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Abstract: Comments in this testimony are largely derived from a compilation of studies that the author commissioned in previous years looking at how key countries in Europe (the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain) were addressing the threat of Islamist terrorism domestically. I then analyzed those studies and set out to compare their respective findings with the post-9/11 counterterrorism regime here in the United States. The result was a volume published last summer by the American Enterprise Institute entitled Safety, Liberty and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic Counterterrorism. The author provides context to United States counterterrorism policy by comparing it with the policies and practices of our European allies
Abstract: The United States has increasingly viewed the government of Algeria as an important partner in
the fight against Al Qaeda-linked groups in North Africa. The Algerian economy is largely based
on hydrocarbons, and the country is a significant source of natural gas for the United States and
Europe. Algeria receives little development assistance from the United States, but its security
forces benefit from U.S. security assistance and participation in bilateral and regional military
Algeria’s relative stability, always tenuous, has most recently been challenged by a series of riots
and popular demonstrations that have occurred since early January 2011. The unrest initially
appeared to be motivated by discontent over food prices, but has turned more overtly political
since mid-January. The example of neighboring Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” and the ripple
effects of ongoing unrest in Egypt may contribute to opposition activism, with further protests
anticipated in mid-February. The government has reacted both by attempting to assuage the
public through political and economic concessions and by using the security forces to prevent and
break up demonstrations. Across the region, other authoritarian governments have adopted a
similar approach with varying results.
Abstract: Since the dawn of aviation, airpower has played an important role in counterinsurgency operations. This has been especially true as the security situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have deteriorated. While ground forces learned to reapply old lessons to a new environment, air support was reshaped to provide an asymmetric advantage. The capabilities that were developed have become indispensible for conducting a modern counterinsurgency effort. The proliferation of antiaccess and area denial capabilities along with long-range precision weaponry will result in greater challenges for all military operations, even COIN. Airpower will continue to provide critical support and must integrate lessons from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Abstract: Several weeks of violent anti-government demonstrations in Tunisia, which on 14 January led to
the resignation of President Zin al-Abidin Ben Ali are an unprecedented event in the history
of the state. France’s highly restrained position on these incidents is consistent with previous
French policy towards Tunisia. For more than two decades, support from Paris for the former president
was intended to guarantee stability in Tunisia and protect the country against the development
of Islamic fundamentalism within its territory. In the future, any assistance to Tunisia should be conditioned
on Tunisian authorities’ respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Abstract: Following the fall of Tunisia's President and in light of the upheaval in Egypt, the spectre of domino effects has been raised. The lack of prospects for young people, social injustice and political repression - all causes that sparked the protests in Tunisia - are problems in virtually all Arab states.
Abstract: Domestic public opinion is frequently and correctly described as a crucial battlefront in the war in Afghanistan. Commentary by media and political figures currently notes not only the falling support for the war in the United States but also in many of its key allies in Europe and elsewhere, making it all the more difficult for the Obama administration to secure the help it believes it needs to bring the war to a successful conclusion. This study is an extensive examination of the determinants of domestic support for and opposition to the war in Afghanistan in the United States and in five of its key allies--the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia. Tracing the trajectory of public opinion on the war from the original invasion in 2001 to the fall of 2009, this paper concludes that the combination of mounting casualties with a declining belief that the war could be won by the Coalition is the key factor driving the drop in support. Other factors, such as the deployment of numerous and shifting rationales by the political leadership in various countries, and the breakdown of elite consensus have played important but secondary roles in this process.
Abstract: The path into terrorism in the name of Islam is often described as a process of radicalisation. But to be radical is not necessarily to be violent. Violent radicals are clearly enemies of liberal democracies, but non-violent radicals might sometimes be powerful allies.
This report is a summary of two years of research examining the difference between violent and non-violent radicals in Europe and Canada. The report covers five countries: the UK, Canada, Denmark,
France and the Netherlands, focusing on the phenomenon
of ‘home-grown’ al-Qaeda inspired terrorism in these
countries. It represents a step towards a more nuanced understanding of behaviour across radicalised individuals, the appeal of the al-Qaeda narrative, and the role of governments and communities in responding.
