tv Petter Nesser Discusses Terrorism in Europe CSPAN May 16, 2016 9:20am-10:31am EDT
i fully expect that if hillary clinton becomes president, she will want to put in place policies like something like the expansion of eitc or earners credit that are a broad-based labor market, employment and wage promotion effort. i think we could learn from the efforts of other countries as well. so i don't think the shock would be as bad. i think we should be better prepared to anticipate it and that there are things within the realm of political feasibility that could be done about it. >> i want to clarify one thing about this. a couple times david -- and i know he knows this difference, i just want to make it clear to everybody else -- has talked about the eitc and unemployment and re-employment. it doesn't help you if you don't have a job. so one of the things that i'm concerned about, i do think expanding the eitc particularly up higher up into the income scale would be a helpful remedy for the problems we're talking about but i also think we may
need to think about direct job creation particularly in some of the communities that have been so hard hit. >> we could go on for a long time. and we even have questioners waiting, but we've reached our witching hour, and we're going to have to quit. i want to thank david and gordon and their absent colleague, david dorn, not only for being with us today but for really doing the kind of in-depth work on these issues that needed badly to be done, for having enriched really the country and the world's understanding of these issues and therefore helping pave the way for policy changes that will help preserve the benefits of globalization. we're all deeply in your debt. we thank you for being with us today. jared, thanks to you for your comments and policy advice. thanks to the audience for being here. meeting adjourned. >> thanks very much.
and a proposal they have to place limits on the activity. that's at the national press club. we'll take you there live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. later in the day the israeli ambassador to the u.s. speaks at a leadership summit in washington, d.c. hosted by the anti-defamation league on c-span 2. tonight on the communicators while visiting a technology fair in capitol hill we spoke with republican congressman fred upton from michigan and bill shuster from pennsylvania. we interview innovators from ford motor company about new technology, spectrum issues and the upcoming auction. >> look where we are today in terms of communication, job creation. we are working on a major bill or legislation that we have passed but we are going to see
the fcc free up more spectrum which can enable these devices to be built and used to communicate. we are on the run. >> putting in legislation and encouraging the states to look at how you build a road to the future. dealing with companies here today, what do you need for your technology to work even better. >> from the first generation that we launched almost a decade ago our focus has been on making your device as useful as possible in a car in a way that lets you keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. for us that has always been about voice technology. >> ford understands there is great demand for more spectrum so we are working with colleagues to come up with a sharing solution in the 5.9 band. we are working with colleagues at department of transportation and most importantly federal communications commission. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on
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ceremony. a special thanks to our cable partner comcast for helping to coordinate the community visits. you can view all winning documentaries. >> madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. ♪ now, terrorism expert discusses his new book islamic
terrorism in europe about the rise of militant extremism in europe and its ties to terrorist organizations around the world. this is an hour and ten minutes. >> welcome. i'm program associate here at numerics international security program. we are going to hear from dr. huszer, senior fellow at norwegian research establishment on his latest book which incapsulates a lot of research he has been doing. the book is entitled "islamist terrorism in europe".
