• 04/10/17- Simcox shares perspective on international security
    Contact: James Carskadon

    STARKVILLE, Miss.—A terrorism and national security expert shared his perspective on the challenges of combating modern terrorism during a Wednesday [April 5] lecture at Mississippi State University.

    The Heritage Foundation’s Robin Simcox discussed the ongoing threats from terrorist organizations ISIS and al-Qaeda and how they attempt to operate in Europe and America. His talk was part of the MSU International Institute’s Global Engagement Forum. Simcox is the Margaret Thatcher Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.

    “Much of the policy focus has been on ISIS,” Simcox said. “Al-Qaeda has been somewhat forgotten. These groups have spread, and the threat we face is more diverse because of it.”

    Simcox said ISIS primarily generates funding by controlling territory in Syria and Iraq, which also helps its recruiting efforts. The group has shown it has the ability to use technology to recruit and train people they see as sympathetic to their ideology, Simcox noted.

    “The vast majority of attacks in the west come from people who have pledged allegiance to ISIS but never traveled to Syria or Iraq,” Simcox said.

    Simcox has authored several works on the terrorist group al-Qaeda, including “Al-Qaeda in the United States,” a monograph profiling every known court conviction in America linked to al-Qaeda. During his remarks, he said al-Qaeda has developed regional branches that have a large amount of autonomy in decision making, with the major threats coming from branches in Yemen and Syria.

    “We as a society have to have a discussion about what the response should be to these groups,” Simcox said.

    The Global Engagement Forum brings a wide range of speakers to MSU, International Institute Director Richard Nader said.

    “The Global Engagement Forum has brought in people like sitting ambassadors and heads of major international organizations,” Nader said. “The more we can generate discussion, the better it is for students and their learning and their ability to dig deeply into complex global issues.”

    More information on the MSU International Institute can be found at

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