Abstract: On 27 March 2009, President Barack Obama announced his new Af-Pak strategy that includes the dismantling, disruption, and the defeat of al Qaeda and preventing the resurgence of the Taliban. He declared that peace in the region is essential for peace in the world. The means put in disposition to achieve this goal incorporate additional US troops and building a more efficient Afghan army and police. By 2011, he hopes to build an Afghan army of 134,000 and a police force of 82,000, at which point, Afghans would be responsible for their security.
France supports Obama’s new strategy. According to a French Official, France has been following a similar strategy since 2003. Indeed, France has been involved in Afghanistan since the 1920s, when they first opened French schools. Ever since, it has been engaged through the EU, UN and NATO through: University exchange programs in the 1960s; the inauguration of a French hospital in 2006; France trained 4,200 Afghan soldiers through Operation Epidote (2007), and an Internal Security Attaché was put in charge to over-see police training (2003); also a Franco-German initiative was launched to train Afghan judges and magistrates (2007); and France supported the construction of an Parliament through the EC and UNDP.
Abstract: This article seeks to explain why two states faced with a similar
terrorist threat, perceiving it in a similar way, and drawing the
same broad implications for their counterterrorist investigations,
have nevertheless put in place significantly different types of organizational
reforms in response to that threat. The study shows that
although France and Britain have embraced a common preventive
logic in the face of Islamist terrorism, the changes that they
have made to the coordination of intelligence, law enforcement,
and prosecution in that context have differed because of contrasting
organizational routines and interinstitutional conventions in
the two states. An analysis of the British and French cases shows
that law enforcement can be preventive but that western states are
likely to pursue different ways of bringing security agencies and the
law together to prevent and prosecute terrorism. The organizational
and institutional factors that give rise to such divergent practices
have important consequences for the ability of a state to develop a
coordinated operational response to terrorism and convict terrorist
suspects of crimes in a court of law.
Abstract: The summer of 2009 has been without a doubt a bad one for ISAF, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The increase in fighting this summer has led to debates in most of the troop contributing nations as to how they perceive Afghanistan’s future and their role in it. A complex insurgency has spread across the country as different groups have come together under the banner of the Taliban fighting both the international troops and the Afghan government. In the south and the east of Afghanistan, where guerilla warfare has been ongoing for at least three years, the fighting has intensified and an increase in the technical abilities and tactical skill of the Taliban insurgents has taken a heavy toll on coalition soldiers. In the north and west of Afghanistan—previously considered safer areas—the security situation has worsened considerably and troops who had been able to focus predominantly on reconstruction work are increasingly finding themselves soldiering in far more traditional ways. The Afghanistan general elections of 20 August can be considered a very limited success at best, not only because of the extensive and seemingly well based accusations of vote rigging, but also because in many parts of the country although the ISAF forces could secure the voting sites themselves, they could not provide sufficient security to stop Taliban intimidation from dissuading many Afghans from going to the polls in the first place. As the fighting has increased across the country, it is the Afghan civilians who are paying highest price.
