The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs 1_2013 - Marcin Zaborowski - editor - ebook

The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs 1_2013 ebook

Marcin Zaborowski - editor

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Special issue on occasion of NATO Advanced Research Workshop "The Perseverance of Terrorism: Focus on Leadrs"


A Note from the Editors

Richard English


Ann-Sophie Hemmingsen

Making a Case for Going to Court: Militant Islamism in Denmark

This article argues that there is potential in adopting a strategy of targeting such individuals for legal prosecution but not necessarily under terrorism legislation. It argues that an approach relying on pretextual prosecutions could be effective and possibly have fewer counterproductive side effects than prosecutions under terrorism legislation. This is done by first drawing a picture of the militant Islamist environment in Denmark and secondly suggesting a path for implementing such a strategy, introducing the challenges and potential pitfalls associated with it.

Samuel Arbe

Terrorism: A Need for Complex Response

The threat of transnational terrorism became more evident than any kind of domestic threats. Western leaders have clearly understood the asymmetric nature of terrorism and the urgency to react. Moreover, the fight against terrorism has gained an international hallmark, and the post-Cold War non-interventionism of the 1990s has ceased to exist. This text will attempt to shed light on how the international terrorist should be tackled and where the international effort, resources and emphasis on counter-terrorism should be put.

Wojciech Grabowski

Targeting Terrorist Leaders: Limits and Opportunities

Leadership decapitation is a part of the counter-terrorism strategy which can be successful if undertaken under certain conditions. On the one side decapitation tactic required very specific amount of resources instead invest in others counter-terrorism measures. But on the other side it can bring “boomerang effect” while the aim of reduce capabilities of the terrorist group can be achieve also by different methods, like pitting one group faction against other. Despite arguments for and against targeted killing, it should be taken as one of a broader set of counter-terrorist measures and should include local authorities. Despite all the most effective strategy combating terrorism seems to be prevent it on different stages before it turn into real threat for the state security.

Iva Kornfein

Combating Terrorism: European and Croatian Perspective

The effective combating of contemporary terrorism requires a great deal of international cooperation and the employment of various methods and strategies. The European Union is pushing forward for a comprehensive, harmonised joint European policy on counter-terrorist measures. Croatia plays and will continue to play a small, yet important role, because it is the only NATO member that has had recent experience with a defensive war. Also, it is a gateway country that can serve as a bridge between the West and the East and thus help battle terrorism by providing expertise and understanding of the Islamic culture with which it has close contact through Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Karolina Libront

Targeting Leaders: No Easy Short-cuts

There is no consent in the literature as to whether targeting leaders is effective, although all researchers agree that in no way it is a magic bullet that would solve the problem of terrorism. It could be effective as an operational component within a broader counter-terrorism strategy rather than as a single instrument. It is also indispensable to bear in mind the normative and moral contexts. Using a combination of measures and strengthening the law enforcement elements of counter-strategies are therefore recommended.

Ryszard Machnikowski

Terrorist Leadership—to Kill or Not to Kill

It seems that we are never in a position to be absolutely sure that a terrorist entity truly deserves to be ignored without paying a high price if our assessment ultimately proves to be wrong. By ignoring the problem we are providing prospective terrorists with time to grow and develop deadlier skills—this is probably the worst option and is not worth trying. We should study each event of political extremism patiently and stubbornly and try to prevent the moment it crosses the line between legitimate political activism, however unpleasant it may seem, to illegitimate violence.

Iztok Prezelj

Smart Counter-terrorism: Incorporating the N-order Effects and Adopting a Human Security Perspective

This paper argues that counter-terrorism communities need to incorporate the second and third order effects of their pre-emptive actions into their planned actions, and adopt a broader human security approach which will bring long-term sustainable security. Democratic states should be more careful with their policy of offensive counter-terrorism (especially targeted killings) in order to prevent further boomerang effects, resurrection of the eliminated terrorist nodes, and damage to democratic values.

Péter Marton

Investigating the Calculated Elimination of Removable Enemies: The Puzzle of Terrorism Decapitation Research

To claim that calculated actors (i.e., the counter-terrorist decision-makers), interested as they are in securing the indirect goal of political stability, will kill (or capture) terrorist leaders when they are in a position to do so, and with good results in terms of terrorist group mortality, may be a double tautology. This is presented as the puzzle of terrorism decapitation research: the paradox of doubts about the utility of something that may be seen as guaranteed to work.

Dario Cristiani

Focus on Leaders? Insights from the Algerian Experience

The Algerian experience shows that fighting terrorism and extremism requires a plurality of instruments rather than a simple focus on a single instrument, as this kind of threat is intrinsically multifaceted and multidimensional. In this wider framework, focusing on leaders is only one aspect among many others, although symbolically it may bear rather strong importance in the process of defeating the enemy.

Philipp Münch

Engaging Leaders of Non-state Armed Groups: Evidence from Northeastern Afghanistan

Leaders still play a decisive role in non-state armed groups. They are, however, not omnipotent as patron-client systems consist of reciprocal relations. Leaders have to constantly ensure the loyalty of their followers by distributing resources and acting in their favour, as frequent splits of non-state armed groups and infighting over command and control shows. Finally, the formation and existence of non-state armed groups is unthinkable without the interests of groups who are excluded from government power and wider social grievances. Therefore, leaders of non-state armed groups should be engaged to influence the behaviour of their followers, but the social context should not be disregarded.

Asta Maskaliunaitë

Leaders Make History, but They Do Not Make It as They Please

The leaders of terrorist organisations should not be completely ignored, but engaging them has to be part of a larger comprehensive strategy. The essence of this strategy should focus on the reduction of the organisations’ capabilities to inflict damage, limit the appeal of violent means in its constituency and the denial of recruitment to it. The latter can well be the consequence of the former two, though that is not always the case.

Ahmad El-Buckley

Preserving the Pied Piper: The Importance of Leadership in Deradicalisation

This article argues that while proponents of decapitation and targeted killings of terrorist leaders advance logically sound arguments, empirical studies have often shown that these arguments do not take hold in reality. The article then draws on the Egyptian experience with the deradicalisation of Islamist militant groups to claim that capturing rather than eliminating certain types of leaders can have a substantial impact on efforts to reform weakly committed foot-soldiers of terrorist organisations and non-violent sympathisers, which should be at the heart of all long-term counter-terrorism strategies.

Teun Van Dongen

Terrorist Leadership Elimination: When to Do It?

It is true that there have been attempts to find explanations for the effectiveness of leadership eliminations, but those have been largely focused on easily observable and only indirectly relevant factors such as ideology and the age of terrorist groups. Organisational structure has been considered as well, but with little success. In a modest attempt to make up for this gap, the remainder of this article outlines two fairly intuitive policy recommendations regarding terrorist leadership elimination. They are intended to help policy makers decide when—and when not—to try this strategy.

Eman Ragab

Targeting Leaders as a Strategy for Countering Terrorism: The Egyptian Case

Egypt’s experience in countering terrorism, examined in this article, reveals that countering terrorism requires complex strategies, relying not only on targeting leaders. Besides, the efforts of America during the Bush administration, in cooperation with several countries in the Middle East, did not lead to the end of terrorism, but instead new patterns of terrorism were created and overlapped with organised crime, making it more complex.

Raimonds Rublovskis

The Approaches of State Security and Defence Institutions to Terrorist Network Leaders in the 21st Century Security Environment

This paper will analyse possible options for a state to engage the leadership of terrorist, insurgent and organised crime networks, and possible legal, military and political consequences of such engagement. However, the main argument of this paper is that every single case of engagement of such leadership is unique and requires highly individually tailored approaches by state institutions.

Roxana Apalaghie

Gender-based Efforts to Counter Female Suicide Terrorism

The purpose of this analysis is to provide an exploratory view of terrorist attacks by females in order to identify repeatability in which countries, the types of weapons used and the nature of the target and number of casualties, and whether a group or individual was responsible.

