December 18, 2009
A Mathematical Model for Predicting Terrorism Attacks
Science Daily reports in yesterday's edition that researchers at the University of Miami have developed a mathematical model for predicting violent attacks.
"Researchers and their collaborators analyzed the size and timing of 54,679 violent events reported in Afghanistan, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Northern Ireland, Peru, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The findings show that there is a generic way in which humans carry out insurgency and terrorism when faced by a large powerful state force, and this is irrespective of background history, motivation, ideology, politics and location, explains Neil Johnson, principal investigator of the study and professor of Physics at the UM College of Arts and Sciences," according to the paper.
"We have found a unified model of modern insurgent wars that shows a fundamental pattern in the apparent chaos of wars," says Johnson. "In practical terms, our analysis can be used to create and explore scenarios, make predictions and assess risks, for present and future wars," they concluded. Read the entire story here.
An Op-ed piece in the New York Times last month (Nov 25) by John Reid, the former UK Minister of Defense, uses the Mumbai anniversary as a cause for reflection on how terrorism continues to be a violent and looming force to be reckoned with around the world. The statistics are enormous. As Reid indicates, " Twelve months after Mumbai, it is clear that the terrorist threat will remain extremely serious globally for years to come. This is not, as some critics of Britain’s foreign and defense policies assert, primarily because of the “excesses” of Western policy since 9/11, especially in Iraq. This critique is a major misjudgment.
Indeed, according to the U.S. government’s Counterterrorism Center, approximately three quarters of the almost 11,800 terrorist incidents that took place across the world in 2008 (the latest full year for which data is available) took place outside the Iraqi theater.
Attacks in Africa, for instance, particularly in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rose markedly last year, accounting for some 2,200 fatalities. These are countries and areas where little or no connection to Iraq can be rationally claimed. " Read the entire piece here.
Hamas wants all of Palestine
The Philadelphia Examiner, in this morning's editions, began a series of articles on Hamas and the Palestine Question with an explosive obsewrvation.
"Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared that Hamas’ goal is to take over all of Palestine. That would include Israel," the paper reported in in opening. "Up to now, some Israelis talked themselves into believing that some elements in Hamas, such as Mr. Haniyeh, were moderate, just wanted the area beyond the Green Line, and would live in peace. Haniyeh’s declaration disproves it." The article goes on to discuss how both Hamas and Fatch have, at various times, been offered parts of what they want, usually behind the so-called green line, and failed to respond. Read the whole article here. Why are we surprised?