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United we stand on ‘terrorism’? Evaluation of the shortcomings of global efforts and the efficacy of EU’s initiatives

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap]n issue that has assumed global proportions, terrorism has become one of the gravest threats to humanity. Yet even as its expanse and reach have spared none, there seems to be no global consensus on what terrorism is all about. However, unhindered by the absence of a global understanding, attempts have been made by the European Union (EU) to deal with the challenges that the increasing spread of terrorism has been posing.

Located in the background of rising terror activities and their worsening impact, this article will evaluate the impediments to forming a global consensus on the ‘what’ of terrorism, followed by an appraisal of the efforts made by EU fill this void at the regional level. By contrasting the efforts that have been undertaken at two different (but inter-connected) levels of analysis – global and regional – prominent debates in the field concerning international organizations, particularly those related structure-agency, pathologies and institutional capacity, will be highlighted.

What is ‘terrorism’ anyway?

What had once been considered as a sporadic, quasi-global occurrence, terrorism was catapulted to the level of a ‘global epidemic’ with the attack on US on September 11, 2001. Much a cause of global concern, however, ‘no ‘universal’ definition of terrorism exists at the level of international law’.

Often taken to be a ‘political act’ that involves ‘indiscriminate or targeted killing’ with the intention of ‘changing the stance of a country or its government’, ‘terrorism’ as a word has been around as a ‘political descriptor’ for long. In fact, the word ‘terror’ – which according to its Latin etymological root, terrere, means ‘to frighten’ – had ‘entered Western European languages’ lexicons through French in the fourteenth century and was first used in English in 1528’. Furthermore, the absence of a legally defined, working definition of ‘terrorism’ has however not hindered a general acknowledgement of its ‘pejorative, unwanted nature’.

Inevitably entwined with power politics – what Foucault (1980) had described as the ‘power/knowledge’ nexus – the word ‘terrorism’ has generally been heaped on activities of identified ‘others’ whose activities have been deemed ‘undesirable’ by the state. However, such was not the case from the beginning. Much like any other political discourse, the concept of ‘terrorism’ – what to make of it, its forms, actors and the ways to deal with it – has undergone transformation. What had once been associated with ‘state-perpetrated violence’ is now generally seen as ‘non-state actors led transnational activity’ that looks to global action for dealing with it.

…And, how have we dealt with it internationally?

Today, as per the United Nations (UN), ‘acts of international terrorism constitute one of the most serious threats to international peace and security in the twenty-first century’, but what exactly these ‘threats’ are continues to be an unsettled debate. What makes the acknowledgement of the global failure on arriving at a legal definition of terrorism even more glaring is the ‘exclusion of terrorism from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court’.

While there continues to be a lack of legal-proper definition of terrorism internationally, the UN in 2005 described what it thought terrorism is. According to the UN, ‘terrorism’ stood for ‘criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them’. However, as one would come to see, the generic usage of ascriptive terms and the abstract conceptualization of ‘acts’ did not take the world body or its members state any far in dealing with this issue. A clear lack of specifics created an open-ended situation in which potentially all or none ‘actions’ could be described as terrorism.

Furthermore, emanating from the absence of legal parameters regarding the understanding of terrorism are multiple overlapping structures and conventions that are geared to tackle the various facets of the same concern – terrorism. The presence of too many frameworks and their respective policy recommendations has created problems related to prioritization. Realizing that any given country can be a signatory to many conventions simultaneously, the absence of an overarching body overseeing the implementation of obligations has hampered harmonious and in-sync actions against the common issue.

Disjunctions between frameworks are also witnessed and which, as a result, have also created conflicts and lack of coordination between mechanisms that are instituted to deal with the same menace. For instance, the UN ‘now oversees sixteen conventions that target different aspects of terrorism, including terrorist financing, hijacking, acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and hostage taking, to name a few’. Added to which, ‘within the UN alone, (there) are more than thirty agencies conducting relevant work on the issue, and too often, these various elements are uncoordinated and even competing.’

