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Original Published Date: 
Thursday, July 30, 2020

A new ARC Future Fellow, Associate Professor Sarah Phillips from The University of Sydney, is investigating the question "How do terrorist groups adapt in the face of counterterrorism measures and sustain themselves despite their lack of local popularity?" The four-year $1 million research project will find answers through a systematic analysis of how local observers understand extremist groups in four states facing significant terrorist activities: Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia.

The comparative analysis will provide an opportunity to assess local knowledge as a form of resistance to terrorism, thereby generating new approaches to conceptualising and countering violent extremism. By producing new knowledge about the resilience of terrorist groups in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia, this project seeks to support Australia’s contributions to global counter-terrorism efforts. It also offers a novel approach to Australia's National Counter-Terrorism Plan and its goal of "challenging terrorist propaganda" by empowering community voices that already counter extremist narratives.

These are areas of acute interest to Australia’s most important allies and coalition partners. This project also seeks to enhance collaborations with research institutes in the Middle East that will build Australia’s research capacity, foster networks between Australian and Middle Eastern researchers, organisations, and policymakers, and deliver PhD training to Australians from conflict-affected states or refugee backgrounds.

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