tv Petter Nesser Discusses Terrorism in Europe CSPAN May 15, 2016 9:45pm-11:01pm EDT
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attacks in europe with terrorism petter nesser.rt radicalization, and western involvement. this is just over an hour. terrace view western involvement. from new america, this, this is about one hour 15 minutes. >> welcome. dr.re going to hear from petter nesser. we're going to be here and hear from the dr. senior fellow on research establishment on his
latest book which encapsulates the research he has been doing on jihadist terrorism. the book is entitled islamic terrorism in europe. it is also available outside if you would like a copy. i'm sure he would be happy to send them afterward. without further do, i turn it over to you to give us your presentation. >> thank you. >> so first of all i want to express my gratitude to new america and to peter bergen for giving me this opportunity to present my new book on jihadist terrorism in europe. the historical study. also think you david for organizing the events and moderating after my presentation.
the book is based on within 12 years of research at the research establishment and it is with the harrison research group. i think one of the main value add of this book compared to many other books on terrorism in general and also on terrace and she had a terrace in europe is the historical dimension of course. like the paris and brussels lately have historical roots both in and out of europe. you think it's important that we base our understanding and also think about counter policy, but
when we do that we need to take into account the historical dimension. so the book examines jihadist terrace from 1994 and 2015. i gather information about more than 150 terrace and study more than 40 of them in detail. i look at the biographies of the terrorists, how they are radicalized, and how they join forces to launch an attack. i examine in detail what they say, what they have said, what they have done on their road to militancy. i also look at how they operate, today i will focus on how terrace groups are formed which is the main part of the book. the book starts with the attempt by the al qaeda linked gia and to down in jet over paris.
that was in 199595 and the bomb campaign the following year. or 1994 to 1995. i and the book with the attacks on charlie had to. the slide shows the number of blocks per year, when i talk about plots i talk about failed, foiled and executed attacks by individuals and groups that could be defined as g heidi. by g hottie i refer to anything that emanates from the arab foreign fighter movement of the african jihad groups and also ideology.
what i aim to explain in the book is basically what drives g heidi in europe. i want to explain why and how these terrorist strike, when and where they do. also by doing that i want to shed light on what goes on within the network more generally. this overview of plots per year gives some indication as to why plots occur. it is also racism in questions about the perception for the term homegrown. we can see that the number goes up in an arm's in the country such as the jury and civil war in the mid- 1990s, the iraq war in 2,032,004, an overview
there. also we see in uptick in plots in connection with the syrian uprising. i also find the escalation in the israeli-palestinian conflict may also have affected the threat pattern. as may arrest of g hottie leadership figures within europe. i say this both because these events coincide in time but also because qualitative analysis of what perpetrators have said indicate. the only event inside europe that seems to have profoundly affected attack activity was the da'esh cartoons that were published in 2005. there is substantial increase in the number of plots in
scandinavia following the cartoons. most of these plots 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 the u.k. that have been most exposed. france and the u.k. are the main enemies of the jihad he's in europe. but what's interesting is in the period following the mohammed cartoons from 2005 and 2013 receipt the number of plots in scandinavia, mainly denmark actually is higher than the number plots in france. france is widely considered the archenemy of jihadists in europe. this event in scandinavia effected and it indicates the
six that it is a homegrown driver. that's a difficult question. because many of the people were involved in plots to avenge the cartoons were under influence by pundits, jihad he leaders, al qaeda's folks leaders and combat zones. they operated within the group of conflicts on so you could also ask the question of homegrown is this dimension of the threat pattern. overall the attacks are linked to western interference it's hardly surprising at all, it's completely in tune with what al qaeda is saying to the strategy and ideology, so this is not something that is surprising at
all, however it does not explain terrace sell information. to find out more i explain art network diet namic which is the main focus of my work. so what about the work? nearly all the plot i study can be traced to one and the same transnational network. this network was formed first in the early 1990s around arab of the african jihad, mainly in london and then it spread across the region. the network expanded to constant interplay with successive groups operating out of conflict zones. i ready mention the gia in the 1990s. various al qaeda affiliates throughout the to thousands and today. the hubs in the network as i
interpreted are formed around what i refer to as critical masses of militant activists who have authority, experience and contact. this is where the hubs have been performing in a network. in principle, i argue that hubs may emerge anywhere and under different circumstances, and they have. not only in suburbs like belgium and brussels, but also in university circles, capitals as well as small towns and even in scandinavian welfare state like norway, my country without suburbs and very few problems related to immigration. when you compare to a country like france. in my work i distinguish between two enter linked generations of terrorists operating in europe.
