Ebook: Countering Terrorism in South Eastern Europe
In common with many other parts of the world, the region of South Eastern Europe (SEE) faces a significant terrorist threat. Countering this threat represents a major security challenge for government agencies in the region and their partners, and although important counterterrorism advances have been made by NATO nations over the past decade, the complex history, geography, culture, socio-economic and political dynamics of the area mean that these advances need to be contextualized and modified to suit the regional situation. This book presents the contributions to the NATO Advanced Training Course (ATC) 'Countering Terrorism in South Eastern Europe' held over five days at Lake Ohrid, Macedonia, in February 2016. The conference hosted presenters from 15 different countries, and government representatives from the nations of the Balkan region, including Macedonia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Kosovo. The course consisted of five central priorities: contemporary global terrorist practices, radicalization processes and recruitment techniques; terrorist use of cyberspace; legal aspects of countering terrorism; building resilient societies; with the final priority concentrating on SEE counterterrorism. Presenters discussed a wide range of topics, including radicalization and cyberterrorism, all aimed at countering the real and evolving threat of terrorism in the region.
Like many other parts of the world, the South Eastern European region (SEE) faces a significant terrorism threat. SEE has already faced radical and violent religious individuals and groups affiliated with terrorist organizations. Recent events such as the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011), the murder of five civilians in Macedonia (2012), and the attack on the Israeli tourists in Bulgaria (2012) all illustrate the initial phases of terrorist activity in the region. The aforementioned attacks were initiated by both individuals and groups; minimizing these threats is not a strategic response for SEE or NATO nations. Moreover, reports about numerous individuals who have joined foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq require NATO and Partner Nations to counter recruitment from SEE populations.
Countering this threat represents a significant security challenge for SEE governmental agencies and their partners. Although significant counterterrorism advances have been made by NATO nations over the past decade, SEE's complex history, geography, culture, socio-economic, and political dynamics require that these advances be contextualized and modified to the region. Failure to analyze and proactively intersect this threat, delays in strategic planning, and limited collaborative efforts will place SEE governments and NATO in a reactive stance from threats that emerge from this region.
Immediate action is needed if NATO SEE countries (both NATO and its Partner Nations) are to implement direct and indirect counterterrorism approaches. Indirect approaches are required because they promote resilience in societies against violent extremist propaganda and recruitment. All levels of community resilience need to be implemented. An example of a community resilient model would be a collaborative effort from scholars who could counter theological, ethical, and ideological arguments used by violent religious extremists. In addition to ideological arguments, proactive measures would need to confront targeting vulnerable populations, such as humiliated and/or victimized groups who join extremist movements to establish or strengthen an identity. Regarding direct approaches, almost all SEE countries have actively participated in the antiterrorist coalition in Afghanistan or in Iraq. However, contextualizing these experiences to the SEE region emphasizes the need to merge the lessons from successful resilience programs and public diplomacy over kinetic responses.
The Countering the SEE Terrorist Threat Advanced Training Course (ATC) provided participants with global trends regarding terrorists' operations and strategies. In addition, in-depth analysis on how these efforts were intrinsic to the SEE region was conducted. It also served to facilitate important regional cooperation among NATO and Partner Nations' participants from SEE countries. This ATC addressed best counter-radicalization processes and how to build resilient community responses within the SEE region. Participants discussed how to contextualize the information to their specific national views and dynamics. SEE participants were introduced to counter-terrorist efforts based on NATO policies and Partner Nations' cooperation.
This SEE course directly correlated with SPS key priorities. Specifically, this ATC promoted cooperation between NATO and partner countries in the area of counter-terrorism and prompted development of joint preventative mechanisms intended to hinder any radicalization processes by fostering social resilience, social cohesion, and integration policies. The course was comprised of five central priorities spread over five days. The first priority addressed contemporary global terrorist practices, radicalization processes, and recruitment techniques. Particular emphasis was given to the terrorism practices in SEE countries. The second priority was dedicated to terrorists' use of cyberspace. The third priority introduced the legal aspects of countering terrorism. The fourth priority focused on building resilient societies to violent extremist propaganda and ideology. Hence, instructors introduced the social root causes leading to radicalization and terrorism. The last priority was dedicated to SEE counterterrorism collaboration. Panel discussion and focus groups between member states and partner countries discussed the following topics:
1) the role of the religious leaders and civil society organizations in building counter narrative;
2) experience from existing deradicalization programs around the world and the role of the government in these processes;
3) the terrorists' use of the social media and technology in radicalization processes and countering these practices;
4) the importance of intelligence sharing and regional cooperation;
5) law enforcements' responses and best practices, and the importance of the rule of law and the legislation in legitimate responses to terrorism.
