Latest Terrorist Attacks Demonstrate International Reach of ISIS

The Eiffel Tower in Paris glows in the colors of the French flag to honor the victims of the Paris terror attacks.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 16, 2015) -- Coordinated terrorist attacks at six locations throughout Paris have left at least 129 people dead and 352 wounded. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) claimed responsibility for the atrocities, which followed the bombing of a Russian Jet that left 224 people dead in Egypt.

The high-profile attacks mark a new demonstrated capability for ISIS, according to Rick Mathews, director of UAlbany’s National Center for Security and Preparedness in an interview for the Times Union.

To deal with ISIS, the U.S. and coalition allies may be forced to engage them directly through a military campaign. "The question is, 'Does the U.S. have the wherewithal to do this until it's done?'" said Victor Asal, associate professor of political science at UAlbany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy to the Washington Post.

On Friday, Nov. 20th, Rockefeller College and UAlbany's new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity will co-host a forum on the Paris terror attacks. The panel discussion will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Lecture Center 3B.

Mathews and Asal are among several experts who examine issues related to terrorism, homeland security and disaster response, including how to help victims of the attacks, the role of immigration in the planning and coordination of the attacks, and how to respond to ISIS threats against Washington D.C.

The University’s terrorism experts include:

  • Blanca Ramos, associate professor, School of Social Welfare: Ramos, an expert on cross-cultural social work and immigration, examines the role of post traumatic stress in victims of disasters, including terrorist attacks. Ramos, an affiliated faculty member of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, can discuss the responses, experiences, health concerns and adjustments of survivors in the aftermath of major disasters.
  • Rick C. Mathews, director of the National Center for Security and Preparedness: Mathews is an expert on infrastructure protection, homeland security, information sharing, critical decision-making, facility and systems security, and emergency preparedness.
  • Rey Koslowski, associate professor of political science, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy: Koslowski's primary teaching and research interests are in the field of international relations dealing with international organization, European integration, international migration, information technology, and homeland security.
  • James Steiner, public service professor, public administration and policy, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy: Steiner teaches graduate-level courses in the craft of intelligence, with emphasis on intelligence analysis for homeland security. He previously serviced as intelligence advisor to the Director of New York State’s Office of Homeland Security and a consultant to the Chief Intelligence Officer in the Department of Homeland Security. Steiner worked to support law enforcement counterterrorism efforts and was a senior member of the working group that wrote New York’s new Homeland Security Strategy.
  • Victor Asal, associate professor of political science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy: Asal is an expert on the interaction of international relations and domestic politics and how this interaction influences ethnic conflict and ethnic terrorism.
  • Karl Rethemeyer, interim dean, Rockefeller College: Rethemeyer's primary research interest is in social networks, both their impact on social, political, and policy processes, and the methods used to study such networks.

Asal and Rethemeyer have teamed together on a project to enable a better understanding of how terrorist organizations network and function over time. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has launched the Big Allied and Dangerous (BAAD) online platform. The innovative new tool features updated, vetted and sourced narratives, and relationship information and social network data on 50 of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world since 1998, with additional network information on more than 100 organizations.

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