Terrorism

  • Is the Taliban Winning?

    Deadly suicide bombing in Kabul points to need for Pakistan to end support for terrorists, says Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    A deadly suicide bombing in Kabul shows that the Taliban are determined to drag out the conflict, but it also adds a sense of urgency for Pakistan to end its support for the militants, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.

    “While it is good to see that there has been a broad range of international condemnation of the attack, including by the UN Security Council, it also shows the urgency for Afghanistan’s neighbors, particularly Pakistan, to take concrete steps to bring this conflict to an end,” said Cunningham, a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan and current Khalilzad Chair on Afghanistan and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “At some point we will have to collectively act on the reality that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to bring the conflict to a political...

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  • Wanted: Enduring US Leadership on Nuclear Security

    We stand at a historic crossroad with the end of US President Barack Obama’s fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit this past weekend. While it is clear that the progress to date of the global effort to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorists’ hands has been dependent on Obama’s determined leadership, it is not clear what the future holds after he leaves office. 

    As the official summit process ends—convening world leaders every two years to take action on nuclear security—the threat is growing. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) continues its global terror attacks, confounding the intelligence and security capabilities of Europe and elsewhere. ISIS has declared an interest in acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, has claimed to have a dirty bomb capability, and has usedweapons of mass destruction—chemical...

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  • What Next After Obama’s Final Nuclear Security Summit?

    Engagement with Russia, Sustained Commitment to Disarmament Sought

    Positive engagement with Russia and sustained disarmament efforts must follow US President Barack Obama’s final Nuclear Security Summit in order to avoid global nuclear crises, according to a former US Secretary of Defense.

    “The actions following the Nuclear Security Summits have removed quite a bit of [nuclear] material off the streets and [put them] under better control. The results gained from nuclear summits are a tremendous achievement, it just hasn’t gone far enough and I’m fearful that the progress will stop following this meeting,” said William J. Perry, who served as US Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration.

    Perry spoke on a panel with California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security on March 31. Barry Pavel, Vice President, Arnold Kanter Chair, and Director of the...

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  • Metzl Joins CNN to Discuss Nuclear Energy, Proliferation, and the Nuclear Security Summit


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  • Belgium Seeks More Action on Intelligence Shared Among European Nations

    ‘That is a weak spot for some,’ says Johan Verbeke, Belgium’s Ambassador to the United States

    European nations need to do a better job of working together to detect, share, and act on intelligence related to terrorist plots, according to Johan Verbeke, Belgium’s Ambassador to the United States.

    “There is information that we share with others, but we know it is not being used,” Verbeke said in an interview. “That is a weak spot for some.”

    The Ambassador’s sentiment underlines a key challenge that faces Europe as it grapples with a terrorist threat as well as historic levels of migrants landing on its shores from war zones in mainly Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    Europol, the EU’s police agency, had warned in January that Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) “special forces” planned to attack European cities in attacks similar to those carried out by a...

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  • Europe’s Big Challenge: Alienated Populations + ISIS

    Terrorist attacks against the West will continue as long as Europe fails to integrate Muslim communities into its fold and organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham maintain their ideological stranglehold over these disaffected communities, according to senior fellows at the Atlantic Council.

    “These attacks are going to continue as long as two conditions exist: a recruitment pool of alienated Muslims in Europe and ISIS [exists] as a model inspiration and enabler,” said Faysal Itani, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Itani spoke on an Atlantic Council media conference call on March 23, a day after suicide bombers attacked Brussels leaving at least thirty-four people dead and wounding more than 200 others.

    “The Belgium attack really presses the fast-forward button on a number of trends that were already underway [in the West]: the rise of bigotry, anti-refugee sentiment, anti-Muslim sentiment,” Itani...

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  • Europe Must Respond Strategically to Brussels Attacks

    Foreigners in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) might have ordered the attacks on Brussels, but the perpetrators apparently were all Europeans. At least thirty-four people were killed and more than 250 wounded on March 22—the numbers are still being counted. Brussels has just faced its own equivalent of London’s July 7 attacks. It is imperative to respond appropriately and assess critically.

    Details of the attack will continue to unfold over the coming days. What is known presently is only the following: two coordinated attacks were successfully planned and executed on Belgian soil. The attackers were Europeans. Beyond that, we do not know if there were other attacks that might have been called off or delayed.

    There will be those who claim that the bombings were in response to the recent arrest in Brussels of a suspect in the Paris attacks in November of 2015. On the contrary, it is far more likely that the crackdown on Salah Abdeslam and his...

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  • Brussels Attacks Shift Focus to Migrant Crisis

    The terrorist attacks in Brussels have shaken the European Union to its core and will have long-term consequences for the transatlantic community.

    Europe’s response to the migrant crisis, which has inundated the continent with more than one million refugees, will be an important factor in addressing this situation.

    The political fallout from the attacks in Brussels will focus on the EU’s burgeoning migrant crisis, and whether Europe has unknowingly let terrorists into its borders. The attacks will likely signal to many that the EU has mishandled the migrant crisis and struggles to respond to the internal threats attributed to it. Just days before the attacks in Brussels, the EU brokered a fragile deal with Turkey to return migrants arriving in Europe to Turkey in exchange for renewed talks on Turkey’s EU accession and visa-free travel for Turks in Europe. That deal may now be at risk as Europeans question the security implications of visa-free travel and...

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  • Pavel Quoted by The Wall Street Journal on US Presidential Candidates' Comments on Brussels Attacks


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  • ISIS Strikes Brussels: Is This The ‘New Normal’?

    The terrorist attacks in Brussels represent a collective failure of Western intelligence, underscore the challenges radicalized young Muslims pose to Europe and the United States, but most of all are emblematic of what the Atlantic Council’s Barry Pavel describes as a “new normal.”

    The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the March 22 attacks—at Brussels’ main international airport and a subway station near the European Union’s headquarters—that left at least thirty-six people dead.

    These attacks are “yet another tragic milestone of the ‘new normal’ that Europe, the United States, and their Mideast partners must endure,” said Pavel, Vice President, Arnold Kanter Chair, and Director of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

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