Exerting their sovereignty in the absence of a supra-national, global body, the ‘differing perceptions of threats’ as held by the states, in one way, comes to highlight the lacking of international bodies. For instance, while the UNS discharging its responsibilities as enshrined in the charter of the UN, has attempted to ‘strengthen the international legal foundation for counterterrorism efforts by issuing numerous binding resolutions’, their efficacy has often been placed under doubt. In the post-9/11 era, the UNSC had established Counterterrorism Committee (CTC) that was later followed by the CTC Executive Directorate (CTED), however not much has been achieved with their constitution. Observers have been of the opinion that the ‘response of the world organization (UN) to terrorism has been tentative, halting, even ambivalent’.Added to which, “although the CTC was set up as part of the resolution that explicitly invoked the enforcement powers under Chapter VII of the Charter, it is not an enforcement mechanism; it has no power to impose sanctions” and which effectively makes it toothless.

Another instance that highlights the truncated agency of world bodies like the UN to deal with what is indeed a ‘global’ concern – ‘terrorism’ – is the abeyance in which Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) is found. Discussions on the CCIT had begun in 1996 with the intention to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens. Among the objectives of this convention was the creation of a universal definition of terrorism that all member-states of the UN are to incorporate into their domestic criminal laws’.

Despite the urgency with which it is required, the CCIT has not materialized into a legally-binding convention to date. The reason: lack of consensus over the ‘universal definition’ of terrorism; an aspect about the proposed convention that has the United States, Organization of Islamic Countries and Latin America disagreeing over.

Faced with sovereign resistance to the creation of a concerted global effort, the UN has endeavored to forge global intention – if not action – against terrorism. In a display of its institutional agency and capacity, and with the intent to ‘increase the legitimacy and add coherence’ to what it does, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted in 2006 the Global Counterterrorism Strategy (GCT). And, even as it is acknowledged that the GCT ‘is either unknown or largely overlooked beyond New York, Geneva, and Vienna’, the fact that the UN could create an ‘important normative and operational foundation for counterterrorism’ can perhaps be taken as an indicator of life that international organizations have of their own, notwithstanding how impacting it might be.

European Union saves the day

As it became evident that global efforts to tackle an acknowledged global issue have not been able take off much from the ground, it was domestic, bilateral and regional initiatives that one had to turn to. Among the regional initiatives, those taken by the EU have proven to be instances of success.

Attributing the swiftness with which the EU adopted and implemented measures to tackle terrorism within its regional territory to ‘greater homogeneity in the interests of the European states’, Eugenia Dumitriu (2004) notes that, ‘as early as in 1977, European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism’ was signed by the then member-states. While ‘this Convention did not offer a comprehensive definition of terrorism, since its objective is of a procedural nature…it drew up a list of terrorist acts defined either autonomously or by reference to international conventions’.

Apart from having been ratified and incorporated into the domestic law by all the member-states of this regional organization, what stands out the most about this convention is the difference that is drawn between acts of terror and those having political purposes and motives. Dumitriu notes,

“European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism is the first to address a wide spectrum of terrorist acts and to impose on States the obligation not to consider them as political offences, offences connected with a political offence or as offences inspired by political motives.”

Furthermore, the Treaty of European Union (or the Maastricht Treaty of 1992) that led to the creation of the EU too reinforced a ‘legal basis for action by the Union in this field (terrorism)’. Developing an ‘effective fight against terrorism’, the “Union has several tasks to fulfill and a variety of instruments at its disposal, an emphasis being laid upon the approximation of member states’ criminal laws in accordance with Article 31 of Maastricht Treaty”.

It was in 2002 that the EU came up with a common definition of terrorism which was ‘combined with standard’ penalties. Institutionalizing a legal framework to fight terrorism, the creation of the ‘Council Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism’ was geared to promote coordination between member-states by creating a regionally universal standard for classifying terrorism and putting in place mechanisms based on that common understanding. As Dumitriu notes, the Framework provides a ‘common definition of terrorist offences, as well as rules of competence and of legal cooperation between member states for the prosecution of persons having committed terrorist acts’. Thus, by establishing a totalizing mechanism to deal with terrorism, this Framework eliminates duplication, lack of coordination and conflicts that could have emerged thereof.