it is also available outside if you would like a copy. i'm sure he would be happy to sign some afterwards. and without further ado i turn it over to you to get to your presentation. >> thank you. so first of all i want to express my gratitude to numeric and to peter bergen for giving me this opportunity to present my new book on jihadi terrorism in europe historical study. thank david for organizing the event and moderating after my presentation. the book is based on more than 12 years of research at the norwegian defense research establishment and its a
terrorism research group. i think one of the value of this book compared to many other books on terrorism in general and also on terrorism in europe is the historical dimension, of course. because the attacks in paris and brussels lately have historical roots both within and without europe. i think it is important that we base our understanding of this threat and also think about counter policy. when we do that we also need to take into account the historical dimension. so the book examines jihad terrorism in western europe between 1994 and 2015. i gathered information about
more than 150 terrorist plots and studied more than 40 of them in detail. i look at the biographies of the terrorists, how they are radicalized and how they joined forces to launch an attack. i examine in detail what they say, what they have said and what they have done on their road to militancy. i also look at how they operate. today i will focus on how terrorist cells are formed. the book starts with the attack by the al qaeda linked group gia to air france jet over paris in 1995 and the bomb campaign the following year. or in 1994 to 1995. i end the book with the attacks
on offices of "charlie hebdo" in the same city. this slide shows the number of plots per year. when i talk about plots i include failed, foiled and executed attacks and by individuals and groups that could be defined as jihadi. i refer to anything that emanates from groups, networks and ideology. i use objective jihadi to refer to that. so what i aim to explain in the book is basically what drives jihadi violence. i explain why and how the terrorists strike, when and
where they do. by doing that i want to shed light on what goes on within the networks more generally. this overview per year gives some indication as to why plots occur. also, i think, it raises some serious questions about the perception or the term "home-grown." we can see that the number goes up amid armed conflict in western countries such as algerian civil war, the iraq war in 2003-2004. we see an uptick in the plots in connection with the syrian uprising. i also find that escalation in the israeli palestinian conflict
may also have affected the threat pattern. as may arrests of jihadi figures within europe. i say this both because these events coincide in time but also because qualitative analysis of what perpetrators have said indicates this. the only event inside europe that seems to have profoundly affected attack activity was in 2005. there was substantial increase in the number of plots in scandinavia following and most were aimed at people and institutions involved in the cartoons. if you look at the distribution of plots in europe over time it
has been france and uk that have been most exposed to plots. france and uk are main enemies of the jihadis in europe. what is interesting is that in the period following from 2005 to 2013 we see that number of plots in scandinavia, in denmark is higher than the number of plots in france. france is widely considered arch enemy of jihadists in europe. this event in scandinavia indicates that this is a home-grown driver. that's a difficult question because many of the people who were involved in plots to avenge
the platoons were under influence by pundits, al qaeda spokes leaders in conflict zones. they pursued or operated within the framework of the groups in conflict zones. you can ask the question home grown is the dimension of the threat pattern. overall the attacks are linked to western interference in western conflicts. it is hardly surprising at all. and it's completely in tune with what al qaeda and is are saying about the strategy and ideology. this is not something surprising at all. however, this alone does not explain terrorist cell formation. to find out more i explore network dynamics which is the main focus of my work.
so what about the network. nearly all the plots i study can be traced to one and the same network. this network was formed first in the early 1990s around arab mainly in london and then spread across the region. the network expanded to constant interplay with groups operating out of conflict zones. i mentioned nigeria in the 1990s, various al qaeda affiliates throughout the 2000s and is today. hubs in the network the way i interpret it are formed around what i refer to as critical masses or militant activists who have authority, experience and contacts. this is where the hubs have been
forming in the network. i argue that hubs may emerge anywhere and under different circumstances and they have. not only in british suburbs like bellium and brussels but university circles and capitals as well as small towns and in scandinavia welfare state without suburbs and very few problems related to immigration and integration compared to a country such as france. in my work i distinguish between two interlinked generations of terrorists operating in europe. the first generation was dominated by the gia and al qaeda's african training camps. this was the first generation. what i refer to as a new
generation emerged in the mid 2000s in the uk. the iraq war was a main mobilizing cause for that. the moment which branched out in europe under labels was a main platform for the new generation. most of the foreign fighters can be seen as part of this new generation and this cheria for islam for movement. so are the people behind paris brussels attack i argue. however, at the same time first generation veterans of the networks remain playing roles in the shadows behind the scenes in
a sense and also interacting with a new generation. as an illustration of the network dimension of generations of european jihad this picture here is very interesting. it has not been confirmed but it likely portrays the coordinator of the paris brussels network. malouk was part of the first jihadi attacks in europe in 1995. this picture here is most likely taken in syria in 2014, most likely. he escaped prosecution after the attacks in '95 in paris and went underground in belgium.