Ryszarda Formuszewicz, Dorota Liszczyk

The Staffing Policy of the European External Action Service—Stocktaking Ahead of the 2013 Review

The aim of this article is to give an overview of the European External Action Service (EEAS) staffing policy to date as a result of the interaction between its regulations, recruitment practices, the service’s hybrid structure and its expectations towards its performance/deliverables.

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© Co­py­ri­ght by Pol­ski In­sty­tut Spraw Mię­dzy­na­ro­do­wych, War­sza­wa 2013

Edi­tor-in-chief: Mar­cin Za­bo­row­ski

Ma­na­ging edi­tor: Kac­per Rę­ka­wek

Copy edi­tors: Brien Bar­nett, An­tho­ny Ca­sey

Pro­of-re­ading: Ka­ta­rzy­na Sta­niew­ska

Co­ver de­sign: Mal­wi­na Kühn

Ty­pe­set: Do­ro­ta Do­łę­gow­ska


Ri­chard En­glish—Bi­shop War­dlaw Pro­fes­sor of Po­li­tics and Di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for the Stu­dy of Ter­ro­rism and Po­li­ti­cal Vio­len­ce, Uni­ver­si­ty of St An­drews

Ann-So­phie Hem­ming­sen—re­se­arch fel­low at the Da­nish In­sti­tu­te for In­ter­na­tio­nal Stu­dies

Sa­mu­el Arbe—re­se­arch fel­low at the Slo­vak Fo­re­ign Po­li­cy As­so­cia­tion

Woj­ciech Gra­bow­ski—as­si­stant pro­fes­sor at the Po­li­ti­cal Scien­ce In­sti­tu­te at Gdansk Uni­ver­si­ty

Iva Korn­fe­in—re­se­arch as­si­stant at the In­sti­tu­te for In­ter­na­tio­nal Re­la­tions, Za­greb

Ka­ro­li­na Li­bront—PhD can­di­da­te at the Uni­ver­si­ty of War­saw, In­sti­tu­te of In­ter­na­tio­nal Re­la­tions

Ry­szard Mach­ni­kow­ski—as­so­cia­te pro­fes­sor at the Fa­cul­ty of In­ter­na­tio­nal and Po­li­ti­cal Stu­dies of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lodz

Iz­tok Pre­zelj—re­se­arch fel­low and as­si­stant pro­fes­sor of Se­cu­ri­ty and De­fen­ce Stu­dies at the

Fa­cul­ty of So­cial Scien­ces, Uni­ver­si­ty of Lju­bl­ja­na

Pe­ter Mar­ton—lec­tu­rer at Co­rvi­nus Uni­ver­si­ty in Bu­da­pest

Da­rio Cri­stia­ni—Tu­bi­tak Vi­si­ting Re­se­arch Fel­low at Fa­tih Uni­ver­si­ty in Istan­bul; re­ads his PhD in In­ter­na­tio­nal Po­li­tics of the Me­di­ter­ra­ne­an at King’s Col­le­ge in Lon­don

Phi­lipp Munch—PhD stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mun­ster

Asta Ma­ska­liu­na­ite—lec­tu­rer in War and Con­flict Stu­dies at the Bal­tic De­fen­ce Col­le­ge, Tar­tu

Ah­med El-Buc­kley—di­plo­mat with the Egyp­tian Mi­ni­stry of Fo­re­ign Af­fa­irs

Teun van Don­gen—stra­te­gic ana­lyst and PhD re­se­ar­cher at Ha­gue Cen­tre for Stra­te­gic Stu­dies

Eman Ra­gab—re­se­ar­cher at Al-Ah­ram Cen­ter for Po­li­ti­cal and Stra­te­gic Stu­dies

Ra­imonds Ru­blo­vskis—lec­tu­rer in Riga Stra­dins Uni­ver­si­ty and Re­se­arch Fel­low of the La­tvian

In­sti­tu­te of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs

Ro­xa­na Apa­la­ghie—re­se­arch ma­na­ger at the Mid­dle East Po­li­ti­cal and Eco­no­mic In­sti­tu­te in Bu­cha­rest

Do­ro­ta Lisz­czyk—ana­lyst at the Po­lish In­sti­tu­te of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs

Ry­szar­da For­mu­sze­wicz—ana­lyst at the Po­lish In­sti­tu­te of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs

Pu­bli­sher: Pol­ski In­sty­tut Spraw Mię­dzy­na­ro­do­wych (The Po­lish In­sti­tu­te of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs)

ul. Wa­rec­ka 1a, 00-950 War­sza­wa; tel. +48 22 556 80 00; fax +48 22 556 80 99; e-mail: [email protected]

ISSN 1230-4999

The views expres­sed in The Po­lish Qu­ar­ter­ly of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs are so­le­ly tho­se of the au­thors.

The Po­lish Qu­ar­ter­ly of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs is re­gu­lar­ly pre­sen­ted in the ca­ta­lo­gue of In­ter­na­tio­nal Cur­rent Awa­re­ness Se­rvi­ces, in Ulrich’s In­ter­na­tio­nal Pe­rio­di­cal Di­rec­to­ry, and in In­ter­na­tio­nal Po­li­ti­cal Scien­ce Abs­tracts/Do­cu­men­ta­tion Po­li­ti­que In­ter­na­tio­na­le. Se­lec­ted ar­tic­les are in­c­lu­ded in the In­ter­na­tio­nal Bi­blio­gra­phy of the So­cial Scien­ces.

Virtualo Sp. z o.o.

A Note from the Editors

This Spe­cial Is­sue of The Po­lish Qu­ar­ter­ly of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs in­c­lu­des con­tri­bu­tions from fu­tu­re spe­akers and par­ti­ci­pants of the NATO Ad­van­ced Re­se­arch Work­shop (ARW) “The Per­se­ve­ran­ce of Ter­ro­rism: Fo­cus on Le­aders.” The work­shop will be held 24-26 April 2013 in Bel­gra­de, Ser­bia. PISM ana­lyst Kac­per Rę­ka­wek se­rves as co-di­rec­tor of the ARW along with Mar­ko Mi­lo­se­vic of the Bel­gra­de Cen­tre for Se­cu­ri­ty Po­li­cy (BCSP).

The ob­jec­ti­ves of the ARW are as fol­lows: 1. to as­sess the lon­ge­vi­ty and per­se­ve­ran­ce of the ter­ro­rist thre­at to both NATO mem­bers and NATO part­ner co­un­tries; 2. to es­ta­blish the extent to which a ter­ro­rist thre­at is de­pen­dent on the le­ader­ship of a ter­ro­rist gro­up, or­ga­ni­sa­tion or ne­twork; 3. to dis­se­mi­na­te know­led­ge and exchan­ge in­for­ma­tion abo­ut the re­cent sta­te of scho­lar­ship and exper­ti­se re­la­ted to co­un­te­ring ter­ro­rism; 4. to es­ta­blish long-la­sting links and ne­tworks amongst work­shop par­ti­ci­pants; 5. to streng­then the links be­twe­en aca­de­mia and the think tank com­mu­ni­ty; 6. to pro­vi­de par­ti­ci­pants with a plat­form of con­tact with the world’s most es­ta­bli­shed ter­ro­rism experts; 7. to cri­ti­cal­ly as­sess the exi­sting know­led­ge re­la­ted to co­un­te­ring ter­ro­rism and to iden­ti­fy gaps; 8. to iden­ti­fy chal­len­ges to po­li­cy-orien­ted re­se­arch on le­ader­ship of ter­ro­rist gro­ups, or­ga­ni­sa­tions and ne­tworks in the post-bin La­den age; 9. to of­fer a struc­tu­red set of so­lu­tions to co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism prac­ti­tio­ners on how to ap­pro­ach the is­sue of le­ader­ship in ter­ro­rist gro­ups, or­ga­ni­sa­tions and ne­tworks, and how to ad­dress this is­sue in the most ef­fi­cient man­ner; 10. to pro­du­ce gu­ide­li­nes and ide­as for fu­tu­re re­se­arch ave­nu­es in the field of ter­ro­rism stu­dies. More in­for­ma­tion on the ARW, in­c­lu­ding the in­for­ma­tion she­et and spe­aker’s bios, is ava­ila­ble at:­se­arch/Pro­jects/PISM-is-ad­mi­ni­ste­ring-a-NATO-grant-from-the-scien­ce-for-pe­ace-and-se­cu­ri­ty-pro­gram­me-sps.


