Ebook: Enhancing Cooperation in Defence against Terrorism
Terrorism continues to evolve; altered sources of funding, changes in national governments and the ever increasing importance of the internet mean that international cooperation in the development and implementation of strategies to counteract terrorist activity remain an important priority worldwide. This book contains articles arising from the presentations by eleven experts from five countries, delivered at the NATO Centre of Excellence – Defence against Terrorism (COE-DAT) advanced training course (ATC) entitled Enhancing Cooperation in Defence against Terrorism, held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in September 2010. The aim of this ATC was to stimulate discussion and facilitate interoperability between these five countries and NATO in the fight against terrorism.The book opens with an overview of the landscape in which terrorism currently exists, and a reminder that a new approach is needed in the fight against terrorism to replace the Cold War model we have become accustomed to. The remaining articles cover a wide range of issues: countering the ideology of terrorism; legal aspects of combating terrorism and responding to terrorist use of the internet; the links between terrorism and organised crime; energy security; weapons of mass destruction; international humanitarian law; suicide terrorism; the role of the media in terrorism and counterterrorism; and dilemmas in counterterrorism strategy. In addition to the presentations from the ATC, the book includes two articles by Brigitte Nacos of Columbia University: The Importance of Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism, and Terrorism Media and Censorship.
The Centre of Excellence – Defence against Terrorism (COE-DAT) traveled to Astana, Kazakhstan to conduct an advanced training course (ATC) entitled “Enhancing Cooperation in Defense against Terrorism” on 27 September-01 October 2010.
A total of eleven experts from five countries helped the participants discuss these issues in order to facilitate interoperability between these countries and NATO in the fight against terrorism. The articles in this book reflect those presentations and discussions.
The first presentation was an overview of terrorism entitled “A Round-the-World Tour of Terrorism,” presented by Ercan Çitlioğlu from Bahçeşehir University, who gave an overview of the landscape in which terrorism currently exists. He examined why a different type of mentality is needed to fight against terrorism rather than the Cold War-type model we have become accustomed to.
Mitat Çelikpala of Istanbul Kadir Has University was the second speaker with the topic of “Countering the Ideology of Terrorism,” where he examined the relationship between ideology (a set of beliefs) and terrorism (a method to achieve them), outlining the basic divisions of these two. He then discussed the fight against terrorism, which has to be conducted at both the operational level to prevent attacks and capture terrorists, as well as the strategic level where the ideology behind the terrorism must be countered. He argued the best way to do this is from within that ideological community itself by engaging all elements of society to influence this group and prevent recruitment of the young.
“Legal Responses to Terrorist Use of the Internet” was the topic of the third presentation by Marco Gercke of the Cybercrime Research Institute. In his talk he addressed internet-related attacks, illegal content, communications, and financing of terrorism – both the status of the threat and the legal responses in each of these areas. In the area of legal responses, some nations are taking an Internet-specific approach, some are taking a general approach to terrorist related crimes, while some are taking a combination of both; he analyzed these approaches.
The fourth presentation was done by Ercan Çitlioğlu from Bahçesehir University again on the topic of “Organized Crime and Terrorism: The Financial Roots of Systematic Violence,” where he examined the links between organized crimes. Although the two groups have differing reasons for their work – financial for organized crime and political for terrorists groups – they have mutually supporting skills and needs that cause them to work together. The loss of financial support to terrorist groups after the fall of the USSR in 1991 is also cited as a contributing factor. Therefore, he argued, to eliminate terrorist groups you also have to take on organized crime.
Mitat Çelikpala of Istanbul Kadir Has University was also the fifth speaker of the course, speaking on the topic of “What does Energy Security Mean?” Tracing the history of the concept of energy security from the beginning of the 20th Century when it referred to the supply of oil for British warships to the present day with a great expanded meaning to cover the availability – reliability – of energy from various sources. This problem has a political aspect because energy concerns can force a nation into certain actions, as well as present a possibility for terrorists to achieve their aims if they are able to successfully target the energy sector. He concluded by urging governments to innovate their energy markets and needs so as to reduce this vulnerability.