soon from there he was operating cells for al qaeda for which he was arrested, transferred to france, prosecuted and jailed. this here is another interesting picture taken by french spies in south central france in 2010. at the left you can see malouk again. he is together on his left side you can see one of the brothers who attacked the offices of "charlie hebdo" in january 2015. beside him is another veteran who became a recruiter for al qaeda. begal supervised a terrorist
network in 2001 for which he was arrested and jailed. on this picture he was out of jail again. the man to the right is linked to the network. i don't have time to go into what is going on here but it's surely one of the most interesting cases or episodes that i write about in the book. i think it is perhaps the best example of how the generations of european jihad collude, in a sense. to explain terrorist cell formation within europe's jihad network i identify some reoccurring components. all plots involve complex motives, social grievance, personal crisis as well as political grievance or western
interference in muslim countries such as iraq. nearly all terrorists had ties to radical at some point. this is a pattern that is reoccurring. the plotters spent time together and socialized in mosques and prisons, on the sports arena or online. social interaction seems to me highly significant factor in radicalization and cell formation. and results are reflected in that it is very far -- examples of people operating as lone wolves or independently, examples are few and far between in the material i have looked at. also in the vast majority of plots at least one person had foreign fighter experience. and nearly always there was a link to the conflict zone or
some conflict zone. this is the pattern. at the same time we know that scores of european muslims struggle with grievance related to middle east or life in europe, but a tiny minority resort to terrorism. many seek out radical preachers without becoming terrorists. all people meet face-to-face or online without having radicalizing effect in itself. it is also true that it's only a minority among foreign fighters who move on to international terrorism. so this is why i emphasize the inner dynamic of cells to explain why plots happen when and where they do. which is the main theoretical contribution i try to make in this book. when i studied biographies of
terrorist plotters i found also peter bergen pointed out in his work on american jihaddest that very few generalizations hold. young men dominate the picture but beyond that exceptions from stereotypes were too many to ignore. many weren't criminals. many weren't particularly young. and there were also quite a few examples of women involved in relation to plots historically speaking. i decided to focus on roles and interpersonal dynamic rather than social profile. for this purpose i developed an ideal type model of a terrorist cell. it is based on my interpretation of what the plotter said and did and how others depicted them.
i distinguish between the entrepreneur, protege and what i dub misfits and rifters. and the cell on the slide here matches this pattern almost perfectly as i see it. the entrepreneur is more resourceful than the others and has been radicalized through political religious process through activism, reading, discussion. in some cases almost intellectually not only reading jihadi ideology. he is strongly committed, talent for manipulating people. this is one of the main features of entrepreneurs. he has a talent for manipulating others. the entrepreneur is the one that binds together the various components of terrorist plots. he builds the cell. he recruits and socializes the
others and functions as the link between the cell, trans national networks and conflict zones. the entrepreneur is the one that trans nationalizes the phenomenon and brings structure and organization to the other types involved. the protege is very similar to the entrepreneur. he is usually functioning as a second in command or also has certain skills that cell needs for some purposes. for instance, technical education or the like. as for the misfit, he is drawn in from a difficult life position. he is the outsider. he may suffer a personal crisis, have experienced problematic childhood, come from a broken family. he may have dabbled in crime or may have been into drug abuse. for the misfit, terrorism
becomes a way out from despair and meaninglessness in a sense. there may be an element of cleansing oneself from sin especially coming from a traditional muslim background and you have done things that does not conform with islam in a sense so it becomes kind of a turn around operation. the drifter has no specific characteristics beyond the social tie to insiders. it could be a brother, a brother in law, a friend or a role model that draws the drifter into the cell. so for the drifter the social network and community kind of attracts them and puts pressure on them to conform with the practices, activities, ideology of the cell. i find that in the last two categories the misfits and drifters, the nonideology elements seem more significant.