the first generation was dominated by the veterans of the gia and al qaeda's afghan training training camp. this is the first generation. what i refer to as the new generation emerged in the mid to thousands. in the u.k. and in london. the iraq war was the main mobilizing cause for them. they had a movement which pranced out in europe and it was the main platform for the new generation. most of the foreign fighters in middle east today could be seen as part of the new generation in islam for the movements. so are the people behind the
breast attack, i argue however, at the same time first generation veterans of the network remain playing roles in them. in the shadows, behind the scenes in a sense, and also interacting with the new generation. as an illustration of the network generation of the your pain jihad, this picture is very interesting, it has not been confirmed but it is likely portrayed the coordinator of the paris network embrace by a man named maluku. he was part of the very first g hottie attacks by the algerian in 1995, this picture is most likely taken in syria in 2014,
most likely. maluku escaped prosecution attacks in 1995 in five in paris and went underground in belgium. soon from there he was operating support for al qaeda for which he was arrested, transferred to france, prosecuted and jailed. this is another interesting picture taken by french in the region in the south-central france in 2010. at the left you can see maluku again. and together on the left side you can see one of the brothers charlie in 2015.
besides him is another gia veteran who became another recruiter. this man supervised a terrorist network throughout the attack it in the u.s. and europe in 2001 for which he was arrested and jailed. then there's another man who is linked to the network. i don't have time to go into what is going on here but it is one of the most interesting cases or episodes that i read 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 terrace sell information i identify some
reoccurring components. all complex motives, social grievance, as well as political grievance over western interference in muslim countries such as the invasion of iraq, near near and we all of the terrace had ties to radical before engaging in terrorism. this this is a pattern that is reoccurring. the rather spend time together and socialized in mosques and imprisons, in the sports arena or online. social interaction seems to be highly significant factor in radicalization. it is also reflected in that the examples of people operating as lone wolves are independently some art for a few between in
the material i have looked at. it is also the vast majority that at least one person has formed fighter experience. and nearly always there is a link to the conflict zone. this is the pattern. at the same time the scores of european muslims drug with grievance related to the middle east and europe. a tiny minority of them resulted terrorism. many seek out without becoming terrace. all people meet face-to-face or online without having radicalizing effect on itself. and it's also true that it's a minority among foreign fighters who will want to international
terrorism. so this is why i emphasized the injured dynamic of self to explain why it happened when and where they do. which is the main theoretical contribution i try to make in this book. when i studied biographies of terrace plotters i found as peter bergen pointed out work on the american jihadists that very few generalization, young men dominate the picture but beyond that, exceptions from the stereotype were too many to ignore. many were not jobless losers, many many were not criminals are particularly young, and there is quite a few examples of women involved in relation to plots, historically speaking. i decided to focus on the roles and interpersonal dynamics 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 they said and did an how others looked at them. i distinguish between the entrepreneur, the prodigy and what i dubbed misfits. the seventh sell on the side here matches this pattern almost perfectly. as i see it. the entrepreneur is more resourceful than the others and he has been radicalized to political religious process to activism, reading, discussion, in some, in some cases most intellectually, not only reading g hottie ideology but other types of literature. he his committed to manipulating people. this is 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, recruits and socialize and he functions as the link between the cell, transnational network and conflict zones. the entrepreneur is the one that transnational lies is the phenomenon. he bring structure and organization to the other types involved. the prodigy a is a very similar to the entrepreneur and he is usually a functioning at the second in command where he has certain skills that the cell needs for some purpose. for for example technical help. for that misfits are drawn, he