Larry White of TOBB University of Economics and Technology gave the sixth presentation on “The Legal Aspects of Combating Terrorism” where he outlined a two-step approach to battling terrorism from a legal point-of-view: preventing attacks and convicting terrorists. By acting with current legal authorities, most terrorist attacks can be stopped; prosecution of terrorists can discourage others and lead to greater knowledge of the threat to prevent future attacks. He also outlined some current hot issues in the legal field regarding counterterrorism.
The seventh presentation by Dan Radu Voica of COE-DAT addressed “Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism.” His presentation focused on the WMD threat – chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear – that could be developed by terrorists or fall into terrorist hands. He emphasized the threat while at the same time outlining the capability that NATO has to counter this threat.
“International Humanitarian Law in Military Counterterrorist Operations” was the topic of the eighth presentation, again by Larry White of TOBB University. In this presentation, he discussed the concept of IHL – also known as the law of war – in fighting terrorism. Although the application of IHL to counterterrorism will be the exception, it is important for counterterrorist forces to be aware of these concepts since they can help fill in gaps in counterterrorism laws. He also pointed out that IHL is greatly out-of-date with regards to fighting terrorism and needs to be updated.
The ninth article “Suicide Terrorism: Media Representations and Strategic Communication” reflects the views of Keith Spence of the University of Leicester who discussed suicide terrorism. He addressed some of the perceptions in the media of suicide terrorism, which he considers to be unpredictable based on the conclusion the every such attack has its own circumstances. Therefore, he advocated the use of strategic communications to reduce the possibility of such attacks.
Kenan Tokgöz of COE-DAT next talked about the role of the media in terrorism and counterterrorism. The media is very powerful in democratic nations; he called it the fourth power (after the legislative, executive and judicial powers) of a government. However, in the rush to remain competitive, the media can prioritize speed over accuracy. Since terrorist events are newsworthy and terrorism needs the media to achieve its objectives, terrorists and the media have a symbiotic relationship. The key is for governments to work with media to promote responsible action.
The final article resulting from this ATC is once again from Keith Spence and deals with the topic “Counterterrorism Strategy: Analysis and Dilemmas,” where he discussed four dilemmas that governments have in counterterrorism. He highlighted the problems these dilemmas have presented in Iraq and Afghanistan, then concluded that the medium- and long-term outcomes of both these developments are highly uncertain, but present an opportunity to rethink and reorient key elements of counterterrorism strategy.
Although not part of the presentations in Astana, we have included in this book two articles from Brigitte Nacos of Columbia University. In “The Importance of Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy in Combating Terrorism,” she addresses the use of soft power – public diplomacy and strategic communication – to overcome negative perceptions of the West in Muslim countries as a part of the war against terrorism. Although the West was fairly good at this in the Cold War, she maintains the West has stumbled in the post-9/11 world. In “Terrorism, Media and Censorship,” she discusses the concept of censorship and terrorism. Although the concept of censorship is generally abhorrent, in the counterterrorism context some restrictions on media may be warranted. She examines how this has been attempted in some nations but concludes that in the age of global media and communication it is very difficult, if not impossible to censor mass-mediated communications.
I would like to thank all contributors for their help in the success of this Advanced Training Course.
Lieutenant Colonel, Turkish Army
The international system is facing serious rapid and structural changes which directly affect the security environment and threat landscape, including terrorism and assymetric threats. The relatively ‘stable’ characteristics of the Cold War era had enabled predictibility in security affairs and made things easier for analysts. However, after the end of the Cold War, dramatic structural transformations caused several “unknown zones” to come into existance. Terrorism, especially the new wave of this threat, is one of the most significant “unknown zone” for states and their orthodox security apparatuses. The conceptual preferences of terrorists are unusual to most as well as their “ideological habitats.” This article will focus on the determining parameters of the terrorism threat and analyze the destructive capability of the new threat.