International terrorism is widely considered and recognized as a serious threat to world peace, security and stability. Moreover, the fight against terrorism is often listed as one of the key areas of cooperation between NATO and Partner Nations. In this context, promoting cooperation in SEE region among NATO countries (Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria) and Partnership for Peace (PfP) members (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia, Serbia) is critical for effective counterterrorism strategies. The complex environment characterized with political, religious, and cultural differences combined with socio-economic instability and long discriminatory practices makes the SEE region vulnerable to radicalization. The well documented evidence of radicalization of the Muslim communities in this region, the SEE region's geographical position, the recent terrorist attacks in Bosnia (2011), Macedonia (2012), Bulgaria (2012), and the growing number of reported victims as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq are key questions, among others, that require greater attention between NATO and Partner Nations. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss different approaches; compare NATO and other Partner Nations' experiences; and expand and strengthen existing cooperative networks among security experts, policy advisors and academicians (young researchers) in order to propose policies to the trainees' national authorities.
The fight against terrorism is one of the priority areas of NATO's cooperation activities with partners around the world. This ATC contributed to NATO's counter-terrorist efforts and was in compliance with NATO counter-terrorism cooperation policies such as: The Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism (PAP-T) of 2002, which encourages joint efforts by allies and partners in the fight against terrorism; NATO's Strategic Concept of 2010 where a cooperative approach to security is listed a core NATO task; and The Chicago Summit declaration of 2012, which reaffirms the necessity of cooperation among NATO and partner nations in the fight against terrorism. It also complied with SPS key priorities since it is designed to enhance cooperation between NATO and Partner Nations on issues of common interest such as counter-terrorism with a focus on developing joint mechanisms for building resilient responses. The course complemented the NATO smart-defense concept and goals by which NATO engagement with partners should be tailored, based on shared values and common approaches, with an emphasis on complementary efforts and non-duplication. The most recent White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) also emphasized the need to establish international partnerships. The summit was the first of many events leading up to UNGA in September 2015, through which the United States and its partners developed actions to counter the most immediate threats, including ISIL, and stop the spread of violent extremism. Ministers from nearly 70 countries, the UN Secretary-General, senior officials from other multilateral bodies, and representatives from civil society and the private sector gathered during the Ministerial segments of the summit to develop a comprehensive action plan against violent extremism. They charted a path for progress that included regional summits, aimed at taking concrete steps to prevent violent extremism in the lead up to UNGA 2015. The CVE Summit offered an opportunity to approach CVE in a comprehensive way and build upon the framework of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The White House CVE provided an example for UN and other multilateral bodies to intensify and identify, and counter local drivers of violent extremism.
The Countering the SEE Terrorist Threat ATC focused on several critical elements to form a comprehensive strategy to counter local terrorism drivers. The strategy involved seven components: 1) Identify clear counter-terrorism priorities and responsibilities in order to determine who is responsible for implementing effective counter-terrorist activities; 2) Become familiar with NATO counter-radicalization best practices in order to contextualize them for SEE nations; 3) Understand the relationship between counter-radicalization actions and building resilient societies in order to effectively defend against terrorism; 4) Compare and analyze how national social, economic, legal, and religious challenges compare to SEE nations. This is necessary in order to build effective response to the terrorist threats to NATO and Partner Nations that originate from SEE nations; 5) Identify a comprehensive counter-terrorism approach that includes both legal and technical aspects from political, defense, and security personnel in collaboration with NATO and Partner Nation's existing counter-terrorist policy and actions.; 6) Develop and discuss how to enhance SEE's counter-terrorist capabilities to focus on human factors in order to increase regional cooperation, prevention, and resilience with NATO Partner Nations; 7) Direct a regional SEE forum to share best practices and developments in terrorists' radicalization tools, (approaches, techniques, and methods), prevention of terrorist activities, de-radicalization approaches, and building resilient responses.
Representatives from 15 countries participated in the ATC at a venue with significant historical importance. The ATC site – Hotel Belvedere – by Ohrid Lake offered an excellent venue for conferences, workshops and congresses. The facility supported formal and informal settings for structured and spontaneous learning and sharing of ideas. Lake Ohrid – the largest and most beautiful of Macedonia's three tectonic lakes, provided a serene mountain setting. With its unique flora and fauna characteristic of the tertiary period, Ohrid is one of Europe's great biological preserves. Most of the lake's plant and animal species are endemic and unique to Ohrid. In 1980, UNESCO proclaimed Lake Ohrid a location of world natural and cultural heritage.