Abstract: This paper argues that both socio-economic disadvantage and political factors,
such as the West’s foreign policy with regard to the Muslim world, along with historical
grievances, play a part in the development of Islamic radicalized collective action in
Western Europe. We emphasise the role of group identity based individual behaviour in
organising collective action within radicalized Muslim groups. Inasmuch as culture plays
any role at all in radicalization, it is because individuals feel an imperative to act on the
basis of their Muslim identity, something to which different individuals will attach varying
degrees of salience, depending on how they place their Muslim identity based actions in the
scheme of their multiple identities. We also emphasize the role of the opportunistic
politician, from the majority European community, in fomenting hatred for Muslims, which
also produces a backlash from radicalized political Islam. We present comparative
evidence on socio-economic, political and cultural disadvantage faced by Muslim
minorities in five West European countries: Germany, the UK, France, Spain and the
Abstract: The success of international efforts to foster security and economic growth in Afghanistan is increasingly linked to wider stabilization and development in the states in its proximity. In order to elucidate the challenges in the region and draw recommendations for the Italian G8 Presidency, an Experts Meeting on Afghanistan and Regional Stabilization was organized by Ipalmo, ARGO and Carnegie Europe on May 28-29th 2009 in Rome. Participants noted five areas of interest that could be taken into consideration at the June 2008 meeting of G8 Foreign Ministers in Trieste: 1) The countries of the region are interlinked in a regional security complex which requires a regional approach in response; 2) Constructive action by the states of the region and existing regional institutions need to be reinforced; 3) Border management is necessary to curb illicit trafficking while encouraging a better flow of resources across the region; 4) Security remains a major priority in the region; and 5) Greater economic cooperation would increase welfare for populations while encouraging cooperation and trust in the region.
Abstract: Over the past two decades, Western political leaders have scripted a new approach to
foreign policy, wherein far greater weight is given to ethical considerations and
protecting the rights and freedoms of extra-territorial citizens. Using the example of arms
exports to developing countries, the present paper exposes the organized hypocrisy
underlying countries’ self-declared ethical turn. We show that the major Western arms
supplying states – France, Germany, the UK and the US – have generally not exercised
export controls so as to discriminate against human rights abusing or autocratic countries
during the post-Cold War period. Rather, we uncover ongoing territorial egoism, in that
arms have been exported to countries which serve supplying states’ domestic economic
and security interests.
Abstract: Conflicting accounts of a Taliban ambush of an elite French military unit in the Surubi district of Kabul Province on August 18 have raised new concerns about the future of France’s politically unpopular deployment in Afghanistan. Ten soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in one of the largest Taliban operations since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The French troops were part of a fresh group of 700 soldiers committed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy to join over 2,000 French troops under International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command. When the new French troops arrived they relieved two American battalions in the Kapisa region, a strategically important district near Kabul (France 24, July 25). A French officer described the French troops involved in the ambush as “experienced” and “combat-capable” (Le Figaro, August 20). Nevertheless, the Taliban made a political statement by targeting the new additions to the French ISAF contingent. The proximity of a major Taliban operation to Kabul has alarmed many within the capital, who point out that previous attacks within Kabul’s security belt have heralded the eventual fall of the city to insurgent forces (Cheragh [Kabul], August 21). In the aftermath of the attack, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner declared, “Nobody is thinking of leaving Afghanistan,” but added a few days later, "We need what is called 'Afghanization', that's to say to pass responsibilities, all responsibilities, as quickly as possible to the Afghans" (AFP, August 21; Reuters, August 25). The ambush, as well as recent suicide attacks on American outposts, reveal an escalation in the violence and effectiveness of Taliban attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan. Added to the steady attrition of NATO, ISAF and U.S. personnel, these new attacks are intended to remind the West that despite seven years of campaigning, the Taliban are as strong as ever. Since the ambush, the French deployment in Afghanistan has come under sharp criticism from the public, the press, and opposition politicians. The French public has never had a taste for involvement in Afghanistan, reflected in a recent Le Parisien opinion poll that showed 55% of respondents believe France should withdraw from Afghanistan. With Prime Minister François Fillon calling for a September vote in parliament on the future of the French military commitment to Afghanistan, President Sarkozy’s efforts to expand France’s role in that country may come at a considerable political cost.
Abstract: Contrairement à une idée reçue, la France et le Royaume-Uni ne sont pas les seules puissances nucléaires en Europe. En effet, depuis 1954, dans le cadre de l’OTAN, les États-Unis stationnent des forces nucléaires dans plusieurs pays du continent. Reliques de la Guerre froide, ces forces devaient originellement faire face à la supériorité des troupes conventionnelles du pacte de Varsovie. De plus de 7 000 armes nucléaires tactiques, réparties dans une dizaine d’États européens au milieu des années 1970, l’arsenal n’a cessé de diminuer, à la suite de l’éclatement de l’URSS, pour parvenir au chiffre de 350 armes en 2007. Depuis le début de la décennie, la question de l’utilité de ces armements, et donc indirectement d’un possible retrait, est de plus en plus souvent évoquée.