Terrorist ideologies are explanations of how the social world operates, and calls for individuals to undertake violent actions in support of that vision of the world. Terrorism occurs when ideological motivation meets with operational capability. Ideology provides justification for terrorist acts of violence. Ideology is a language of mass mobilization. How can we counter the ideology of terrorism? Is it possible to counter an ideology? In order to counter the terrorist ideology it is necessary to accumulate sufficient knowledge and expertise in the terrorist ideology before we can develop an effective counter-ideology program.
Terrorist organisations have already stated to make use of the Internet. Possible activities include cyber-attacks, fundraising, training, recruitment, secret communication, data mining, propaganda and radicalisation. The following article summarises the result of a research undertaken by the author for the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and provides an overview about legal response to terrorist use of the Internet.
Any systematic violent activity, regardless whether it is political (terrorism) or not (organized crime) needs enduring financing for its existence. Furthermore, the globalization of organized crime and terrorism has also brought about the globalization of criminal/terrorist financing and cooperation between them as well. This study focuses on the financial roots and determinants of organized crime and terrorism, considering the security environment of globalizing international system.
Energy security has emerged as an issue of great importance. As well as the traditional aspects of energy security, a myriad of new aspects has emerged and continues to emerge such as tight oil and gas markets, increasing prices, alternative energy sources and their role, the threat of terrorism, instability in some exporting and importing countries, geopolitical rivalries, and the increasing need for energy to fuel economic growth. The concept of energy security is vague. Energy security is an umbrella term that covers many concerns linking energy, economic growth and political power.
The legal challenges of the fight against terrorism involve a two-step process; the initial step is to prevent terrorist attacks through the timely identification and arrest of terrorists and then trying to obtain time-sensitive information. The second step is to convict terrorists and discourage others by obtaining needed evidence to use the judicial process to obtain just results. Current issues addressed deal with the historical background and legal standards associated with the treatment of terrorists. Security forces involved in the fight against terrorists must be cognizant of international norms dealing with terrorism and how new issues like bounties created new problems in this area. The emergence of lawfare in the area of antiterrorism will be a new challenge where terrorists are starting to use the legal system to advance their causes. Planning must anticipate this issue. The legal procedures against terrorism cannot be ad hoc but should be planned before operations. Also, the distinction between terrorists and criminals should not be blended but treatment should stem from an early determination of a particular individual's status. A final guideline for the students suggested that, although the minimum standards of treatment of suspected terrorists can be hard to pin down, the suspects should be treated at least as well as the security forces holding them.
During the first decade of this century, terrorist attacks claimed thousands of lives in New York, London, Madrid, Bali, Jakarta, Mumbay, Istanbul, Ankara, Amman, Riyadh, Baghdad, Kabul and many other cities in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. Meanwhile, in many countries such as Canada, England, Germany, Pakistan and the U.S., among others, significant terror plots have been disrupted. Clearly the international community is facing a terrorist threat of historical proportions; countering this threat requires an understanding of both the intensions and capabilities of terrorist groups and individuals (lone wolves) to carry out violent acts. The national counterterrorist strategies mainly focus on constricting the capabilities of terrorists (through military action and disrupting the financial and logistics networks, all of which require a significant amount of intelligence capabilities) and destroying their will to attack. This is particularly the case when addressing the threat of terrorists who seek to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction (WMD). However, there is much more that nations and international organizations can do to understand and counter the ideological motivations behind the threat of catastrophic terrorism.
This presentation looked at the application of IHL in the fight against terrorism. The history and development of IHL lays the groundwork for views on applying IHL in counterterrorism. The concept of an unlawful combatant addresses a current concern in this area of law while highlighting that the minimum standard – common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions – may be impractical in application. However, by drawing parallels between approaches in civilian and military counterterrorism operations, one can discern practical guidelines for security forces. While IHL directly applies in military counterterrorism operations, IHL should be updated to better address current concerns in the fight against terrorism.
