Updated: 25 min 27 sec ago
This paper is an abridged version of the proceedings of the PfP Consortium’s Conflict Studies Working Group (CSWG) workshop which took place in Berlin, 7-9 November 2016. The workshop, entitled “Countering Radical Islamism in the North Caucasus” welcomed representatives of Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, including of course the North Caucasus. It was organized by the PfP Consortium at the behest of Ivan A. Babin, director of the Center for Scientific and Social Innovation (Stavropol, Russia) and Baron Udo von Massenbach, president of the German-American Business Association. Carmen Rijnoveanu presided the conference.
The workshop’s aim was to highlight the gravity of Islamic radicalization in the North Caucasus, and treat it as a symptom of wider geopolitical and social upheavals worldwide. In putting the accent on the scope of the challenge, our Russian guests were also stressing that the successful defeat of movements like DAESH requires East-West cooperation.
This cooperation should help open dialogue between the great powers in our Ukraine and Syria-fueled “Cold War.” Urgency and cooperation are some of the themes that motivate each presentation in the workshop. This paper has collected presentations that were representative of its intent. They are presented here translated and edited, with the understanding that the opinions they represent are those of the authors only, and in no way reflect that of any government or organization. Each piece is identified by its proponent, and all the pieces are interspersed with short commentaries designed to bring unity to the whole document.
We are ashamed that we are going to Syria at a time when the Caucasus is still occupied, but young people are returning here once they’ve undergone a training course. – BBC source, ‘close’ to Chechen boeviki In September 2014, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2178 concerning the “acute and growing” threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). These individuals are defined as those “ who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, including in connection with armed conflict.” FTFs affect the dynamic of conflict – its intractability, duration and intensity and, furthermore, pose a threat to their “States of origin, transit, destination, and neighboring zones of armed conflict in which they are active.” Since the eruption of the civil war in Syria, and especially after June 2014 with the proclamation of the ‘caliphate,’ thousands of aspiring fighters from different regions have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) or other violent extremist groups. According to a report published by The Soufan Group in December 2015, the number of foreign fighters in Syria had reached approximately 30,000, with individuals from over 100 countries. In 2015, the top three FTF nationalities were Tunisian (6,000), Saudi Arabian (2,500), and Russian (2,300), while there were approximately 4,700 fighters from the Former Soviet Republics. In October 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that around 5,000 to 7,000 fighters from Russia and the former Soviet Union (FSU) had traveled to Syria to join IS. The majority of these fighters are from the North Caucasus (Chechnya and Dagestan), with others from Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Together they share not only the ability to speak Russian, but also a heritage of grievances stemming from the Afghan-Soviet and the post-Soviet conflicts. This paper attempts to look into the phenomenon of North Caucasian FTFs and its implications for security in North Caucasus, the Russian Federation and world-wide. In doing so, the motivations of North Caucasian FTFs, the groups that they fight for, and links to the domestic terrorist situation will be considered.
India has been facing several internal threats since its independence from Britain in 1947. The oldest and still unsolved violent struggle against the Indian state has been raging in the Northeast part of the country. But an unsettled sub-nationalist ethnic insurgency in India’s Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir and the growing radicalization of a small but significant segment of the Muslim community in the country have emerged as biggest challenges for India’s security. The nature of jihadist terrorism in India has undergone profound changes since the last two decades. Originally supported by Pakistan and confined to a specific territory in Indian-administered Kashmir, it has now become more defused with no specific area. In recent years, cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi have been targets of terrorist attacks. This makes facing the challenge and targeting of jihadist terrorists much more difficult than before.
After the end of the Cold War, NATO recognized the importance of extending far beyond its traditional borders in order to maintain peace and stability throughout Europe. The incorporation of new members into the Alliance came to the fore. In the light of this approach, cooperation with partner nations became an important area for discussion. Ensuring that partner forces could work together effectively was one of the main objectives and this, in turn, highlighted the term ‘interoperability’ once again. Thus, the evolution of interoperability between NATO and partner nations after the demise of Cold War is considered in this essay, its importance is underscored, the levels of interoperability are introduced and the feasibility of Azerbaijan’s engagement in these levels is analyzed in this article. Different tools and mechanism that the Alliance has launched over the last decades are scrutinized and useful recommendations are considered for Azerbaijan to enhance its military interoperability with NATO. From this perspective of interoperability, different successful models have been outlined as examples for Azerbaijan to follow.
