Event Report: 30 Jun-1 July, NYC – ICSR Peace and Security Summit

01 Poverty, 03 India, 04 Indonesia, 05 Civil War, 05 Iran, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, 10 Transnational Crime, 12 Water, Academia, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government, History, Law Enforcement, Methods & Process, Military, Non-Governmental, Peace Intelligence, Policy, Strategy, Technologies
Event link

Peace and Security Summit Event Report/Notes

+ Host: London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence

+ Partners, Affiliates, Financial Support: National Defense Univ, Rena & Sami David, The Rockefeller Foundation, Public Safety Canada, Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, Centre for Policy Research, New Dehli, Dept of War Studies , King’s College London, Inst for Strategic Threat Analysis & Response, Univ of Penn, International Inst for Counter-Terrorism, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Pakistan Inst for Peace Studies, Regional Centre on Conflict Prevention, Jordan Inst of Diplomacy

> Overall, disappointing but reviewing these notes shows there are some good nuggets to take + connect.

BIGGEST SURPRISE = NOT ONE MENTION ABOUT FINANCING OF TERRORISM


+ Zero mention of Saudi Arabia as a problem historically or currently related to financing terrorism. A key to the 9/11 story is the head of FBI’s counter-terrorism John O’ Neil who was blocked by his own agency from investigating the Saudis despite evidence he was tracking leading to the Saudis. For this he quit the FBI and 2 weeks before 9/11 got a job as head of security for the WTC and died during rescue ops after the attacks.
+ Only mention of the Saudis was their innovative and successful programs to reform terrorists (!)

June 29: Special invitation only dinner hosted by The Rockefeller Foundation
June 30: OFF THE RECORD Working Groups closed to the public on
1) negotiating with terrorists
2) homegrown radicalization in the West
3) What chance for peace in the middle east?
4) De-radicalization programs: leaving terrorism behind?
5) Iraq: Ready to go it alone?
6) Somalia and global jihad
7) Afghanistan and Pakistan: What way forward?


June 31
First Session
(schedule change): Nine Years After 9/11: Are We Safer?

+ Panel consisted of Arif Alikhan, Cofer Black, Steve Clemons, and Fran Townsend

+ In answer to the question, are we safer, Townsend said “Yes” but that we are in complacency, 25 people arrested in the US related to terrorism (did not elaborate), mentioned “homegrown terrorism,” need for greater ties globally and locally, underpants bomber and Times Square incident shows a weakening of capability. Asked about the next terrorist threat said it will be related to transportation using low grade explosives involving Al-Qaida. Said the best program is in L.A. where police and non-police communicate using SMS (interestingly enough, before this event I saw an article on how L.A. Is cutting its counter-terrorism ops due to the city budget). Was “mystified” by the John Brennan speech (said she was a friend of Mr. Brennan) on poverty and education related to combating terrorism.

+ Clemons said we are “far less safe,” superpowers run by mystique, and that the US has less power to “sculpt the global system” and neutralize grievances…mentioned “global gravity.”

+ Black asked “who are the ‘we’?” US = YES, others = NO. There was a lack of appreciation for counter-terrorism and now in the US we don’t have that problem. Concerned about “sustainability” in regards to national interests, emotion, and money. Used an analogy of Clorox® to clean where it says it kills 99% germs/bacteria but what about that 1% chance? Said “battle of the narrative.” CIA Muslim Americans pursued terrorists after 9/11 and were as enraged as non-Muslims. Said something like “maybe I shouldn’t say this” and mentioned a Pew research poll saying that there were people who believed that Israelis were behind the 9/11 WTC attacks in the context that this was a ludicrous idea.

+ Alikhan asked “safer from what?” Criminals and terrorists see how people live and find work-arounds and find vulnerabilities. Complacency mentioned. “Communities” need to be included…communities are not susceptible to becoming terrorists, individuals are. Communities are the solution, not the problem. Said “We don’t know why people become rapists, robbers, and murderers” (He should have said “I”).

+ Someone from the audience said they were from Blackwatch Global

+ Moderator actually asked the panel “will there be another attack?”

+ No mention of the KSM trial or general lack of trust in the police in regards to citizens collaborating with law enforcement who are disconnected with communities.

Session two: What the Working Groups Have Concluded
1) Negotiating with Terrorists – N. Ireland, Spain, Sri Lanka. N. Ireland = unemployment…statement of “do they believe they are winning or losing?”