It is ar­gu­able that ter­ro­rism re­se­arch has been trans­for­med even more than ter­ro­rism it­self du­ring the years sin­ce the atro­ci­ty of 9/11. This excel­lent col­lec­tion of pa­pers re­flects on some of the more exci­ting trends that have de­ve­lo­ped, in­ter­ro­ga­tes some of the more an­gu­lar pro­blems that per­sist, and draws de­eply on case-stu­dy exper­ti­se in or­der to move nu­me­ro­us de­ba­tes on ter­ro­rism and co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism very help­ful­ly for­ward.

The sub­jects co­ve­red here are not all ones that will ap­pe­al to the squ­eamish. Does “de­ca­pi­ta­tion” of ter­ro­rist le­ader­ships work? If so, why, and un­der what cir­cum­stan­ces, and at what cost? Is the in­te­gra­tion of ter­ro­ri­sts into sta­te ne­tworks and struc­tu­res ju­sti­fied and ef­fec­ti­ve as a co­un­ter-ter­ro­rist tac­tic? How far sho­uld we con­cen­tra­te on ter­ro­rist le­aders any­way? The case stu­dies ran­ge from Egypt to Al­ge­ria to Spa­in to Fran­ce to Den­mark. Such im­pres­si­ve ba­lan­ce helps avo­id some of the pro­blems that have hin­de­red ter­ro­rism re­se­arch in re­cent years, such as an ove­rem­pha­sis on Al Qa­eda (the­re are pro­ba­bly now more pe­ople stu­dy­ing Al Qa­eda than are ac­tu­al­ly in it), or the lack of scru­ti­ny of tho­se po­li­cies which have in prac­ti­ce wor­ked ra­ther well aga­inst non-sta­te ter­ro­rist gro­ups.

Hi­sto­ri­cal­ly, ter­ro­rism has chan­ged world po­li­tics much more po­wer­ful­ly thro­ugh the pro­vo­ca­tion of lar­ge-sca­le sta­te re­ac­tions than it has thro­ugh its own (ad­mit­te­dly per­ni­cio­us and blo­od-spat­te­red) di­rec­tly vio­lent ef­fects. Both the 20th and 21st cen­tu­ries be­gan with in­ci­dents of ter­ro­rist vio­len­ce, sta­te re­ac­tions to which trans­for­med po­li­tics and in­ter­na­tio­nal re­la­tions. This was cle­ar­ly far more de­le­te­rio­us in the case of the First World War than that of the War on Ter­ror, but the bro­ad and una­vo­ida­ble po­int re­ma­ins: it is sta­te re­spon­ses to ter­ro­rist atro­ci­ties that pro­vi­de the most im­por­tant va­ria­ble in this an­ti­pho­nal re­la­tion­ship as it chan­ges world hi­sto­ry in va­rio­us ways.

And the con­nec­tion be­twe­en ter­ro­ri­sts and co­un­ter-ter­ro­ri­sts is in­de­ed re­la­tio­nal, mu­tu­al­ly sha­ping, and even in­ti­ma­te. All scho­lars of ter­ro­rism who have wor­ked clo­se-up to the­ir sub­jects and who have also de­alt with co­un­ter-ter­ro­rist ac­tors re­co­gni­se the mu­tu­al yet ho­sti­le un­der­stan­ding that can de­ve­lop be­twe­en ter­ro­ri­sts and co­un­ter-ter­ro­ri­sts du­ring pe­riods of cat-and-mo­use con­flict. The chal­len­ge for scho­lars is to try to draw out from such at­tri­tio­nal pat­terns of en­ga­ge­ment hi­sto­ri­cal les­sons that will al­low us to fast-for­ward to­wards ef­fec­ti­ve po­li­cies and to­wards li­mi­ting hu­man da­ma­ge; this will avo­id our stum­bling blo­odi­ly to­wards an­swers for which we al­re­ady had the in­for­ma­tion to grasp amid the emer­gent cri­ses them­se­lves.

The­se im­pres­si­ve pa­pers, au­tho­red by par­ti­ci­pants of the NATO Ad­van­ced Re­se­arch Work­shop (NATO, ARW 9884495: “The Per­se­ve­ran­ce of Ter­ro­rism: Fo­cus on Le­aders”) and ga­the­red to­ge­ther here by the co-di­rec­tor of the Work­shop, the ma­na­ging edi­tor of The Po­lish Qu­ar­ter­ly of In­ter­na­tio­nal Af­fa­irs and a pio­ne­ering young Po­lish scho­lar, Dr. Kac­per Rę­ka­wek, make a si­gni­fi­cant and va­lu­able con­tri­bu­tion to that pro­cess of un­der­stan­ding.

ANN-SOPHIE HEMMINGSENMaking a Case for Going to Court: Militant Islamism in Denmark

Mi­li­tant Is­la­mism in Den­mark is, like in most We­stern co­un­tries, a flu­id and unor­ga­ni­sed phe­no­me­non that is not easi­ly de­fi­ned or de­li­mi­ted. The­re are no or­ga­ni­sa­tions, spo­ke­sper­sons or dec­la­red le­aders and no mem­ber­ship. The phe­no­me­non can best be de­scri­bed as an envi­ron­ment from which smal­ler gro­ups that have en­ga­ged in ter­ro­rism or ter­ro­rism-re­la­ted ac­ti­vi­ties have emer­ged but to which dif­fe­rent in­di­vi­du­als are at­trac­ted for dif­fe­rent re­asons.1 Ad­op­ting a stra­te­gy of tar­ge­ting le­aders in one way or ano­ther in or­der to pre­vent or co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism ema­na­ting from the envi­ron­ment wo­uld the­re­fo­re pro­ve dif­fi­cult.

The­re are, ho­we­ver, in­di­vi­du­als in the envi­ron­ment who have in­di­spen­sa­ble ta­lents or re­so­ur­ces and who the­re­fo­re play key ro­les when ter­ro­rism oc­curs. Such in­di­vi­du­als may be in con­tact with more or­ga­ni­sed pe­ers in con­flict are­as and the­re­fo­re be able to fa­ci­li­ta­te en­ga­ge­ment in com­bat or tra­ining, or they may have ac­cess to and expe­rien­ce with we­apons, be skil­led at fun­dra­ising or are cha­ri­sma­tic and par­ti­cu­lar­ly good at pro­pa­gan­di­sing and dis­se­mi­na­ting ju­sti­fi­ca­tions for using vio­len­ce.