This paper applies the theory of relational development to exam¬ine how the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) recruits new members. Relational development postulates that individuals follow relationship stages in order to reinforce their interpersonal communication or social bond. The relational development model includes five main stages, called the five stages of relationship escalation, or the “coming together” stages. These consist of initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating, and bonding. Overall, the authors of this analysis found that ISIS can success-fully recruit many people – particularly male and female youth – thanks to stage-by-stage relational development through internet chat rooms and social network sites (SNSs) like Twitter. By the same token, the authors also believe that, should ISIS not use internet chat rooms and social network sites (SNSs), and if ISIS were not following those stages of relationship es-calation, their recruitment process would not be as efficient.
The term hybrid warfare has been widely analyzed by scholars, policymakers and commentators since Russia occupied Crimea in March 2014. The topic has ceased to be a subject only studied by military strategists, but has entered the wider policy domain as a significant security challenge for the West. This article seeks to place the debate about hybrid warfare in a broader analytical and historical context and summarizes discussion to date on this and related strategic concepts. The Russian approach to hybrid warfare as demonstrated by operations in Ukraine is a particular focus for discussion.
The success of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea attest to the fact that the hybrid warfare constitutes an effective tool for achieving political objectives. This article evaluates the nature of hybrid warfare based on theoretical publications on the art of war and doctrinal documents of the Russian Federation, and characterizes the practical dimensions of hybrid warfare. It can be concluded on that basis that hybrid warfare and organized crime constitute real threats to European safety and security. International organizations such as NATO and the European Union so far have not drawn up neither the strategy nor effective tools for countering these phenomena.
This article discusses the democratization process after an intervention without the consent of several parties to a conflict, in this case Kosovo. It analyzes how such post-conflict peacebuilding missions can successfully promote democracy, when it creates a hybrid form of peace, integrating international norms and local values. The theory that is used is the theory of Hybrid Peace according to Oliver P. Richmond. The paper concludes that a lack of channeling local agency through mediation, or sometimes even restraining it through coercion, can be the cause for a failure of reaching a multi-ethnic state.
Current global conflict trends are pulling NATO away from its traditional collective defense mission into stability and reconstruction (S&R) operations with greater frequency. S&R environments require NATO to collaborate with and support host nation governments, international organizations, and a range of non-governmental organizations to address security, political, and social challenges. However, NATO encounters difficulty with collecting and sharing intelligence and information in these environments. This inability to communicate compounds the already complex issues faced by all entities involved.
This paper identifies three policy options to help NATO improve its support to S&R operations by enhancing information-sharing mechanisms within NATO and with non-NATO stakeholders. These options are: 1) the completion of the Federated Mission Network that seeks to aggregate classified and unclassified information in a regulated virtual space; 2) the indoctrination of a Joint Information Fusion Cell to act as a physical clearinghouse for information; and 3) the development of Regional Coordination Centers and Stabilization and Reconstruction Teams to implement individual S&R projects.
The progression of policy options represents increases in stakeholder engagement, operational effectiveness, and overall cost. Based on an analysis of the pros and cons associated with each option, we recommend the development of the Joint Information Fusion Cell (JIFC). This option offers a centralized facility capable of collecting, processing, and disseminating information and intelligence, and a separate, neutral facility for coordinating with non-military entities. This option confers the widest array of benefits to NATO’s contributions to S&R operations in both in-area and out-of-area environments.
The CSCE-OSCE has strong legacy in conventional arms control both as far as limitations and reductions and constraints on military activities. Although the last two decades since 1999 did not add much to the arms control acquis and there was a “retreat” in arms control with the suspension of the CFE Treaty. It is Germany that keeps European conventional arms control on the agenda as part of security dialogue since the Harmel Report of 1967 and takes symbolic initiatives as a demonstration. Although compliance is not full and some activities demonstrate the intention to cheat, their level is more important as part of the communication of the main parties rather than of direct strategic significance.
