preparedness to join the alliance in the future, fierce fighting flared up in the Batken Region of Kyrgyzstan, following a military incursion from the side of Tajikistan. Not only were the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan sitting around the same table sipping tea when young Kyrgyz soldiers were losing their lives defending their homeland, the whole idea behind the summit hosted by Uzbekistan was originally prepared to increase the regional cooperation perspectives, not to watch such efforts disintegrate before the very eyes of the Central Asian and wider regional nations. Moreover, in less than a week, the 77th United Nations General Assembly gathering was to take place, bringing to New York the leaders of the very nations embroiled in another round of Central Asian border conflict – compelling the Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov to dedicate his address entirely to the renewed border dispute with Tajikistan.
Obviously, with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine confrontation and the situation around the Na- gorno-Karabakh recently aggravating to another level of military clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a question needs to be asked whether this new Kyrgyz-Tajik engagement is to be seen and analyzed on its own, or whether some other global mechanisms in the backdrop should be identified. The border dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is certainly an issue in force for the past twenty years, having attained its very hot phase in April 2021, and a complex mix of causes needs to be addressed to understand the matter in question – from a lack of proper governance on both sides, decades long competition over water resources in the Fergana Valley, socioeconomic disparities in the geographical area far from their respective national capitals, proliferating organized crime including drug trafficking, and, not the least, the ever contrasting ethnic divide among the several nations of the region. The article will put less emphasis on historical data and perspectives, while maintaining a cer- tain measure of a chronological frame of reference, and instead will attempt to place the cur- rent Kyrgyz-Tajik border crisis into both regional context (as part of the ongoing phenomenon where currently all of the Central Asia gains significance among various global affairs) as well as the context of increasingly crucial global issues, including a proper use of water resources, food security and inter-ethnic symbiosis.

Dopo il 4° incontro consultivo dei capi di stato dei paesi dell’Asia centrale nel luglio 2022 pres- so il lago Issyk-Kul, ospitato dal Kirghizistan, e letteralmente alla vigilia di un vertice ad alto livello dell’Organizzazione per la cooperazione di Shanghai a Samarcanda, dove, tra l’altro, la potenza regionale Iran, finora attiva come stato osservatore, ha formalmente presentato do- manda per entrare a far parte dell’organizzazione geopolitica regionale sempre più aspirante a diventare globale, e la Turchia, un ospite invitato, ha annunciato la sua disponibilità ad aderire all’alleanza in futuro, aspri combattimenti sono divampati nella regione di Batken del Kirghi- zistan, a seguito di un’incursione militare dalla parte del Tagikistan. Non solo i presidenti del Kirghizistan e del Tagikistan erano seduti intorno allo stesso tavolo a sorseggiare il tè quando i giovani soldati kirghisi stavano perdendo la vita per difendere la loro patria, l’intera idea alla base del vertice ospitato dall’Uzbekistan era originariamente preparata per aumentare le pros- pettive di cooperazione regionale, e non vedere tali sforzi disintegrarsi davanti agli occhi stessi delle nazioni dell’Asia centrale e della regione più ampia. Inoltre, in meno di una settimana, si sarebbe tenuta la 77a riunione dell’Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, portando a New York i leader delle stesse nazioni coinvolte in un altro round di conflitti di confine dell’Asia centrale, costringendo il presidente kirghiso Sadyr Japarov a dedicare interamente il suo dis- corso al rinnovato conflitto di confine con il Tagikistan.
Ovviamente, con il conflitto Russia-Ucraina in corso e la situazione intorno al Nagorno-Kara- bakh che si è recentemente aggravata a un altro livello di confronto militare tra Azerbaigian e Armenia, è necessario porsi una domanda se questo nuovo impegno kirghiso-tagiko debba essere visto e analizzato da solo, o se dovrebbero essere identificati altri meccanismi globali sullo sfondo. La disputa di confine tra Kirghizistan e Tagikistan è certamente una questione in vigore negli ultimi vent’anni, avendo raggiunto la sua fase molto calda nell’aprile 2021, e per comprendere la questione in questione è necessario affrontare un insieme complesso di cause
– dalla mancanza di un buon governo da entrambe le parti, dalla concorrenza decennale per le risorse idriche in Val Fergana, disparità socioeconomiche nell’area geografica lontana dalle rispettive capitali nazionali, proliferazione della criminalità organizzata compreso il traffico di droga, e, non ultimo, la sempre contrastante divisione etnica tra le diverse nazioni della regione.
L’articolo porrà meno enfasi sui dati storici e sulle prospettive, pur mantenendo una certa misura di un quadro di riferimento cronologico, e cercherà invece di collocare l’attuale cri- si del confine tra Kirghizistan e Tagikistan in entrambi i contesti regionali (come parte del fenomeno in corso in cui attualmente tutta l’Asia centrale acquista importanza tra i vari affari globali) così come il contesto di questioni globali sempre più cruciali, tra cui un uso corretto delle risorse idriche, la sicurezza alimentare e la simbiosi interetnica.


Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Central Asia, Regional Security, post-USSR Conflict Zone, Water Re- sources


Barbara Lucini, Vetting e processi di radicalizzazione come pratiche di comunità digitali: dai TRA-I al metaverso


This paper focuses on key findings emerged from the research activities conducted within the H2020 European project CounteR – Countering Radicalisation for a Safer World Privacy-first situational awareness platform for violent terrorism and crime prediction, counter radicalisa- tion and citizen protection.
The central theme concerns vetting processes and their methodologies applied in multiple ecosystems for both Islamic and far-right radicalisation processes.
The theoretical perspective that we want to focus on is related to the cultural-narrative ap- proaches and the declinations that these can operationally have in the field of socio-cultural intelligence.
The methodological perspective instead relates to the understanding of the context and oper- ational ecosystem of such processes and of those weak signals or risk factors that can be useful to Law Enforcement Agencies to adapt and adjust TRA-I (Terrorism Risk Assessment Instru- ments) models to the contemporary and varied radicalisation processes.
The result is a work of primary importance for national security in a global context of strong radicalisation, for its methodological-operational implications and for the theoretical reflec- tions that make it worthy of further study.

Il presente articolo si focalizza su alcuni risultati emersi dalle attività di ricerca condotte nell’ambito del progetto europeo H2020 – CounteR – Countering Radicalisation for a Safer World Privacy-first situational awareness platform for violent terrorism and crime prediction, counter radicalisation and citizen protection.
Il tema centrale riguarda i processi di vetting e le loro metodologie applicate in molteplici eco- sistemi sia per i processi di radicalizzazione islamica sia per quelli relativi all’estrema destra. La prospettiva teorica che si vuole porre all’attenzione è relative agli approcci culturali – narr- ativi e alle declinazioni che questi possono operativamente avere nell’ambito della socio-cul- tural intelligence.
La prospettiva metodologica invece si relaziona con la comprensione del contesto ed ecosis- tema operativo di tali processi e di quei segnali deboli o risk factors che possono essere utili alle Law Enforcement Agencies per adattare e adeguare i modelli di TRA-I (Terrorism Risk Assessment Instruments) ai contemporanei e variegati processi di radicalizzazione.
Ne risulta un lavoro di primaria importanza per la sicurezza nazionale in un contesto globale di forte radicalizzazione, per le ricadute metodologiche-operative, per le riflessioni teoriche che lo rendono meritevole di ulteriori approfondimenti.


Radicalisation, Extremism, Vetting, Islamic, Right – Wing, Socio-Cultural Intelligence, Radi- calizzazione, Estremismo, Islamico, Estrema Destra, Socio-Cultural Intelligence.

Kamil Yilmaz – Farangiz Atamuradova, A comparative analysis of ISIS Channels On Telegram


With the increased presence of social media and online messaging platforms in daily lives of individuals came the threat of its appropriation by terrorist groups to spread their narratives, recruit individuals, and serve as a communication channel among members of the group. This research focuses on comparing two Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)Telegram channels – an interactive and broadcast channel – to compare the tactics and strategies employed by the two channels. In particular, the research assesses the discursive strategies presented in both channels, especially those pertaining to the representation of the in- and out-group by the channel moderators as well as followers. The combined analysis of the posts on two ISIS-chan- nels is beneficial for researchers, practitioners, as well as policy makers as it sheds light to how one single group employs different tactics and strategies to communicate their message, polar- ize followers’ viewpoint, and maintain the existence of and support for the terrorist group as a whole, despite its territorial defeat.


ISIS, Telegram, terrorism, critical discourse analysis, CDA

Daniele Maria Barone, Social bots and synthetic interactions to stage digital extremist armies


Artificial intelligence (AI)-made bots for social media platforms are becoming increasingly sophisticated and able to impersonate average users, developing either as valuable AI tools in the communication field or as an instrument for online deception.
As AI keeps advancing, also terrorist organizations will benefit from these technological de- velopments to increase the efficiency of their use of social media. For instance, they could increasingly avoid being flagged by users or detected and banned by the platforms, supporting radicalization or propaganda with less risk while gaining greater resonance.
From this perspective, the analysis will firstly focus on how social bots work, their role in help- ing to perceive synthetic interactions as authentic interactions, and their potential contribu- tion to social manipulation. Then, the paper will delineate how AI-bot developments intersect with terrorist or extremist communication environments.
I social media bot creati attraverso l’intelligenza artificiale (IA) diventano sempre più sofisticati e in grado di imitare con maggiore efficacia il comportamento degli utenti. Questo li ha resi sia strumenti particolarmente validi nel settore della comunicazione sia una risorsa utile per ingannare gli utenti.
Con l’avanzamento e la diffusione dell’IA, anche le organizzazioni terroristiche potranno ben- eficiare di questi sviluppi in campo tecnologico, migliorando la loro efficenza nell’utilizzo dei social media. Ad esempio, i social bot potrebbero aiutare le organizzazioni terroristiche a diminuire le possibilità di essere segnalati dagli utenti e sospesi dalle piattaforme social, sup- portando i loro processi di radicalizzazione e diffondendo la loro propaganda con un rischio inferiore ma garantendo una maggiore risonanza.
Partendo da questa prospettiva, dopo aver analizzato il funzionamento dei social bot, in quale misura questi ultimi possono favorire la percezione di interazioni sintetiche come autentiche ed il loro contributo alla manipolazione sociale, la ricerca delineerà le aree principali attra- verso cui lo sviluppo tecnologico dei bot si interseca con i contesti comunicativi di gruppi terroristici o estremisti.


Social media bot, jihad, far-right, conspiracy theories

Mirosław Karpiuk, Crisis management vs. cyber threats


An effective response to cyber crises is determined not only by having forces and resources ade-
quate to such a threat, but having appropriate regulations in this regard are also important. The  European Union has not yet developed common standards to deal with the threats that cause  such crises, instead leaving crisis management in the event of such crises situations caused by  cyber-attacks firmly to national legislation.

Commission Recommendation (EU) 2021/1086 of 23 June 2021 on the Establishment of a  Common Cyberspace Unit (OJ EU L 237, p. 1) states that Member States and relevant EU  institutions, bodies and agencies should ensure a coordinated EU response to, and recovery  from, large-scale cyber incidents and crises. In this situation, it is necessary to swiftly and ef- fectively mobilise operational resources for mutual assistance. In order to provide an effective  coordinated response to cyber crises, relevant actors should be able to share best practices and  ensure necessary preparedness. Their operation should take into account existing processes  and the expertise of the different cybersecurity communities. In turn, according to Commission Recommendation (EU) 2017/1584 of 13 September 2017  on the Coordinated Response to Large-Scale Cybersecurity Incidents and Crises (OJ EU L  239, p. 36), Member States and EU institutions should establish an EU Cybersecurity Cri- sis Response Framework integrating the objectives and modalities of cooperation. The EU  Cybersecurity Crisis Response Framework should, in particular, identify the relevant actors,  EU institutions and Member State authorities, at all necessary levels – technical, operational,  strategic – and develop standard operating procedures that define the way in which these co- operate within the context of EU crisis management mechanisms. Emphasis should be placed  on enabling the exchange of information without undue delay and coordinating the response  during large-scale cybersecurity incidents and crises.