En toute discrétion entre 2005 et 2008, les États-Unis ont dénucléarisé deux de leurs plus grandes bases européennes, Ramstein (Allemagne) et Lakenheath (Royaume-Uni). Elles abritaient au total 180 bombes nucléaires. Indéniablement, ce désarmement apporte un nouvel éclairage sur cette posture nucléaire de l’OTAN. À ce titre, les 240 bombes restantes ont sans doute définitivement perdu leur rôle militaire au profit d’un rôle politique. Les raisons de ce retrait ne se limitent pas seulement à des problèmes de sécurité dans ces bases. Non, d’autres problématiques comme l’évolution de l’Alliance atlantique, la politique de chacun des pays hôtes, le renouvellement des flottes à capacité duale, l’utilité stratégique, sans compter la pression de l’opinion publique soutenue par des organisations pacifistes, contribuent et vont contribuer à limiter ce stationnement d’armes. Désormais seuls l’Allemagne, la Belgique, les Pays-Bas, l’Italie et la Turquie ont sur leur territoire des armes nucléaires américaines, mais pour combien de temps encore ? Demain, l’Europe va-t-elle être une zone libre d’armes nucléaires américaines ?
Abstract: In the coming decades, the relationship between Beijing and Washington is
likely to be the primary bilateral relationship in the shaping of international
security. Consequently, authors on China’s rise in global security usually
focus on this bilateral relationship. The security relationship between China
and Europe is still a somewhat meagerly explored topic. The reason for this
may be that direct security relations between Europe and China are only a
minor element in Sino-European relations. And yet, as the US’ main security
partner, Europe is a major actor in global security. Two European countries
are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC),
and Europe is a source of significant economic and diplomatic influence in a
number of regions in the world. To understand how the international security
landscape is changing as a result of China’s rise, the interaction between
Europe and China is very much a relevant topic. The emergence of China in international politics leads to a fundamental change in great power involvement in conflict management and security
diplomacy. The clearest example of China’s new role has been its part in the
North Korean nuclear issue. In 2003 Beijing initiated a mediation effort to
address tensions between North Korea and the United States relating to
Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. This effort became
institutionalized in the Six-Party Talks (involving also South Korea, Japan,
and Russia). Washington has increasingly come to regard Beijing as a partner
in managing the North Korean nuclear issue. The intermediary role played
by China is a new development and indicates both the greater influence and
greater responsibility of Beijing. Two other crisis situations in which China
and the US play roles that are to some extent similar to North Korea are the
Iranian nuclear issue and the violence in Darfur, Sudan.
However, although Sino-US cooperation in the Six-Party Talks paved the way
for more cooperation towards greater stability in other parts of the world,
there are important new challenges to be faced. First, North Korea borders on
China. Perhaps Beijing feels less compelled to take on a prominent role in
conflict management in more distant regions. Second, in the North Korean
issue the US and China clearly dominate as the two leading powers. But in
the Iran and Darfur issues, European actors constitute a major third leading
power (with Russia arguably being a fourth leading power in the Iran case).
Geographically, the Middle East and Africa are the regions where Chinese
and European security concerns meet most directly. One of the first steps to
a greater insight into how great power involvement in conflict management is
evolving is to look at the relationship between China’s and Europe’s roles on
Darfur and Iran. This paper discusses how the relationship between China and Europe in
international conflict management is evolving by looking at the cases of Sudan
and Iran. Two questions in particular are of interest. First, does the growing
influence of China lead to a weakening of Europe’s role? This could manifest
itself in terms of less influence in countries in the region, in less cooperation
with the world’s most powerful nation, the United States, or in a decreasing
influence on defining which norms apply in international security issues (or
global governance), – all of these in a relative sense regarding China’s
position. Second, what is the potential for cooperation between Europe and
China in conflict management and security diplomacy? In other words, which
factors are relevant and how are they affecting the potential for cooperation?