This ar­tic­le ar­gu­es that the­re is po­ten­tial in ad­op­ting a stra­te­gy of tar­ge­ting such in­di­vi­du­als for le­gal pro­se­cu­tion but not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly un­der ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion. It ar­gu­es that an ap­pro­ach re­ly­ing on pre­te­xtu­al pro­se­cu­tions co­uld be ef­fec­ti­ve and po­ssi­bly have fe­wer co­un­ter­pro­duc­ti­ve side ef­fects than pro­se­cu­tions un­der ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion. This is done by first dra­wing a pic­tu­re of the mi­li­tant Is­la­mist envi­ron­ment in Den­mark and se­con­dly sug­ge­sting a path for im­ple­men­ting such a stra­te­gy, in­tro­du­cing the chal­len­ges and po­ten­tial pit­falls as­so­cia­ted with it. To in­tro­du­ce the Da­nish si­tu­ation, a list of plots that have led to co­nvic­tions un­der Da­nish le­gi­sla­tion is in­i­tial­ly pro­vi­ded with in­di­ca­tions of how they were di­sco­ve­red.2


In Octo­ber 2005, se­ve­ral in­di­vi­du­als were ar­re­sted in the Gre­ater Co­pen­ha­gen area. In Den­mark, the case was la­bel­led the Glo­strup case, but el­se­whe­re it is re­fer­red to as the Sa­ra­je­vo case, be­cau­se the Da­nish ar­re­sts fol­lo­wed ar­re­sts made in Sa­ra­je­vo. The­re, a Swe­dish ci­ti­zen, a Tur­kish ci­ti­zen with re­si­den­ce in Den­mark and two Bo­snian ci­ti­zens were ar­re­sted on su­spi­cion of plan­ning ter­ro­rism. Three of them were la­ter co­nvic­ted of plan­ning ter­ro­rism, whi­le the fo­urth was co­nvic­ted of il­le­gal tra­de in arms. The two men from Den­mark and Swe­den had been in con­tact with va­rio­us in­di­vi­du­als in Den­mark, and of tho­se ar­re­sted in Den­mark in Octo­ber 2005, four were sub­se­qu­en­tly char­ged with plan­ning ter­ro­rism aga­inst unspe­ci­fied tar­gets. In Fe­bru­ary 2007, one of them, Ab­dul Ba­sit Abu-Lifa, was fo­und gu­il­ty.

In Sep­tem­ber 2005, Said Man­so­ur, who had at­trac­ted the au­tho­ri­ties’ at­ten­tion sin­ce the 1990s be­cau­se of his in­ter­na­tio­nal con­tacts and his pu­bli­shing ho­use, Al-Nur Is­la­mic In­for­ma­tion,3 was ar­re­sted. Among other things, Man­so­ur was lin­ked to the Glo­strup case, and this con­nec­tion play­ed a si­gni­fi­cant role in both ca­ses. In April 2007, he was co­nvic­ted of en­co­ura­ging others to com­mit ter­ro­rism.

In Sep­tem­ber 2006, se­ve­ral in­di­vi­du­als were ar­re­sted in Oden­se, in what be­ca­me known as the Vol­l­smo­se case. The au­tho­ri­ties had re­ce­ived in­for­ma­tion from an in­for­mant tur­ned agent that a gro­up was pre­pa­ring an at­tack and had ma­nu­fac­tu­red the explo­si­ve TATP. In No­vem­ber 2007, Ab­dal­lah An­der­sen, Ah­med Khal­da­hi and Mo­ham­med Za­her were fo­und gu­il­ty of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism aga­inst unspe­ci­fied tar­gets.

In Sep­tem­ber 2007, se­ve­ral in­di­vi­du­als were ar­re­sted in the Gre­ater Co­pen­ha­gen area. In Den­mark, the case be­ca­me known as the Gla­svej case but el­se­whe­re it is re­fer­red to as Ope­ra­tion Dag­ger. Da­nish au­tho­ri­ties were war­ned by fo­re­ign au­tho­ri­ties when Ham­mad Khur­shid re­tur­ned from Pa­ki­stan after re­ce­iving tra­ining in spring 2007. Khur­shid was put un­der su­rve­il­lan­ce and was among other things fil­med whi­le ma­nu­fac­tu­ring the explo­si­ve TATP. In Octo­ber 2008, Ham­mad Khur­shid and Ab­dul­gha­ni To­khi were fo­und gu­il­ty of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism aga­inst unspe­ci­fied tar­gets. Du­ring the trial it emer­ged that the ac­cu­sed had been in con­tact with se­ve­ral of the in­di­vi­du­als in­vo­lved in the Glo­strup case.4

On 1 Ja­nu­ary 2010, Mu­hu­diin Mo­ha­med Ge­ele was ar­re­sted after bre­aking into the home of Kurt We­ster­ga­ard, one of the Da­nish car­to­oni­sts in­vo­lved in the car­to­on cri­sis, ar­med with an axe and a kni­fe. In Fe­bru­ary 2011, he was co­nvic­ted of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism.

In Sep­tem­ber 2010, Lors Ma­go­me­do­vitch Do­uka­ev, a Bel­gian ci­ti­zen, was ar­re­sted after ac­ci­den­tal­ly de­to­na­ting a par­cel con­ta­ining TATP in a ho­tel in Co­pen­ha­gen. In May 2011, he was co­nvic­ted of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism aga­inst the Da­nish new­spa­per Jyl­land­spo­sten.

In De­cem­ber 2010, a gro­up of Swe­des were ar­re­sted in Den­mark and Swe­den on su­spi­cion of plan­ning an at­tack on the bu­il­ding ho­using the new­spa­pers Jyl­land­spo­sten and Po­li­ti­ken. In Swe­den, the men had been un­der su­rve­il­lan­ce for some time be­cau­se se­ve­ral of them had pre­vio­usly been un­der su­spi­cion of plan­ning ter­ro­rism. When three of them tra­vel­led to Den­mark car­ry­ing we­apons and am­mu­ni­tion, ar­re­sts were made in both co­un­tries in a con­cer­ted ef­fort. In June 2012, Sah­bi Za­lo­uti, Mu­nir Awad, Omar Abo­elazm and Mo­unir Dhah­ri were co­nvic­ted of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism.

In all the plots, the in­di­vi­du­als in­vo­lved had ties to bro­ader con­sti­tu­ent envi­ron­ments and, as in­di­ca­ted, se­ve­ral of the Da­nish ca­ses were di­rec­tly lin­ked to each other. In the fol­lo­wing sec­tion a pic­tu­re of the Da­nish envi­ron­ment is drawn for the pur­po­se of in­for­ming the sub­se­qu­ent di­scus­sion of the po­ten­tial, the chal­len­ges and the pit­falls of a stra­te­gy re­ly­ing on pre­te­xtu­al pro­se­cu­tions of key ac­tors who fa­ci­li­ta­te ter­ro­rism.

The Mi­li­tant Is­la­mist Envi­ron­ment in Den­mark

The mi­li­tant Is­la­mist envi­ron­ment in Den­mark in many ways re­sem­bles other co­un­ter-cul­tu­ral envi­ron­ments.5 Very dif­fe­rent in­di­vi­du­als who are se­ar­ching for dif­fe­rent re­wards, using the envi­ron­ment for dif­fe­rent pur­po­ses and en­ga­ging in dif­fe­rent ac­ti­vi­ties in­ha­bit it. Some en­ga­ge in ter­ro­rism or ter­ro­rism-re­la­ted ac­ti­vi­ties, some in other il­le­gal ac­ti­vi­ties and some en­ga­ge only in so­cial ac­ti­vi­ties or sim­ply hang aro­und. A sha­red worl­dview, a sha­red cul­tu­re and very strong so­cial bonds tie the envi­ron­ment to­ge­ther.

The per­cep­tion that Mu­slims are the vic­tims of in­ju­sti­ces and op­pres­sion in a glo­bal as well as a Da­nish con­text con­sti­tu­tes the back­bo­ne in the worl­dview of the envi­ron­ment. Wars and vio­lent con­flicts across the world are lin­ked with con­flicts and chal­len­ges in Den­mark, to pa­int an ove­rall pic­tu­re of a ge­ne­ral ad­ver­sa­rial re­la­tion­ship be­twe­en Mu­slims and non-Mu­slims, whe­re Mu­slims are seen to be su­pe­rior to others but cur­ren­tly vic­ti­mi­sed.