Crisis management, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, essential service

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Issue 15 | 2022


Marco Lombardi, Russia-Ucraina: oltre la Guerra Ibrida, verso il Techno-Cognitive Warfare


The Russian-Ukrainian conflict unexpectedly brought war to Europe.

At present (end of March 2022) I do not consider any conclusive scenario to be foreseeable: to- day the most optimistic forecast is contained in the uncertainty of an evolving event, for which everything is possible. But this brief note, which introduces others that follow dedicated to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, focuses on what so far already constitutes predictably persistent results in the medium to long term.

Now we are at the Total Hybrid War in which the dimensions of the conflict overlap, interfere, produce an escalation of effects in different contexts: no conflict had yet unfolded in this artic- ulated form, where they are no longer needed and the predictive and interpretative drivers of the scenarios fail. This is the first Total Hybrid War that has surpassed itself, paving the way for the now present Techno-Cognitive Warfare.

The characteristics of the Ukrainian Russian confrontation can be traced back to some emerg- ing themes: the overlapping of the dimensions of the conflict; the centrality of strategic com- munication; the multiplication of actors in the field.

Although the conflict is still ongoing, however, some signs of permanent change are already evident. In the paper, I discuss only a few, which concern the change in the paradigm of the now techno-cognitive war, the broad re-modeling of the meaning of cyberspace, the central role of information and communication, and, also, a consequent different mode of negotiation between the parties to accelerate the peace process.

The conclusions add to the previous reflections two hopes.

The first concerns our capacity for de-escalation: wars, this one, in particular, has clearly shown how we can risk being stuck in a symmetrical process of escalation so that every action (in every dimension of the conflict) is answered with an action of a greater degree (in every other dimension of the conflict). It is a trap, also favored by technologies, which has configured an automatism, a practice of “taken for granted”, which can only be interrupted by a conscious and responsible choice.

The second, which takes the form of advice, concerns the individual cognitive equipment that each one must assume for the governance of the flow of communication in which he is immersed. Therefore, I emphasize what I call the Principle of Maximum Protection:

  • any information is false until proven otherwise. and the Principle of Maximum Effectiveness:
  • every piece of information is true for its target audience.

I expect a lasting more than ten years of the conflict that has just begun, albeit blanded and conveyed through actions that will focus on one or the other dimension (cyber, kinetic, eco- nomic, social, etc.) in an exclusive way, if those who will have to govern the confrontation will be able to avoid the simultaneous overlapping of the effects generated by the actions carried out in each dimension. In practice, we now need to learn to govern a widespread, subthreshold, and continuous global conflict: without surrendering to Cognitive Warfare as a replacement for “Peacefare”.

Il conflitto russo-ucraino ha inaspettatamente portato la guerra in Europa.

Allo stato attuale (fine marzo 2022) non reputo prevedibile alcuno scenario conclusivo: oggi la previsione più ottimista è contenuta nell’incertezza di un evento in evoluzione, per il quale tutto è possibile. Ma questa breve nota, che ne introduce altre che seguono dedicate al con- flitto tra Russia e Ucraina, si concentra su quanto finora già costituisce dei risultati prevedibil- mente persistenti nel medio-lungo periodo.

Ora siamo alla Guerra Ibrida totale in cui le dimensioni del conflitto si sovrappongono, inter- feriscono, producono una escalation di effetti in contesti diversi: ancora non si era dispiegato in questa forma articolata alcun conflitto, dove non servono più e i driver predittivi e interpre- tativi degli scenari falliscono. Questa è la prima Guerra Ibrida Totale che ha superato sé stessa, aprendo la via all’ormai presente Guerra Tecno-Cognitiva.

Le caratteristiche del confronto russo ucraino possono essere ricondotte ad alcuni temi emer- genti: il sovrapporsi delle dimensioni del conflitto; la centralità della comunicazione strategi- ca; la moltiplicazione degli attori sul campo.

Benché a conflitto ancora in corso, tuttavia, alcuni segni di cambiamento permanente sono già evidenti. Nel paper mi soffermo solo su alcuni, che riguardano il cambiamento del paradigma della guerra ormai tecno-cognitiva, la ri-modellazione ampia del significato di spazio ciberne- tico, il ruolo centrale dell’informazione e comunicazione e, anche, una conseguente diversa modalità di negoziazione tra le parti per accelerare il processo di pace.

Le conclusioni aggiungono alle riflessioni precedenti due auspici.

Il primo riguarda la nostra capacità di de-escalation: le guerre, questa in particolare, ha mo- strato con chiarezza come si possa rischiare di restare bloccati in un processo simmetrico di escalation, per cui a ogni azione (in ogni dimensione del conflitto) si risponde con una azione di grado maggiore (in ogni altra dimensione del conflitto). Il secondo, che assume la forma di un consiglio, riguarda l’attrezzatura cognitiva individuale che ciascuno deve assumere rispetto al governo del flusso di comunicazione in cui è immerso secondo il Principio di Massima Tutela e il Principio di Massima Efficacia.


Hybrid Warfare, Cognitive Warfare, Cyberspace, Ukraine, Russia

Stefano Marinelli, War and Crimes against Peace: Avenues to Prosecute Russia’s Aggression of Ukraine


On February 24, 2022, the Russian attack on Ukraine provoked a strong international commu- nity reaction, in terms of diplomatic condemnation of Russia and support for Ukraine. There is an international consensus on the qualification of the facts that have occurred as a crime of aggression, and an unprecedented political support for Ukraine. Nevertheless, international justice does not have the possibility to prosecute those responsible for the crime.

The article presents the structural obstacles of international law in prosecuting the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine, in particular by the International Criminal Court, and illustrates possible alternatives to bring those responsible to justice. The article presents the strong and coherent reaction of the international community to the Russian military inter- vention, with unprecedented unity in the United Nations General Assembly, and a majority in the Security Council stopped exclusively by the Russian veto. Then, the article examines the international prohibition of the use of force, and the justifications put forward by Russia to support the legality of the operation. The Russian reasons, based on self-defense and on the purpose of protecting the populations of Donbas from genocide, prove to be unfounded. The analysis therefore concludes that the attack on Ukraine constitutes a manifest act of aggression. The study then examines the criminalization of the aggression by the International Criminal Court, presenting the jurisdictional limits that prevent the Court from prosecuting the crime in this circumstance: unlike other international crimes that the ICC is already investigating on the Ukrainian territory (crimes of war, crimes against humanity) the Court cannot exercise its jurisdiction for the crime of aggression committed by individuals of states that are not party to the Rome Statute.

Finally, alternative mechanisms for bringing justice to the Ukrainian aggression are examined: from the trial in a national court, which has the problem of immunities and of lack of expertise in prosecuting international crime, to the creation of an ad hoc or hybrid tribunal.

Il 24 febbraio 2022, l’attacco della Federazione Russa all’Ucraina ha provocato una forte re- azione della comunità internazionale in termini di condanna diplomatica della Russia e di sostegno all’Ucraina. Nonostante il consenso internazionale nella qualifica dei fatti occorsi, e il sostegno politico senza precedenti, la giustizia internazionale sembra impossibilitata a perseguire i responsabili del crimine. L’articolo presenta gli ostacoli strutturali del diritto inter- nazionale nel perseguire il crimine di aggressione commesso contro l’Ucraina, in particolare da parte della Corte Penale Internazionale, e illustra possibili alternative per fare giustizia sul

crimine. Dopo aver presentato la reazione unitaria della comunità internazionale all’interven- to militare russo, con un’unità senza precedenti nell’Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, e una maggioranza nel Consigli di Sicurezza fermata esclusivamente dal veto russo, l’articolo prende in esame il divieto internazionale di uso della forza e le giustificazioni avanzate dalla Russia per sostenere la legalità dell’operazione. Le ragioni russe, fondate sull’autodifesa e sulla finalità di proteggere le popolazioni del Donbas da un genocidio, si rivelano infondate. Si conclude quindi che l’attacco all’Ucraina costituisce un chiaro atto di aggressione. L’analisi esamina poi la criminalizzazione dell’aggressione da parte della Corte Penale Internazionale, presentando i limiti giurisdizionali che impediscono alla Corte di perseguire il crimine in questa circostanza: a differenza di altri crimini internazionali su cui ha già iniziato attività di indagine (crimini di guerra, crimini contro l’umanità) la Corte non può esercitare la propria giurisdizione per il crimine di aggressione commesso da individui di Stati che non sono parte allo Statuto di Roma. Infine, si prendono in esame meccanismi alternativi per fare giustizia sull’aggressione Ucraina: dal processo in un tribunale nazionale, che ha problemi di immu- nità e di specializzazione nel perseguire il crimine internazionale, fino alla creazione di un tribunale ad hoc o ibrido.


Russia, Ukraine, International law, War crimes

Daniele Maria Barone, Russia-Ukraine conflict: digital assets chronicles in times of war


The economic catastrophe caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised questions on the role of digital assets in this conflict. On the one hand, how crypto assets could be exploited by Moscow to circumvent international sanctions and, on the other hand, how crypto can be useful as a crowdfunding tool to finance the Ukrainian military sector.

This context turned a spotlight on the companies operating in the digital assets field, highlight- ing the controversies raised by the collision of the neutrality of the cryptocurrency sector with a humanitarian crisis.

With this premises, based on events and statements of the first few weeks after the Russian invasion began, this research is aimed at answering the following questions: how much can digital assets help in financing the military sector of a State? Can digital assets be a reliable alternative to international financial isolation? In which way could this conflict affect the cryp- tocurrency sector?

La catastrofe economica causata dall’invasione russa dell’Ucraina ha sollevato numerose do- mande sul ruolo che i digital asset potrebbero ricoprire in questo conflitto. Da un lato, il potenziale sfruttamento delle criptovalute da parte di Mosca per eludere le sanzioni economi- che e, dall’altro, la funzione delle criptovalute nel finanziamento al settore militare ucraino attraverso il crowdfunding.

Questo contesto ha acceso un faro sulle compagnie operanti nel settore dei digital asset, facen- do emergere le controversie generate dalla collisione tra la neutralità delle criptovalute con una crisi umanitaria.

Con tali premesse, basandosi su avvenimenti e dichiarazioni delle prime settimane dall’inizio dell’invasione russa, questa ricerca ha la finalità di rispondere alle seguenti domande: quanto possono aiutare le criptovalute nel finanziamento al settore militare di uno stato? Possono le criptovalute essere un’alternativa valida all’isolamento finanziario internazionale? In che modo il conflitto russo-ucraino ha un impatto nel settore delle criptovalute?


Ukraine, hybrid warfare, cryptocurrencies, digital assets

Federico Borgonovo, Azov Battalion: Extreme Right-Wing Militarization and Hybrid Warfare


This article analyzes the origins and features of the Azov Battalion. A hybrid weapon, which fight inside a multivariate hybrid conflict composed by a combination of urban warfare, propa- ganda, and politics. The Azov Battalion represent one of the clearest examples of the increasing complexity of warfare. Complexity and hybridization are due to the growing number and di- versity of actors involved. The Russo-Ukrainian conflicts no longer remain local; instead, from 2014 to 2022 has increasingly attracted external actors, as right-wing extremists and extend to the Internet. This analysis, try to explain how Azov Battalion became such an effective weapon and what could be its outcome after the war. This aim was achieved by reconstructing the fun- damental historical steps and then theorising the so-called Azov system. The latter is a model that synthesises Azov’s hybrid capabilities acquired through its diversification and attempts to illustrate the high degree of complexity of military systems fighting in hybrid contexts.


