2008-03-28 Azariah Kiros
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The world's terrorism experts meet in Stockolm

Is the threath of new wave of terrorism real?Is the threath of new wave of terrorism real?
Scores of analysts, researchers, and security experts converged on Stockholm to compare notes on developments in the fight against international terrorism and insurgency. The conference was organised by the British organisation, the Global Defence Forum. Mary Dub is the Organisation's spokesperson.

Our intention was to do a public/private partnership and present and create a synergy between the ideas of two military think tanks to present the diversity of views to deal with what is seen as the most important problem facing the west.

News concerning terrorism and insurgency reverberates from our loudspeakers and splashes across our TV screens, laptops and newspapers. But how much do we know about what is happening and why it is happening? Analysts say clarity of thought on the underlying causes and lasting solutions to the complex problems is in short supply. Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director at the Swedish National Defence College is a world authority on Al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Surveilance cams - not much beloved counterterrorism measureSurveilance cams - not much beloved counterterrorism measure
We try to understand the processes of violent radicalisation, extremism and in that battle to understand the nature of the phenomena, we also need to have some guiding principles of how do we organize ourselves in grappling with this. We have to be cognisant of extremes – it’s not just about Islamic extremism or Islamist extremism but also about right wing extremism and they feed off each other. We have to have the right vision of what do you want to achieve. How do we achieve it? Who do we speak to? How do we create credibility? How do we create trust? These are very long term issues –

- So many questions. How are politicians and governments dealing with these questions?

There are really only three countries that are really at the forefront of developing some of these measures. You have the United Kingdom, of course, in the aftermath of the strikes in 2005 that really have devoted some thought to this. There also are significant efforts being expended in Holland. This of course came in the aftermath of the killing of Theo von Gogh and the controversial film Submission. So everything from democracy enhancing measures, it’s leadership camps for youths, generational debates. They have a bus tour with parliamentarians, Imams, students and so on. You also have in Denmark, one wouldn’t believe it given the current environment and current debate, but they also have significant efforts being expended – trying to develop a national strategy against radicalisation and extremism.

How about here at home, how is Sweden dealing with the issue?

Real threat or just fearmongering?Real threat or just fearmongering?
Really the Scandinavian formula is to develop SSP cooperation and by SSP, I mean School, Social Services and Police. In building resilience, in building dialogue, in building a communication - as to how do you minimize, once you see extremism in the midst - how do you develop measures and initiatives?

So how do you do that? What form should the fight against terrorism take?

My name is Gijs Vries, I’ve been the European Union’s Counter Terrorism Coordinator for the past three years. There are two things we need to get right in preventing and combating terrorism. First of course, it’s the work of intelligence services, police services and prosecution – if you wish the law and order side stopping those who wish to attack our society today or tomorrow. But secondly, and in parallel, we need to work on a political strategy to address the motivation of those who support the terrorists. In other words, we need to reduce the pool on which terrorists draw and we need to drive a wedge between the extremists on the one hand which we must put in jail and the broad majority of Muslims worldwide who abhor violence, who reject terrorism in the name of Islam and who want to live under democratic rule in a free societies .

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