Apart from this larger Framework that informs the various steps taken by the EU for tackling ‘terrorism’, this regional body has put in place certain other legal, financial and judicial measures. These include, creation and enforcement of the ‘European Arrest Warrant (of 2002 which smoothens inter-member-state extradition); Schengen Borders Code and Schengen Information System (to check money laundering which is a known source financing terrorism); EUROPOL (the European Police Office) and EUROJUST (European Union Judicial Cooperation Unit), among many other initiatives that have been taken.

Providing an overall point of convergence is the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP; formerly known as European Security and Defence Policy), which in rendering a common framework to its member-states with regards to the promotion of ‘international security’ equips EU with policies and instruments required for tackling terrorism both at home and abroad.

In this context, it is also important to note that EU has also ventured beyond its shores to create and enforce methods and mechanisms promoting coordination between EU, member-states and other entities (countries and organizations). For instance, the EU has ‘concluded an agreement with the USA for a Terrorism Finance Tracking Programme, (TFTP) which entered into force in August 2010’.

Further enhancement in the power of the EU to preside and decide over matters related to the ‘internal security’ of its member states has been witnessed since the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty (of 2007). These include, greater oversight by the European Parliament over the implementation of provisions related to the Framework and CSDP; bestowing of rights to EUROPOL, EUROJUST to enter into treaties and agreements with external organizations; the expansion of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to cover all freedom, security, and justice issues, including measures on counter-terrorism. (Renard, 2016)

Thus, equipped with policies and mechanisms that assume a life of their own, the efforts made by the EU to define and deal with terrorism have been far more effective than that at the global level. It cannot be denied that management of sovereign realities globally in the absence of a supra-national entity will be a herculean task, but instances such as that of the EU – which too was built on the ashes of Second World War rivalries – can surely be seen as instructive. Also, where the EU stands out as a case of a regional organization assuming agency, the reduction of the UN to a ‘talking platform’ on the other hand highlights the challenges faced by such entities.

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Terrorism

Taliban Takeover and Resurgence of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan

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As a Security and International Relations student and someone who lived in Afghanistan, I believe that the withdrawal of the U.S and NATO troops will help Al-Qaeda reorganise its activities in Afghanistan and in a very short period. The group will be able to relaunch its activities.

After several years, the resurgence of Al-Qaeda is becoming evident in the post-US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan. Like many other non-state actors, the year 2021 is a year of hope for Al-Qaeda because it provides an opportunity for them to launch their halted global terrorist mission.

The U.S withdrawal will limit its ability to strike the al-Qaida core in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it will be a turning point for the resurgence of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and from where they can expand their activities. Familiarity with the rugged terrain of Afghanistan and northern Africa will help Al-Qaeda to re-merge and assemble their forces quickly if there is no strong censorship on Al-Qaeda activities.

The relationship between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban is inseparable, and the victory of one group will pave the way for the resurgence of another group. Al-Qaeda and its adversary, Daesh داعش (IS) دولت اسلامی عراق وشام, will seek to extend their operations in Afghanistan in post-US and NATO withdrawal.

It is always very likely that terrorist groups are willing to help other terrorist organisations and provide them safe-havens. Terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State are very interested in conquering Afghanistan. They are not having other interests in Afghanistan; however, they believe that the Islamic Army will come from Khurasan, which is current day Afghanistan, and the last battle will take place in Syria, therefore, for that reason, without any doubt the resurgence of the Al-Qaeda is taking place in the world, and the starting point for that resurgence will be Afghanistan.

Looking to the future, it is very likely that the increasing connections between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda will lead the groups to work on long-term strategic partnerships. These terrorist groups will play their disrupting roles in terrorising civilians and government officials. The U.S and NATO intervention in Afghanistan had crippled Al-Qaeda. Still, the current withdrawal will give the group momentum to maximise the power vacuum created by the foreign troops in Afghanistan.

To conclude, I believe that the current grim situation in Afghanistan is paving the way for the resurgence of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, which can pose a serious threat to the international community. However, the scale and scope of terrorist activities of Al-Qaeda would be different from the 9/11 attacks due to strategic shifts in the strategic culture of the group. The group will always use its influence and strengthen ties with other terrorist groups stretching from Asia to Europe and Africa to America’s.