is the outsider, he may suffer personal crisis, have experience a problematic childhood, come come from a broken family, may have traveled in crime or maybe into drug abuse. for the misfit terrorism becomes a way out from despair meaninglessness, and a sense. there may also be an element of cleansing oneself from sin especially when you come from a traditional muslim background and you have done things that does not conform with islam in a sense. so it becomes a turnaround operation. the victor has no characteristics behind the social tide to insiders. it could could be a brother, brother-in-law, friend, or role model that draws the victor into the cell. so for the social networking community, it attracts the and
puts pressure on them to come forward with the practice and activities and i ideology of the cell. i find in the last two categories, the misfits in the victors there more ideological element seems important. there's adventurism, culture aspects that attract them and so forth. this to me gives three main powerful ways to the terrace sell. ideology grievance and community. it is also this deconstruction of a cell helps to explain why seemingly ideological youth and acting according to the ideology of groups such as i al qaeda. it also has bridge the gap between models that betray the phenomenon as leader level or
leaderless. a dichotomy. here leader lead and leaderless aspects converged within the cell. so you have both leader lead and leaderless aspects but the leader lead aspect is more important in shaping the actions of the cell. even though we only know the contours of the paris brussels network for now we recognize the pattern. most misfits and foot soldiers, and entrepreneurs in coordinating roles. both within the attack sell itself and also in the surrounding network. this illustrates and into interplay between social and ideological drivers and between
bottom-up and top-down recruitment dynamic. it usually starts at home but it is given direction and capabilities by actors abroad. attackers do not differ from control groups the main difference is there tied to transnational jihadists and they have come under the influence of entrepreneurs. the key ingredients for a terrorist plot to occur. so when i emphasize this i say that no terrace sell forms in the absence of the entrepreneur which may be an exaggeration but makes the point clear in such a perspective european jihadist report by terrace growing their motivation from corn foreign conflicts. this makes the threat more external than internal. a more organized than many
assume. networks emerge and behave similarly in different countries under different circumstances over time. to me this means would explain the jihadist terrorism in the international conflict dynamics it is more significant than locals, societal conditions such as the level of integration and socioeconomic. i question about talking about a homegrown threat. and i don't believe much in the loan will immigration pattern and level of an immigration are poor in indicators of who might become a terrorist. i think i'll stop with that and leave the floor open for discussion. thank you. >> thank you all ask a few
questions and then we'll have the might go around and get some of your questions. before we dig into a few of particular cases and historical examples you talk about lately there has been this debate or report regarding the paris and brussels network that security services in the analytic community perhaps really miss the boat and that there is an organized system of cells directed by foreign fighters who had gone to syria and come back and directed quite specifically by isis. given your research on the history of terrorism in europe, do you think it is correct to say that there is an analytic or security service failure and not identifying publicly at least, earlier that this was organized
and more top-down that it might've been thought? >> i think the european security services have been well aware of the historical evolution of the network. they have worked on the cases for many years and disrupted many networks they kept track of the people were going to the conflicts over early during the outbreak of the syrian 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 there is an analytical failure, i think the services were well aware the threat is not owned by
independent actors but from quite high levelized localized networks. and in today's network how much is the extent that is being driven by -- have other conflicts abroad, -- >> i think the motivation cannot be left one conflict only. like the network it has evolved over many years, many of the people travel to syria when the conflict broke out there were already pre-radicalized during the 2000 mainly of the iraq war.
but of course, there is no doubt that is the main course for the jihad he network today is what is going on in syria. in against the coalition. >> so in our research at new america, one of our findings is that the u.s. contact seems to be very different from what you point out. we haven't really seen anywhere near the same extent, form fighters returning from previous conflict, it's mostly driven by meat and mediated online. what you think different between europe and the u.s. in your opinion? is that geographic, cultural, as a network not extended it?