Azov, Hybrid, Ideology, Ukraine, Army, War, Extremist

Marco Zaliani, The importance of the Cyber battleground in the Russo-Ukrainian war


The increasingly hybrid nature of conflicts has become even more evident in the recent re-ig- nition of the never-dead Russian-Ukraine crisis. The new chapter of this conflict, which arose from the Russian military invasion of Ukrainian territory, was characterized by massive use of hybrid instruments of the conflict that went hand in hand with the military one. In this con- text, the cyber dimension of the conflict has reaffirmed its central role. As it is now an integral part of these conflicts and no longer ancillary to them. Starting from a study of the implemen- tation of cyber-arsenals used in the Ukrainian context, we want to give a more precise image of this type of weapons which, just like conventional arsenals, are exploited to achieve specific objectives by a variety of actors. In fact, in this conflict, the “cyber-line ups” that have seen state and non-state actors intervening alongside both Russia and Ukraine are also indicative. From these considerations, one can get an idea of the current role of cyber in the context of new hybrid conflicts and specifically outline the scenarios that the Russo-Ukrainian conflict may cause in cyberspace even after hostilities are over.


Ukraine, cyber, hybrid warfare

Luca Cinciripini, The hybrid response of the EU and NATO to the Russia-Ukraine conflict


The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine embodies the main features of hybrid war-fare. Alongside the military dimension, the use of propaganda tools, disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks has fully emerged so far, as well as the multiplicity of state and non-state actors involved. Faced with this complexity, the European Union (EU) and NATO, unable to make full use of the military instrument to contain the consequences of the conflict, have put in place a multidimensional response. Up to now, it has been articulated in the use of both hard and soft power tools that have transversally involved different sectors. On the one hand, therefore, there was the supply of military equipment to the ukrainian front. On the other hand, lawfare instruments such as economic sanctions have been put in place, as well as trade, financial and energy measures aimed at isolating Russia from the rest of the international
community. Considering the factors that have long been observed in the field of international security studies, the future context will be increasingly dominated by hybrid warfare and the need for various actors to avoid open military clashes. The response of the EU and NATO to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis could, on the one hand, highlight the difficulties of the two organizations in fully transforming themselves into global players in the framework of international security and defence. On the other hand, could be a first step toward the exercise of a potentially replicable hybrid power in the management of future crises.


Ukraine, Russia, EU, NATO, hybrid warfare


Giacomo Buoncompagni, L’Amore Altruistico in tempi di guerra e pandemia


Pitirim A. Sorokin, a Russian sociologist naturalised in the United States and a leading figure in 20th century sociology, stated that historical and techno-cultural changes have not always produced positive results within societies, but at times even negative (or more precisely, ‘de- structive’) ones: individualism, antagonism, an excess of technology and rationality, and in particular the fall of the bonds of solidarity towards the different and the loss of the feeling of belonging (Mangone 2015; Cimagalli 2010; Marletti 2018; Perrotta 2016).

Altruism can also be one of the indispensable ingredients of social life, useful for preventing crises and conflicts.

No society can exist without an “altruistic and creative love” that has as its aim the “altruisa- tion” of individuals and social institutions: a complex process/project capable of encompassing the emotional, supra-rational and spiritual aspects of human relations (including online), start- ing from the idea that all men can recognise themselves in certain moral principles, eternal and universal.

Considering the current pandemic and war scenarios, the aim of the paper is to illustrate the main theoretical lines of Sorokin’s scientific thought, which made sociology a “science at the service of humanity” useful also for the study of disasters, i.e. all those events involving con- junctions of physical conditions and definitions of human damage and social disorders (e.g. natural disasters, wars and cyber attacks).

Pitirim A. Sorokin, sociologo russo naturalizzato statunitense, figura di spicco della sociologia del XX secolo, affermava che i mutamenti storici e tecno-culturali non sempre hanno prodotto risultati positivi all’interno delle società, ma a tratti anche negativi (o più precisamente “di- struttivi”): individualismo, antagonismo, eccesso di tecnica e di razionalità, ed in particolare la caduta dei vincoli di solidarietà nei confronti del diverso e della perdita del sentimento di appartenenza (Mangone 2015; Cimagalli 2010; Marletti 2018; Perrotta 2016).

L’altruismo può essere uno degli ingredienti indispensabili alla vita sociale, utile per prevenire crisi e conflitti.

Nessuna società può esistere, infatti, senza un “amore altruistico e creativo” che abbia come fine “l’altruizzazione” degli individui e delle istituzioni sociali: un processo/progetto comples- so in grado di comprendere gli aspetti emotivi, sovra-razionali e spirituali delle relazioni uma-

ne (anche online), partendo dall’idea che tutti gli uomini possono riconoscersi in determinati principi morali, eterni ed universali.

Considerando gli attuali scenari di pandemia e di guerra, lo scopo del paper è quello di illustra- re le principali linee teoriche del pensiero scientifico di Sorokin, che ha fatto della sociologia una “scienza al servizio dell’umanità” utile anche per lo studio dei disastri, cioè di tutti quegli eventi che coinvolgono congiunzioni di condizioni fisiche e definizioni di danno umano e disturbi sociali (ad esempio, calamità naturali, guerre e cyberattacchi).


Sorokin, altruism, media, digital, crisis, covid19, war

Daisy Marcolongo, Gestione dell’emergenza Covid-19: dalla teoria all’analisi. Il caso Bergamo


L’intento dell’elaborato è quello di analizzare, dal punto di vista organizzativo e comunica- tivo, la gestione dell’emergenza Covid-19 in Italia, rivolgendo un’attenzione particolare alla provincia di Bergamo. Al fine di raggiungere tale intento sono stati utilizzati due strumenti di ricerca: l’intervista semi-strutturata ad amministratori locali, Protezione civile e volontari e il questionario strutturato alla popolazione. Dallo studio in profondità è emersa l’incredibile capacità degli enti locali e dei volontari di organizzarsi per fronteggiare l’emergenza senza indicazioni precise e in assenza di dispositivi di protezione, utilizzando conoscenze pregresse e piani di prevenzione non aggiornati. La gestione dell’emergenza in Italia è stata caratterizzata da un susseguirsi di DPCM e ordinanze regionali che hanno regolato il comportamento dei cittadini e l’apertura o chiusura di esercizi commerciali, luoghi di ritrovo e centri sportivi. Inizialmente le misure sono state accolte in modo favorevole dalla popolazione, tuttavia, sono emerse serie difficoltà di gestione della comunicazione; infatti, si evidenzia un uso scorretto dei canali social ufficiali del governo utilizzati per diffondere, anticipatamente e senza un’ade- guata analisi comunicativa, notizie contenute in documenti ufficiali, aumentando incertezza tra popolazione e amministratori locali.


Covid-19, crisis management, Bergamo

Federico Prizzi, Il Cultural Intelligence e la Negoziazione Operativa nelle Aree di Crisi


La Negoziazione Operativa è una delle attività più importanti che possono essere richieste a un etnografo di guerra. Essa consiste in tutte quelle trattative svolte in supporto alle operazioni militari, sia in tempo di pace che di guerra, con le autorità locali (formali e informali), con personale militare e paramilitare, con i rappresentanti di organizzazioni internazionali così come con comuni cittadini. In particolare, la negoziazione consiste in una necessità che due o più parti hanno di trovare un accordo accettato da tutti i contendenti. Accordo che deve essere vantaggioso per gli interessi di ciascuna delle parti coinvolte. Differisce, pertanto, dalla media- zione poiché quest’ultima necessita della presenza di un terzo attore percepito, dai due o più contendenti, come neutrale e imparziale. Infine, differisce, dalla negoziazione operativa con- dotta dalle forze di polizia, perché quest’ultima è strettamente legata alla liberazione di ostaggi.


Cultural intelligence, cultural diplomacy, negoziazione operativa, aree di crisi

Rene D. Kanayama, Events in Kazakhstan’s Almaty of January 2022 – Grass-root Revolt or Terrorism Inspired Insurgency?


While the world in March 2022 is immersed in yet another military conflict on the territory of ex-Soviet Union, the Year of the Tiger started to show from its very beginning that solving various disputes is fastest through means of violence, and its subsequent suppression by means of power. This time it was on the territory of Kazakhstan, and the cause for outbreak of vio- lence in Almaty and elsewhere between January 5 and 7, unseen in this magnitude so far in Kazakhstan, may have been benign in its nature – ever growing prices of fuel, exponentiated by ever expanding poverty gap in Kazakh society.

However, the instantaneous and extremely tough measures taken by the country’s leader- ship – coupled with immediate involvement of military forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization – indicated that much more than a mere overruling of popular dissent was at stake, and in order to attain its objective to silence the opposition, a clear and robust message had to be sent across.

Kazakhstan, in its 30 years of independence, has probably not been utterly immune to various types of disputes stemming from uneven distribution of wealth – certainly a long-term rule by one and only Nursultan Nazarbaev brought some “guarantees” of stability – but the extend of chaos, public disruption and the amount of blood spilled during the countermanding of re- bellion indicates that the relatively peaceful period of country’s post-Soviet development may be over and the oil and uranium rich nation needs to contend with both foreign interference as well as internal changes.

The events classified by some as insurgency, by some as a terrorist attempt to overthrow the lo- cal or perhaps even national government, and by some as a trivial fight between the tribal clans aiming at control of the nation’s riches and the future, may have lasted not long – everything happened almost as unexpectedly and swiftly as a squall coming out of nowhere – but were a testimony to the fact that the political and economic status quo in any of the post-Soviet republics is not a long-term matter, and instead it can change at a whim of those having an access to both means and desires to alter the established ways. This article examines the vari-

ous viewpoints of both the possible causes of Almaty events of January 2022, as well as future ramifications for security status in the region, and perhaps also beyond.

Mentre il mondo nel marzo 2022 è immerso nell’ennesimo conflitto militare sul territorio dell’ex Unione Sovietica, l’Anno della Tigre ha iniziato a mostrare fin dall’inizio che la solu- zione di varie controversie è più veloce attraverso la violenza, e la sua successiva soppressione per mezzo del potere. Questa volta si trovava nel territorio del Kazakistan, e la causa delle pro- teste ad Almaty il 5 gennaio potrebbe essere stata di natura benigna – prezzi sempre crescenti del carburante, a causa del divario di povertà sempre crescente nella società kazaka.

Tuttavia, le misure istantanee ed estremamente dure prese dalla leadership del Paese – in- sieme al coinvolgimento immediato delle forze militari dell’Organizzazione del Trattato di sicurezza collettiva – ha indicato che era in gioco molto più di un semplice annullamento del dissenso popolare, e per raggiungere il suo obiettivo di mettere a tacere l’opposizione, doveva essere inviato un messaggio chiaro e forte.

Non si può dire che il Kazakistan, nei suoi 30 anni di indipendenza, sia stato immune da vari tipi di contenziosi derivanti dalla distribuzione diseguale della ricchezza – certamente un governo a lungo termine di un solo e solo Nursultan Nazarbaev ha portato “garanzie” di stabilità – ma indica l’estensione del caos, il disordine pubblico e la quantità di sangue versato durante la revoca della ribellione che il periodo relativamente pacifico dello sviluppo post-sovietico del Paese potrebbe essere terminato e la nazione ricca di petrolio e uranio deve fare i conti sia con l’interferenza straniera che con i cambiamenti interni.

