Terrorism: Regional Aspects of a Global Threat

27.02.2017

During the second session, titled " Terrorism: Regional aspects of a global threat," experts discussed the possibility of a "big deal" and the likelihood of supra-regional cooperation in the fight against international terrorism.

According to Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan (2004-2007), terrorism is both a global and a regional phenomenon caused by the lack of good governance, as well as external influence. The drawbacks of the existing strategies in the fight against terrorism are largely caused by the lack of coordination between external and regional actors, as well as the interaction of the imperfection of non-governmental organizations, primarily the UN.

Terrorism as a phenomenon is caused by instability and shortcomings in the apparatus of economic, political and social systems, he added. "If young people coming into the labor market at a lack of jobs, this kindles a fire. The public should believe that tomorrow will be better than today," Aziz said. One of the main roles in the improvement of the situation of the civilian population must play a structural reform and a focus on stabilization of national economies.

According to Moshe Ya'alon, former Israeli Minister of Defense (2013-2016), "terrorism is the intentional use of violence for the emergence of fear and anxiety in order to achieve political and religious purposes." In combat, it is important for democratic countries to maintain a balance between human rights and the implementation of the necessary security measures.

Ya'alon added that further instability in the region is fueled by the artificially created post-colonial state system in the Middle East region, which has no real unity in the religious and ethnic terms. Their decay into smaller components is a natural process and a predetermined process.

Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (1996-2000), First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (2000-2004), pointed to the difficulties of establishing a common front against terrorism during the transition from a bipolar to a polycentric world. Important conditions for a successful fight against terrorism are the need to overcome national and geopolitical interests, willingness to share sensitive information.  As an example of fruitful cooperation, Trubnikov mentioned the work of the Russian-American working group on counter-terrorism in the 2000s. As a key factor for the states cooperation in combating the terrorist threat, Vyacheslov Trubnikov called the political will. In his opinion, statements made during the last Munich Security Conference, is a positive sign for more intense counter measures against ISIS.

One of the most acute topics was cooperation with Taliban and Muslim Brotherhood movements  during the peace processes in the Middle East. If ISIS, as noted by Farhad Mammadov, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Azerbaijan, is the "absolute evil" for the international community, the status of many regional groups varies depending on the national policy of a particular state.

In general, as emphasized by Alistair Crooke, founder and director of Conflicts Forum, the distinction between the concepts of "armed resistance" and "terrorism" is sufficiently thin, and it represents an additional complexity in fighting against terrorism.

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