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.

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.

Terrorists Are Still Among Us. Can Brain Scans Expose Them?

What makes terrorists tick? This is the Holy Grail of terrorism studies, as well as the animating conundrum in virtually every news story about all those ever so “normal” terrorists next door, whether jihadi or white supremacist.

7th Apr 2020

Trini, Bajan woman on life with ISIS: We thought it was irie

Aliya Abdul Haqq, one of the hundred or so TT citizens currently stranded in the Al Hol camp in Syria, recently told two foreign journalists that life inside the ISIS caliphate was “irie” – a Jamaican expression for nice or cool. Abdul Haqq, 34, is the sister of Tariq Abdul Haqq, a former lawyer and Commonwealth Games boxing finalist who traded his enviable life in Trinidad for war and death in Syria.

When the Line Between Terrorism and Death Wish Disappears

Was Sudesh Amman, the 20-year-old who on Sunday stabbed two people in south London before being shot dead by police, a terrorist? He had previously been convicted under terrorism laws, and he was wearing a fake suicide vest when he was killed, so there is a strong case for thinking that he was. But the botched and desperate nature of his attack, coupled with his obsession with martyrdom, suggest that while he may be classified as a terrorist, he is certainly not a conventional one. Instead, he is emblematic of a new and growing type of jihadi: the individual who embraces suicide not as a means to further a political cause but as an end in itself.

5th Feb 2020

Liberal Professors’ Deadly Delusions About Curing Terrorists

The British filmmaker Chris Morris has made a career of depicting the inanities and idiocies of jihadis or the agencies that try to track and ensnare them. If he wanted to do the same for his own political tribe—the liberal-left, broadly conceived—he could do worse than to set it in an august academic institution run by well-meaning progressives who believe that everyone, even convicted jihadis who once professed to love death more than life, can be reformed and brought back into the liberal fold.

The Western Jihadi Subculture and Subterranean Values

This article draws on the criminological work of Gresham Sykes and David Matza as a starting point for theorizing the nature and appeal of the western jihadi subculture, defined here as a hybrid and heavily digitized global imaginary that extols and justifies violent jihad as a way of life and being. It suggests that at the centre of this subculture are three focal concerns: (1) Violence and Machismo; (2) Death and Martyrdom; and (3) Disdain of the Dunya. More critically, it argues that these three focal concerns have immediate counterparts in the shadow values of the wider society with which western jihadists are in contention. This argument has important implications for debates over radicalization and the attractions of jihadist activism.

France shouldn’t fall for the Isis ‘matchmaker’s’ self pity

Tooba Gondal, the so-called Isis “matchmaker” who acted as a megaphone and recruiter for the terror group, is reportedly on her way to France, as part of an initiative by Turkey to deport foreign jihadists in its jails. Gondal, who holds a French passport but spent most of her life in Britain, travelled to Syria in early 2015, where she married three times, gave birth to two children, became mates with ex-punk rocker Sally Jones, posed with an AK47 on social media, boasted about her firearm training, and hung on to the bitter end in Baghouz, from which she miraculously escaped just before it fell to Kurdish forces in March.

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