Abstract: Urban radicalism in Europe as portrayed by the recent riots in Athens is a constant worry of the European security services, since there is ample evidence of wider connections between radicals and terrorists.
There are two major themes to be looked upon. Firstly the relationship between the extreme-leftist terrorist groups that operate in the so-called "Mediterranean axis" - France, Italy, Greece and Spain - and secondly, the connection of these groups to Islamic extremists.
The radical - anarchist movement in Europe is pretty strong and well organized with thousands of loyal supporters. Back in 2005, the riots in Paris proved that the radicals and second-generation Muslim immigrants in France were able to form the political agenda of that time, although they were not successful in preventing Sarkozy’s ascendance to power 18 months later.
Abstract: French diplomatic and military operations in Djibouti, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have or are in danger of becoming seriously compromised and weakened, to the detriment of French policy in Africa and the Middle East. This article is a brief review of the French military presence in Djibouti and the Horn of Africa. It is written from a French viewpoint regarding how to either remove or enhance French capabilities in the Horn of Africa, with policy options provided. It is equally important that the U.S. presence be removed from Djibouti. Introduction of the European Union (EU) and expansion of the African Union may benefit France. In the end, France should adopt a specific policy that would benefit France militarily, exclude the United States, and shift funding from France to the EU.
Abstract: Since 11 September 2001, and especially since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a series of investigative studies and testimonies have revealed that at least some terrorist detainees have been subjected to torture by US interrogators. The US interrogation facility at Guantanamo Bay has attracted widespread criticism over its alleged use of torture. Indeed, Guantanamo Bay has become almost a byword for abuse, coercion, degradation, and torture. The horrific scandal that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004 further highlighted the lack of constraints over at least some US forces during the interrogation of terrorist suspects. Since the scandal at Abu Ghraib, the US Defense Department has reformed its interrogation rules to bring them further in line with international law, but the interrogation methods employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) remain more ambiguous. The 'accidental' destruction in 2008 of key videotapes of the interrogation of terrorist detainees held in CIA custody has further fanned the flames of suspicion regarding the CIA and torture. Indeed, the current head of the CIA, General Michael Hayden, is on record refusing to describe water-boarding, the technique by which a prisoner is gagged with a wet cloth to simulate drowning, as torture. Linked to these revelations and allegations has been the controversial US policy of 'extraordinary rendition', by which terrorist suspects allegedly have been detained and transported to third party countries, with dubious track-records in human rights, where apparently they have been tortured. It has been alleged that the United States has used this method to 'outsource' torture.
These revelations have recently been accompanied, in a much more subtle way, by a tendency within the US media to portray torture as a normal part of the process of interrogation. Thus, we find that in smash-hit US television series like 24 and Alias suspected terrorists are often subjected to third-degree measures during interrogations to beat confessions - reliable confessions - out of them. The Hollywood star of the programme Alias, Jennifer Gardner, was actually for some time one of the official celebrity faces of the CIA on its website. The implication of programmes like 24 and Alias is that torture can work; that good guys sometimes have to use torture to win the war against the bad guys; and most importantly, that physical coercion can produce reliable intelligence.
Lessons from history show this is emphatically not the case. Leaving aside the moral and ethical aspect of the use of torture, those governments which have used torture in counter-terrorism, and those television programmes which have portrayed it as normal or even glorified it, have missed arguably the most important point: history shows that torture during interrogations does not produce persistently reliable intelligence.
Abstract: France is seeking to upgrade its status in the international
arena and enhance its influence and presence in the Middle East. France perceives
Syria as a key to resolving central regional issues such as the crisis in Lebanon, the
Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sarkozy's visit to
Syria in early September and the summit he convened of the leaders of Syria,
France, Turkey and Qatar – all are part of this turbo-charged Sakozian diplomacy.
