Archive for the ‘International Conflict, Terrorism & Security’ Category

4
Nov

chinchilla

A blog entry by 3rd year Bachelor of International Relations Student Anja Ungeheuer

Just like a great presentation does, the opening ceremony of the “MADRID +10: Policy Dialogue on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” started with a big bang. When King Felipe VI arrived, it left us very reverent. But, after giving a very charismatic speech he was even friendly enough to allow us to take a picture with him. By then, the realisation of what an amazing opportunity was given to us, kicked in. What followed was the first panel we were able to attend on “Beyond Counterterrorism: New Approaches towards Preventing Violent Terrorism”. The underlying consensus established was that Extremism is only a symptom and not the root cause. Thus, policy makers need to analyse the grievances of the people that push them towards radicalisation. At the same time, it is important to stress that extremism is not a religious or an ethnic issue. In addition, CVE is a generational challenge and should strongly be addressed to the youth. Furthermore, it was said that religious leaders should play a greater role in condemning radicalisation and in guiding the international community on how to deal with extremism from the Middle East.

Afterwards, we attended our first workshop. The workshops were divided between four topics 1) “Role of women in countering radicalization and violent extremism” 2) “Educators in dialogue, youth in debate: countering violent extremism” 3) “Building peace through inter-religious dialogue” 4) “Online Radicalisation”. That evening, I attended the fourth workshop, which in summary discussed how civil society can be mobilised online, by creating a comprehensive, positive narrative, to take away the media space terrorists have. Furthermore, it was discussed whether the Internet needs regulation and how you can counter terrorism online, without taking away freedom of speech. In addition, the day ended after very intense discussion, which only made us look forward to the next day even more! Read more…

31
Oct

Peter Neumann

On October 22nd, Peter Neumann, Director, International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR), King’s College addressed the IE Master in International Relations students in a very interesting exchange on the threat of terrorism, violent radicalization and ISIS. Prof. Neumann started off the seminar by stating that terrorism kills less people every year than traffic accidents or being struck by a bolt of lightning. This being said, terrorism is much more pernicious in that its impact goes beyond just violence. To illustrate this, Peter Neumann gave 3 examples: Tunisia, Syria/Iraq and Europe today.

 

  • Tunisia until recently was hailed as one of the success stories of the Arab Spring yet just a few months ago its leaders insisted it was on the brink of collapse. How so? Two successive acts of terrorism (the attack of the Museum in Tunis and subsequent attack at a XXX beach resort) pretty much destroyed the tourism industry in Tunisia. Tourism accounts for 35% of Tunisia’s GDP. This is a clear example of how terrorism (that in fact killed “just” 80 to 90 people) had a crippling effect on the Tunisian economy.
  • Syria/Iraq: We are in the midst of a historical transformational period in the Middle East comparable to Europe in 1916. There is a lot of chaos and instability and no one has a clear vision of what the outcome of this upheaval will be. The presence of the Islamic State has complicated the situation considerably. What is most striking is that the group has engaged in genocide, mass atrocities and normalized practices that were until now completely extinct. They have reintroduced human slavery and an ancient tax on non-Muslims as a way to generate revenues. The reintroduction and normalizing of these previously disused practices is extremely disturbing.
  • Europe: According to Peter Neumann, we will see a rise of terrorist attacks in Europe but on a small scale such as the attacks in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo HQ or the attacks in Copenhagen or in the TGV between Brussels and Paris. The impact of these attacks will be to strengthen the already rising far right parties in Europe as we can see I Sweden, Denmark and in France with Marine Le Pen’s National Front. This will have a strong impact on European societies and will lead to discrimination against minorities and a backlash against immigrants, such as the one we are currently seeing today with Syrian refugees. This will threaten the pluralistic, multiethnic, tolerant social fabric that Europe currently prides itself in.