there is fascination with violence, youth rebellion, ad venturism, culture aspects attracts them and so forth. this for me gives three main pathways to the terrorist cell, ideology, grievance and community. and it also kind of deconstruction of a cell helps to explain why seemingly unideology youths end up acting according to the ideology of groups such as al qaeda and i.s. it also helps bridge the gap between models that portray as leader led or leader less. here they converge within the cell. you have leaderless and leader led aspects.
i find the leader led aspect is more important in shaping the actions of the cell. even though we only know the contours of the i.s. or paris brussels network for now we recognize the pattern. mostly misfits and drifters, criminals as foot soldiers and entrepreneurs in coordinating roles both within the attack role itself but also in the surrounding networks. the terrorist plots are examined, illustrate an interplay between european extremists and foreign militants between bottom up and top down recruitment dynamics. radicalization usually starts at home but is given direction and capability by actors abroad. attackers do not defer from control groups.
the main difference is they are tied to trans national jihadists and have come under the influence of entrepreneurs. the key ingredient for a terrorist plot to occur. so when i emphasize this, i say that the terrorist cell forms in the absence of the entrepreneur, which may be an exaggeration, but it makes the point clear. in such a perspective, european jihad is driven forward by a hard-knit uniqnucleus drawing t motivation primarily from foreign conflicts. this makes the threat more external than internal and more organized than many assume. networks emerge and behave similarly in different countries under different circumstances over time. to me, this means that when explaining the occurrence of
jihadi terrorism in europe, dynamics are more significant than local societal conditions, such as the level of integration and socioeconomics, for instance. i question the fruitfulness of talking about a home grown threat. and i don't believe much in the lone wolf. in my view, immigration patterns and level of integration are poor indicators of who might become a terrorist. and i think i'll stop with that and leave the floor open for discussion. thank you. >> thanks. so i'll ask a few questions, and then we'll have the mic go around and get some of your questions. so before we dig into a few of the particular cases and historical examples, you talk
about lately there's been this debate or reports regarding the paris and brussels network that security services and the analytic community perhaps really missed the boat, and that there was an organized system of cells directed by foreign fighters who had gone to syria and come back, directed quite specifically by isis. given your research on the history of terrorism in europe, or jihadist terrorism in europe, do you think that it's correct to say that there was an analytic or security service failure in not identifying publicly at least earlier that this was organized and more top-down than might have been thought? >> i think the european security services have been well aware of
these kind of historical illusion of the networks, because they have worked on the cases for many years and disrupted many networks. and they kept track of the people who were going to the conflict zone early during the outbreak of the war. i think the main issue here is that the scope of the phenomenon grew so large that the services were experiencing capacity problems. i don't think that there's analytical failure. i think the services were well aware that the threat is not only by independent actors, but a threat that emanates from quite highly organized networks. >> and in today's environment, to what extent is the current threat being driven by the
syrian crisis? have other conflicts abroad disappeared from the threat, or are they still mobilizing people but we're just not paying attention? is the news cycle to them because isis is watched here? >> i think the motivations are -- they can't be tied to one conflict only. like the networks, it has involved over many years. and many of the people, as i was trying to say in my presentation, that travel to syria when the conflict broke out there, were already pre-radicalized during the 2000s. mainly over the iraq war. but, of course, there's no doubt that it calls for the european jihad networks today, is what is going on in syria and the mobilization around the islamic
state and against the coalition against them. >> so in our research at new america, one of our findings is that the u.s. contact seems to actually be very different from what you've laid out. that we haven't really seen to anywhere near the same extent foreign identifyingers returning from previous conflicts to organize inside the u.s. it's mostly driven where it exists by mediated online. what do you think explains the difference between europe and the u.s., if there is one in europe? is that geographic, cultural, has the network just not extended its tentacles to the u.s. yet, but is development here allowed? >> i think that there's a huge difference regarding the strength of the networks.
