“We can do hard work on preventing attacks, but if there is some sort of attack, people will not remember this work, and the terrorist attack,” — said the representative of the Brussels-based Institute for Economics and peace Serge Stroobandt, who recently visited Latvia and gave a lecture at the Riga graduate school of law. The expert believes that in the future we in Europe sometimes we have to deal with the attacks directly organized “Islamic state” (banned in Russia organization — approx. ed.), but may increase the number of attacks committed ideological supporters of the organization, or the so-called “lone wolf”.
LA: What terrorist groups now dominate the world?
Serge Stroobandt: Specified by our Institute’s index of global terrorism shows that in recent years terrorism more than previously affected countries, the Organization for economic cooperation and development (OECD). In 2014, the attacks were exposed to only 4, 2015 — 11, and last year 21 of the 35 OECD countries. Terrorism had so clearly expressed concentration, 75% of all attacks take place in Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is also a concentration in the sense of the perpetrators: Boko Haram (Nigeria), “Islamic state” (Syria and Iraq) and the Taliban (Afghanistan and Pakistan) commit 52% of all terrorist attacks in OECD countries. In 2015 and in the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo, and the attacks in Paris in November, we saw that you are using the new tools, for example, terrorists widely used automatic weapons and suicide attacks to create a war zone in one of the largest capitals of Europe. Terrorists use different tactics to achieve the effect of surprise, besides, the surprise is their advantage. One hundred percent security is impossible — it is necessary to live in a police state. The purpose of counter-terrorism measures to be smarter than the terrorists, while more attention should be given to preventive work. The EU recently made great efforts to share information, intelligence agencies are working in emergency mode. But sometimes this is not enough.
— It is often said that acts of terrorism committed by those living in Europe, immigrants in the second generation who are impressed by the idea of “Islamic state”. What are the causes of radicalization?
— There are several reasons, and this is a personal process. One of the factors — alienation from society. Can be called the General features of the radicalized person is a young man, he left the school, not integrated in society, blames the previous generation. This process has been shown a global trend. For example, the middle East and Europe radicalized, people are characterized by a phobia against Western values. We must take care that our society was equal, you need to fight against Islamophobia, to create a more just society. At the same time, we must fight against those who use occurred people a sense of fear and alienation and engaged in radicalization and recruitment.
Incidentally, Tunisia is the country from which comes the largest number of fighters to ISIS, followed by Libya. In Tunis has occurred “Arab spring”, the state recently experienced three revolutions, there are many unsolved problems in society. For young men it all can be a catalyst to radicalization. There are people who are sent to ISIS territory to become migrant workers, for example, work butchers or bakers, but they know where to go and what is ISIS. A lot of workers from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian republics of the former USSR. Belgian lawyers in court are often used to protect that’s the argument: people went to work and not to take up arms.
With regard to counter-terrorism activities, people usually meant security measures — effective exploration and strengthening of power structures. But one of the main mainstays in the prevention of terrorism — prevention work, which is much harder and may last for dozens of children. It’s not as simple as increasing police presence on the streets. Last year I was in Brussels during the terrorist attacks on March 27. After the terrorist attacks made many — is working with the police, there are social workers completed academic analysis, NGO Life for Brusvels struggling with Islamophobia.
— Terrorist attacks and instability reduce the number of available end-goals for tourism and prices are now on vacation, for example, in the Canary Islands has increased, because there seems to be quiet…
— It is capitalism: the higher the demand the more the price increases. People still travel during the winter holidays, although the number of ultimate goals has decreased. The wreckage of Egyptair plane, which in 2015 fell on the road from Paris to Cairo, was discovered traces of explosives. Previously after takeoff from the airport of Sharm El-Sheikh, the plane fell to the Russian airline Metrojet, there are suspicions of a terrorist attack. Tunisia was a terrorist attack on the resort beach. The constant threat of terrorism and refugee flows significantly affect the tourism sector. If tourism is one of the main sources of income of any state, the goal of terrorists is to undermine the economic situation there. When choosing a safe location for tourism should take a look at a specific our Institute the Global world index, which is calculated according to 23 criteria, one of them terrorism. In the first place on this index — Iceland, which, however, is not a popular end goal for the winter holidays. In fourth place is New Zealand, which is great for the purpose I was there. I would advise travelers to read on the Internet with our indexes, if you have questions about security.
— The impact of the military operation of the international coalition against the “Islamic state”?
— Military operations of the international coalition to reduce the territory of the “Islamic state”, this means that this organization has fewer funds from the levy, which amounts to 30% of its revenue and oil production, which accounts for half of the revenues of ISIS. The fewer the resources the less room to organize large-scale terrorist attacks similar to those that were in France. There are three kinds of terrorist attacks “Islamic state”: directly managed from the “capital” of Raqqa (Syria), indirectly supported ISIS and the majority of those who are imbued with the ideology of ISIS. Killer priest in the Church in France had previously been in contact with representatives of the “Islamic state” in the Telegram. The good news is that we in Europe sometimes we have to deal with major terrorist attacks planned in raqqa, but in recent years has increased the number of small terrorist attacks that are committed by people inspired by the ideology of the “Islamic state”. In the future we will face the assaults of these “lone wolves”, in which the number of victims may be less, but still they generate in the society a sense of fear.
Intensive migration has a connection with terrorism?
— Yes, it is called terrorism. Studies show that migration does not affect terrorism. But this does not mean that terrorists do not use the migration flows in their favor. Among the perpetrators of the attacks in Paris were people that used the flow of refugees, against the background of migration is like a drop in the ocean.
— Who actually was the killer of the Ambassador of Russia in Ankara?
— This little question I could tell, it was an attack “lone wolf”, n motives unclear. Turkey is a good example of political terror, with its amplification intensified terrorist attacks. As for terrorism, it is important to remember that the explosion from which there are no victims, creates a sense of fear. Terrorists don’t even need a victim, they strive to create a sense of fear to influence the mood of society. We in Europe live in a safe environment and feel vulnerable if attacks occur. I found myself in an awkward situation on March 27 last year, when I called a friend from Kabul and expressed sympathy. I replied: “Friends, I wasn’t calling you every time you have a terrorist attack occurs”. For us, the attacks are not an everyday phenomenon, so we immediately feel the vulnerability, and in the middle East differently. In the developed countries of the West in the past year as a result of terrorist attacks killed nearly 4 thousand people, the rest of the world — about 170 thousand. After the attacks in Brussels, the American broadcaster CNN sent a team of 150-180 people. The reaction would have been the same if it happened outside of Western countries? Not at all. And do we remember what happened on 12 November 2015, the day before the Paris terrorist attacks? In Beirut, Lebanon was a terrorist attack, by two suicide bombers detonated bombs killed more than 60 people.