The agenda was full with presentations from scholars and subject matter experts. The meals were arranged either at the hotel or at short distance from the hotel at the restaurant Biljanini Izvori. The time at the restaurant provided a much needed break from the conference room environment for participants, and provided a social venue to network. The unique balance of information, networking, and social interactions materialized in alliances among participants, which have been evidenced by continued correspondence in the months following the ATC. The co-directors interpret the ongoing interaction and positive feedback from participants as an affirmation of a successful ATC. Such a constructive ATC was the outcome of efforts by participants, speakers, and co-directors in addition to a host of caring individuals who supported their work.
Much appreciation is extended to the management of staff at the Hotel Belvedere for their gracious hospitality to all participants. Logistics help from Dr. Mitko Bogdanoski and the hard work by Norwich University's editorial team is greatly appreciated. We offer our gratitude to Dr. Deniz Beten, the director of the NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division and Mr. Michael Switkes for their resolute encouragement and support of the ATC. The co-directors are confident that ATC participants will continue research collaborations that began in Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia to enhance safety and security for all in Support of NATO mission. The ATC was supported by NATO – Emerging Security Challenges division of Science for Peace and Security program.
Travis Morris, Ph.D and Col. Metodi Hadji-Janev, Ph.D
Dimitar Bogatinov, Sam DeLong, Olivia Despirito, Ilija Djugumanov, Marija Jankuloska, Kendall Manning, Katie Sanders, and James Verderico
Matt Hicks, Sage McPherson, Carrie Morris, Kimberly Loveless, Isabel Nielsen, and Katie Sanders
In the last decade of the twentieth century, the rapid development of computer technology and its application in the military doctrine prompted the idea of network-centric warfare. Besides sea, air, land and space, the contemporary strategy defines cyberspace as the fifth battlefield and important part to conduct information operations. The purpose of this was to introduce a new revolution in military affairs, but also to demonstrate the superiority of the Western way of war. However, the opponent always adapts. Computers and internet are available to everyone, so the new paradigm did not become an exclusive right to the rich nations and powerful armies. Terrorist organizations around the world quickly recognized the usefulness of cyberspace, first to collect information, then for communication, planning and conducting terrorist actions. Especially the militant religious extremists from the beginning started to use cyberspace for propaganda, recruitment and training of new members, and trying to carry out cyber attacks. There is skepticism that the threat of terrorist cyber attacks is exaggerated, but the analysis of the most recent attempts shows that we have to understand the seriousness of their intention to cause severe damage on computer systems of critical infrastructure. In this context, the intention of this chapter is to show that the terrorists not only recognized cyberspace as the new battlefield, but there is a trend of their increased presence, suggesting the necessity to monitor their adaptation to new technologies and to estimate their capacities and capabilities, or to bring the war against terrorism into cyberspace as well.
Based on more than 15 years of work experience with ideologicalized and radicalized clienteles, the paper starts depicting a working model of the entangled psycho-social dynamics of ideologicalization and radicalization, the Ideologicalization/Radicalization Cycle, and draws methodological conclusions from there on how to approach an ideologicalized and / or radicalized clientele. Everybody who works on a professional level with such a clientele has to draw into account that ideology and radicalization are deeply rooted in a person's needs, drives to draw sense, and to build up self-esteem, argues the author. Thus, simply countering the ideological narrative runs into danger of confirmation of the ideologicalized interpretation regimes instead of revoking them. The pedagogical concept promoted by the author is explicitly based on a non-confrontational approach.
International terrorism is a serious threat to the regional security in South East Europe. Although the applicability of law during the counter-terrorist efforts is essential to NATO and Euro-Atlantic efforts in the fight against terrorism this subject has not been addressed appropriately by the SEE countries. The article provides a general overview of the applicable laws that South East European Countries must consider in their counter-terrorist efforts. It explains what laws apply during domestic and international counter-terrorist efforts and operations.
Tackling the threats involving contemporary terrorism that employs unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or ‘drones’) for targeted killings during counter-terrorist operations has raised serious concerns regarding the purported non-compliance with the international-legal principles and standards. It consequently revived the debates over the complex relationship of International Law of Armed Conflict (ILOAC) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and the difficulties that arise from the parallel application of both legal regimes. Therefore, this article seeks to elucidate the conceptual differences between the two legal frameworks in the light of the current counter-terrorist operations carried out by the means of UAV technology, particularly in the context of the right to life. Furthermore, this article seeks to contextualize the rules of both the legal paradigms in respect of drone usage and to infer upon how the frequent utilization of advanced technology in counter-terrorist operations can be reconciled with the current international law of the use of force.