This is con­stru­ed as the re­sult of a world or­der cur­ren­tly do­mi­na­ted by ca­pi­ta­lism, mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism and man-made ru­les and sys­tems, such as de­mo­cra­cy, whe­re de­ca­den­ce and do­uble stan­dards are seen to pre­va­il. The cri­ti­que is also aimed at what is seen as amo­ral be­ha­vio­ur, in­c­lu­ding se­xu­al pro­mi­scu­ity, ho­mo­se­xu­ali­ty, the dis­so­lu­tion of tra­di­tio­nal fa­mi­ly struc­tu­res and a cul­tu­re of he­do­nism. As an al­ter­na­ti­ve to this, the Is­la­mic sta­te—or the Ca­li­pha­te—is seen as the ul­ti­ma­te just and good so­cie­ty.6

In or­der words, what spurs the envi­ron­ment is a harsh cri­ti­que of the exi­sting world or­der and a wish for re­vo­lu­tio­na­ry chan­ges.

In ad­di­tion to se­eing the World Es­ta­bli­sh­ment as an ene­my, the envi­ron­ment de­fi­nes both non-Mu­slims and Mu­slims who do not re­ject mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lism and de­mo­cra­cy as ad­ver­sa­ries. Ge­ne­ral­ly the world is di­vi­ded into us ver­sus them, so­me­thing that is stron­gly em­pha­si­sed in spe­eches and writ­ten pu­bli­ca­tions. But in other con­te­xts than the ca­re­ful­ly pre­pa­red spe­eches and writ­ten ma­te­rials, the worl­dview is more va­ried. Opi­nions dif­fer, for exam­ple, when it co­mes to de­fi­ning long-term go­als and how to at­ta­in them. In prac­ti­ce, the ide­olo­gies as well as the ene­my ima­ges are con­stan­tly sub­ject to de­ba­te and the­re­fo­re any­thing but sta­tic. Both are con­stan­tly be­ing di­scus­sed and de­ve­lo­ped, just as they may un­der­go chan­ges in con­nec­tion with con­cre­te events.7

In ad­di­tion to the­se sim­ple and easi­ly un­der­stan­da­ble nar­ra­ti­ves, the envi­ron­ment of­fers very strong so­cial bonds. The in­ha­bi­tants of the envi­ron­ment have the­ir own ru­les and ri­tu­als as well as a di­stinct lan­gu­age, man­ners and dress co­des, ma­king it po­ssi­ble for them to re­co­gni­se each other and di­stan­ce them­se­lves from the sur­ro­un­ding so­cie­ty and si­mul­ta­ne­ously streng­then the­ir sen­se of be­lon­ging. The in­ha­bi­tants will go to gre­at leng­ths for each other. They sha­re vir­tu­al­ly eve­ry­thing and exhi­bit a gre­at deal of af­fec­tion by col­lec­ting mo­ney or clo­thing, pro­vi­ding ho­using, trans­por­ta­tion and care, gi­ving each other mas­sa­ges, pre­pa­ring me­als for each other and of­fe­ring emo­tio­nal sup­port in dif­fi­cult ti­mes.

In the envi­ron­ment, da­ring to spe­ak up aga­inst tho­se in po­wer and pay­ing a pri­ce for do­ing so is a so­ur­ce of cre­di­bi­li­ty and au­tho­ri­ty. In­di­vi­du­als and gro­ups who have put so­me­thing on the line are seen as ha­ving pro­ven the­ir worth, and as a con­se­qu­en­ce such in­di­vi­du­als and gro­ups are at­tri­bu­ted cre­di­bi­li­ty—wha­te­ver they say or do will as a po­int of de­par­tu­re be re­gar­ded as worth li­ste­ning to. The more they are aga­inst the au­tho­ri­ties, the more they have put on the line and the more they have been pu­ni­shed, the more cre­di­ble and wor­thy they are.

This way of at­tri­bu­ting cre­di­bi­li­ty and au­tho­ri­ty me­ans that in­di­vi­du­als who take ac­tion and as a con­se­qu­en­ce find them­se­lves in con­flict with the au­tho­ri­ties are au­to­ma­ti­cal­ly at­tri­bu­ted cre­di­bi­li­ty and sta­tus. If not be­cau­se others ad­mi­re what they do then at le­ast be­cau­se they ad­mi­re that they do it.8

Be­ing part of the envi­ron­ment also grants the in­ha­bi­tants ac­cess to an iden­ti­ty as one of the cho­sen few who un­der­stand the sta­te of af­fa­irs and what ne­eds to be done. This self-ima­ge ori­gi­na­tes from a nar­ra­ti­ve abo­ut the End of Days in which an area cal­led Kho­ra­san is to be the sce­ne of a bat­tle sym­bo­li­sing the be­gin­ning of the end. In this area, a small gro­up of men with long hair and long be­ards, we­aring whi­te clo­thes and car­ry­ing ban­ners with the Is­la­mic cre­ed will de­fe­at an over­whel­ming fo­re­ign oc­cu­pa­tion. This area co­vers what is to­day known as Afgha­ni­stan, and in the envi­ron­ment the Ta­li­ban’s re­si­stan­ce to the pre­sen­ce of NATO and ISAF tro­ops is per­ce­ived to be part of this sym­bo­lic bat­tle. In the nar­ra­ti­ve, the bat­tle will be a sign that the fi­nal clash be­twe­en good and evil has be­gun and that all hu­man be­ings will have to take si­des. Part of the nar­ra­ti­ve is that only a small mi­no­ri­ty will un­der­stand this and join the bat­tle by en­ga­ging in vio­lent ac­ti­vi­ties and that the­se are the cho­sen few who are not only de­sti­ned for gre­at­ness and en­su­red a pla­ce in Pa­ra­di­se but also en­do­wed with the abi­li­ty to see eve­ry­thing else cle­ar­ly, too.9 Be­co­ming part of the envi­ron­ment is in it­self seen as pro­of of be­ing among the cho­sen few and is con­se­qu­en­tly a gre­at so­ur­ce of self-con­fi­den­ce.

This ma­kes for an envi­ron­ment that is at­trac­ti­ve to dif­fe­rent in­di­vi­du­als for dif­fe­rent re­asons and it is not only in­di­vi­du­als lo­oking to join the cau­se and en­ga­ge in vio­lent acts but also in­di­vi­du­als lo­oking for strong so­cial bonds, a sen­se of be­lon­ging, thrills or an at­trac­ti­ve iden­ti­ty who find the­ir way into the envi­ron­ment. In the words of Bryn­jar Lia, “In some co­un­tries in Eu­ro­pe, it has be­co­me ‘cool’ to be a ji­ha­di,”10 and in Den­mark this cer­ta­in­ly ap­pe­ars to be the case.

In or­der to be­co­me part of the envi­ron­ment, ad­op­ting vio­len­ce-pro­mo­ting rhe­to­ric is a re­qu­ire­ment. But do­ing this does not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly lead to ac­tu­al en­ga­ge­ment in ter­ro­rism or ter­ro­rism-re­la­ted ac­ti­vi­ties, and even tho­se who are re­ady to en­ga­ge in such ac­ti­vi­ties will not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly be able to do so.

For so­me­one to be­co­me a thre­at to se­cu­ri­ty he or she must po­ssess the will, the abi­li­ty and the op­por­tu­ni­ty to act. So­me­one who has the will but lacks the abi­li­ty does not pose a thre­at, ne­ither does so­me­one who has the abi­li­ty but no op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The in­ha­bi­tants of the envi­ron­ment do not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly have all the­se re­so­ur­ces when they en­ga­ge in the envi­ron­ment, but thro­ugh the envi­ron­ment they can come into con­tact with in­di­vi­du­als who are able to pro­vi­de the pie­ces they are mis­sing. Such mis­sing pie­ces co­uld be an op­por­tu­ni­ty, such as ac­cess to a tar­get, the abi­li­ty, in the sha­pe of tra­ining, we­apons or other re­so­ur­ces, or the will, no­uri­shed thro­ugh ju­sti­fi­ca­tions and in­ci­te­ment. The in­di­vi­du­als who are able to pro­vi­de the­se mis­sing pie­ces can be ter­med fa­ci­li­ta­tors sin­ce they are the ones who fa­ci­li­ta­te ter­ro­rism or ter­ro­rism-re­la­ted ac­ti­vi­ties. Such in­di­vi­du­als are not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly le­aders in a nar­row sen­se and they are not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly di­rec­tly in­vo­lved in ter­ro­rist ac­ti­vi­ties or the plan­ning of such but they po­ssess re­so­ur­ces that others are in need of in or­der to en­ga­ge and they are the­re­fo­re ne­ces­sa­ry for a thre­at to ema­na­te.

