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Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

28th August 2017 18:13:20 Hours

Panelists Dwell on ‘Role of Regional & Global Organizations’ in Countering Violent Extremism

The ongoing ‘Colombo Defence Seminar’ deliberations, which have been segmented into five major areas of discussion, had its Session - 2 under the sub topic ‘Countering Violent Extremism’, for which Dr. Lailufar Yasmin, Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh also contributed as a panelist.

The panel discussion, chaired by Mrs. Prabha Murti, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, Special Secretary, Government of India was attended by Prof. Yasmin, Mr. Michael Jones, Research Analyst, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, UK and Dr. Alexey D Muraviev, PhD, Head of Department, Faculty of Humanities, School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Bentley Campus, Australia.

Prof. Yasmin, commenting on the role of regional organizations, SAARC and ASEAN experiences took more time to explain the origins of the concept of ‘Violent Extremism’ and ‘Countering of Violent Extremism’ citing a case study from Indonesia.

Here follow the major themes of his contribution to the Session;

Introduction

Terrorism has plagued human society ever since the formation of political societies. Grievances or dissatisfaction regarding the authority has led to opt for unlawful means by a group of people, disregarding peaceful path to seek redress which leads to illegal things.

“This unlawful path has historically assumed multifaceted methods and targeted a varied number of people-be that statesmen, political leaders or general people: known as terrorism,” he added.

Scholars have identified as many as 200 definitions of the term, making it difficult to identify conclusive characteristics of terrorism. Despite the definitional conundrum, the spates of terrorism in human history can be categorized into five stages or as popularly known-five waves of terrorism; the anarchist, the anti-colonial, the new left, the religious, and the radical wave, he pointed out.

Countering Violent Extremism: is a combination of the fourth and the fifth wave-religious fanaticism plus the total annihilation of disbelievers.

Concept of ‘Violent Extremism’

“The typical understanding of terrorism and the failure to come to definitive criteria of terrorism (politicization of the term ‘terrorism’); officially was first introduced by the US administration under President George Bush in 2005; but applied first after the London 7/7 public transport bombing and the Madrid bombing. Major failure of the international community as well as national governments to identity two elements: terrorists’ intents and its nature is pathetic. It is religious but nature is annihilation.

“It targets the “passive terrorist infrastructure”, i.e., terrorists’ ideology that helps indoctrination. Therefore: no longer the involvement of the security sector required but it is the only requirement (macro level).

While terrorist-related violence in Pakistan declined in 2015, the country continued to suffer significant terrorist attacks, particularly against vulnerable targets such as schools. The Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“In January 2015, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) announced the establishment of its formal branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan, ISIL-Khorasan (ISIL-K). The group primarily comprises disenfranchised members of the Afghan Taliban and TTP. At the year’s end, the majority of the group’s attacks were against the Afghan government, Taliban, and civilian targets, although the group also claimed a small number of attacks in Pakistan’s settled areas, he pointed out.

“India continues to experience terrorist attacks, including operations launched by Maoist insurgents and transnational groups. In July 2015, India experienced a terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab; the first in India’s Punjab Province since the 1990s. Bangladesh has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against terrorism.

In the meantime, Mr. Michael Jones, Research Analyst, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for Defence and Security Studies, UK touching on the same theme, ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ but addressing the issues in the EU / MENA / AMERICAS Experiences said that regional organizations cannot and should not provide a substitute for national level CVE efforts but they do supplement and strengthen national CVE efforts. Regional organizations need to reflect shifting demands in a fast changing policy space to maintain relevance.

Speaking about the problems and limitations of regional organizations, Mr Jones added following areas should be given priority in this context as follows;

• Structural issues

• Limited local input and representation at the regional level

• Limited flexibility and flexibility

• Imposition of norms, preferences and conditions on CVE funding

• Regional interventions/ sponsored CVE activities still dependent on national governments