and, you know, the historical imbeddedness of the network when we are comparing europe and the u.s. there have also, of course, been hubs historically, and in many cases, many important figures that have been spending time in the u.s. and have been acting as ideologues and propagandists and so forth. but the level of it is -- the scope of it all, it's on a different scale in europe. in a sense. i think there are both similarities and differences between the european scene and the american scene. and, of course, geography, as you said, is very important, because one of the main reasons that we now have -- or at least have had up to 60,000 european
foreign fighters in syria, is that it has been easy to go to the conflict zone. >> let's pull back to some of the historical cases before throwing it open. so why did algeria become sort of the central beginning case? was it particular connections between the conflicts? why didn't other -- was it just the intensity of the conflict, that it was the only big one at the moment? what makes that after the afghan war, the initial place where the network appears? >> the algerian war was kind of -- it was symbolically the most important mobilizing course for the jihadis at that time. and especially the community of militant ideologues and propagandists in london that were spending most of their
resources on supporting the militants in algeria, particularly the gia. and the gia was extending support networks in france and belgium for gun running, for finances and propaganda, and also recruitment. and they did that from the very start of the conflict. but over time, as the leadership changed among the algerian g.i.a., they become more and more set on punishing france and deterring france from interfering in algeria. and that's when the campaign was ordered in 1994, which ended with the first bomb attacks in paris. and what is fascinating when you look at it from a historical perspective, you see that those people that were involved in those networks, they were
arrested. they spent time in jail. they came out again and melted into the networks and started kind of recruiting others, working as entrepreneurs and making the phenomenon sustained. >> so in your chart, the plotting appears to go from spiking as a result of the algerian war to a prolonged period when there's few, if any plots in the sort of late '90s and then it begins to pick up again. can you explain a bit about the reasons for what, in retrospect, looks like a relatively peaceful time in terms of jihadist plotting in europe? >> that is very interesting, because you can see the pattern. there is a spike, and then there's a downturn in the activity level. it says something also about the scope of this phenomenon. we are talking about a variation
between, you know, three or four incidents up to mostly 16 incidents, right? it's not like a huge, enormous phenomenon. and when the networks are disrupted after an attack campaign, the attack activity level will go down for a bit. and then it will pick up again when you have new mobilization, because they find new causes to mobilize around basically. >> so before we turn it over, can you talk a bit about the pakistan connection in the mid 2000s and what the role of the conflict in pakistan was, how that developed the european jihadist scene, and whether that's now disappeared and shiftded to isis, or if you expect another upsurge as pakistan links plots in the near future.ed to isis, or if you
expect another upsurge as pakistan links plots in the near future. >> the pakistani dimension dominated the phenomenon throughout the 2000s when al qaeda and affiliates were operating camps. and it also -- there was a successful effort by the jihadists to mobilize among pakistani -- british pakistani youth. in the communities surrounding umar buckley in london that later turned into shari'a islam movement. i think, of course, this is one of the events in the history of jihadi terrorism in europe that
kind of shows that military means can have an effect against the networks, exactly because it affected the threat activity, and the tactics used by the militants. because when al qaeda came under severe pressure, that was when we saw the shift towards more single actor operations. although the people operating were not necessarily lone wolves. they were seldom lone wolves. it was part of the strategy of the group being under pressure. >> so let's take some questions. let's start with the gentleman here. >> in your research, did you take a look at financial and logistic support, and how is
that organized and where does it come from? >> a colleague of mine at the ffi wrote a report on the financing of jihadi terrorist cells in europe where she went through the most well-documented cases and looked at financing. what she found in her study was basically that many of these cells are self-financed. or at least that is what characterized the majority of the plots. at the same time, we don't -- we work with open sources. and i think some of the aspects of financing is perhaps hard or difficult or perhaps impossible to kind of research sufficiently by the use of open sources.
but in general, the terrorist plots have been quite cheap. it's not very costly operations. and usually, the plotters have been using their own means. maxed out credit cards, things like that. and in some cases, there are examples of transfers. western union and other transferring means as well. but you didn't find many examples on, for instance, on how well a network, which was quite surprising when you look at the literature on terrorism financing, where that gets a lot of attention. there were some indications that the latest attackers in paris and brussels made use of howler networks, but that's not confirmed and i don't know if that ever was the case. >> let's get this gentleman.