In a Da­nish con­text, se­ve­ral ter­ro­rism ca­ses have ema­na­ted from the same envi­ron­ment11 and cer­ta­in in­di­vi­du­als have been re­cur­ring ca­ses. The­se in­di­vi­du­als have not been pro­se­cu­ted or co­nvic­ted un­der Da­nish ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion, but thro­ugh the trials it has be­co­me cle­ar that they have play­ed fa­ci­li­ta­ting ro­les and that the Da­nish au­tho­ri­ties are awa­re of this.12

Mi­ni­mi­sing the Risk of Thre­ats Ema­na­ting from the Envi­ron­ment

Di­rec­ting at­ten­tion to the in­di­vi­du­als who play fa­ci­li­ta­ting ro­les by at­temp­ting to ham­per the­ir ac­ti­vi­ties and the­re­by in­ter­rupt the sup­ply of re­so­ur­ces ne­ces­sa­ry for in­di­vi­du­als to move from tho­ught to ac­tion co­uld po­ten­tial­ly be an ef­fec­ti­ve stra­te­gy. One re­ason why Da­nish au­tho­ri­ties have pre­vio­usly not done this may be that it has not been po­ssi­ble to pro­du­ce suf­fi­cient evi­den­ce of in­vo­lve­ment in ac­ti­vi­ties that are il­le­gal un­der Da­nish ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion. If this is the case, an al­ter­na­ti­ve mi­ght be to at­tempt to pro­se­cu­te such in­di­vi­du­als un­der other ty­pes of le­gi­sla­tion.

Others have sug­ge­sted si­mi­lar ide­as al­tho­ugh not spe­ci­fi­cal­ly fo­cu­sing on fa­ci­li­ta­tors. As John Rol­lins no­tes in a re­port for the U.S. Con­gress:

“Some ob­se­rvers see the ne­xus be­twe­en cri­me and ter­ro­rism as a po­ten­tial boon for de­tec­tion and law en­for­ce­ment pro­se­cu­tion. Even if pro­se­cu­tors do not have suf­fi­cient evi­den­ce to co­nvict a su­spec­ted ter­ro­rist of ter­ro­rism-re­la­ted char­ges, other cri­mi­nal char­ges may stick. Fur­ther­mo­re, some cri­mi­nal char­ges, such as vio­la­tions re­la­ted to drug traf­fic­king, can have jail sen­ten­ces and pe­nal­ties si­mi­lar in ma­gni­tu­de to ter­ro­rism ones. Ob­se­rvers de­scri­be such law en­for­ce­ment ap­pro­aches to co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism as pre­te­xtu­al pro­se­cu­tions or an Al Ca­po­ne-sty­le stra­te­gy be­cau­se it evo­kes si­mi­la­ri­ties to the ap­pro­ach used to com­bat U.S. mob ac­ti­vi­ties in the mid-twen­tieth cen­tu­ry… Whi­le the U.S. go­vern­ment was una­ble to char­ge Al Ca­po­ne with mur­der and other or­ga­ni­zed cri­me-re­la­ted char­ges, au­tho­ri­ties were able to co­nvict him of tax eva­sion.”13

Rol­lins, ho­we­ver, cau­tions that such an ap­pro­ach has its chal­len­ges. First of all, it will be “dif­fi­cult to track the num­ber of ter­ro­rism-re­la­ted co­nvic­tions unless the co­nvic­tions are di­rec­tly for ter­ro­rism.”14 As a con­se­qu­en­ce it will be dif­fi­cult to me­asu­re the ef­fec­ti­ve­ness of such an ap­pro­ach.

Rol­lins fur­ther cau­tions that “[c]ri­tics also sug­gest that pre­te­xtu­al pro­se­cu­tions pose ethi­cal and so­cial di­lem­mas, ar­gu­ing that not char­ging cri­mi­nals with the­ir pri­ma­ry al­le­ged cri­me re­du­ces law en­for­ce­ment trans­pa­ren­cy and po­li­ti­cal ac­co­un­ta­bi­li­ty and cre­di­bi­li­ty of ju­sti­ce sec­tor ac­ti­vi­ty.”15 The ap­pro­ach may, in other words, chal­len­ge the pu­blic’s sen­se of ju­sti­ce and per­cep­tion of law en­for­ce­ment.

Rol­lins the­re­fo­re sug­ge­sts po­li­cy­ma­kers fur­ther eva­lu­ate the po­ten­tial co­sts and be­ne­fits of pre­te­xtu­al pro­se­cu­tions, in­c­lu­ding the ethi­cal and po­li­ti­cal im­pli­ca­tions be­fo­re ad­op­ting such a stra­te­gy.

When it co­mes to mi­li­tant Is­la­mism in Den­mark, a stra­te­gy of tar­ge­ting fa­ci­li­ta­tors un­der other ty­pes of le­gi­sla­tion than ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion ap­pe­ars to hold some po­ten­tial be­ne­fits that may outwe­igh the­se chal­len­ges.

Be­cau­se of the way cre­di­bi­li­ty and au­tho­ri­ty is at­tri­bu­ted in the mi­li­tant Is­la­mist envi­ron­ment, trials un­der ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion may unin­ten­tio­nal­ly con­tri­bu­te to the de­fen­dants’ cre­di­bi­li­ty and au­tho­ri­ty in the eyes of the­ir pe­ers and the co­ur­tro­oms may also be­co­me are­nas whe­re in­ha­bi­tants of the envi­ron­ment can streng­then and so­li­di­fy the­ir sen­se of gro­up iden­ti­ty.

This to some extent was the case when Said Man­so­ur was put on trial un­der Da­nish ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion. In 2007, he was sen­ten­ced to three and a half years for in­ci­ting to ter­ro­rism, and du­ring his trial he was able to use the co­ur­tro­om as a sta­ge on which he co­uld so­li­di­fy his fame in the envi­ron­ment by chal­len­ging Da­nish au­tho­ri­ties and di­splay­ing di­sre­spect for the co­urt. One of his more spec­ta­cu­lar per­for­man­ces was when he ap­pe­ared in co­urt for his ver­dict we­aring an oran­ge t-shirt with the text “Gu­an­ta­na­mo.”16 In other Da­nish ter­ro­rism ca­ses, si­mi­lar per­for­man­ces have unfol­ded in co­urt when de­fen­dants have de­mon­stra­ti­ve­ly re­fu­sed to rise for the jud­ges and the jury, ad­dres­sed spec­ta­tors and the press ver­bal­ly or with body lan­gu­age, or at­trac­ted pe­ers for gro­up hugs and spe­eches fol­lo­wing ver­dicts. Pe­ers also en­ga­ge in va­rio­us ac­ti­vi­ties in­c­lu­ding re­fu­sing to rise for the jud­ges and the jury but ri­sing for the de­fen­dants, che­ering, com­men­ting, lau­ghing, sin­ging, etc.17

The co­ur­tro­oms may also be tur­ned into are­nas whe­re in­di­vi­du­als wi­shing to en­ga­ge with the envi­ron­ment can make in­i­tial con­tact, which can other­wi­se be dif­fi­cult be­cau­se of the clan­de­sti­ne na­tu­re of the envi­ron­ment.18

