Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

Featured Posts        





Summary: Psychological assessments of U.S. presidents and presidential candidates, world leaders, and rogue or terrorist leaders conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics.

Oct 27th, 2019

Summary: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was killed in a U.S. special forces operation in northwest Syria near the Turkish border, President Donald Trump announced.

Summary: In an intercepted electronic communication, al-Qaida’s two top leaders — Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of al-Qaida Central, and Nasir al-Wahishi, leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — agreed they wanted to do “something big” on the Muslim holiday Laylat al-Qadr, the 27th night of Ramadan, which in 2013 fell on the weekend of August 3-4.

Summary: According to a report by Star Tribune Washington Bureau correspondent Kevin Diaz, Rep. Michele Bachmann is doubling down on her earlier charges that the Muslim Brotherhood — the international Islamist movement that recently came to power in Egypt — has achieved “deep penetration” within the U.S. government. Bachmann has reportedly distributed a speech that conservative scholar and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy gave at the National Press Club at the invitation of the Center for Security Policy, the organization cited by Bachmann in June 2012 when she requested an investigation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, and other top government officials for alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Summary: Deputy al-Qaida leader Abu Yahya al-Libi has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan. Al-Libi, who escaped from a U.S. military prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2005, was one of al-Qaida’s most influential propagandists and one of its most able leaders.

Summary: Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric who played a significant operational role in al-Qaida, plotting and inspiring terrorist attacks on the United States, has been killed in a drone missile strike in Yemen. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 2, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that the U.S. State Department, responding to credible al-Qaida threats, issued a travel alert urging American citizens to be vigilant if they planned to travel in Europe. Officials did not identify specific targets, but thought terrorists might launch Mumbai-style “swarm attacks.”

Summary: Ayman al-Zawahiri has been named to succeed Osama bin Laden as leader of the al-Qaida terrorist organization. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 15, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Jun 5th, 2011

Summary: Ilyas Kashmiri, a top al-Qaida commander and possible replacement for Osama bin Laden, has been killed in an American drone-fired missile strike in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region, close to the Afghan border. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 5, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that an estimated 200 people attended a Tea Party rally at Lake George in St. Cloud, Minn., organized by the local Republican Party. It featured Republican office holders, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, state and local Republican candidates, and rightwing bloggers.

Summary: A leading specialist on al-Qaida, Noman Benotman, says Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian, is acting as interim operational leader of the terrorist organization pending the expected appointment of deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahiri as successor to Osama bin Laden. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 18, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases.

May 13th, 2011

Summary: The discovery of pornography in Osama bin Laden’s possession is consistent with his psychological profile, which I developed at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics in the months following the attacks of 9/11 and presented in June 2002 at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology in Berlin. According to the profile, Bin Laden, whom I classified as a “unprincipled narcissist,” did not fit the profile of the highly conscientious, closed-minded religious fundamentalist, nor that of the religious martyr who combines those qualities with devout, self-sacrificing features. Far from being a religious zealot, the profile suggests that Bin Laden — in Machiavellian fashion — was adept at exploiting Islamic fundamentalism in the service of his own burning ambition and personal dreams of glory.