Gli eventi classificati da alcuni come ribellione, da alcuni come tentativo terroristico di rove- sciare il governo locale o forse anche nazionale, e da alcuni come una banale lotta tra i clan tribali che mirano al controllo del futuro della nazione, potrebbe essere durato non a lungo

  • tutto accadde quasi inaspettatamente e rapidamente come una burrasca proveniente dal nulla – ma erano una testimonianza del fatto che lo status quo politico ed economico in una qualsiasi delle repubbliche post-sovietiche non è una questione a lungo termine, e invece può cambiare per un capriccio di coloro che hanno accesso sia ai mezzi che ai desideri di alterare i modi stabiliti. Questo articolo esamina i vari punti di vista di entrambe le possibili cause degli eventi di Almaty del gennaio 2022, così come le future ramificazioni per lo stato di sicurezza nella regione, e forse anche oltre.

Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Terrorism, Insurgency, Regional Security, Coup d’état

Ali Fisher – Nico Prucha, “Working and Waiting”: The Salafi-Jihadi movement on Telegram in 2021


Salafi-Jihadi groups adopted the Telegram messaging platform around 2016. Since then, it has been a mainstay of the information ecosystem for groups such as al-Dawlat al-Islamiyah (IS) and al-Qaeda (AQ) and other foreign terrorist organisations (FTO). While the Salafi-Jihadi move- ment has been using Telegram, the general userbase of the platform has grown rapidly, it was 5th most downloaded mobile app worldwide in 2021 and 13th most used social platform globally. This paper uses examines how the Salafi-Jihadi movement operates on Telegram as a network of interconnected hubs where traffic and influence flow in multiple directions creating a vast dynam- ic ecosystem. This research offers the most comprehensive analysis, to date, of the information ecosystem of Salafi-Jihadi groups on Telegram. It is based on observation during 2021 of over 7,000 channels belonging to elements of the Salafi-Jihadi movement including IS, AQ, Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas, along with Salafi channels of importance to the movement.

It finds that just under 90% of the channels connect into a single giant network (including channels from IS, AQ, Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas). This means they are part of an interconnected ecosystem which comprise sub-clusters that have varying degrees of shared meaning. They often share common sources of content, frequently those channels on the Salafi side of the Salafi-Jihadi nexus. Such channels create a permissive environment in which Salafi-Jihadi groups can target their intended audience, and share material to bolster their theological position to craft a specific religious identity. Furthermore, the most important Salafi channels are much more likely than other channels to be sharing join links to other channels. Despite the volume of data available via Telegram, with some notable exceptions, much of the analysis and commentary of the Salafi-Jihad movement on Telegram has been anecdotal or su- perficial, resulting in the image of very insular Jihadi communities just talking to themselves. In 2021, far from being driven off Telegram (or the internet) by EUROPOL led disruption efforts, the Salafi-Jihadi movement and the FTO elements within it, have reconfigured just as a flock of birds adjusts in flight to the attack of a predator. In 2022 they continue to exploit the platform.


Salafi-Jihadi movement, Telegram, strategic communication

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Issue 14 | 2021


Marco Lombardi, Puzzle afghano

Afghanistan is a Crossroads (Caspani E., Cagnacci E., Afghanistan crocevia dell’Asia, Vallardi 1951): a plural place of multiple objects that intersect, approach, contaminate, detach, conflict: a constant morphogenetic process that never allows detecting a stable form that favors some predictability of future forms.
Afghanistan has always been a puzzle, whose recomposition cannot be inspired by the figure on the box that contains its pieces.
Unfortunately, this is evident every time the transient form, characterizing that historical period, fragments to prepare for a new configuration, opening a long period of uncertainty and causing serious damage to the objects that had characterized the stability of the previous period.
Afghan was always a puzzle, for all those who have crossed the Khyber Pass.
Precisely for this reason, we have decided to publish in this issue of the magazine a series of articles, even short ones, each of which wants to be a piece of the larger puzzle. Please be careful that we are not proposing a vision (the guide image printed on the game box) but we are beginning to make pieces available to favor a future logic, always reviewable, that can compose them in some form.
It is however understandable that the pieces offered are not thrown home in the box, but underlie an interpretative background that emerges by some considerations.
These are the events that led to the surrender of Kabul – not its fall – whose effects were already written.
It could not be otherwise.
But it could have been different.
I don’t think it’s possible to predict future Afghanistan right now, but I think it’s useful to collect the pieces of the puzzle and try to put them together in a design capable of redefining itself at the entrance of each subsequent new piece.
It is in this spirit that we offer the first pieces of the game with the following articles.

Afghanistan, conflicts, scenario analysis

Rene D. Kanayama, Regional Ramifications for Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan – Role and Position of Uzbekistan on Islamic Fundamentalism 1991-2021

With most international press reporting after August 2021 being focused on “fall of Kabul”, it should be noted that it will be those who carry on in the region as neighbors that need to deal with Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and not as much those who left. With centuries of foreign conquest that attempted to subdue Afghanistan and its people, the most impactful in the past 50 years will remain both the decade long Soviet occupation of the land and US presence that lasted 20 years and ended abruptly two months ago.
Uzbekistan, as the most populous country of the Central Asian region, has had a special relationship – either to, or with Afghanistan – as the Uzbek SSR it was a preparatory ground for Soviet troops commencing its occupation in 1979. Then, throughout the occupation period it kept functioning as a military base through which the Soviet armed forces entered and exited Afghanistan.
The article examines Uzbekistan’s exposure to Islamic extremism throughout its 30 years of independence, as well as historical traits that shaped the future interrelation with more religiously fundamental neighbors. The country may have kept away from the open civil conflict that became widespread in other parts of the ex-Soviet area, but was not immune to attempts (albeit relatively sporadic) to topple its secular regime by radical elements originating either within homeland, or in its immediate vicinity.
The origins and growth of Taliban movement in Afghanistan are intertwined with many of the extremist events taking place within Uzbekistan after 1990, and an scholastic attempt is being made at assessing the current potential reach of both Taliban as a cultural-religious phenomenon as well as the multiple radical elements flourishing inside Afghanistan to neighboring region, in particular Uzbekistan.
Con la maggior parte dei servizi giornalistici internazionali dopo l’agosto 2021 incentrati sulla “caduta di Kabul”, va notato che saranno coloro che continuano nella regione come vicini a dover affrontare l’Afghanistan controllato dai talebani, e non tanto quelli che se ne sono andati. Con secoli di conquiste straniere che hanno tentato di sottomettere l’Afghanistan e il suo popolo, il più impattante negli ultimi 50 anni rimarrà sia la decennale occupazione sovietica della terra e la presenza statunitense che è durata 20 anni e si è interrotta bruscamente due mesi fa.
L’Uzbekistan, in quanto paese più popoloso della regione dell’Asia centrale, ha avuto un rapporto speciale, con o con l’Afghanistan – come Repubblica socialista sovietica uzbeka era un terreno preparatorio per le truppe sovietiche che iniziavano la sua occupazione nel 1979. Poi, per tutto il periodo di occupazione, ha continuato a funzionare come base militare attraverso la quale le forze armate sovietiche entravano ed uscivano dall’Afghanistan.
L’articolo esamina l’esposizione dell’Uzbekistan all’estremismo islamico durante i suoi 30 anni di indipendenza, così come i tratti storici che hanno plasmato la futura interrelazione con i vicini più religiosamente fondamentali. Il Paese potrebbe essersi tenuto lontano dal conflitto civile aperto che si è diffuso in altre parti dell’area ex-sovietica, ma non fu immune da tentativi (sebbene relativamente sporadici) di rovesciare il suo regime laico da parte di elementi radicali originari o della patria, o nelle sue immediate vicinanze.
Le origini e la crescita del movimento talebano in Afghanistan sono intrecciate con molti degli eventi estremisti che si sono verificati in Uzbekistan dopo il 1990, e si sta facendo un tentativo scolastico di valutare l’attuale potenziale portata dei talebani come fenomeno culturale-religi-oso così come i molteplici elementi radicali che fioriscono all’interno dell’Afghanistan nella regione vicina, in particolare l’Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Taliban, Radicalism, Regional Security, Threat to Homeland

Luca Cinciripini, Il nuovo governo talebano, tra interessi locali e minacce internazionali

Il varo del nuovo governo a guida talebana è stato a lungo considerato il primo banco di prova per valutare le prossime mosse dei nuovi padroni dell’Afghanistan nei confronti della comunità internazionale. Secondo numerosi osservatori, infatti, un’eventuale presa di distan-za dalla galassia estremista e terroristica avrebbe potuto segnalare l’intenzione dei Talebani di perseguire la strada del dialogo e del riconoscimento internazionale. Tuttavia, attraverso un’attenta lettura della composizione del nuovo esecutivo si rileva un forte elemento di continuità con la leadership talebana che guidò il Paese fino alla caduta del regime nel 2001. In aggiunta, i ruoli di primo piano conferiti a figure legate a doppio filo al mondo del terrorismo, come nel caso dei leader del clan Haqqani, segnala quanto i legami tra il nuovo establishment talebano e il jihadismo restino estremamente saldi. Si rileva, in aggiunta, l’innovativo utiliz-zo di argomentazioni giuridiche nel richiamare presunte violazioni di accordi internazionali da parte degli USA, segnalando un salto di qualità nelle strategie talebane e confermando il crescente peso del lawfare nel quadro dei conflitti ibridi. Infine, il coinvolgimento di attori regionali e internazionali nella formazione del governo è destinato a incidere sulle prossime mosse dell’esecutivo afgano, con inevitabili ricadute su un’area di crisi dotata di proiezione non solo locale bensì globale.

Afghanistan, Haqqani, Talebani, governo afgano

Daniele Plebani, Islamic State – Khorasan: “Fotografia in movimento” post 26 agosto 2021

Quanto avvenuto in Afghanistan nell’agosto 2021 ha segnato la fine di un’era militare e una svolta nella politica regionale e internazionale. Il ritiro della coalizione e l’avanzata dei Talebani verso Kabul sono state quasi adombrate da un terzo attore, IS-Khorasan, il quale è riuscito a porre la propria firma su questo crocevia storico e che potenzialmente può essere la base per una nuova epopea del gruppo nella regione. Proprio in Afghanistan, uno dei paesi dove IS ha subito maggiori perdite, potrebbe partire la scintilla per infervorare ancora una volta i propri adepti in tutto il globo e riproporsi quale competitor per la primazia della galassia jihadista.

islamic state, khorasan, terrorismo, Talebani, Kabul

Federico Borgonovo, Badri 313: uno strumento di guerra ibrida tra propaganda strategica e riassetto operativo

Per i Talebani una “forza speciale” è un soggetto per natura ibrido e la Badri Force 313 rappre-senta uno degli esempi più chiari ed espressivi di tale concezione. Lo stesso nome Badri 313 è stato attribuito a diverse unità militari appartenenti alle forze Talebane. La prima unità nota come Brigata 313 rappresentava un’unità suicida d’élite connessa alle cellule qaidiste presenti nel paese. Con l’evolversi del conflitto la strategia mediatica portata avanti dagli esponenti del Haqqani network si è modificata e con essa anche l’impiego delle forze speciali. Alla presa di Kabul è stata infatti notata la presenza di unità militare denominata Badri Battalion 313 e poi Badri Force 313, altamente addestrata e ben equipaggiata, impiegata come forza di sicurezza. Ripercorrendo la storia e l’evoluzione delle unità note come Badri 313 è stato possibile oss-ervare un utilizzo combinato di strategie mediatiche e impiego di forze speciali.