However, deep skepticism is in order as to the utility of Sarkozy's Syrian
courtship. There is a disturbing discrepancy in French diplomacy between firm
rhetoric and acceptance of fait accompli, as has been the pattern in the Lebanese
crisis. This suggests to countries such as Syria that the West is weak and ready for
far-reaching concessions in return for vague Syrian declarations of good intent.
France is acting as if "dialogue" and a "diplomatic role" (for France) are significant
objectives in and of themselves, while the efficacy and results of its diplomacy are
Abstract: Avec la mort tragique de dix soldats français dans une embuscade tendue par les Talibans près de Kaboul, les Français ont brutalement pris conscience que leur pays est bel et bien engagé dans une guerre en Afghanistan. Après l’émotion, est venu le temps de la réflexion. L’Assemblée nationale s’apprête à débattre de l’engagement français, et l’opposition demande une redéfinition de la stratégie de la France, sans quoi elle ne voterait pas en faveur de cet engagement. Des voix se lèvent pour un retrait et l’opinion publique semble être majoritairement sur cette ligne.
Comment peut-on gagner une guerre en Afghanistan, ce « pays d’insolence » où tant de puissances étrangères ont échoué à y rester durablement ? Sait-on vraiment ce que nous faisons dans les montagnes afghanes ? On entend tout et son contraire : « l’avenir du monde libre et de l’OTAN » se joue en Afghanistan, affirmait récemment le Président de la République, après avoir dit que la présence française n’est pas « déterminante » dans ce pays. On dit que la solution ne sera pas uniquement militaire, ce qui est de bon sens, mais on renforce les troupes et « l’on y reste le temps qu’il faut » tout en qualifiant ce conflit de « bourbier ». Le plus grave est qu’on accepte désormais le risque d’un élargissement du conflit au Pakistan. Cela rappelle curieusement la « vietnamisation » de la guerre en 1970 décidée par Richard Nixon et l’extension de la guerre au Cambodge et au Laos. On observe avec inquiétude les premiers signes de cet élargissement qui auront de lourdes conséquences pour la stabilité de la région et du monde. La ligne frontalière « Durand » , déjà fictive, sautera et l’unité des Pachtounes risque de provoquer la désintégration du Pakistan car, dans ce cas de figure, la province de Baloutchistan, qui a également des revendications à caractère « autonomiste », suivra.
Abstract: A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 17 nations finds that majorities in only nine of them believe that al Qaeda was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In no country does a majority agree on another possible perpetrator, but in most countries significant minorities cite the US government itself and, in a few countries, Israel. These responses were given spontaneously to an open-ended question that did not offer response options. On average, 46 percent say that al Qaeda was behind the attacks while 15 percent say the US government, seven percent Israel, and seven percent some other perpetrator. One in four say they do not know. WPO_911_Sep08_graph.jpgGiven the extraordinary impact the 9/11 attacks have had on world affairs, it is remarkable that seven years later there is no international consensus about who was behind them," comments Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org.
Abstract: During a trip to Israel in August, the only optimists I met were French diplomats. The reason for their upbeat mood? Ambitious plans by President Sarkozy for the EU to advance the Middle East peace process – including a controversial proposal that the EU should take the lead in creating an international peacekeeping force which could replace the Israeli army in the West Bank as part of a peace deal. But in the current inauspicious environment, can France, which currently holds the EU presidency, really help to move things forward and allow the EU to play a bigger role in the peace process?
Probably not. Already, it looks as if the French plans are becoming victims of circumstance. The Gymnich, an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, that will take place on September 5th and 6th, had been flagged up as vital in developing a new EU strategy. The EU was to reflect on ways it could increase its support for the peace process, including the offer of new security guarantees to Israel. But the Georgian war has changed EU priorities, and talks on the Middle East have been seriously scaled down.