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Trends of Online Radicalization in Bangladesh: Security Implications

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Online radicalization poses a formidable threat to the stability of the country. With the imposition of lockdown in the last year, the nefarious fundamentalist   factions have ramped up their activities. As the country’s law and enforcement agencies are playing a vigilant and commendable role in combating heinous fundamental radicalism in Bangladesh, these radicals have instead resorted to the online mediums to recruit, sensitize and radicalize the youths of the country.

Bangladesh has historically been a bastion of pluralism as the country’s constitution provides primacy to the secular character of the republic. However, in keeping with the global trend of militancy Bangladesh had also witnessed spate of militant activities in the preceding decades culminating in the seige of Holi Artisan Bakery.

Since the catastrophic militant activities in 2016,Bangladesh government has taken  a slew of stern measures to combat the budding radicalism in the Bangladesh and to safeguard the country’s pluralist character.Hence, terrorist and radical factions didn’t gain ground in the succeeding years and last few years Bangladesh has enjoyed enviable stability from the untoward disturbances of these militants.

However, with the technological revolution in the country, it turns out that militants have adapted their tactics to the needs of the new epoch. While previously militants had a hard time in radicalizing people owing to the vigilance of the law enforcement agencies, in the realm of the online media militant find their fortress and esconsced themselves in various social media and web platforms.

In contrast to the traditional process of radicalization, militants found online radicalization much advantageous as it provided them with the opportunity to disseminate their diabolical propaganda to more people and help them conceal their identity.

Parallel with the acceleration of the online radicalization efforts, the character of the militants victims has also changed significantly.Previously, militants sprung mainly from the disadvantaged and destitute section of the country who were ridden by poverty and devoid of traditional schooling. Radical outfits found these militants easy prey  in their efforts to mobilize gullible youths to destabilize the country.

However, with the changing mediums of radicalization, the socioeconomic background has also witnessed c. In contrast to the impoverished background of militants, the  militants radicalized through online mediums represented instead deviated youths from very affluent backgrounds and these youths possessing modern university education. 

The radicalization of these urban university-educated students has baffled the policymakers and law-enforcement agencies of the country as the motivation of these youths don’t have any compelling rationale to join these militant organizations peddling medieval agendas.

The online radicalization is attributed as the  reason for the proliferation   of more urban educated militants. These urban credulous youths are allured by the rhetoric and propaganda of the militant leaders.

The online radicalizers remain within the shroud of online platforms and try to radicalize the youths with inflammatory speeches which seek to vilify the western liberal ideals and the democratic government.

They rail against the intention of the democratic government and attribute all the blame of muslim plights to the western machination. They selectively portray  the violence in conflict ridden nations like Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan and cherry-pick the graphical images and videos to sensitize the deviant youths that their religion is in peril and only the youth can safeguard the religion from the clutches of western imperialism through radical activities. This evokes a kind of jihadi zeal in the youths which persuade them to engage in millitant mission to safeguard the honor of their religion . 

 These factors prod the youths to join the radical forces  which takes huge toll on the stability of the country.Besides, online radicalization also exacerbated the comunal rifts in the country which is manifested in frequent assault on country’s minority groups based on fictitious allegation of desecration. These attacks on minority is orchestrated by shrewd fundamentist to vitiate the prevailing communa

Regulating online platforms is much more difficult than traditional platforms which make combating these propaganda very arduous. 

One of the scapegoats of their propaganda is the democratic government in the country. These propagandists portray the democratically elected government in bad light through advancing their conspiracy theories and propaganda. These propaganda distort the conception of the general people about the government even when the people don’t engage in radical activities. 

 Waging wars through propaganda have also  become an attractive option for these radicals as these radical outfits launch smear-campaigns against the government and vitiate the government image to the general people through heinous propaganda machinery. Besides, these online radical outfits peddle conspiracy theories and a simplified understanding of the history and economics of the world. Unfortunately, even the majority of the educated young youths believe in these conspiracy theories and possess a skewed vision about  liberalism and modernity. 