Haqqani, Talebani, Badri 313, Forze Speciali, Propaganda

Marco Zaliani, La reazione dell’ecosistema digitale della destra alla vittoria talebana

La ritirata americana dall’Afghanistan ha scatenato molteplici reazioni negli ambienti estrem-isti online. Uno dei più recettivi all’evento è stato sicuramente l’ambiente della destra estrema. Diverse sue frange hanno infatti sfruttato l’eco mediatico della vittoria talebana per proporre chiavi di lettura diverse a seconda dell’ideologia di riferimento. Partendo dall’etno-nazionalismo, passando per l’anti-establishment e il complottismo fino ad arrivare alle ideologie incel e al conservatorismo. Nonostante le apparenti differenze inconciliabili, l’estrema destra e i gruppi jihadisti pre-sentano affinità sia ideologiche che operative. Queste vicinanze hanno infatti permesso una reciproca ispirazione ed emulazione da parte di gruppi di estrema destra e jihadisti, accomuna-ti da nemici comuni, tattiche comunicative analoghe e logiche pro-violenza.

Afghanistan, Talebani, estrema destra, comunicazione, ideologia

Giacomo Buoncompagni, The Role of Technology and “Infodemic” in The New Afghan Crisis

Unlike twenty years ago, the Taliban no longer suffer from ‘technophobia’. They have learned that communication (and information overload) are crucial in their battle for power, and the recent takeover of Kabul has shown us that. The Taliban conquest was carried out with weap-ons, AK-47s, M-16s, and also with state-of-the-art smartphones (Alonso 2021; Stengel 2021). A power struggle where the time factor and technology, accompanied by an almost silent construction of the communication strategy (public and digital), have been the two real weapons of Taliban success and Western failure. In the 1990s, the Taliban rejected any form of progress and any kind of technological aspects, including access to the Internet. However, after taking Kabul, they are fascinated by the gymnasium of the presidential palace, participate in the international press and some of the leaders do not hide their Apple Watch (Mozart, ur-Rehman 2021). The Taliban have deployed their weapons of media seduction in an attempt to reassure the international community, not hiding their communication skills and technological read-iness and trying to rebuild their reputation in the digital public space, countering the news overload produced by the Western media with distorted information. Through the study and qualitative analysis of international press sources and available scientific literature, the main socio-historical and socio-communicative aspects concerning the communication and strategic use of the media by the Taliban leaders in Afghanistan will be analyzed.

social media, Taliban, infodemic, terrorism, Kabul, Afghanistan


Laris Gaiser, Golden power ed intelligence economica: strumenti strategici di tutela della stabilità e della sicurezza economica italiana nel contesto della globalizzazione post-Covid19

Negli anni a venire la pandemia del Covid-19 avrà notevoli ripercussioni sull’economia e sull’ordine internazionale. In l’Italia essa ha fatto emergere le fragilità e le criticità del tessuto economico-produttivo nazionale ovvero la mancanza di una cultura geoeconomica che renda il Paese resiliente in un contesto globale permeato dai conflitti di quinta generazione. Per difendere le aziende strategicamente importanti in una fase di debolezza sistemica, l’Italia ha dato una risposta emergenziale, di tipo passivo, con l’aggiornamento della cosiddetta norma-tiva golden power. Qualora questo strumento venisse coordinato con un approccio maggior-mente attivo, basato sull’istituzionalizzazione di un sistema di intelligence economica, l’Es-ecutivo fornirebbe il sistema-Paese gli strumenti adatti a facilitare la formazione di una nuova dinamica di sviluppo migliorandone le capacità di reazione e di competitività a livello globale. Il cambio di postura internazionale dell’Italia è reso urgente a causa dal ventennale ritardo nella comprensione delle esternalità positive originate dai sistemi d’intelligence economica stranieri e per il moltiplicarsi della dinamicità geopolitica a livello globale.

intelligence economica, golden power, sicurezza, Covid-19

Francesco Balucani, L’architettura cibernetica del sistema Paese nella quinta dimensione della conflittualità. L’efficacia del Piano nazionale per la protezione cibernetica e la sicurezza informatica

With the advent of information technologies (IT) and the birth of a fifth dimension of conflict, nation states are called upon to face a growing and diverse number of real and current threats. The dual-use nature of information technologies, the lowering of the access threshold to military capabilities determined by the potentiality of the network, the growing digital protectionism manifested by the great powers and the inversely proportional relationship between computerization and security in modern societies, force governments to build and implement cybernetic architectures able to protect society and Operators of Essential Services (OES) from threats coming from the ubiquitous and pervasive front of cyberspace. In Italy, with the National Strategic Framework for the security of cyberspace, some important steps in this direction have been accomplished, which then resulted in the formulation of the National Plan for cyber protection and cybersecurity, in the implementation of the European NIS directive and in the establishment of a national Computer Security Incident Response Team (Italian CSIRT).

cybersecurity, national Security, cyber Strategy, information technologies, cyberspace, cyber-war, sicurezza informatica, sicurezza nazionale, architettura cibernetica, spazio cibernetico, informatizzazione, guerra cibernetica

Cosimo Melella – Emilio Lo Giudice, Ransomware strikes back! Il racket informatico continua a colpire le infrastrutture critiche

Ransomware attacks are now the greatest threat to critical infrastructure. These threat actors block data and/or IT systems of the infrastructures and then make the description key available only upon payment of a ransom, in Bitcoin or Monero. The case of the attack on the health system of the Lazio Region is perhaps the most famous in the Italian panorama but certainly not the most dangerous. The consequences are not limited only to business aspects but can evolve into forms of digital warfare between nations, new forms of political persuasion, or even new forms of extortion racket available to criminal organizations.
There are several ways in which you can respond to these cyber attacks: from defense mechanisms on data retention on backup, or you can simply give in to the requests of the attackers or even try to negotiate, trying to understand if the attackers are actually in possession of the decryption keys, up to the common strategies between public and private, even transnational, which aim to improve the sharing of information and defense mechanisms. This last strategy would be the one to be favored since the infrastructures are crucial for the functioning of the States.

intelligence economica, golden power, sicurezza, Covid-19

Daniele Maria Barone, Anti-establishment: demand and supply

In audience-driven contexts, believing passionately in a set of values or a cause is an asset. In borderline cases, this emotional context can facilitate, deliberately or not, the adoption of single-minded visions for solving problems and changing society, leveraging on uncertainty instead of focusing on objective criteria, promoting the categorization of social groups through the paradigm of “us and them”.
This highly emotional narrative has proven to be a versatile vector for extremist discourse, able to overlap the ideological aspect and connect divergent views.
The adaptive features of this rhetoric allowed its pervasiveness from violent extremist circles to opaque communication contexts, becoming a transversal boundary-spanning tool for different social segments. Thus, the propagation of a communication phenomenon, rooted in social structural changes as globalization, educational and cultural divisions, increased polarization between prosperous and less developed regions, tech giants self-regulation, political or religious dissatisfaction.
With these premises, this paper is aimed at analyzing how polarized rhetorics, adapting to an ever-evolving social set of values, can insinuate in some non-extremist contexts and understand how their exploitation by various actors can incentivize the spread of anti-establishment views or beliefs.

Anti-establishment, disinformation, conspiracy theories, extremism


Riccardo Micheletti, Terrorismo e morale. La posizione israeliana alla luce dell’operazione Entebbe

There is a deep connection between the fight against terrorism and moral; a connection that represents the precondition necessary to “every” sort of effective contrast to the phenomenon. That concept emerged clearly during the international conference that took place in Washington by Jonathan Institute, in June 1984. In this convention, where authorities of the most diverse disciplines were invited to report (jurists, philosophers, historics, journalists and strategic studies experts), the experts tried to provide the guests some effective “tools”, drawn to lighten up the complex phenomenon of international terrorism. «However as a premise to all these means», pointed out during the conference Benjamin Netanyahu, that is the one who became multiple times Israel’s Prime Minister, there had to be an assurance, «the moral belief that terrorism, in any shape or pretext», it was «an inexcusable evil». The moral subsidence, an “ambiguous” position, not evident towards terrorism phenomenon, could only strengthen, in the eyes of terrorists, the idea of an intrinsic “weakness” of free peoples.

According to Netanyahu, in front of the threat of terrorism it was necessary to respond by practicing the moral virtue of courage, not only at a military level, but also at all levels of society, particularly at a political and civil level. During Operation Entebbe (military action performed in the hinterland of Eastern Africa, in the night between 3 and 4 July 1976, that rescued 103 hostages, mainly Israelis, and members of Air Force 139’s flight crew, hijacked by four terrorists), such virtue was wield exemplarily concerning the political aspect (in the first place by Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of the state of Israel at the time), the military one (by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Netanyau, dead during the operation), and indirectly by Israel’s civil society, historically trained, in every aspect, to actively react to the ceaseless threats of terrorism. After Operation Entebbe’ success, no plane that took off or landed in the state of Israel was ever hijacked again.

Terrorismo, Morale, Entebbe, Relazioni internazionali

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Issue 13 | 2021


Barbara Lucini, QAnon: risk assessment sociologico di un fenomeno estremista

This article aims to propose a sociological reflection of risk assessment represented by the QAnon phenomenon. The complexity of QAnon, its communication mechanisms, the relational and organizational peculiarities deserve to be deepened, considering the social categories and cultural aspects that intervene in the constitution of different forms of the same phenomenon.
Through an analysis of the historical, social and cultural components of this phenomenon and a google trends research related to the research on the subject QAnon carried out in Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany it has been possible to propose an interpretative model capable of orienting the assessment of the risk of radicalization and extremism, as well as the future scope of this potential threat, which seems to be increasingly a resilient extremist phenomenon.

QAnon; radicalisation; extremism; violence; social movements; resilience

Abdullah Metin, West of ISIS: a discourse and operation analysis from occidentalist perspective

Studies on terrorist organizations have been constantly increasing as terrorism have become an imminent threat at the global level. One of these organizations, the self-declared Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has provided so much data through its intensive media use. Although considerable research has been done on ISIS’ magazines, videos, and social media releases, less attention has been paid to its discourse on the West. Therefore, this paper aims to explore ISIS’ perception of the West from Occidentalist perspective. To achieve this aim, numerical and text-based data was acquired by scanning ISIS propaganda magazines, Dabiq, Konstan­tiniyye, and Rumiyah. Also, an operational analysis was performed by mapping the locations targeted by ISIS’ actions. This article contributes to the literature on several points. First, while almost all of the studies analyze only the English-language magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah, this study also includes the Turkish magazine Konstantiniyye. Second, unlike other studies, this research also focuses on ISIS’ targeting of the Western way of life. Third, the study assesses ISIS’ attacks in the West by combining them with the content analysis of the magazines. Last but not least, it compares ISIS’ reaction to the West with the other Eastern reactions that per­sisted for nearly 200 years. The results disclose that ISIS considers its struggle against the West as a religious and sacred war. It also targets the different core values and lifestyles of the West. Furthermore, ISIS’ discourse is repudiative, condemning, and challenging, whereas previous Eastern reactions to the West were eclectic and apologizing.

Dabiq, Rumiyah, Konstantiniyye, terrorist propaganda, the Islamic State (ISIS), Occidentalism

Daniele Maria Barone, EU economic losses in the haze of jihad

The consequences of the terrorist threat go far beyond intangible factors. Behind the casualties, the symbolic and communicative charge brought by the perception of a jihadist looming threat, reverberates in concrete impacts on the economy of a State, turning fear into costs or variations in economic standards at different levels.
In these terms, it is fundamental to analyze the direct and indirect economic consequences of terrorist attacks in Europe, to quantify their repercussions and which sectors should be accurately be monitored to efficiently prevent and counter the destabilization spread by these violent events.
From this perspective, based on previous researches and surveys in different sectors (i.e. socio-economic, marketing, policy-making) this paper is aimed at suggesting which areas could be better monitored to depict the economic consequences of terrorism in the EU and highlight which elements of the phenomenon are still over or underestimated.