This essay examines the guerrilla war fought between the Polisario Front, representing the Western Saharan natives, and the Kingdom of Morocco, as well as Mauritania. Even today, the aforementioned guerrilla war provides many lessons regarding desert counter-insurgency (COIN) operations. Besides reviewing the necessary activities for conducting a successful guerrilla war, this paper will delineate the most efficient methods for defending against one. This is the first COIN operation for the Moroccan government in which it has taken an unusual approach in standing up against the guerrillas. It has achieved long-standing results by the restructuring of its tactics and the units stationed in the Western Saharan region as well as by the construction of a system of fortifications.
This article highlights the corporate image as a strategic communication tool for security sector agencies. The prospects of image for a security sector agency are outlined with regard to image formation and reparation. Image formation is based on the principles of objectivity, openness, credibility and trust whilst avoiding deception and manipulation. Best practices and failures in image formation are listed from the U.S. and Ukrainian security sector agencies’ experience. The suggested guidance on image formation for security sector agencies encompasses the author’s recommendations on effective image formative discourse and the corresponding institutional policy development.
While Russia’s military involvement in the war in Syria has received great attention, less focus has been directed at the foreign fighters from Russia and other post-Soviet states who have joined the Islamic State and other Jihadist groups. The emergence of these Jihadists has been a gradual process, which began in the 1990s, and it has now led to a situation where an estimated 7,000 Russians and 3,000 Central Asians are fighting in Syria. These figures present a challenge for the various states fighting the Jihadist groups, but they pose a much greater problem for the Russian and other national authorities, who will have to handle the fighters, when they return home.
The article examines Islamic State’s expansion into North Africa and Sahel and the subsequent rivalry between Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb − the regional Al Qaeda group. Although IS managed to establish a province in Libya from 2014 through 2016, its presence in North Africa and Sahel (Libya, Sinai, Nigeria) is fragile. AQIM in contrast has a longstanding presence in the region, which appears to be much more consolidated. The rivalry between IS and AQ in this region has incited AQ splinter-groups to unite around AQIM, and in 2016 these groups stepped up their attacks on Western targets.
The Yemeni state has all but collapsed as the political transition that followed the popular protests in 2011 has been derailed. This has left Yemen without a functioning central government and thus provided a ripe context for the expansion of both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State in Yemen. This article focuses on the balance of power between AQAP and Islamic State in Yemen. Yemen is an interesting case of the international competition between al-Qaeda and Islamic State as the branch of al-Qaeda in Yemen, AQAP, is one of the strongest. The article argues that AQAP has sought to establish stronger local ties by enmeshing itself with the still strong tribal structures in Yemen whereas IS has sought to carve out a place for itself in Yemen by challenging AQAP on its religious zealousness, particularly by deepening sectarian divisions in Yemen.
The Islamic State (IS) movement has opened a new chapter in the Afpak region, changing the landscape of militant movements in the area. This article looks at the patterns of rivalry and collaboration between the Islamic State on one side and Al-Qaeda and Taliban-related movements on the other. It also surveys the way Al-Qaeda has developed during the past years where most of the international attention has been devoted to the formation of IS in Iraq/Syria, and shows that Al-Qaeda is still active, though it has become more locally oriented. Finally, the article looks at the prospects for the further expansion of IS especially in Pakistan where, on one side, a range of sectarian anti-Shia movements that resonate with parts of the IS agenda while, on the other side, there is no ideological tradition for embracing the kind of caliphate-jihadism that the IS advocates.
This article investigates references to early Muslim history by al-Qaeda and Islamic State, and notes a remarkable difference. While al-Qaeda has traditionally referred to the battles of the early Muslims during the time of the prophet Muhammad, the Islamic State centers its references on the successor to the prophet, the caliph Abu Bakr. Hence, Al-Qaeda, in line with Sayyed Qutb’s notion of a “Qur’anic program,” evokes a mythical past as if it is relived today. The Islamic State, in turn, takes a somewhat more pragmatic line, arguing that events today, like those of the earliest caliphs, are merely the outcomes of human decisions in a post-prophetic and post-Qur’anic age.
This article investigates the developments of al-Qaida and The Islamic State in the context of the war on terror. The Iraq war 2003–2010, including the US Counterinsurgency strategy implemented in Iraq in 2007 onwards, together with the political developments in Iraq after the US withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2011 is seen as the breeding ground for Islamic State in Iraq and thus for establishment of the Nusra Front (al-Qaida) in Syria. The chapter argues that without political developments based on reliable states in the Arab Middle East there is no solution in sight for ending the conflicts and wars in the region.