Simon Cottee

Academic and Author

“Easily the most original book on the ISIS phenomenon to date. A riveting detective story with deep insights on human behavior, this is social science at its best.”
Thomas Hegghammer, author of The Caravan: Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad
"Cottee's book offers us new and original insights into the surprisingly understudied world of Trinidadian ISIS members. With such a relatively high proportion of its population joining ISIS, Trinidad offers a useful case study in better understanding the global reach of the movement. Cottee takes on the challenge of analysing this with passion and an eye for detail."
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, KCL, UK
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Black Flags of the Caribbean

Incel (E)motives: Resentment, Shame and Revenge

This article provides a framework for thinking about incels and incel-inspired terrorism. Incels are part of a fringe online subculture that trades in misogyny, victimhood and fatalism. The aim of the article is to describe these aforementioned orientations and the emotions associated with them. Only a tiny minority of incels commit acts of incel-inspired terrorism. Research on shame and revenge provides a useful starting-point for understanding these acts.

The theatre of terror

Perhaps it is shameful to admit it, but when 9/11 happened I felt a keen desire to watch the carnage. I was working as a labourer at the time and had knocked off early after hearing the news on the radio. I sat in front of the television and didn’t move from my father’s tobacco-stained living room until early evening.

Massacre made-to-order

Was Jake Davison’s rampage in Plymouth really, as one article described it, “Britain’s first ‘incel’ mass shooting”? This isn’t an academic question: while Devon and Cornwall Police initially ruled out terrorism as a motive, it has recently signalled that it may revise this, as more details emerge about the killer’s links to the incel subculture

ISIS and the Banlity of Evil

I used to think there was something demonically profound about Hannah Arendt’s diagnosis of Adolf Eichmann. He was “neither perverted nor sadistic… but terribly and terrifyingly normal”; he epitomised the “banality of evil”. Eichmann, in effect, was a bespectacled gimp who you wouldn’t look twice at in the street.

The Beauty Queen Who Became an ISIS Bride

On the 9th of January, 2019, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, issued a statement reporting that they had captured eight foreign fighters in the town of Hajin in eastern Syria – where the last remnants of ISIS were holed up – including a 16-year-old American named Soulay Noah Su (AKA Abu Souleiman al-Amriki). The YPG also released a poster with mugshots of all eight captives.

25th Mar 2021

The Trivialisation of Trauma

Among academics and reporters who make it their business to watch horrifically violent material, there is a consensus that a propaganda video released by ISIS in September 2016 is the very worst of the worst: it shows alleged spies being killed in the most inhuman way.

We need to talk about terrorism

When, earlier this month, a 16-year-old boy became Britain’s youngest person to be convicted of terrorism offences, the British press responded with a mixture of disgust and incredulity, inquiring how someone so young could have become so fanatical. By all accounts, his career in violent extremism started at a remarkably early age: he joined a far-right internet forum when he was just 13. A year later, he had become a fully-fledged terrorist “mastermind” running a “Neo-Nazi cell” from his grandmother’s house in Cornwall.

What’s keeping terrorism experts awake at night?

"This keeps me up at night." Have you come across this expression of pained anguish lately? This isn't about conversations with friends or loved one’s on Covid, returning to work or never working again. I’m talking about news stories on national security and terrorism, where experts and counter-terrorism officials are interviewed and feel duty-bound to disclose that they can't sleep at night.

Trinis charged in US for ISIS link

THE Federal Court in the United States has formally charged two Trinidad and Tobago-born Americans for joining the international terorrist group ISIS.
On Wednesday Emraan Ali, 53, and son Jihad Ali, 19, were charged in a Florida court with providing material support to ISIS. They are the first TT nationals to have been charged with terrorism offences related to ISIS.

The World Is Addicted to Pandemic Porn

The coronavirus pandemic is a global catastrophe that has killed tens of thousands of people and brought misery and pain to many more, including those who are now under lockdown and curfew. But, as a public spectacle, there is plenty of evidence that people have found it riveting.

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