Jihad, terrorist attack, European Union, economy

Tiziano Li Piani, Threat Assessment and Vulnerability Mapping for Sensitive Buildings against Terrorism in urban environments

The architectural and cultural heritage of European cities is exposed to various hazards of different nature – natural events such as floods or earthquakes but also man-made threats. The escalation of terrorist attacks conducted in urban environments against soft targets necessitates the development of guidelines for the antiterrorism design of buildings and public spaces. Counter-terrorism engineering design is challenged by the lack of definite knowledge and quantitative assessment concerning terrorist risks, including the behavior of terrorists prior and during an attack. The results of a pilot project that aimed at comprehensively addressing terrorist attack scenarios against Churches in urban settings are summarized in this chapter. The threat assessment was based on the statistical inference of patterns extracted from a sizeable database of such attacks. The statistical incidence of certain behavioral patterns enabled the quantitative elaboration of ten threat scenarios, addressing also timing and placement patterns of the attackers based on their modus operandi. Data analysis revealed inter alia that even if an attack is targeting the inside of a the building, people on the outside are also in danger, even beyond the entrance. The extension of this vulnerability area is not only determined by the type of weapons used but also depends on the social function of the public space in which the building is situated. This chapter summarizes the main results of the project and further interprets and generalizes its main findings.

Terrorism, input, target, threat encoding algorithm, space of influence.


Federico Borgonovo – Luca Cinciripini – Marco Zaliani, L’attacco hacker a SolarWinds: nuove frontiere del cyber warfare e impatti geopolitici

The growing relevance of cyber warfare as a dimension of conflict and competition in international relations, such as to involve state entities and non-state actors, stems from the high level of digitization and interconnection achieved by contemporary society. Given the high pervasiveness of digital tools and technologies, cyber threats can now orient themselves not only towards the military sphere of a single country, but also towards civil infrastructures such as to seriously endanger national security. This implies the need for a careful evaluation not only of the technical specifications connected to certain attacks, but also to evaluate the potential repercussions on the international geopolitical level. Therefore, this article intends to trace the physiognomy of the hacker attack suffered by the US company SolarWinds, underline the scope and importance of the cyber threat and the possible repercussions of systemic security for Italy. Such large-scale attacks represent an immediate danger for various key sectors in the economic and social spheres, also considering the existing regulatory vacuum at the level of national and international law that limits the possibility of effective contrast and the identification of effective countermeasures. This article identifies the main gaps and threats of the current picture and indicates mitigation factors.

Cyberwarfare, SolarWinds, Supply chain attack, malware, APT, impatto.

Cosimo Melella, Cyberwarfare: combattere in una nuova dimensione

This work focuses on and explores the theme of a new type of war. Unlike the past wars, it has particular characteristics that are decreeing its success to the point that it is a candidate to become the paradigm of future conflicts between nations.
The 1910s of the 21st century began with state actors of the first cyber weapon known to the general public (Stuxnet). They ended at the end of last year with a significant cyber attack on some of the main infrastructures “sensitive”of the American government (the attack suffered by Solarwinds).
Cyberspace is, therefore, the new battlefield on which the leading players on the international stage face each other. In this arena, new forms of attacks develop, such as influencing attacks aimed at “influencing” public opinion by encouraging the copious dissemination of fake news through social networks.
In any fight, the goal is to overwhelm the opponent, annihilating the forces both on a tactical and strategic level. From this point of view, cyber operations are also more effective than conventional conflicts, allowing to launch of potentially devastating attacks on a technological or economic level, from the short to long run. Even without physically destroying the attacked sites, allow striking any goal at any time.
In the light of what has been summarized so far, we will proceed in this research work, starting from attempting to provide a clear definition of a cyber attack. It should be noted that this expression implies an unauthorized intrusion into a computer and a physical computer network with the intent of sabotage, and that can cause from simple forms of tampering to denial of service, up to the exfiltration of data and infiltration into servers.
We will then continue to outline which are the actors of the threats and the new types of attacks (among these, as previously mentioned, we find the new channels of disinformation), which will involve much more the mobile internet devices (smartphones and tablets) also under the reduction in costs and the increase in power of the same – combined with the new health emergency due to Covid19 – which, benefiting users, have made effectiveness and maintenance even more complicated the level of security of “sensitive” infrastructures.
The paper will conclude by referring to the new strategies used by the Rogue State and proposing new possible countermeasures and remediation methods, methods aimed precisely at preventing and limiting these attacks used by threat actors.

Information Security, Cyberwarfare, Advanced Persistent Threat, Malware, Information Warfare

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Issue 12 | 2020

I. COVID-19 and Communication Crisis Management

Marco Lombardi, Communication Crisis: COVID-19. Nothing since Chernobyl

The pandemic from COVID-19 generated a health emergency and at the same time a communicative crisis. In fact, many of the fundamental aspects of crisis communication and crisis management have not been considered and implemented. In particular, this reflection aims to pay attention to four fundamental premises to interpret what is happening: hybrid warfare; network society; the lesson learned from Chernobyl; crisis management and specific skills. These premises will be declined in their characteristic aspects in order to arrive at a final consideration that plans to start over, taking into account the principles of crisis communication and crisis management

Communication crisis; covid – 19; crisis Management; crisis narratives; crisis scenario

II. Empirical Research – COVID-19 and Viral Violence – International Converge Project

Barbara Lucini, Foreword. COVID-19 and Viral Violence: state of the art and beyond

Maria Alvanou, Safety vs. Security during the COVID-19 pandemici

The concepts of safety and security, although often considered the same, they are actually different. The main difference refers to human intent behind the behavior that causes the threat or the damaging event. Health crises, like the one posed by COVID-19, constitute a threat against safety and make it imperative for states to take protective measures. Already the experience of managing the security threat of terrorism after 9/11 showed how state policies there can have serious impact on societies. The article deals with the impact safety policies to combat the pandemic can have to the security of people and especially vulnerable groups. Security challenges against the life and freedoms of citizens are presented with examples from different places around the world and in relevance to safeguarding democracy. Finally, the notion of public safety and security as an alibi for measures that shrink the rights and liberties of the individual is seen in a critical way.

COVID-19, safety, security, threat, democracy

Giovanni Gugg, The tower is burning. Real and symbolic violence between technophobics and techno-rebels of 5G technology during the COVID-19 pandemic

During a disaster, the spatial and social points of reference are lost, so it is usual that we can fall into an individual and collective disorientation, which is then processed and reabsorbed in various ways, including the attribution of responsibility. Through the ‘process of blaming’ the disaster community goes in search of the causes of the calamity and identifies a responsible person/entity, generally outside their sphere or in some dissimilar and unaligned internal exponent. But what happens when the scale of a disaster is planetary and all human beings are involved in it? We are experiencing this with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a global health disaster that, in cascade, becomes an economic, psychological and social disaster. In particular, during the lockdown imposed in numerous Europeans countries between winter and spring 2020, a theory has grown according to which the new coronavirus is somehow linked to 5G technology. This has had various repercussions in street demonstrations by pandemic skeptics and technophobics during the summer and, in some more rare cases, in forms of vandalism towards telecommunications towers. The paper investigates this phenomenon through the perspective and tools of cultural anthropology.

COVID-19 pandemic, 5G technology, Conspiracy theories, Vandalism, Skeptics

Barbara Lucini, Extremisms, viral violence and pandemic: Fusion Extreme Right and future perspectives

This article aims to present the results of the research activities carried out in the framework of Converge – COVID-19 Working Group – Itstime Working Group: COVID-19 and Viral Violence.
The research focused on key questions aimed at exploring, understanding and interpreting how the current pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus can influence the activities of various forms of extremism.
In addition, a deepening of extreme right and its many expressions is proposed, given its peculiarity and importance as a global threat.
The research activities were conducted according to a mixed methodological approach, using as methodological tools, an online investigative survey and an open source-based digital ethnography.
The analysis of these researches has produced significant findings, to better understand and interpret the threat posed by the extreme right in various parts of the world and in the context of the current pandemic.
Finally, new relationships between concepts lead to the definition of fusion extreme right to generally identify the phenomena related to extreme right as well as the issue of symbolic violence.

Extreme Right, extremisms; Fusion extreme right; Symbolic violence; Viral violence, pandemic


Laris Gaiser, The consequences of COVID-19 on the geo-economic capacities of the People’s Republic of China

Today, the People’s Republic of China represents one of the most important geopolitical players in the world. It was able to rise to this position thanks to the co-optation, in an anti-Soviet approach, carried out in the 1970s by the United States. At the end of the Cold War, Beijing opted for a development policy that would lead it to excel in the economic, diplomatic, and military sectors to assume its status as a world power. In this way, the Chinese Communist regime has challenged the strategic logic that teaches that it is important to shy away from the pursuit of a simultaneous advancement of power in these three sectors, on pain of creating excessive friction with other states. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated this competition and is leading the antagonistic states to reduce Beijing’s capacity for economic influence, as well as exploiting the evident repercussions to production capacity brought about by the outbreak of the pandemic.

China, COVID-19, geo-economy, strategy, crisis

Giovanni Pisapia, 2020 Was a Bad Year – Review of Homicide and Gun-Violence Data from Selected Major US Cities

This article has been drafted with the aim of better understanding the recent spike in homicides recorded in the first six months of 2020 in several major US cities. The objective is to build knowledge and provide a picture of the change in crime trends in four analyzed cities: Atlanta (GA), Chicago (IL), New York City (NY) and Philadelphia (PA).
This article will not delve into the identification of effective and appropriate solutions to violence, grounded in criminological best practices. Instead, it tries to provide a picture of the recent spike in homicides through an analysis of official crime data, which includes police activity and victim/offender demographics. The article is based on public data, published by each of the four local police departments, made available through their web sites.
The analysis tries to discern the extent, and the possible causes, of the impact of COVID-19 related-lockdowns and protests against police on recorded crimes in these four cities.

Crime trend; homicide USA; Gun-Violence

Szilveszter Póczik – Eszter Sarik – Orsqlya Bolyky, The impact of the Covid-pandemic on violence and some other forms of crime in Hungary

The current study shows the results of the first research conducted by the Covid Working Group established at the National Institute of Criminology (OKRI/NIC) in Budapest in September 2020. The examination was performed in the form of a desk-research on the criminological aspects of the Covid-epidemic, the results of which are presented in the situation-report. The recent report also serves as a draft for an extensive research planned for 2021. From the outcome of the analysis, it can undoubtedly be concluded that the Covid-pandemic has brought about certain structural changes and new phenomena have also emerged in the field of crime. We could also experience these new tendencies in Hungary. Although in Hungary, unlike in the Western European countries, there were not any violent protest movements and the general number of violent acts seemed to decrease during the epidemic, new forms of hatred appeared, citizens bought more weapons and there was a growth in domestic violence acts, too. The epidemic has strengthened communication in the online space and thus provided an opportunity for cybercrime and the related fraud and counterfeiting, while some new forms of fraud have also begun to spread offline. The Hungarian government considered it necessary to introduce special legal rules to protect the health of citizens and to prevent the dissemination of fake news. The study also details these legal measures. The examination of the six months of the epidemic period only allowed us to discover some new phenomena, but did not provide an opportunity to obtain interpretable data. This will be the task of the future research.

Russia, cultural diplomacy, international relations

Marco Maiolino, Geopolitics of information, aids and vaccines make sense in the framework of COVID-19 and Hybrid conflicts

This short contribution begins by discussing COVID-19 and the evolution of conflicts. Then, the two phenomena are put together and combined in today’s networked, diverse and non-linear, reality which, it is argued, makes them intelligible and provides a synthesis.
The geopolitics of information, aid and vaccines is presented and supported consistent with the framework outlined above; finally, it is noticed the need for a more effective understanding and management of contemporary reality and its risks and threats.

