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In the European Union (EU), responsibility for counter-terrorism lies primarily with Member States. However, the role of the EU itself in counter-terrorism has grown significantly in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that have hit Europe in the post-'9/11' era. The cross-border aspects of the terrorist threat call for a coordinated EU approach. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as internal and external security, has come to shape the ...

The Gulf States, along with other external players, have raised their profile in the Western Balkans in recent years. While most have set out on an economic quest, Saudi Arabia is considered to have a more ideological approach, seeking a strong role among the region's Muslims. In the 1990s Bosnian war, it provided significant aid for the Muslim cause and has stayed in the region to expand its influence, introducing stricter interpretations of Islam that are gradually taking root there.

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides an overview of current approaches to countering terrorist narratives. The first and second sections outline the different responses developed at the global and European Union levels. The third section presents an analysis of four different approaches to responding to terrorist narratives: disruption of propaganda distribution, redirect ...

Threatening both its caliphate project and its sources of funding, the series of military setbacks that the so-called Islamic State group (IS) as suffered for several months have called into question the group’s very existence. That is not to say that its offensive capabilities will be neutered – the organisation will remain able to employ ’low-cost‘ terrorist attacks to target civilians throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, America or Asia. In mobilising Member States to fight against terrorism ...

In June 2014, ISIL/Da'esh took over the city of Mosul in Iraq, and from there declared the advent of an Islamic State. Three years later, in July 2017, after nine months of battle involving Iraqi security forces, popular militias and Kurdish troops, ISIL/Da'esh has been expelled from its Iraqi stronghold, adding to the past two years' severe territorial losses. This is an important victory; however, it does not yet represent the eradication of a terrorist group that still has many supporters.

On 5 June 2017, several Arab nations, including Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), simultaneously announced that they were severing ties with Qatar, a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Accusing Qatar of supporting and financing 'terrorism and extremism' in the region, the above countries announced that they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expel its diplomats and ask Qatari citizens to leave their territory within 14 days. Oil prices ...

Terrorist attacks in major cities – notably in Paris, Nice, Brussels, Berlin and, most recently, Manchester – have shocked Europeans, highlighting the security challenges for open democracies that result, inter alia, from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and religious radicalisation at home. In response, the European Union is pushing ahead with its Security Union concept to boost cooperation among Member States and use synergies in combatting terrorism. This note offers links to recent commentaries ...

After decades of mistrust between Ankara and Damascus, a solid partnership emerged in the 2000s. Turkey considered Syria to be the key to its influence in the Middle East. However, when protests started in 2011, the Turkish authorities launched repeated attempts at mediation, without success, leading to clear hostility on the part of the Turkish leadership towards the Syrian president. The Turkish objectives for Syria are several: settling the conflict, ensuring that the future arrangement excludes ...

Syrian crisis: Impact on Iraq

Briefing 03-04-2017

The Syrian crisis, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into full-scale civil war, has had a huge impact on neighbouring Iraq. From its stronghold in the Syrian town of Raqqa, the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL/Da'esh), which originated in Iraq, was able to over-run a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, sowing death and destruction in its path and leading to the internal displacement of over 3 million Iraqis today. It is estimated that as many as 11 million Iraqis ...

Work on implementing the EU's global strategy for 2016-2017 includes stepping up public diplomacy efforts as one of the priority areas. A number of factors motivated this move. Firstly, the substantial resources committed for relief and recovery assistance to Syrian refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt have had little impact on public awareness of the existing European cooperation programmes. The visibility of EU funds has also been limited in ...