The speakers for the session are: Mr. Shanaka Jayasekara, Associate Lecturer (Research) at the Center for policing, Intelligence, and Counter-terrorism (PICT) at Macquiarie University of Sydney, Australia; Dr. Amichai Magen, Managing Director of the Institute for Democracy and Law and Diplomacy, and Associate Fellow, The Shalem Center, Israel; Dr. Ronen Zeidel , Director of Research, Center for Iraq Studies, University of Haifa, Israel, with Dr. Howard Stoffer, Deputy Executive Director, Counter-terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), United Nations as the chairman.
Dr. Howard Stoffer – discussed his committee in the U.N. which addresses the challenges of weak and failed states which are unable or unwilling to contend with their terrorist problems, and attempts to build the counter-terrorism capacities of states, and to assess those capacities in order to identify gaps and vulnerabilities which can be improved with the help of other state donors. It was created by U.N. resolution 1373, written 9 days after 9/11, passed under Chapter 7 of the Security Council, has no limit in scope, and is the only organization in the U.N. that has the backing of the Security Council and does not report to the Secretary General. The organization releases an annual â€œGlobal Survey,â€ public document, which names regions and sub-regions, discussing their various counter-terrorism capabilities.
Dr. Amichai Magen â€“ discussed failing states, noting that failed states threaten global security due to the ability of terrorist organizations to operate freely in them. Yet, not all failed states are terrorist threats, and failed states should be stopped, even if they are not. Exit strategies, in his opinion, are not an option, and talk of them only serve to embolden the enemy and create disillusionment in the local population. In terms of engagement, Magen noted two types: counter-insurgency/COIN, which aims to build up the failed state, and counter-terrorism, which aims to â€œprevent places like Iraq and Afghanistan from becoming again havens for terrorists. Magen advocated a greater shift from the COIN to the counter-terrorism policy. He, also, argued that world institutions need to change to â€œaccommodate the reality of failed states,â€ based on â€œâ€˜responsible sovereignty.’â€ Governments, he contended, need to be held responsible both for providing security to their own citizens, as well as being held for preventing of security threats from spilling outside of their borders. Last, Magen maintained that â€œstate failure is not inevitableâ€¦ result of political decisions of human beings,â€ and can, therefore, be prevented. The international system ought to prevent state failure rather than contend with their aftermath, i.e. “â€œpersuade Humpty Dumpty not to climb on the wall, rather than put him back together, once he’s had a great fall.â€
Dr. Shanaka Jayasekara â€“ discussed â€œthe use of ungoverned territories for terrorist activities.â€ Jayasekara noted four types of ungoverned territories: terrestrial , maritime, aviation, and virtual. Addressing the terrestrial, he argued that there are four types of ungoverned territories: ungoverned, under-governed, de facto governed, and state collusion/profiteering. Jayasekara brought the example of the Sri Lankan government’s fight with the LTTE as an example of success. The Sri Lankan forces were able to take back control of the Tamil territory by employing a troop surge, with a 40% increase of boots on the ground; disrupting the LTTE’s weapon supply channels by using â€œdeep sea surgical strikes;â€ redefining and gearing up combat operations, such as by the â€œuse of deep penetrating teams [like] LRRP;â€ and constraining the use of the coastal region, which cut into the mobility and operational space of the Sea Tigers. Lessons learned are that â€œpolitical will and decisive action,â€ including surges in troop, the willingness to make a long term commitment, being willing to suffer great losses, â€œdisrupting supply channels,â€ receiving support from â€œregional partners,â€ redefining combat tactics in accordance with the force needed, and accelerating development to provide socio-economic wellbeing.
Dr. Romen Zeidel â€“ discussed Sunnis in Iraq and their relation to Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda in Iraq and its relation to the Sunnis. Al Qaeda, he claimed, is not a natural part of Iraq, and is largely detested by the Sunni population. â€œMost Sunnis in Iraq favor political process and are playing down their sectarian affiliation.â€ Sunni identity, Zeidel argued, os composed of three elements: Sunni-ness, Iraqi and Arab nationalism, and Islam. Al Qaeda can does not fit this model. â€œAl Qaeda is like the gun in the closet, to be used in case of necessity. The only problem is that this gun has a life of its own, and doesn’t always serve you when you need it… serves itself sometimes.â€ Sunnis tolerate, Zeidel stated, Al Qaeda in Iraq for a series of reasons, including vengeance, fear, hatred and fear of the Iraqi government, money (of which Al Qaeda has a lot), anti-Shiite and anti-Kurdish views, Wahabism (to a very little extent), influence of a given Imam, and â€œadventurism of the young generation.â€ On a community level, Zeidel argued, there is fear of the resumption of civil war, where, with Shiites in control of the government, military, and the two strongest militias, the Sunnis will lose. As a result, they choose to keep the â€œgun in the closet.â€ Zeidel claims that there is evidence of an Iraqization of Al Qaeda in Iraq. As an example, Zeidel points to the a growing number of Iraqis in commanding positions in Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq, with its government primarily being comprised of Iraqis from leading Sunni tribes. Not seeing Al Qaeda disappearing from Iraq in the near future, Zeidel argues for improvement in the morale of the Iraqi forces, based upon their past successes (such as the killing of al-Bardawi) and increased intelligence capabilities. The security sector, he added, must be open to all sects and without corruption.