Anne Speckhard

Anne Speckhard has 38 articles published.

Anne Speckhard
Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She has interviewed over 600 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. In the past two years, she and ICSVE staff have been collecting interviews (n=101) with ISIS defectors, returnees and prisoners, studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, their experiences inside ISIS, as well as developing the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project materials from these interviews. She has also been training key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, educators, and other countering violent extremism professionals on the use of counter-narrative messaging materials produced by ICSVE both locally and internationally as well as studying the use of children as violent actors by groups such as ISIS and consulting on how to rehabilitate them. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles. She is a sought after counterterrorism experts and has consulted to NATO, OSCE, foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA and FBI and CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications. She regularly speaks and publishes on the topics of the psychology of radicalization and terrorism and is the author of several books, including Talking to Terrorists, Bride of ISIS, Undercover Jihadi and ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. Her publications are found here: and on the ICSVE website Follow @AnneSpeckhard

PERSPECTIVE: Ireland’s Lisa Smith Is a Test Run on Repatriation of ISIS Women

Lisa went to Syria hoping to find freedom from alcohol and the “sins” that had plagued her life and to start anew deepening and following the Islam in which she found comfort. Yet she ended up repeatedly imprisoned.

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PERSPECTIVE: What Are the Legal and Moral Issues and Repercussions of the U.S. Assassination of Soleimani?

This act of war may lead to exactly what Soleimani was aiming for – ousting U.S. forces from Iraq and diminishing U.S. influence there.

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PERSPECTIVE: U.S.-Iran Proxy Battles in Iraq and the Struggle for a Coherent Foreign Policy

The United States faces growing isolation in Iraq, with politicians and security officials unsure if they want to stand up to Iranian-backed protestors on behalf of U.S. safety.

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Stopping the Next London Bridge Attack: How to Reduce Risks Posed by Terror Parolees

Prison can mean a separation from the group and time for reflection, or fertile recruiting ground for extremists.

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British-Born Jack Letts Discusses Mental Illness and His Path to ISIS

Stripped of citizenship, Letts says he wants to face justice at home as he’s “going more and more crazy.”

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Is Turkey Fueling a New Jihad in Northeast Syria?

Our NATO ally may be arming, paying for, and backing another monster — perhaps the “son of ISIS.”

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PERSPECTIVE: Baghdadi Just Confirmed ISIS ‘Martyrdom’ Narrative, Ensuring ISIS Will Live

Baghdadi’s importance to ISIS needs to be viewed through the lens of his organization’s birth and growth.

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PERSPECTIVE: An ISIS Bride on the Run

Up until last week, Bouchra and her sister-in-law, both formerly strong supporters of the Islamic State ideology, were imprisoned among 12,000 other women and children.

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PERSPECTIVE: ‘Fake News’ About Our Kurdish Allies Betrayed by Trump

Turkey falsely labeling Kurds as terrorists, but Kurds defeated the most heinous terrorist killers yet seen to date.

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Who Are the ISIS Fighters in Custody, and How Can They Be Repatriated?


The SDF has been struggling with overcrowded prisons and is now facing Turkish threat as ISIS calls for jailbreaks.

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