Fi­nal­ly, in­di­vi­du­als co­nvic­ted un­der ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion at­tract a gre­at deal of at­ten­tion from the­ir pe­ers and are cen­tral to the envi­ron­ment’s re­sent­ment aga­inst au­tho­ri­ties. The in­ha­bi­tants of the envi­ron­ment put a lot of ener­gy into di­scus­sing the in­ju­sti­ces aga­inst them, which ter­ro­rism trials are seen as, and into at­temp­ting to sup­port the de­fen­dants and the­ir fa­mi­lies. De­fen­dants the­re­fo­re also se­rve the pur­po­se of fur­ther ty­ing to­ge­ther the envi­ron­ment be­cau­se they re­pre­sent a sha­red cau­se and yet ano­ther sha­red in­ju­sti­ce.19

As a con­se­qu­en­ce, trials un­der ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion can have co­un­ter­pro­duc­ti­ve side ef­fects. Trials un­der other le­gi­sla­tion sho­uld the­re­fo­re not only be seen as a last re­sort when it is not po­ssi­ble to go to trial un­der ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion but also as an al­ter­na­ti­ve that may in the long run have fe­wer co­sts. Such an ap­pro­ach, ho­we­ver, en­ti­re­ly de­pends on the re­le­vant in­di­vi­du­als ac­tu­al­ly en­ga­ging in cri­mi­nal ac­ti­vi­ty. This is cer­ta­in­ly not al­ways the case but some do en­ga­ge in or­di­na­ry cri­me, for exam­ple, to ra­ise funds or to acqu­ire we­apons or other re­so­ur­ces for ter­ro­rism, whe­re­as others en­ga­ge or have in the past en­ga­ged in cri­mi­nal ac­ti­vi­ties unre­la­ted to the­ir in­vo­lve­ment in the envi­ron­ment.

In most of the ca­ses that have led to co­nvic­tions in Den­mark, this has been the case. Said Man­so­ur, who in 2007 was co­nvic­ted of en­co­ura­ging others to com­mit ter­ro­rism, had pre­vio­usly been co­nvic­ted of for­ge­ry and po­sses­sion of il­le­gal arms and sto­len go­ods. He was sen­ten­ced to three mon­ths im­pri­son­ment in 2004.

Two of the de­fen­dants in the Glo­strup case ple­aded gu­il­ty to theft, po­sses­sion of sto­len go­ods and in­ci­te­ment to vio­len­ce. One was sen­ten­ced to four mon­ths im­pri­son­ment and the other re­ce­ived a su­spen­ded sen­ten­ce.

Du­ring the trial of Ham­mad Khur­shid, who was co­nvic­ted of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism in 2008, he expla­ined how he had made con­tacts in Den­mark that co­uld pro­vi­de him with sto­len go­ods such as ni­ght vi­sion bi­no­cu­lars which his con­tacts in Pa­ki­stan had asked him to acqu­ire.

Lors Ma­go­me­do­vitch Do­uka­ev, who was co­nvic­ted of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism in 2011, was co­nvic­ted in ab­sen­tia of at­temp­ted mur­der, po­sses­sion of il­le­gal arms and de­ath thre­ats in Bel­gium.

The four Swe­des who were co­nvic­ted of at­temp­ted ter­ro­rism in 2012 had also pre­vio­usly been in tro­uble with the law. Mo­unir Dhah­ri was co­nvic­ted of drug tra­de, vio­len­ce, thre­ats and wife bat­te­ring in Swe­den. Omar Abo­elazm was co­nvic­ted of vio­len­ce, thre­ats, se­xu­al as­sault and ha­ras­sment and sen­ten­ced to psy­chia­tric tre­at­ment in Swe­den. Mu­nir Awad was ar­re­sted in Ke­nya in 2007 and in Pa­ki­stan in 2009 on su­spi­cion of ter­ro­rism. He was re­tur­ned to Swe­den on both oc­ca­sions. Sah­bi Za­lo­uti was ar­re­sted in Pa­ki­stan in 2009 be­cau­se he was the­re il­le­gal­ly. He too was re­tur­ned to Swe­den.20

As the­se exam­ples in­di­ca­te, short sen­ten­ces do not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly have an ef­fect. For an ap­pro­ach re­ly­ing on pre­te­xtu­al pro­se­cu­tions of fa­ci­li­ta­tors to be ef­fec­ti­ve it will in all li­ke­li­ho­od be cru­cial that sen­ten­ces are of some lon­ger length so the fa­ci­li­ta­tors’ bonds with the envi­ron­ment are se­ve­red. Con­si­de­ring that the­re is ra­ther ra­pid tur­no­ver in the envi­ron­ment21 the col­lec­ti­ve me­mo­ry is not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly very long and in­di­vi­du­als who have not al­re­ady made a name for them­se­lves will li­ke­ly be for­got­ten re­la­ti­ve­ly qu­ic­kly.

It is also cru­cial to en­su­re that the fa­ci­li­ta­tors are not able to con­ti­nue the­ir ac­ti­vi­ties whi­le se­rving time in pri­son. This wo­uld re­qu­ire they be iso­la­ted from pe­ers as well as from po­ten­tial new pro­te­ges du­ring im­pri­son­ment, me­aning that they ne­ither be pla­ced in pri­sons or de­part­ments re­se­rved for in­di­vi­du­als co­nvic­ted un­der ter­ro­rism le­gi­sla­tion nor in pri­sons or de­part­ments whe­re vul­ne­ra­ble or im­pres­sio­na­ble pri­so­ners are pla­ced. Such vul­ne­ra­ble or im­pres­sio­na­ble pri­so­ners co­uld in­c­lu­de in­di­vi­du­als co­nvic­ted of gang-re­la­ted cri­mes, drug-re­la­ted cri­mes, vio­lent cri­mes or or­di­na­ry pro­per­ty cri­mes. As an al­ter­na­ti­ve they co­uld be pla­ced among re­so­ur­ce­ful pri­so­ners co­nvic­ted of whi­te-col­lar cri­mes who are unli­ke­ly to be at­trac­ted to the envi­ron­ment.

Such a so­lu­tion wo­uld re­qu­ire co­ope­ra­tion with the na­tio­nal pri­son and pro­ba­tion se­rvi­ce as well as the in­di­vi­du­al pri­sons. In all li­ke­li­ho­od this will re­pre­sent a chal­len­ge sin­ce pri­son and pro­ba­tion se­rvi­ces as well as pri­sons often al­re­ady strug­gle to ac­com­mo­da­te va­rio­us ne­eds and re­qu­ire­ments.

As is often the case, the fe­asi­bi­li­ty of the ap­pro­ach de­pends on com­mit­ment, con­si­sten­cy and the ne­ces­sa­ry re­so­ur­ces be­ing al­lo­ca­ted.

SAMUEL ARBETerrorism: A Need for Complex Response

The glo­bal se­cu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment is ra­pi­dly chan­ging. Be­si­des tra­di­tio­nal ac­tors in in­ter­na­tio­nal re­la­tions, the­re is an ever-in­cre­asing num­ber of new play­ers. The­se new play­ers for­ce old ac­tors to ad­just the­ir per­cep­tions and re­de­sign stra­te­gies and po­li­cies. The cur­rent envi­ron­ment is unpre­ce­den­te­dly af­fec­ted by the events of 9/11. The sca­le, na­tu­re and, to some extent, sim­pli­ci­ty of tho­se events sym­bo­li­se a tur­ning po­int in the glo­bal ap­pro­ach to­wards ter­ro­rism. The We­stern world, led by the only su­per­po­wer, the U.S., laun­ched a “war on ter­ror.” The ter­ro­rist at­tacks in the U.S.–to­ge­ther with tho­se in Spa­in and the Uni­ted King­dom—have set a new glo­bal agen­da. The extra­or­di­na­ry ag­gres­sion was car­ried out by a li­mi­ted num­ber of at­tac­kers whi­le cau­sing tre­men­do­us harm to the­se glo­bal po­wers. The thre­at of trans­na­tio­nal ter­ro­rism be­ca­me more evi­dent than any kind of do­me­stic thre­ats. We­stern le­aders have cle­ar­ly un­der­sto­od the asym­me­tric na­tu­re of ter­ro­rism and the urgen­cy to re­act. Mo­re­over, the fi­ght aga­inst ter­ro­rism has ga­ined an in­ter­na­tio­nal hal­l­mark, and the post-Cold War non-in­te­rven­tio­nism of the 1990s has ce­ased to exist.