 During the Covid-19 era with the imposition of the repeated lockdowns, numerous such online platforms sprung up. Under the facade of providing Islamic knowledge they are pedding nonsensical and harebrained propaganda and conspiracy theories to mobilize the youth in their efforts to destabilize the country and vitiate development.

During the  languorous lockdowns the youths provided prolific idle times which have come as a windfall to these radical outfits as they have accelerated their heinous propaganda amidst Covid-19 lockdown. There are several reasons for the sudden rise in online radicalization in Bangladesh. Firstly, as mentioned above the young people are compelled to spend more time online as the day to day activities including the education of the university has shifted to online platforms. Therefore, this extra time significantly amplifies the vulnerability of the country’s youth to these terrorist activities. 

 Secondly, Covid-19 induced pandemic has unmasked the cleavages of our societies as the middle class youth find their family income shrinking and face difficulties. Besides, the pandemic has worsened the depression and grievances of the youths with the prevailing system which further increase their vulnerability to the radical impulses. 

 Thirdly, unemployment remains one of the persistent blights in youth vitality. While the country has been  significantly developed in the previous decades, the economic prosperity didn’t translate to adequate job creation which has failed the country to channel youthful energies to the further development of the country. Instead, unemployment has reached epidemic proportions. The Covid-19 pandemic has further thrown into uncertainty the future of the country’s youth, exacerbating the employment scenario of the country and disrupting education for a prolonged period. These unemployed youths find the radical ideologies attractive as these ideologies are capitalized on the grievances of these disenchanted youths. Therefore, unemployment greatly heightens the risk of youth falling prey to radical preachers. 

 Against this backdrop, the government needs to take adequate measures to counter the surging trends of  online radicalization. To that end, the government should enact proper legal measures to incorporate the online area into the laws. Besides, the government should avert the heinous propaganda campaigns by meting out proper justice to nefarious propagandists. Moreover, the government should ensure a counter sensitization of the country’s youth with the ethos of liberation war and the pluralism of the country. 

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Russia’s War on Terror(ism)

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The chaotic US exit strategy from Afghanistan, the quick Taliban takeover, the resurgence of Isis-K attacks and the rise of militant factions have emphasized the need for other international actors to fill the void left by the United States and map out a strategy for Central Asian stability. In the words of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, the US withdrawal has opened “a Pandora’s box full of problems related to terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and, unfortunately, religious extremism”. What if Afghanistan turns out to be a hotbed for international terrorism?

Terrorism in Russia has always been a pain in the neck since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is not by chance that the very word “terrorism” is mentioned at least fifteen times within the new 2021 Russian National Security Strategy. In late August, Putin took a hard line against the West’s proposal of housing refugees in Central Asia before they apply for visas to move to the United States and Europe. The message was pretty clear: “we don’t want to experience again what happened in the 1990s and the beginning of 2000s”. The traumatic years of the two Chechen Wars, the 1999 apartment bombings or the Dubrovka theater hostage crisis are still considered to be haunting phantoms. The question came up again especially in mid-2015, when the Kremlin began to fear North Caucasian returnees who had joined the Islamic State’s insurgents in the Syrian conflict.

If it is true that Russia may not have recovered from the Afghan syndrome yet; still, the risk of a fresh terrorist wave truly seems to be around the corner. In the last weeks, three special operations were conducted by the Federal Security Service (FSB) which ended up in the detention of a group of fifteen terrorists coming from Central Asia in the Sverdlovsk Oblast. Another similar operation was carried out in Ingushetia, where some supporters of the Islamic State planning attacks.

The formation of a new Taliban government ad interim itself poses serious threats to the stability of the entire region. The new Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund and the Minister of Internal Affairs Sirajuddin Haqqani are considered “terrorists” by the United Nations. The latter is the leader of the renowned Haqqani network which is said to have ties with Al-Qaeda. Last but not least, the Taliban themselves as an organization are still officially believed to be a terrorist group in Russia under a 2003 Russian Supreme Court’s ruling. According to the Russian political scientist Andrey Serenko, the Taliban victory may be a factor pushing for radicalization in other countries such as Russia.