2) Where are We Going, Where are We Now – Afghanistan: how do we get there, and where? No “common vision” for “steady state” outcomes (Col. John Wood). What does July 2011 mean (for leaving Afghanistan)? What is the greatest threat? Could not clearly define the enemy. The elephant is in the room and it’s Indian. India-Pakistan relation, Pakistan reframing strategy.

3) Iraq: Ready or Not to Go Alone? – Issue of Kirkuk not resolved any time soon, current design of Iraqi forces is not self-sustainable, Iranian influence important but probably won’t grow, Turkey evolving its relation with Iraq, reconciliation and reintegration is fundamental due to the “Kirkuk scar”of starting over and over again.

4) Peace in the Middle East – Israel, Syria, Lebanon = optimum time for peace-building and trust building and longer left unresolved the more of a chance for radicalization. The way forward = 2 “state” solution in regards to borders and security (Michael Yaffe). Understanding narratives and the politics that drive the narratives. Israelis fear annihilation and to address this. How far does Palestine go before it becomes a “state”? Hamas is not going away but changes are needed. Revitalizing “Peace-NOW” movements in Israel and Palestine. International peace contributors = Turkey and bringing in Arab states. Develop a 5 year vision plan.

5) Somalia (rushed panel) – What policy prescriptions (Randolph Kent). 14th attempt by the international community with whom do we engage? → become more “effectively reactive.” Expand pockets of good government that exist. Diaspora, regional actors. Information Communications Technology (ICT) is strong and build on that. Commercial bodies (build on that). Effective communications strategies (support) and judicial practices. Discussions on religion in ICT/media. Community spaces. Assessing counter-terrorism.

6) Homegrown Terrorism – Radicalization as a dynamic process and that there are many types (Gary Ackerman). Jihadism = foundational narrative (In the example of the Minnesota capture it went from a national cause to a religious cause). Radicalization the result of alienation. Distorted understanding of homegrown radicalization that went quickly to jihadism. [Comment: At this point I got the feeling that this was all more about studying humans rather than providing real applications for stabilization]. Don’t make things worse and there’s a need to take risks. Engagement, education, info-sharing. Ties and trust with communities. Understanding international influences. Consistent, coherent, coordinated. Western influence can galvanize radicalization.

7) Deradicalization – (Hamed El Said) Success = No one size fits all..it should originate from the group instead of being forced on them and it needs to come from “the bottom” such as foot soldiers who are not as confident as the commanding military ranks. State and organization level “charismatic” leaders injecting confidence (Comment: Idi Amin was called charismatic). Financial incentives, family monitoring, recreation in prisons for trust-building, ART. Saudis mentioned about de-radicalization programs.

July 1
+ Trailer for the upcoming documentary “Killing in the Name” (notKilling in the Name of Allah“) was shown for the first time by the Global Survivors Network

Session Three: Old and New Frontiers
+ (Al Eryani) – Recent US drone attack on “Al-Qaida” camp not a huge impact and not a threat to the regime and was probably the result of “bad security.” Al-Qaida has benefited from the drone attacks but the success tells us it must be done.

+ Palestinian-E initiative and Google mentioned quickly by Sabri Saidam (who was mentioned as recently being in a White House meeting). Terrorists prey upon those in despair and anguish. 3 tanks = 50 schools in the Congo. Giving fairness and justice where despair is prevailing. Hope. Bullets resolve nothing. Africa is resource rich and resource dependent.

+ Northern Somalia is rather peaceful and the south claims Al-Qaida ties but they are probably small (Robert Rotberg). US security depends on the security of the rest of the world such as disease in Zimbabwe and poor areas (Robert Rotberg). There are positives to drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia but they tend to radicalize parts of population…→ Costa Rica model of disbanded military, providing water for all and education for women (Robert Rotberg).

+ (Ali Jalali) – Military used to create space for good governance

+ An audience member named Sebastian from Defense Univ said bullets do solve problems and gave the examples of Kosovo and World War I and said that local elites allow aid to go to the wrong people.

David Trimble Keynote
+ Electronic intelligence/surveillance and human intelligence (HUMINT) were valuable components.
+ 1975-1992 was a lack of political engagement
+ IRA consisted of people alienated from government processes
+ Economic development in the 1990’s was key
+ In the 1970’s the English lacked a long term vision
+ Why did it take 20-25 years?
+ Litmus test = Are they accommodating or trying to gain victory over opponents?
+ To gain an agreement you must include vital interests, enough from all parties doesn’t have to be all but enough…get details right with all parties involved…context is everything.

