This book examines the role of terrorist innovation and learning in theory and practice, and in the context of three specific EU case-studies.

It is often said that terrorist groups are relatively conservative in character operating in a technological vacuum – relying almost exclusively on bombs and bullets. This observation masks increasing complexity and creativity and innovation within terrorist groups and one of the most distinguishing features of al-Qaeda’s terrorist operations is its propensity for remarkable innovation. This book examines how and why terrorist groups innovate more generally and al-Qaeda-related terrorist plots in Europe more specifically. The starting point for this book was twofold. Firstly to examine the issue of innovation and learning more generically both in theory, within specific themes and within the context of al-Qaeda’s influence on this process. Secondly, this book examines the evolution of specific al-Qaeda-related plots in three specific northern EU states – the United Kingdom, Denmark and Germany - where there has been a significant volume of planned, failed and executed terrorist plots. In particular, these case studies explore signs of innovation and learning.

This book will be of much interest to students of terrorism and counter-terrorism, political violence, security studies and IR in general.

chapter 1|16 pages


Understanding terrorism innovation and learning – Al-Qaeda and beyond
ByMagnus Ranstorp, Magnus Normark

part Part I|194 pages

Perspectives on terrorism innovation

chapter 2|34 pages

The theoretical underpinnings of terrorist innovation decisions

ByGary Ackerman

chapter 3|23 pages

Innovation and the improvised explosive device (IED)

ByJohn Allison

chapter 4|20 pages

The dynamics of terrorist innovation

ByAdam Dolnik

chapter 5|21 pages

Attacking the West

The influence of al-Qaeda's ideology and propaganda
BySøren Hove

chapter 7|59 pages

Learning terror

The evolving threat of overseas training to the West
ByPaul Cruickshank

chapter 8|15 pages

Innovation in terrorists' counter-surveillance

The case of al-Qaeda and its affiliates
ByJoshua Sinai

part Part II|71 pages

Case studies

chapter 9|19 pages

Innovation and learning in the British jihad

ByRaffaello Pantucci

chapter 10|19 pages

Terrorists lack imagination when choosing targets in Denmark

ByMorten Skjoldager

chapter 11|13 pages

“Please inform Europe”

Al-Qaeda's Europlot of 2009/2010 in the light of new documents and testimonies
ByYassin Musharbash, Guido Steinberg

chapter 13|9 pages


ByMagnus Ranstorp, Magnus Normark