In the last days, the Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov took part in a discussion hosted by the new government in Kabul with the representatives of China and Pakistan. Terrorism was among the covered topics. Immediately after the fall of Kabul, the Taliban sought to reassure the neighboring countries that the Afghan soil would not turn out to be a mushrooming ground for militant groups. However, as both Lavrov and Peskov stated, Russia is so far watching how their security promises will be kept before attempting any risky move. While keeping an eye on Kabul, Moscow is not sitting back.

Peace Mission-2021

Between September 20 and 24 the annual drills under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were hosted by the Russian Federation at the Donguz training ground in the Orenburg Oblast. According to the commander of the troops of the Central Military District, Colonel General Aleksander Lapin declared that about 5,000 troops took part in the exercise.

Nine countries were involved, among which Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India and Pakistan. The exercise simulated the scenario of a sudden escalation of tension in Central Asia due to terrorist threats. In Colonel General Lapin’s words, the exercise was as a complete success as it showed joint combat readiness and proved to be the largest drills in the history of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Peace Mission-2021 shows the need for Russia to engage with relevant actors in Eurasia such as China. As the Chinese fear about their Wakhan corridor and the risk of extremism increases in the Xinjiang province, both Moscow and Beijing highlight the strength of the Russo-Chinese entente also in the field of anti-terrorism.

Building a thick security belt

Just as the SCO drills were unfolding, some Russian troops were involved in another exercise at the Doytym An practice range in Mongolia. No need to say that the annual drill Selenga 2021 between Moscow and Ulaanbaatar focused right on fighting international terrorism. At the beginning of September, a major counterterrorism exercise, Rubezh-2021 (Frontier-2021), together with Kyrgyz and Tajik units. Such an extensive commitment from the Mongolian steppe to the Edelweisse training range is indicative of Moscow’s will to build a thick security belt around its borders.

However, the five Stans are now not acting as a unified bloc against the Taliban threat. Kyrgyzstan has decided to send a delegation to Kabul and Mirziyoyev’s Uzbekistan has shown its readiness to do business with the Taliban. Tajikistan, instead, is now holding the lead of the anti-Taliban front.

As there is no “Central Asian way” to deal with the newly formed government in Kabul, Moscow is trying to tighten its grip on the region especially by betting on Dushanbe. As the risk of extremist spillover appears to be increasingly tangible, Moscow has equipped its 201st military base in Tajikistan with a batch of 12.7-mm large-caliber machine guns Utes to strengthen its combat capabilities. Moreover, after a CSTO high-level meeting in Dushanbe and the assessment of an exacerbating security situation in Central Asia, the member states decided to deploy troops along the 1300-kilometer border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Despite this, looking at the Afghan developments only as a threat is misleading. This is a unique opportunity for Moscow to reaffirm the importance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and to secure its role as top security provider in Central Asia. Despite talks between Rahmon and the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to safeguard regional peace and stability, Moscow’s towering military presence and influence in the region is hard to overcome.

Resuming international cooperation?

Russia’s commitment within its backyard, however, seems not to be enough in order to fight international actors such as terrorist groups. On the anniversary of the 9/11 twin towers attacks, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov released a statement in which he called for the revival of anti-terrorist cooperation between Moscow and Washington. Back in 2018 and 2019, the Foreign Ministries of the two countries had in fact contributed to build bilateral dialogue on counterterrorism despite a conceptual gap about the nature of this threat.

In July, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, warned that Moscow would not approve any US troops deployment in Central Asian countries. Despite this, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and the Chief of Russian General Staff General Valery Gerasimov met in Helsinki to discuss joint ways to fight terrorism and extremism.

Still, resuming dialogue on anti-terrorism does not reveal a total opening toward the United States. During the UN General Assembly, in fact, Lavrov did not miss the opportunity to criticize the US for its withdrawal. The Finnish meeting must be rather understood as a sign of the Kremlin’s pragmatism in foreign policy. A few weeks after the seventeenth anniversary of the Beslan school siege, Russia is firmly committed to fight any direct or indirect threat by all means. The War on Terror(ism) continues.

From our partner RIAC

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