i think there is a huge difference regarding the strength of the network and the historical network. when we are comparing europe and the u.s. they have also been historically and in many cases and important figures have been spending time in the u.s. and have been acting as propagandists and so forth. but the level of it is, the scope of it all. i think their similarities and differences between the european scene and the american scene. and of course geography as you
said it is very important because one of the main reasons that we now have or had up to fire form fighters in syria's it's easier to go to the conflict so. >> let's pull back, some of the historical cases, why did algeria become the central beginning, was it the particular connection was it the intensity of the conflict? what makes that after the afghan war initial? the algerian war was symbolically most important
mobilizing for the jihadists at the time. especially the community of militants in london. they're spending most of their resources on supporting the militants in algeria, particularly the gia. they were support networks in elgin for finances, propaganda and recruitment. they did that did that from the very start of the conflict. over time as the leadership changed among the algerian gia, they became more and more set on punishing france and deterring france from interview interfering in algeria. that is when the campaign was ordered in
1994 which ended with the first bomb attack in paris. what is fascinating when you look at from a historical perspective you see those people that were involved in those attacks were arrested, they spent time in jail, they came out again and melted into the network and started recruiting others, working as entrepreneurs in making the phenomenon sustains. >> in your chart to refers to the algerian war to a prolonged period for there's few if any -- sort of late 90s and that it begins to pick up again. can you explain a bit about the reason why it look like a peaceful time in terms of jihadist.
>> that's interesting because -- says something else about the scope of the phenomenon. were talking about a variation between three or four incidents, it's not like a huge and honest phenomenon. when the network is disrupted after the 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. >> before we turn it over, can he talk about the pakistan connection in the mid to thousands and what the role of the conflict in pakistan was, how that is and whether it
disappeared and shifted to isis? >> the pakistanis dominated the phenomenon throughout the two thousands when al qaeda and affiliates were operating camps. there was also successful efforts by the jihadists to mobilize among pakistani and pakistani youth in the community surrounding -- in london. it.
think one of the events of the history of the jihadists in europe that kinda shows the military means can have an effect against the networks because it affected the activity and also the past excuse by the militants. when al qaeda came under severe pressure, and aspect that was when it was called the shift toward more single actor operation. although the people operating were not necessarily a lone wolf. it was all part of a strategy of the group being under pressure.
>> let's take some questions will start with gentleman here. >> in your research, did you take a look at financial and logistics support, how how is that organized and where does it come from? >> they went through the most well-documented cases, what she found in her study was basically that many of these cells are self financed. and that is what characterized the majority of the book. at the same time we do not, we
work with open sources and they think some of the occiput is is hard or difficult and perhaps impossible to research sufficiently. in general, the terrorist plots in europe have been quite cheap. it is not a very costly operation. usually they have been using their own means and maxed out credit cards, things like that. in some cases there are transfers to western union another transferring means as well. you do not find many examples which is quite surprising when you have literature and terrorism financing. there were some indications that the latest attackers in paris,
brussels made use of other networks but that's not confirmed. >> i understand that the first cartoon published concerning mohammed and the bomb in the turbine or head covering in denmark and i think that was in 2008. the response to that in the muslim world was a boycott of da'esh products and i understand that denmark actually sold more da'esh hams abroad that you're than they had in the past. but there is no jihadist activity, at at least until maybe their small incidents until last year.