Keywords: COVID-19, hybrid conflicts, risk analysis, geopolitics.


Federico Lunardi, COVID Pandemic: Some Free Thoughts

Filippo Nativi, COVID-19. Behind the Disease

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Issue 10 | 2019


download-(buttons)Marco Lombardi, Culture and Action: Cultural Diplomacy and Cooperation


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.

download-(buttons)Barbara Lucini, Cultural Resilience and Cultural Diplomacy: the State of the Art


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

download-(buttons)Alessandro Boncio, The Italian shared house for combating 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

download-(buttons)Daniele Barone, The decentralized finance-violent extremism nexus: ideologies, technical skills, strong and weak points


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

download-(buttons)Filippo Tansini, Conosci il tuo nemico: la rappresentazione del terrorismo nei tweet della disinformazione russa


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

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Issue 9 | 2019

I. International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy


download-(buttons)Marco Lombardi e Barbara Lucini, Cooperazione e Cultural Diplomacy: resilienza e cultural focal points.


The current paper focuses on the need to think over the concept of globalization and its impact on the scenario of international cooperation.

The definition of globalization has been often related to other notions such as that of complexity, interconnection, homogenization aimed at the understanding of social and geopolitical changes. Although this effort, in the last years a new set of theoretical and methodological tools are needed to comprehend the inner changes represented by the new social and political scenarios. For this reason, the awareness about the global Hybrid Warfare and its features are the context for the development of future theories and methodologies for international cooperation, considering the importance of the Cultural Diplomacy.

The cultural diplomacy and its tool the cultural focal point are the efficient and adequate response to the period of transition we are living now.

The culture and the related social identities became the interpretative drivers to provide a new set of theories as well as the crisis management approach orients the advancement of the methodological tools.

Further, cultural resilience plays a crucial role to strength the high potential of the cultural focal point as diplomatic tools for the near future, in the field of international cooperation and especially, in the areas where the conflicts are harder and more resistant.

This new approach deals with conflict resolution through the principles of crisis management and the cultural perspectives, making possible a new way for managing pervasive conflicts and post-disaster stage.


Cultural diplomacy, international cooperation, crisis management, resilience, cultural focal point.


download-(buttons)Marta Visioli, Cultural Diplomacy and Cultural Focal Points as emergent and integrative cooperation strategies in the resolution of conflicts


The aim of this article is to demonstrate, with an original perspective, the necessity of Cultural Diplomacy and Cultural Focal Points (CFPs) as new effective sources of cooperation and conflict resolution. In a contemporary global context which is characterized by hybrid conflicts, with a mixture of unofficial and official actors and enemies, and by the overcoming of the state-centred national system, the traditional approaches to crises and conflicts are incomplete. In order to guarantee long-term peace and recovery, it is important to shift from an exclusive political and governmental perspective, to an integration of social and cultural members. In this regard, Cultural Diplomacy claims its place as a new effective response to the contemporary framework, by arising with new resources. As a matter of fact, it moves ever further away from its original meaning in order to encompass a comprehensive approach, with a particular focus on the resolution of domestic crises as a prerequisite to both national and international security. In particular, this form of diplomacy is a new cooperation strategy for conflict resolution because it increases the democratic space within nations between political authorities and civilians, it fosters mutual understanding by fighting stereotypes, it reduces the risk of conflicts and provides the vital resilience to crisis management and post-conflict.

In particular, the first part of the article focuses on the practice and the meaning of Cultural Diplomacy, by also highlighting its advantages and disadvantages in relation to cooperation and conflict resolution. Specifically, its evolution into an even more cooperative and effective strategy at different levels deserves the appropriate consideration within the global and political framework. Concerning this aspect, I demonstrate the opportunity, inherent in a correct use of Cultural Diplomacy, of improving diplomacy, cooperation and international as well as national relations. The second part concerns Cultural Focal Points, that is dynamic centers  of cultural preservation and reproduction, tested in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, which are considered new forms of Cultural Diplomacy. The focus is placed on their twofold objec-tive of promoting dialogue and cooperation and of enhancing the cultural heritage of each ethnic group, by relating it to the key features of CFPs (static nature, dynamism, singularity and plurality). These demonstrate their synergic nature as sources of conflict management, Cultural Diplomacy and resilience in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as in reconstruction and recovery.


Cultural Diplomacy, cooperation strategy, Cultural Focal Points (CFPs), identity, conflict resolution.


download-(buttons)Nezka Figelj, Iran and religious sectarianism in the Middle East: the role of the European Union


L’articolo scientifico esaminerà l’emergente rivalità tra sunniti e sciiti in Medio Oriente. La situazione si è recentemente intensificata e ha provocato violente rivolte tra le due fazioni. La frammentazione religiosa sarà analizzata dal punto di vista iraniano. Verranno introdotti i due attori principali dello scacchiere regionale: l’Arabia Saudita e l’Iran. L’articolo analizzerà il regime iraniano sciita concentrandosi sulla sua aspirazione all’egemonia regionale. Saranno affrontate le potenziali minacce del programma nucleare iraniano per la sicurezza di Israele. Il documento evidenzierà il ruolo degli interessi strategici dell’Unione europea in Iran dopo l’accordo nucleare iraniano.


Iran, Saudi Arabia, religious sectarianism, rivalry Sunna-Shi’a, Israel, European Union.


download-(buttons)Violeta Tymul and Pietro SchioppettoSovereign wealth as power multiplier: the Russian Sovereign Wealth Funds experience


Questo articolo presenta un case study sulle politiche del governo russo nell’utilizzo dei Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF). La prima parte del paper descrive come i SWF si siano evoluti nel tempo da assetti di un’economia di rendita a strumenti di sviluppo e arma geo-economica, tra i più efficaci nell’ambito delle nuove modalità di intervento statale nell’economia. La seconda parte analizza in profondità l’esperienza russa, descrivendo l’evoluzione e le funzioni dei diversi fondi sviluppati a partire dagli anni ’90 e il loro rapporto con la politica interna ed estera della Federazione. In conclusione, si riflette se l’utilizzo dei fondi sia stato congruo con il perseguimento degli obiettivi geopolitici del paese.


Sovereign Wealth Fund, Russia, Geo-economics, Geopolitics, Entrepreneurial State, Commodities, Stabilization Fund, Reserve Fund, National Wealth Fund, Russian Direct Investment Fund.


II. Terrorism & Counter-terrorism

download-(buttons)Daniele Plebani, Da Raqqa a Boghuz: l’evoluzione di Stato Islamico tra il 2017 e il 2019


L’elaborato si propone di offrire una panoramica dell’evoluzione di Stato Islamico (IS) tra la liberazione di Raqqa (ottobre 2017) e la fine del 2018. In questo lasso di tempo infatti IS ha attraversato una profonda metamorfosi, sia per quanto riguarda l’aspetto territoriale che comunicativo. Nel primo caso si è osservata una forte contrazione nel quadrante siro-iracheno, solo in parte controbilanciato dalla resistenza di altre realtà regionali sparse per il globo. Nel secondo, l’apparato comunicativo è dovuto ricorrere a diverse strategie di adattamento, concentrandosi sia sul resistere alle azioni di contrasto intraprese da Stati e agenzie di comunicazione che di offrire ai seguaci di IS strade alternative per associarsi, informarsi e progettare attacchi. Questa analisi esplicita infine come la lotta contro IS non possa essere fondata unicamente su parametri quali la percentuale di territorio liberato o numero di prodotti mediatici cancellati e rimarca la necessità di un approccio più ampio per affrontare non solo il “gruppo Stato Islamico” ma anche il “fenomeno IS”.



Stato Islamico, comunicazione, territorio, eredità.


download-(buttons)Valerio de Divitiis, Children’s Rights vis-à-vis counter terrorism obligations: a priority for security and human rights mutually reinforcing practices


The international counter terrorism paradigm is being increasingly contextualized in the framework of sustainable development through civilian and rule of law-based policies shaped around the objective of preventing violent extremism. The recruitment and exploitation of children by terrorist organizations provides an urgent opportunity for the concretization of legal obligations and principles endorsed by the international community. The application of counter terrorism measures in cases involving children remains ambiguous at country level, despite clear international norms. There is a risk that the children’s rights may be overshadowed by the emergency nature of terrorism. Countries’ practitioners must pursue responses which consider the status of children even when they are liable for terrorism-related offences. Specific circumstances ranging from the prevention of exploitation by terrorist groups, including in educational settings, justice system responses tailored to the cases of children, the risks posed by the nuanced FTF phenomenon and the international legal provisions thereof, are scenarios where the rule of law-PVE vision becomes critical for sustainable response to terrorism.


Counter Terrorism, Children’s rights, Preventing Violent Extremism, Rule of Law, Human Security, Foreign Terrorist Fighters, Armed Conflicts.


III. Crisis Management


download-(buttons)Arianna Piacentini, Social media e cultura convergente: nuove applicazioni del Crisis Management


I social media sono diventati strumenti fondamentali durante i processi di Crisis Management, sia nella fase di risposta all’emergenza, sia nella fase di prevenzione e pianificazione. La flessibilità di queste piattaforme permette di elaborare strategie comunicative diverse che tengono conto degli scenari che possono verificarsi in riferimento ai rischi propri di ciascun territorio. Coombs e Holladay (2012) definiscono la Crisis Communication come la raccolta, il trattamento e la diffusione delle informazioni necessarie per affrontare una situazione di emergenza. I mezzi di comunicazione, in particolare i social media, se integrati nei modelli e nelle pratiche esistenti di Crisis Management, permettono di raggiungere un equilibrio tra capacità di diffusione delle informazioni e possibilità di interpretare correttamente i rischi legati alla crisi. La comunicazione online infatti facilita il raggiungimento di  un alto tasso   di interattività, rendendo virale un messaggio attraverso il meccanismo della condivisione su molteplici piattaforme. Questi canali online sfruttando il fenomeno della convergenza digitale, che consente la partecipazione di diversi attori sociali, permettono la creazione di una conoscenza condivisa della crisi e una maggiore consapevolezza collettiva, promuovendo lo sviluppo di una comunità partecipante e resiliente.



Social media, Crisis Management, cultura convergente, partecipazione.


download-(buttons)Roberta Scassa, Collaborative Networks for Disaster Risk Reduction: the Role of Risk Communication and Disaster Education; Exploring the non-structural activities employed by the Italian Civil Protection in reducing seismic risks in the Abruzzo Region.


I disastri naturali presentano attualmente diverse e complesse sfide per la società che vanno oltre le capacità di una singola organizzazione e che quindi richiedono l’operato congiunto di più attori nel quadro della riduzione dei rischi derivati da disastri ambientali. Ricerca precedente in questo ambito sottolinea la complessità di tali problemi ed enfatizza la necessità di una collaborazione proattiva e preventiva tra diverse organizzazioni su diversi livelli di governance.