Analysis of media coverage and political responses to the suicide attack on the NATO (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 15, 2009 illustrates the presence of a pattern of established conventions that structure the representation of suicide terror events. The framework described by these conventions incorporates a range of implicit but deeply inscribed assumptions concerning the origins and motivations of terrorists in general and suicide terrorists in particular. These assumptions predate the events of September 11, 2001, but received their clearest articulation in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. The vocabulary associated with the ‘war against terror,’ and the constructions of terrorism and terrorist to which it gives rise, are identified and contested through discussion of available demographic data pertaining to suicide terrorism, to the discourse of the ‘clash of civilizations’ associated with the work of S.P. Huntington, and to the paradoxically commensurable self-presentation of suicide terrorists themselves. Analysis of these materials significantly undermines accounts of cause and motivation that seek to explain suicide terrorism in terms of religious fundamentalism and economic deprivation. Disputes concerning global military policies and claims against perceived territorial interference emerge as being of greater significance. The conventions established within the prevailing assumptions and frameworks adopted in the course of media productions are, however, firmly established and not readily susceptible to adaptation or control. By critically challenging this established framework, however, and exposing its assumptions and limits to scrutiny, the possibility of using strategic communication policies to challenge, and over time to transform, some of the currently prevailing perceptions and representations of both terrorism in general and suicide terror in particular can be envisaged, but not guaranteed.
As a global threat, the fight against terrorism requires international cooperation. To make it possible, we should establish a common understanding of terrorism among democratic nations. The media is the main tool to establish this perception both nationwide and internationally. Democratic governments must provide security for their people while protecting the core values of democracy.
Elements of counterterrorist strategy, and the Global War on Terror that has defined it in the wake of September 11, 2001, are discussed in terms of four dilemmas. A key feature of a dilemma is that it presents a problem, or decision situation, which is not resolvable without significant side effects or unintended consequences. Recognizing and addressing these side effects and consequences is key to practices of understanding and learning from experience and of reformulating strategy in response to changing operational environments. Four key dilemmas are identified and briefly discussed: The labeling of groups as terrorist; the priority accorded to force protection within military doctrine; the emphasis on freedom and democracy as a justification for both military and humanitarian intervention; and the extent and duration of the political commitment to engage in a campaign against terrorism on a global basis. Costs and consequences of recent responses to these dilemmas within counterterrorist strategy, and particularly within Iraq and Afghanistan, are briefly highlighted before a discussion of some of the possibilities and risks arising from the conjunction of the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 and the death of Osama Bin Laden. The medium and long term outcomes of both these developments are highly uncertain, but present an opportunity to rethink, and reorient, key elements of counterterrorism strategy. Incorporating dilemmas such as those addressed within the evaluation of new strategic directions will help to formulate an understanding of potential costs as well as benefits more clearly than may have been the case in the past.
In the fights against terrorism, a perception has developed in the Muslim world that this is a fight against Islam, as poll results show. This problem may at least partially be the result of different perceptions of the same messages in different parts of the world. In order to combat this perception while at the same time maintaining counterterrorist efforts, it is important to use the appropriate messages in both strategic communications and public diplomacy. After explaining these terms, this article delves into how this can be improved by examining some successes in this realm. In particular, the use of specialists native to the target areas and populations could be very helpful in winning the communications battle as well as the counterterrorist battles.
Although a number of freedoms are considered vital in democracies, as well as a basic right under international human rights human law, these freedoms are not absolute. This article looks at the interaction between those rights and government limitations on those rights in the fight against terrorism, breaking the issue into five cases and evaluating each case in turn. The articles concludes that in times of perceived crisis, the majority of the public tends to support government censorship over freedom of the press, but the globalization of communications and media systems has made it far more difficult to restrain the press altogether.