Session Four: Counter-Terrorism Coop (Is it working?)
+ It’s working but it’s hard to build, “catch and kill” no longer going on and now it’s more about long term countering of radicalization, Bangladesh working with NGOs (under the radar) and in many ways Western involvement is the “kiss of death.” AU and Asia Foundation working on prisoner overcrowding + has no computerized database (Bill Paterson).

+ Pakistan is a big problem…over 150 Germans in Pakistan participating in radical operations (August Hanning, former German government official whose not listed as a panel member). International cooperation has improved and police

+ prosecution workshops developed cooperation in SE Asia

[Political will mentioned in each of the panels]

+ (Eric Rosand of State Dept/former director of ICSR) Failure to respect human rights leads to political violence, on extradition make sure they don’t extradite to countries that use torture and said “to quote Elena Kagan, ‘I don’t deal in hypotheticals.’” Said indigenous judicial system an obstacle…need to work in other ways.

+ (Richard Barrett/UN) Human rights are one of the 4 pillars of the Global Strategy on Counter-terrorism. “Human rights are an absolute.” UN is brilliant as process and not-so-good at outcomes.

+ Audience idea/comment by “general” from India: Coop between victim countries to share resources.

+ Audience comment by South African who works in the field said of the legitimacy lacking in UN Global Counter-Terror Strategy with on-the-ground operations.

+ Mention of the Saudis conference on Web Counter-terrorism

+ (August Hanning) – “The Internet is a big problem for us” mentioned after an audience member who said he was a “trustee” for ICSR stood up and stated the negative aspects of Internet-use in a way that made it sound like he thought the Internet was a bad thing. Manning said, it’s a challenge we have to live with.

+ (Bill Paterson) – We see the Internet as more important than terrorists realize…it’s a central challenge and we don’t have answers.

+ The moderator (Peter Neumann) said that the National Security Agency (NSA) effectively and extensively monitor the Internet.

Session Five: Prisons and Terrorism
+ Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) organization consists of 60 persons in 6 countries
+ Decade ago was hard to find documentation on terrorism incidents
+ Prisons as a traumatic turning point in radicalization
+ Pakistan has a horrible prison system and needs to reform its legal system
[New Report – Prisons and Terrorism: Radicalisation and De-radicalisation in 15 Countries]

Session Six: How Terrorism Ends
+ (Shiraz Maher/former radical/former potential terrorist) – How many are proactive. He said he was told during his years with radical friends that “all problems stem from not having caliphate” was used as a persuasive reason why the world was filled with so many problems. Socially marginalized, looking for status and group interests, peer pressure.

+ (Michael Semple) – Said that he was told by a young man “when I don’t have a Kalashnikov, I am a poor kid no one wants to talk to…with it, I’m a giant and people have to take me in and feed me.” The Taliban will only politically engage when they are frozen into having no other options.

+ (Audrey Kurth Cronin) – Most probable outcome is failure, mistargeting, backfire from the population, could end in civil war.

+ (Shiraz Maher) – British example = organized in a way that it cannot achieve it’s objectives…Brit law enforcement are obsessed with violent extremism and not extremism. What they should implement = State subscribed ‘values’ if people don’t subscribe to those values, they are targets. Mentioned he visited Afghanistan two weeks after a peace agreement was made and despite this, 30 soldiers were ambushed.

+ Audience member from Afghanistan expanded issue of focusing on terror acts versus weapons imports and state defects.

+ (Hekmat Karzai) – Issue of political settlement and the counter-productive issue of dialogue with pre-determined “red lines.”

+ An audience member working for the United Nations said that Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai graduated from a university in India and that his hero was Ghandi and that Karzai had the chance to take on a non-violent position.

Keynote: Tsipi Livni (former Israeli Foreign Minister, Leader of the Opposition)
+ Israel is fighting terrorism
+ Said there is no comparison between murderers and people killed in a car accident (using this as an analogy for Israeli soldiers who accidentally kill people).
+ Two states, “Jewish democracy,” two aspirations
+ I got the impression she said Iran would be a problem even after (if) Israel and Palestine made peace.
+ It’s not about forefathers/ancient history but about future children
+ “[Turkey] needs to choose sides.” (said “with us or against us” earlier…rings of George W. Bush) this was in response to a question from someone at the Philadelphia Inquirer
+ She (Livni) mentioned having meetings in European hotels with people from countries who do not have relations with Israel.
+ An audience member from Turkey (said he speaks for Turkey) on his opposition to the conditions in Gaza are related to the policies, not the state nor the people. Iranian solutions are through diplomacy.
+ (Livni) voted to uproot families and would do it again for peace
+ Hezbollah are armed militia + state participation (Lebanon), not due to Israel occupying Lebanon.