>> herb rose. i understand that the first cartoon published concern iing mohammed and the bomb in the turban or head covering was in denmark. and i think that was in 2008. the response to that in the muslim world was a boycott of danish products, and i understand that denmark actually sold more danish hams abroad that year than they had in the past. but there is no jihadist activity, at least until maybe small incidents until last year. so what do you account for the lack of activity in denmark as a result of the publication of the original cartoon? >> yeah, the cartoons were published in 2005.
and the first response by bin laden came i think in march 2006. the first video where it was actually urging all the followers to punish the cartoonist and denmark for allowing the publication. and as i document in my book, there have been numerous plots ever since, and also between the publication in 2005 and the attacks on "charlie hebdo." there are many plots, but they have not been executed. they have been disrupted at the earlier stage in the planning process. but when you look at the information, you will see that the cartoons have been a main driver. and that was basically what cost, as i try to explain, the
plot in scandinavia to increase to a level higher than france in this period, 2005 to 2013. >> do you have a sense of why the cartoons seemed to be the single instance, where a domestic issue really spiked the number of plots rather than a conflict abroad? >> i mean, we would think it has to do with al qaeda's position at that point. they were under pressure. or increasingly under pressure. and punishment for people who have insulted the prophet muhammad. you can find theological justification for that quite easily within the religious sources. and al qaeda was using a text by
a medieval syrian ideologue, using it in propaganda and statements that described the death penalties for people who insulted the prophet muhammad. and i think for al qaeda at that point, it was very useful tool to recruit beyond the usual kind of recruitment potential. they could recruit more broadly because they had a cause that could find a better justification within islam. >> hi, thank you. in looking at the chart that you showed earlier of plots over the years, it seems to be that there's an unmistakable upward trajectory, particularly since the start of the syrian conflict, and we've seen comments from many european political officials and security services remarking about sort of
an unprecedented threat level. in your view, is there anything that european political leaders or security services could be doing that perhaps they're not doing, or should be doing to try to mitigate the current threat environment? >> thank you for the question. i think what needs to be done is more of what has been done in the past. because the threat europe is facing now is essentially much of the same, only wider in scope. there haven't been any shifts or at least very clear shifts in targeting. pursuing basically the same ideology and they have basically the same strategic goals.
so there's not so much new. the main problem now is the number of foreign fighters in syria has reached unprecedented level. and that makes for a huge capacity for a potent militant terrorist group with territorial control in syria and iraq. so, i think, yeah. of course, more has to be done to cooperate across the borders, intelligence cooperation, and the efforts to continue to prevent misfits and drifters from coming under the influence of the networks and the entrepreneurs, it needs to continue. but more intensively. >> how important is military action against islamic state in
syria? do you think that if their territorial holdings were to shrink or their training camp capacity was to be significantly reduced, that the plot numbers would decrease in europe, or has the increase we've seen in recent years been locked in by a greater development of the network, that if it's not syria, well, return to yemen or pakistan or even domestically trained now. >> i think al qaeda and the pakistan case show that military efforts against the networks and the camps will make them operate differently. or less successful in executing.
it's generally a transnational. and i think if i.s. is facing much more pressure in syria and iraq today, i think their focus and activities will change to other conflict zones, absolutely. >> is there any mention in your book about one of the leaders of islam in 2003 in iraq, but now he's now spending some time in prison? some people criticize the laws in norway that they are being too lenient against terrorism, especially international terrorists. thank you. >> i do mention him in my book.