what you count the lack of activity in denmark as a result of the publication of the original? >> the cartoons were published in 2005. the first response by bin laden came in march 2006. where he was actually urging all of the followers to punish the cartoonists in denmark for allowing the publication. as a document in my book there has been numerous plots ever sense. also between the publication of the attack that you are referring to. there have been many positive not been executed, they've been disrupted at an earlier stage in the planning process. when you look at the information about this plot, you'll see that
the cartoons have been the main driver. it's basically what would cause the pot in scandinavia to a level higher than in 2005. >> do you have a of why the cartoon seems to be this single were a domestic issue look at the number of plots rather than a conflict abroad? we would think it has to do with al qaeda decision at that point, they were under pressure. or increasingly under pressure. punishment for people who have insulted the prophet mohammed you can find it theological
justification for that quite easily. within the religious sources. al qaeda was using attacks by medieval -- using the propaganda and statement the prescribed that for those who insulted the prophet mohammed. i think it was very useful tool to recruit beyond the usual recruitment potential. they could recruit more broadly because they could find better justification within islam. >> hi, thank you. looking at the chart you
shoulder early about the plots it seems to me there is an honest take about upward trajectory and we have seen comments from many european political officials and security services remarking about unprecedented threat level. in your view, is there anything european political leaders are 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 you're facing now is essentially much of the same, only wider in scope. there haven't been any shift or at least a very clear shift in
targeting, and the tactics used. al qaeda and isis are employing the same ideology and have the stain strategic goal. so there's not so much new. the main problem now is the number of foreign fighters in syria has reached an unprecedented level. that makes for huge capacity for a potent militants terrorist group with territorial control in syria and iraq. so i think, yes more has to be done across the borders and the efforts to continue to present
these from coming under the entrepreneurs and that needs to continue. but more intensively. >> how important is military action in the islamic state in syria? to think there's a territorial holding, did it shrink or did the training camps are they significantly reduce that this what numbers would decrease in europe or that the increase that was seen in recent years that if it's not serial it will return to yemen, pakistan or even to mystically train now? >> i think it is a question about long-term effects and short-term, think in some cases shows that military efforts against the network and the camp
will make them operate differently or less successfully in executing successful attacks. at the same time, the phenomenon generally transnational and i think isis is facing much more pressure in syria and iraq today. i think their focus and activities will change to other conflicts owns, absolutely. >> thank you. is is there any mention in your book about -- who is one of the leaders of islam in 2003 in iraq but now he is now spending time in prison in norway. what you think, some people
one of the questions that this raises, the question of entrepreneurs and drifter types hand i am sure you thought about it or been asked about it in what could people do more effectively, ngo types in order to prevent the drifters and be petty criminals and so on from coming into contact or falling under sway of the entrepreneurial figures. mostu think the onus lies
heavily on getting those by oneeneurial figures means or another away from them or do you think that, because one of the things you hear more stocker building pitches is not the key. listening to, i thought maybe it is. maybe they need a little bit more football in their lives what is your thought on that, how you can prevent some of these folks from falling into orbit. >> thank you. value-addedof the of looking at the interplay that makes it more difficult is you need to follow up. follow up with these measures both to prevent the drifters
>> i certainly like the asymmetrical power dynamics will stop can to suggest how we could do this in reverse, the cycle of violence and motivation? again, my research does not kind of count work specifically theountermeasures in measuring the effect of policies that produce or increase. what policies would reduce i mean, of course we see that in
muslim countries. the increase of act typically. how it is and it is not unexpected death that is the way they respond to that stop so that is obvious in a fact there we need to think about and how that interferes and comes like in muslim countries. i am thinking a lot about you know, the effect of structural oft there's about the role social economics and integration because these are fact is that are not unimportant, of course. ofaffects the whole potential recruits for the
networks and at the same time i think if you somehow pushed a magic button and dramatically increase the intellectual level the terrorist sect remain because you are talking about quite limited militants organized networks operating out of conflict zones. extremist inside europe as well. more emphasisput on agency. emphasis to see what kind of large scale policy change we can do.
>> the coveted of security is the ideological conflict with some of the militant networks. it basically says when the muslim lives in a muslim country when it is not allowed to attack that particular country of less there are three criteria to engage militarily against a muslim country to insult the profit muhamed in this long. this is a concept then receives not to have had an
there is continuity there is also the increasing intensity of that ideology that makes it almost impossible for that scenario so is a particular nation intervene? are they buy other political policies that is insulting islam in a way calling for retribution? supplicants to the historical backdrop with the conflicts that you've described is there an accelerant which has to do with an increasingly
it is a with the threat that i have studied even though they operate quite independently under the influence they usually have interacted with people. the test the intelligence service those to operate alone has to do with our understanding and to now much of the debate is completing -- conceding that
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