Social media exploitation by state and non-state actors has an increasingly visible effect on the contemporary operating environment (COE); relating to national security as well as political systems and democracy in general. No case shows this clearer than ISIS social media exploitation and this case was crucial for operations leading to the largest effect any armed, non-state actor likely every produced on global security perceptions. How exactly did ISIS use social media to achieve this effect? After an introduction to relevant characteristics of social media for the (COE), this chapter briefly introduces the first prominent case of social media exploitation for security operations, the “Twitter War” between the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and Hamas in November 2012. This chapter then goes on to explain how ISIS exploits social media in the South-Eastern European (SEE) and concludes by identifying challenges for the COE that come through armed, non-state actor social media exploitation. Social media is a highly effective tool for influence operations: however, with it come significant challenges that have to be manage not only from a national security perspective, but also for democracy.
This paper explores the impact of current economic, social, technological and political trends shaping the future of terrorism. The world of tomorrow will be derived from our world today. To be able to understand future dynamics of terrorism, we need to analyse past patterns, trending elements and visible course of existing political violence. It is clear that today's trends such as demographic patterns, individual empowerment, resource demands, and a changing world order will a play decisive role in tomorrow's conflicts. These trends will interact with emerging dynamics of today's terrorism such as radicalisation, lone-wolf terrorism, suicide terrorism, use of weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist use of technology. Although how these elements interact with one another and what they yield remains a mystery, we may still assert that in 20 years two conflicting trends may dominate the arena: self-incited highly capable lone-wolves and complex, inter-connected terrorist networks.
The purpose of this paper is to use criminological theories to explain the root causes of terrorism and why it prevails. Three criminological theories will be implemented to describe this behavior: rational choice theory, social learning theory, and anomie/strain theory. Using these theoretical concepts, the researcher will first contend that some terrorists are rational actors who learn criminal behavior from social and non-social sources. The researcher will then illustrate that institutional decay and lack of opportunity contributes to political extremism. This paper will conclude with theoretical limitations and policy recommendations.
The opposing commander's mind is an important target and successfully striking it can provide a decisive advantage – Liddell Hart
Due to the importance of cyber space, proper assessment and response to cyberattacks should be trained via exposure to simulated cyberattacks. Accurate simulation of cybercrime and cyberterrorism can prepare decision-makers for their challenges and develop expertise in addressing cybersecurity issues that will arise in real-world cybercrime and cyberterrorism events. Simulation also has a role to play in identifying offensive and defensive cybercrime and cyberterrorism challenges as well as cyber defense advantages. The simulation issues to be addressed are the aspects of cybercrime and cyberterrorism that must be simulated in order to provide useful insights. We describe an approach to developing a simulation environment to support analysis of cybercrime and cyberterrorism challenges and advantages.
Cybercrime and cyberterrorism are different in several aspects, which leads to different forms of cyberattack as well as different objectives for each type of cyberattack. We discuss the potential effects of cyberterrorism and cybercrime, their common properties and differences, and the motivations for each type of these two types of cyberattacks. We present an approach to cyber warfare simulation that can illuminate the challenges and advantages possessed by the cyberterrorist and the cybercriminal. We present a methodology for assessing the cyber defense's challenges and advantages against both cybercriminal activity as well as cyberterrorist activity.
The first section of the chapter contains discussion of the importance of preparing for cybercriminal and cyberterrorist attacks and broadly outlines our simulation approach for identifying offensive and defensive strengths and weaknesses. Section Two presents a discussion of background research and real-world events that are relevant to our work. Section Three contains a discussion of the differences and similarities between cybercrime and cyberterrorism. Section Four contains a description of the methodology and approach for using simulation to assess cybercriminal and cyberterror strengths and weaknesses. Section Five describes the use of simulation to assess cyber defense strengths and shortfalls against cybercriminal and cyberterrorist activity. Section Six contains a summary and further work.
A focus on resilience shifts attention from what causes young people to radicalize to explaining the protective and promotive factors and processes that inhibit violence. This paper uses case examples to examine the culturally and contextually relevant processes that make young people resilient. It also shows that the absence of these factors puts children at risk of violence. Using a social-ecological lens to examine the way communities can prevent violence, a complex multisystemic understanding of resilience is discussed that details nine experiences which predict positive outcomes. Application of this model to individuals and communities in the Balkans that have been affected by war and mass migrations can help to inform interventions to prevent politically and religiously motivated violence.