he was one of the inspirational figures for a community of extremists that emerge with the outbreak of the war in syria. and the diversity for the movement. he was an inspirational figure for all of them, although he's spent much time in jail lately. i think monday the scandinavian countries, i think norway is the country that has prosecuted the most of the returned foreign fighters at this point. making it easier for the prosecuting potential
terrorists. >> one of the questions that this raises with the question of entrepreneurs and drifter types, and i'm sure you thought about it or been asked about it, is what would people do most effectively, or what could people do or states or non-state ngo state types do in order to prevent, say, the drifters and those petty criminals and so on from coming into contact or falling under the sway of these more entrepreneurial figures? do you think that the onus lies most heavily on sort of getting those entrepreneurial figures and somehow getting them, i don't know, by one means or another away from them? or do you think that -- because one of the things you hear often
in the cve circles is look, building football pitches is not the key. you know, like soccer pitches or whatever. but then listening to it, i thought hm, well, maybe it is. these drifters and so on. maybe they need a little bit more football in their lives. what's your thought on how you could prevent some of these folks from falling into that orbit? thank you. >> thank you. that's a great question. and difficult question. i think the value added of looking at the interplay, it makes it all the more difficult because you can't do one thing. you need to follow up, you ned to introduce measures both to prevent the misfits and drifters from getting in contact with these organized circles.
at the same time, contain the entrepreneurs. and how do you do that? it's hardly differently, because many of the activities the entrepreneurs are involved in aren't possible to prosecute, right? they don't break any laws. so that's a major challenge. i don't really know. >> okay, thank you. you showed examples of spikes in terrorist activity, and there are times that are lower. so i'm interested in policies that reduce tension and circles of violence and i think it's easier to know what increases it rather than decreases it. but certainly like humiliation and asymmetrical power dynamics.
could you suggest policies that we can do that can reverse cycles of violence and motivation, i guess mostly directed toward the entrepreneurs? or anybody. >> my research doesn't work specifically on countermeasures and on measuring the effects of policies that could reduce or increase -- [ inaudible ] what policies would reduce the threat? i mean, of course, we see that interference in muslim
countries. will increase the threat activity. and that's just how it is. that's not unexpected because that's what the militant groups have said -- that's the way they will respond to that. so that's obviously a factor we need to think about when and how to interfere in conflicts, in muslim countries. i'm thinking a lot about, you know, the effect of structural factors, about the role of socioeconomics, the role of integration. these are factors that are not unimportant, o because it affects the pool of potential recruits for the networks. but at the same time, i think if you somehow pushed a magic
button and dramatically increased the socioeconomic level and the integration of european muslims, that the terrorist threat would remain. because we are talking about quite limited militant organized networks operating out of conflict zones. cooperating with, of course, extremists inside europe as well. but in my work, i put more emphasis on agency and structure is secondary. i don't see what kind of large scale structural policy change we could do that will kind of have an immediate or good effect on the terrorist threat. >> hi, everybody.