Read more…

29
Oct

King

 

On Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 October, 11 specially selected students from the IE Master in International Relations, IE Bachelor in International Relations and the IE Dual Bachelor Degree in International Relations and Business Administration were invited by the Club de Madrid to participate as scribes in the 2-day “MADRID +10: Policy Dialogue on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism”. Students were tasked with writing short reports on the various sessions they attended that would then be used as content by the Club de Madrid. The conference gathered over 200 leading experts, opinion shapers, former heads of state, academics, civil society and NGOs around the themes of prevention of violent extremism and radicalization. The symposium was opened by H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain and closed with a keynote address by Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. Other noted speakers included Habib Essid, Prime Minister, Government of Tunisia and José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The exclusive participation of the IE International Relations students in the conference further consolidated a growing collaboration between the Club de Madrid and the IE School of International Relations. Just last week, on Oct. 22nd, the principal content coordinator of the event, Prof. Peter Neumann, Director, International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR), King’s College, came to IE along with other Club de Madrid members for a seminar with IE Master in International Relations students. The talk was a preview of the Madrid+10 Policy Dialogue in which Prof. Neumann answered questions on the threat of terrorism, violent extremism and ISIS in a very interesting exchange with the students.

The World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid is an independent and non-profit organization comprised of 102 former heads of democratic states and governments from 67 countries.  It is the world’s largest forum of its kind, made up of former presidents and prime ministers from democratic countries who have come together to provide a response to growing demand among leaders for support in two key areas – leadership for democratic governance and solutions for crisis and post-crisis situations.

16
Oct

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By Deniz Torcu, MIR 2014/2015 Alumnus

When I was working for a UNESCO Commission in Turkey a couple of years ago, we had started receiving dozens of phone calls from the Southern Turkish border with Syria, from refugees desperately trying to get in touch with some authority that could help them get settled in a camp or help them get to the EU. A sense of despair overtook us every time such a call came, since the only thing that we could do was to give them the contact information for UNHCR and try to explain to them that this wasn’t the right UN agency and we could not help. Many would reply by saying that they had been trying to contact the UNHCR but the lines were always busy and asked us if we had any friends there who could help. Every “please” from the other side of the phone was a rattle to the foundations of our two-storied building, every “I don’t understand” was a slap in our faces.

According to the latest data from the European Commission, more than 12 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, with nearly 5 of those 12 million stuck in besieged areas. An estimated 9 million have fled Syria since the violence began in the country in 2011 and nearly half of this number are registered in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Read more…

Published on Oct. 7th in http://www.katoikos.eu

15
Oct

ankara

Saturday’s bombing of a peace rally in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, shows the horrific extent to which Turkey’s politics and Syria’s war are merging. The rally had been organized by leftist activists to call for peace between the Turkish government and the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which for years has been agitating for greater independence for Turkey’s Kurdish minority. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that the Islamic State is the top suspect.

If the Islamic State is indeed responsible, they will have targeted the rally in order to exacerbate the already violent conflict between the Kurds and the state. The bombing could easily have just that effect, coming at a time when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s authoritarian leader, has been critically weakened by protests and corruption accusations, and is turning to nationalism to maintain his grip on power.

The Islamic State has already used this strategy of playing on division in the region to great success — exploiting existing fault lines to generate conflicts that empower radicals and disenfranchise moderates. Attacking minorities who are already distrusted by the majority draws the minority further into conflict, and can spark a majoritarian crackdown. This dynamic has been playing out in Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, and now it has come to Turkey: the bombers are exploiting and deepening the division between Turks and Kurds in the same way that terrorists have exploited Sunni-Shia divisions in other parts of the Middle East.

The immediate roots of this moment lie in September 2014, when Islamic State forces laid siege to the Kurdish town of Kobani, just across the Turkish border in Syria. As the Islamic State pounded the city, it became an international symbol of dogged Kurdish resistance. Meanwhile, Turkey’s tanks and artillery lay silent just across the border, even as hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the area and Turkish citizens gathered on the hills to watch the carnage.

The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) — which is largely Kurdish but has increasingly been seeking support from disaffected Turks — accused the Turkish government of allowing the Islamic State to crush Kobani in order to eliminate the Kurdish militias fighting there. Under grassroots pressure to respond to the government’s refusal to intervene, Kurdish politicians called for demonstrations, and more than 30 people died in riots across Turkey’s southeast. Read more…

Published on Oct. 12 by Nate Shttp://foreignpolicy.com

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