January 29, 2024

Identities Destroyed, Histories Revised: The Targeting of Cultural Heritage and Soft Targets by Illicit Actors

On May 27, 1993, a car bomb blasted through the side of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, killing five and wounding around thirty others, and destroying hundreds of priceless pieces of art in the gallery’s collection. Many contend that the gallery was targeted by the Cosa Nostra, or the Sicilian Mafia, not just in retaliation for crackdowns on the organization, but also due to the gallery’s embodiment of Italian culture and…...


October 30, 2023

Operation Black Lion: Challenges That Lay Ahead of Somalia’s Second Phase of the Offensive

Following a series of clan uprisings against al-Shabaab in the central regions of the country, in August 2022 the federal government of Somalia, working alongside clan militias known collectively as the Macawiisley, launched an offensive against the group. Much of this fighting has been concentrated in the central regions of the country, particularly in the Federal Member States (FMS) of Hirshabelle and Galmudug. Partnered with clan militia and supported by foreign actors,…...


September 14, 2023

Citizens for Leverage: Navigating State Hostage-Taking in a Shifting Geopolitical Landscape

A number of states today are unlawfully detaining foreign nationals within their criminal justice systems for use as foreign policy leverage. Often referred to as “hostage diplomacy,” or state hostage-taking, this form of coercive diplomacy is not new in international politics, but its growing prevalence has raised alarm bells among many states, especially Western nations and their allies. This cruel practice places individual citizens at the center of a complicated calculus where…...


July 06, 2023

TSC Insights: France’s Missed Moments In Mali

Why did France fail in Mali? French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to withdraw his country’s remaining troops from Mali in August 2022 followed a nearly decade-long military mission to combat jihadist insurgents, particularly in the country’s north. France’s failure reflected an inability to define clear and achievable counterterrorism objectives during Operation Barkhane, misaligned public opinion and relations within France and Mali, and indecision among senior policymakers regarding the political status of Sahelian…...


June 25, 2023

Wagner Group: The Evolution Of A Private Army

In an astonishing turn of events starting 23 June 2023, the Wagner Group’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin declared all-out war on the Russian state, leading a convoy of mercenaries to march straight toward Moscow. The mutiny, which embarrassed Russian President Vladimir Putin and caught the Russian military and security services completely off guard, developed at lightning speed and ended just as quickly, leading to widespread confusion and chaos. After storming through towns and…...