my name is muhammad. one voice movement. my question is two parts. when you talk about the history of terrorism in europe and we look back with -- say, since the beginning of the '80s until probably 2010 and '11, there were very few number of terrorist attacks in europe. i can think of more than one as long as i know. so it's kind of -- those tourist attacks have bands around the world, but we've seen an increase. so what history exactly these terrorists have in europe, and why did the tourists target those countries specifically, which is france and the uk. they curse many european countries because they actually travel sometimes from syria through greece, then italy, then to go to france and so on. so why those two countries in
addition to the u.s.? so that's the first part. the second part, is there anything in your research about european terrorism that also immigrates the other way around. since the threat started in syria, there were hundreds of europeans who came to syria, and even before to iraq. but is there anything also done to stop them from traveling from europe to the middle east, or just the policies to stop those who go from middle east or return to europe? thank you. >> yeah. i mean, of course, terrorism in europe is a huge topic. and it's been a long history with separatists terrorism by the irish i.r.a. and eta in spain and other groups as well. but my work focuses only on, you
know, the plots and attacks that can be attributed to actors i define as jihadi. and it's a specific time period from 1994 when the first attacks that could be defined as such happened until today. i also in my work, i have focused on attacks within europe. and not looked at the activities of the foreign identifyingers abroad. -- fighters abroad. there are other studies looking more at what the foreign fighters are doing in the conflict zone. as for the policies to try and prevent the foreign fighter flows from happening, i think they are improving by the hour
now. it's becoming more and more difficult for foreign fighters to go from europe to the middle east. and the numbers of foreign fighters have dropped dramatically in the recent times. but at the start of the conflict, it was very easy to get to the conflict zone. and it was encouraged by -- not by the authorities as such, but at least it was not discouraged to the extent we see now. and also, because of the atrocities of the syrian regime. there was a lot of sympathy, of course, for people who wanted to go to syria to fight assad. which also affected kind of the number of people going. and we know from research on foreign fighting, and the relationship between foreign
fighting and international terrorism, that these are somewhat different phenomenon. and that a minority among people who go to conflict zones will continue to international terrorism. so it seems to be a higher threshold for going into international terrorism than to go to a conflict zone. and we know also from an ideological kind of perspective as well. there's a lot of justification for going to fight on behalf of muslim sisters and brothers against a ruler in a foreign country. also looking at ideologicals a tects of launching terrorist attacks in europe, and there are
some ideological thresholds also for doing that. which also contributes to the international terrorism phenomenon being smaller in a sense than fighting in conflict zones. >> were there any conflicts that involved jihadists abroad that you were surprised to see didn't produce spikes in plotting, or didn't really produce any plotting in europe? in particular -- i may be wrong here, but it looked like al shabab and the somalia conflict didn't produce much plotting in europe. >> no, that's true. there isn't been many incidents linked to al shabab in europe. there have been some examples of people going from europe, and becoming involved in attacks in the region. there have been at least one of
the attacks against one of the cartoonists. he also had ties to al shabab. i was more intrigued by the absence of plots linked to the conflict in the balkans, bosnia. because many foreign fighters went there, and very few with foreign fighter experience from bosnia have been involved in plots in europe. >> is because it was before the breaking of government security that you talked about? >> it might be, yeah. >> can you explain that for those who might not know? >> the covenant of security is an ideological concept that has been preached among some of the militant networks in europe,
especially the movement around umar buckley. it basically says when a muslim lives in a muslim country and receives protection, when it's not allowed to attack that particular country. but unless -- and there are three criteria. unless that country is engaging militarily against a muslim country, arrest muslims on a large scale or, third, insults the prophet muhammad and islam. and this was kind of an ideological concept that was -- that seems to have had an effect on some of the followers of umar buckley in london. but in january 2005, he actually annulled this pact for his
followers. of course, the costal effect, i don't know. it's at least affected some of the people involved with this network began attack activity after that. >> any last questions? here. >> well, thanks. i'm curious what you might foresee in terms of trends, and whether you're -- whether you sense any deeper trends in the ideological formation of militant islam and jihadism, because while there is in some senses continuity from '94 to the present, there is also an increasing, if you will,
intensity and selectiveness in that ideology, which makes it almost impossible to imagine grievance-free scenarios so that it won't be -- is a particular nation intervening in the caliphate zones, for example. but are they by other political policy moves insulting islam in a way that would call for retribution? and so against the historical backdrop of incidental conflicts that you describe, is there an accelerant here which has to do with, if you will, an increasingly fundamental and intolerant wahabism that is more normative than it had been? and so what do you see in the
future in terms of patterns? should syria simmer down, for example? does this largely go away? >> let's take that for an answer. >> yeah, thank you. that's a very difficult question. i don't see that the i.s. threat to europe as i know it involves any particular new ideological trends. the ideology of i.s. in al qaeda is quite similar. and they have the similar -- within different groups of the ideological landscapes there are also similar diverging trends between the