Una delle migliori soluzioni a questo drammatico problema è stata riscontrata nello sviluppo di networks di riduzione dei rischi derivati da disastri ambientali dove conoscenze, informazioni e competenze possono essere scambiate tra diversi esperti operanti in campi attinenti alla riduzione dei rischi ambientali. Con l’approvazione del Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) nel 2015, la necessità di ridurre tali rischi tramite prevenzione, comunicazione del rischio ed educazione ambientale si è tramutata in una eco sempre più incalzante e risonante a livello globale. Questo articolo si propone l’obiettivo di investigare le relazioni che intercorrono fra vari attori operanti nel campo della riduzione del rischio sismico nella regione Abruzzo, in centro Italia. Tramite interviste con esperti della Protezione Civile Abruzzo e con collaboratori degli stessi, la ricerca si snoda su alcuni punti principali: meccanismi adottati dalla Protezione Civile Abruzzese durante tempi di pace per aumentare la consapevolezza della società riguardo il rischio sismico. Ricerca precedente in questo ambito si è largamente concentrata sull’analisi del grado collaborazione di determinati attori (inclusa la Protezione Civile Abruzzese), durante un’emergenza o una crisi. Al contrario questo studio si propone di analizzare le così dette attività non strutturali di prevenzione messe in atto dalla Protezione Civile Abruzzo in tempi di regolarità. La comunicazione del rischio e l’educazione ambientale sono considerati fattori cruciali delle attività non strutturali volti ad aumentare la consapevolezza della società nel suo complesso riguardo i rischi sismici che potrebbero riscontrarsi in regione. Questi elementi sono anche determinanti per il successo di un progresso nel campo della riduzione dei rischi derivati dai disastri ambientali. Interessanti spunti forniti da esperti nel campo e consigli su come la comunicazione del rischio dovrebbe articolarsi nell’immediato futuro sono riportati dall’autore.



Disaster Risk Reduction, Prevention, Risk Communication, Environmental Education, Network Analysis.


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Issue 8 | 2018

I. Perspectives on terrorism

download-(buttons)Tiziano Li Piani, Progettazione strutturale e funzione sociale dello spazio (quale) vulnerabilità e soluzione al terrorismo urbano. Perché serve e come è possibile proteggere l’edificio dall’uomo (oltre che dal terremoto)

This article presents the knowledge gaps and the methodological steps inherent the process of standardization of the terrorist threat in urban environments within the structural design and rehabilitation of buildings for civil use. The necessity for a revision of the current technical codes for building constructions which shall include also the terrorist threat, appears as cogent in light of the progression, in number and harshness, of the terrorist attacks recently involving soft targets inserted in highly urbanized environments of European cities, with the aim of provoking the highest number of civilian victims within their everyday life. The normative integration of the terrorist threat in the design process of civil constructions implies the performing of a number of delicate steps. In fact, the physical-mechanical nature of impact waves referred to explosions or hyper-velocity impacts is different from the one associated to dynamic loadings already known and properly treated within the design codes for civil buildings, such as earthquakes (or more rarely wind). The diversity of the treat is reflected in the different behaviour which the different types of dynamic loadings provoke on the same structure, requiring an update not simply to the validations currently employed within the structural design, but also including the approach itself of the anti-seismic philosophy of design when dealing with terrorism. However, the unique phenomenology of the terrorist treat with reference to the involved target, primarily lies in the social function of the spatial distributions and relative interactions of the urban fabric of the city in which the target is inserted, that the terrorist attack is primarily aimed to disaggregate. This unique feature requires the comprehension and subsequent quali-quantitative assessment also of the social function of the target and of the social dimension of the attacker (the carrier of the terrorist threat), within the standardization process of the terrorist input. However, this source of vulnerability to man-made threat, intrinsic to most of the buildings and constructions in Europe, can potentially rise as strategical promoter of the recovery of an urban harmony often neglected within the Architecture of the modern city, toward a philosophy of design of the single building which includes the humanist function of the architectural and urbanistic elements in which it is inserted.

Terrorism, city, urban, explosion, impact, earthquake, space of influence, attacker, target, input, space, social, humanism.

download-(buttons)Daniele Maria BaroneJihadists’ use of cryptocurrencies: undetectable ways to finance terrorism

International Islamic terrorist organizations have become fully recognized actors of globalization, whit no borders to group their activities, except through their ideology, rooted in their interpretation of Islam. Their financial resources branch out in the management of physical territories, a global illegal network, organized or small crimes, extortions, donations and they are more and more shifting in the online realm. Indeed, modern financial tools and, in particular, cryptocurrencies, are covering an emerging role in terrorism financing and money laundering.
Starting from documented cases of jihadists’ use of cryptocurrencies and the most recent developments either in global Islamic terrorism or in modern finance, this paper is aimed at analysing where institutions should intervene in this field and which aspects should be accurately monitored in order to prevent terrorists’ illegal use of such an innovative financial resource as cryptocurrencies.

Terrorism, jihad, Financing, Cryptocurrency, bitcoin

download-(buttons)Esther ForlenzaWoman in Islamic terrorism: history, roles, data and analysis

The presence of women in Islamic terrorism has been studied by different scholars, however, from the literature emerged a cognitive gap on the concrete functions assumed by them. The purpose of this research is to understand the roles played by women, if there are differences in role between women affiliated with Al Qaeda and Daesh and what are the relevant intervening variables. The study was conducted on a sample of 176 women and the approach adopted was that of a qualitative analysis. The first part of the research highlights, for each role that emerged, the socio-relational variables that influences acquisition of role. The second part of the study analysis the semiotics of two magazines that following the birth of the Islamic State with the aim of understanding if and in what terms the online propaganda promoted female mobilization. The results obtained from the study showed that there was both a gradual implementation and diversification of female support with the beginning of Daesh.

Women, Islamic terrorism, roles, socio-relational influences, propaganda, Daesh.

download-(buttons)Daniele PlebaniL’eredità operativa di Stato Islamico: dall’open source jihad all’open source extremism

During the months between 2017 and 2018 it was possible to witness the shift of Islamic State (IS) from a semi-State group to wide insurgency. It thus becomes imperative to acknowledge the threat posed by the “new IS” and the influence that the group excercises over violent extremism and our own society. This paper focuses on the operative dimension of IS’ legacy by analyzing its forms – heritage and method – inside our “media society”.
The heritage regards a direct link between the group and its followers, a continuum both ideological and operative which collects the know-how made by IS with the aim of continuing the war against its enemies; the method aims to exploit such operative knowledge which in truth remains open to whoever desires to use its best practices for its own aims, even ones not linked to violent jihadism. Such approach marks the shift from an “open source jihad” to an “open source extremism”, potentially leading to attacks and threats simultaneous and/or parallel to jihadi ones.

Stato Islamico, Daesh, legacy, eredità, estremismo violento, comunicazione, propaganda, new normal.

II. Perspectives on security

download-(buttons)Andrea BeccaroContemporary irregular conflicts: new and old ideas

Contemporary international system is at a political turning point due to security issues partially related to the concept of irregular warfare. Over the last three decades, several theories have emerged around the idea that war has changed and should no longer be considered in some areas and contexts state versus state. The goal of the essay is to analyse the nature of contemporary irregular warfare, showing, on the one hand, the continuities of the current debate with old strategic ideas (mainly related to the notion of insurgency) and, on the other hand, its consequences for politics and security.

Irregular Warfare, Transformation of War, Security Studies, Hybrid Warfare, Terrorism.


download-(buttons)Giuseppe Gagliano, The birth of French economic intelligence and the contribution of Christian Harbulot

This article deals with the cultural development and general perception of the concept of “intelligence” and “economic intelligence” in France. After the Cold War, finance and markets assumed a greater importance in determining the relations between countries; however, it took a long time for the French elite to be convinced of the existence of “economic warfare” and to define a culture of its own in the field of intelligence. Still, when all the international analyses were strongly related to the Cold War ideology and talking about economic warfare seemed like an abuse of language, C. Harbulot and P. Baumard urged the need to reconsider intelligence activities and to apply them in the national economy, overcoming the negative connotation that “renseignement” had. Researching, processing and spreading any piece of information that can be considered strategic is the only formula we can rely on in order to face the last challenges posed by globalization. Between 1992 and 1994, the expression “economic intelligence” officially entered the French public debate on national competiveness, together with the request for public intervention in the national economy. Harbulot and Baumard kept recommending the systematic search and interpretation of the information available to everyone, showing a new way to interpret the markets. The new approach is different from traditional intelligence by the nature of its field of application (open information); the nature of its actors (inserted in a collective information culture context), and its cultural specificities (each nation’s economy generates its own specific model of economic intelligence).

Economic Intelligence, Economic Warfare, Intelligence Culture, Information; Globalization.

download-(buttons)Francesco BalucaniLa guerra civile dello Yemen. Emblema dei conflitti moderni

In the southwestern regions of the Arabian Peninsula, overlooking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, there is a country that has been oppressed by war for almost four years. Its name is Yemen. A silent and invisible crisis, aggravated by one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent history. This conflict fully reflects the thought and the theories of those who have contributed, after the end of Bipolarism, to a paradigm shift in the whole phenomenology of war, from the Clausewitzian paradigm to modern warfare. The scientific literature designed to expound the features of unconventional warfare and asymmetric engagement offers a valid interpretative lens through which observe, analyze and explain Yemeni civil war, which can be advisedly defined the emblem of modern warfare.

Medio Oriente, guerra civile dello Yemen, nuove guerre, guerra non convenzionale, guerra asimmetrica, stato fallito.
Middle East, Yemeni civil war, new wars, asymmetric warfare, modern warfare, failed state.

download-(buttons)Giacomo Salvanelli, Rosario Aiosa, Predictive Policing: prevedere i furti in abitazione nella città di Ancona (IT) attraverso il Software del Risk Terrain Modeling (RTMDx)

In recent years, with the intent to shed a light on contextual factors that correlate with the presence of specific crime categories, there has been a growing interest in the development of techniques that use spatial analysis programs to identify the areas in which crime occurs. One of these is certainly the methodology called ‘Risk Terrain Modelling’ (RTM) (Caplan et al., 2010), oriented to a strategic analysis of the context within which future offences could happen, integrating conceptual elements coming from the environmental criminology such as the ‘criminogenic triggers’, to identify the areas of greatest concentration and diffusion of crime. In this regard, the present study aimed to investigate the predictive efficacy of the RTM through a real case study: the burglaries in the city of Ancona. In support of the pre-existing literature, the results of this research showed that the places where drug dealing, prostitution and finally the ATMs are concentrated make it possible to forecast up to 72.5% of burglaries in the first four months of 2018, identifying 87% of the prospectively vulnerable urban areas. Furthermore, this study shows that even in a confined space, the same risk factors can be combined in different ways, giving rise to areas of variable risk over time. In addition, these results provide a rather effective set of information to be potentially used by both the local community and the police forces to develop countermeasures aimed at tackling urban crime including burglaries, robberies, drug dealing and so on. A similar approach could also provide operators, policy-makers and local administrators with significant support to understand and counterattack other forms of criminal behaviour committed by gangs or antisocial groups. In fact, it would guarantee the application of the RTM as a tool for a better predictive policing strategy aimed at both a deeper crime analysis level and a risk assessment that could be fundamental to forecast the areas with the highest risk of criminal conducts in the entire city.

RTM, GIS, Risk, Prevention, Crime, Ancona.

III. Perspectives on resilience

download-(buttons)Alessandra PeverelliTheorical studies and practical approach on measuring urban resilience: the Mariana (MG) case study

Faced with a world in which the number of people living in the city is increasing, the theme of urban resilience becomes central. However, we are faced with numerous definitions that contribute to making a general evaluation process difficult, creating different models based on different interpretations of the term. In this study, different models of urban resilience evaluation will be presented and confronted, the ones produced by scholars or private organizations. Starting from this comparison, one of the model, the one of Cutter et al. (2008), will be used for analysing the case of Mariana (MG). The dam collapse, one of the worst environmental disaster in Brazil, caused damages in two States, along the course of Rio Doce, spreading pollutant for over 600 km. A final evaluation is carried out considering 6 different dimensions – ecological, social, economic, institutional, infrastructural and community – each of them divided into multiple variables.

Urban resilience, complex systems, practical measurement, urban resilience index.

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