With a topic as hard to discuss as preventing and countering violence that leads to radicalized terrorism, the fourth panel was keen to stay in its comfort zone.
Moderated by plus 4 news director Ms. Corinna Milborn, the panel included specialists in the field like Mr. Nicolas Stockhammer, Ms. Rasa Ostrauskaite, Mr. Arthur Rachwald and Mr. Peter Neumann. The speakers covered several angles of the topic, namely how people turn to radicalization and what can OSCE and its member states do to fight this.
Mr Neumann begins his discussion by trying to examine ways to combat this complicated issue with different roots. He argues that it is difficult to identify who is culpable to violent extremist ideology. He believes certain elements help identify possible victims of this ideology, the first element is grievance and frustration, especially if there’s a Faultline that caused these people to grief. Moreover, when this grief is reinforced by the emotional need to identify one’s self, and an existing ideology is present to take the lead, the risk becomes closer and closer to reality. Fighting such culpabilities is only possible when there is a social element to try and counter it. Mr. Neumann argues that terrorist elements come from namely five countries that are going through internal conflicts, countries such as Syria where radicalization and conflicts are very much inter-related. Different people follow different elements, for example intellectuals would be interested in the ideas whereas followers would be interested in being led.
The threat of refugees?
The threat that we are facing in europe from jihadists is not predominently from pople who come from war torn regions, but rather from Europeans have went to syria. Among the people who came to europe there is a small fraction of radical terrorist, but its not that refugees are more prone to radicalization, but rather that the hosting government quite often does not have valid ways of identifying the new refugees. The path forward with the refugee committee is to see partnership with people that came who can help us track down possible threats. It would be a huge mistake to put all refugees in a single group.
How to combat these threats?
Mr. Nicolas Stockhammer informs us of two approaches to defining terrorism. The first is the individually focused European approach and the second is the society based American approach. He argues that we need to address both approaches and concede that we are facing a new form of threat that’s combination of several factors there’s isis, home grown jihadists, opportunity attacks, and network based attacks among others.
Professor Rachwald on the other hand was keen to describe the problem of public perception. He argued that 9/11 and the Paris attacked linked terrorism and migration at least in the eyes of the public. There’s this belief that migrants import insecurity, and the fact that governments labeled migration as a security issue has only reinforced political and emotional ramifications. People today believe they are faced with several aspects of insecurities. They believe they have a social, economic, and public safety security problem. They view the migrants as disturbing the homogenous balance of their societies, while stealing their jobs for lower wages and being free riders to the benefits provided by the public sector. Many people also see it as a cultural, linguistic and religious threat.
The issue of migration and security became a matter of national security which is visible in the United States with the establishment of DHS in the US. Resulting in the perception that if you restrict migration you increase security. Moreover, this was heavily reinforced with the very wide notion of war on terror. it’s an ambiguous and dangerous concept. Rachwald believes that we should let the OSCE do what its created for and what it does best, which is monitoring and presenting the public with unemotional facts.
What can OSCE do:
In her institutional capacity, Ms. Rasa Ostrauskaite served as the OSCE’s loudspeaker in this panel. She reiterated the Secretary General’s twilight zone comment, but also insisted that terrorism is important and provides a united common threat to all people. She explains that the OSCE is approaching the issue in a softer position, the OSCE acts based on competences given to it by the ministerial council decisions. The organization appointed a special representative for terrorism to try and find a common strategy to fight the issue. The OSCE also initiated an anti-terrorism and anti-stereotypes for reaching out and challenging the belief that migrant and refugees are terrorists, so the OSCE is also trying to implement awareness campaigns and motivate civil society capacity building.