This text will at­tempt to shed li­ght on how the in­ter­na­tio­nal ter­ro­rist sho­uld be tac­kled and whe­re the in­ter­na­tio­nal ef­fort, re­so­ur­ces and em­pha­sis on co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism sho­uld be put.

Elu­si­ve Foe or De­lu­si­ve Stra­te­gy?

The­re is an on­go­ing de­ba­te abo­ut how to de­fi­ne ter­ro­rism. The in­ter­na­tio­na­li­sa­tion of ter­ro­rism does not make it any easier. The fol­lo­wing li­nes will use the bro­ader de­fi­ni­tion of ter­ro­rism as “un­co­nven­tio­nal vio­len­ce aga­inst non-com­ba­tant tar­gets.”22 Due to na­tu­re of trans­na­tio­nal ter­ro­rism, it is hard to hit or harm in­ter­na­tio­nal ter­ro­rist or­ga­ni­sa­tions ef­fec­ti­ve­ly. Mo­re­over, re­cent expe­rien­ce shows that the in­ter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty (mo­stly ac­tions ta­ken by We­stern go­vern­ments) is im­po­tent to cau­se se­rio­us da­ma­ge to such or­ga­ni­sa­tions and even im­pos­si­ble to tru­ly de­ca­pi­ta­te them. Kil­ling Osa­ma bin La­den in 2011 was ra­ther a sym­bo­lic mo­ment than a ge­nu­ine suc­cess in co­un­te­ring ter­ro­rism.

The­re­fo­re, this ar­tic­le will ar­gue that co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism ac­ti­vi­ties sho­uld not fo­cus pre­pon­de­ran­tly on le­aders of ter­ro­rist gro­ups or ne­tworks. Co­un­tries in­vo­lved in the strug­gle with ter­ro­rism wo­uld be ill-ad­vi­sed either to fo­cus only on ter­ro­rist le­aders or to ne­glect other ele­ments of co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism. The di­lem­ma abo­ut whe­re the in­ter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty sho­uld put the most em­pha­sis expo­ses a num­ber of ad­di­tio­nal qu­estions. Some of the di­lem­mas are men­tio­ned be­low. Wha­te­ver the de­ba­te, such di­scus­sion sho­uld re­ma­in at the cen­tre of in­ter­na­tio­nal in­te­rest. The­re are no cle­ar an­swers, but chal­len­ging cur­rent and te­sted po­li­cies or stra­te­gies mi­ght bring po­ssi­ble so­lu­tions in the fu­tu­re.

One qu­estion is whe­ther the term “war on ter­ror” is an ap­pro­pria­te la­bel for the co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism ef­forts of the West. Does the West act like it is in a war or is this term used only as a me­ta­phor? Hen­ce, unli­ke co­nven­tio­nal war­fa­re, we can­not use the prin­ci­ple of de­ter­ren­ce, call for a ce­ase­fi­re, or ne­go­tia­te pe­ace in a “war” aga­inst ter­ro­rism.

Is this fi­ght aimed at co­un­tries or aga­inst in­ter­na­tio­nal ne­tworks or or­ga­ni­sa­tions? Se­emin­gly we can­not la­bel one co­un­try or ano­ther as a ter­ro­rist co­un­try. We can only as­su­me that in weak or fa­iled sta­tes that ter­ro­rism en­joys more fre­edom to ope­ra­te, even tho­ugh this hy­po­the­sis mi­ght be fal­se. Ho­we­ver, the West is not fi­gh­ting the sta­tes them­se­lves. In weak or fa­iled sta­tes, the sta­te ap­pa­ra­tus is dys­func­tio­nal or ab­sent, con­se­qu­en­tly the­re is no one to fi­ght.23

Hen­ce, the cau­ses of ter­ro­rism must be ana­ly­sed. Are the­se cau­ses only ma­te­rial, or are they also po­li­ti­cal, psy­cho­lo­gi­cal, re­li­gio­us or cul­tu­ral? Does the West sti­mu­la­te them so­me­how? If we talk abo­ut anti-West ter­ro­rism, do we see more ge­ne­ral ha­tred or is­sue-re­la­ted ac­tions? An­swers to the­se qu­estions mi­ght help to for­mu­la­te com­plex co­un­ter-ter­ro­rist po­li­cies in the West.

The in­ter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty is still fin­ding the con­nec­tions among and ba­lan­cing the al­lo­ca­tion of re­so­ur­ces for co­un­te­ring three ty­pes of ter­ro­rism: (1) that which thre­atens exc­lu­si­ve­ly the West, (2) that which hurts the West and/or other re­gions as well, or (3) that which does not im­pact the West, but thre­atens other re­gions.24

Tar­ge­ting only the le­aders of ter­ro­rist gro­ups wo­uld be a na­ive and very sim­pli­stic stra­te­gy. Ter­ro­rist or­ga­ni­sa­tions, with the­ir abi­li­ty to me­ta­mor­pho­se and su­rvi­ve in stark envi­ron­ments, are hard to hit. The exam­ple of Osa­ma bin La­den shows that it is no easy task to en­sna­re a le­ader. In this case, it took the Ame­ri­cans more than a de­ca­de to get to the­ir most wan­ted fu­gi­ti­ve. It is com­pli­ca­ted to pin­po­int the exact lo­ca­tion of le­aders and it is even har­der to con­duct an at­tack wi­tho­ut cau­sing col­la­te­ral da­ma­ge when a le­ader is fo­und in an urban or den­se­ly in­ha­bi­ted area.

Such le­aders re­pre­sent only the tip of the ice­berg. For Al Qa­eda, its le­aders are only the most vi­si­ble, mo­stly he­ard (not easy to track) part of the gre­ater en­ti­ty hid­den be­low the sur­fa­ce. Bin La­den was easi­ly re­pla­ced by Ay­man al-Za­wa­hi­ri, who took over the le­ader­ship. It is too dif­fi­cult and too soon to es­ti­ma­te how the de­ath of bin La­den af­fec­ted the who­le Al Qa­eda ne­twork. Such or­ga­ni­sa­tions as Al Qa­eda have an in­ter­na­tio­nal struc­tu­re and can re­cru­it new mem­bers who are edu­ca­ted, ra­di­ca­li­sed and de­vo­ted to Al Qa­eda’s mis­sion. Kil­ling the­ir le­ader mi­ght even cau­se de­eper de­vo­tion to the­ir mis­sion, calls for re­ven­ge or may not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly cau­se harm to the rest of the struc­tu­re if it is still able to ope­ra­te in its usu­al way.

The­re is an on­go­ing de­ba­te abo­ut how to look at ter­ro­rism. Is it an act of war or a form of or­ga­ni­sed cri­me? When seen as war, the mi­li­ta­ry re­ac­tion is ade­qu­ate. If we tre­at it as or­ga­ni­sed cri­me, law en­for­ce­ment sho­uld come to the fo­re­front as a po­ssi­ble so­lu­tion. Re­ali­ty shows that ter­ro­rism is both war and cri­me. The­re­fo­re, tar­ge­ting a le­ader is an ac­cu­ra­te goal of co­un­ter-ter­ro­rism. Ho­we­ver it must be part and par­cel of a bro­ader stra­te­gy that in­c­lu­des fi­gh­ting on mul­ti­ple “fronts.” Try­ing to de­ca­pi­ta­te a struc­tu­re or­ga­ni­sed in small cells and di­stri­bu­ted ne­tworks mi­ght not bring the de­si­red ef­fect. Asym­me­try and idio­syn­cra­sy is also cru­cial in this aspect. To­day’s ter­ro­rism does not have the old sym­me­tric fe­atu­res sta­tes used to en­co­un­ter be­fo­re, such as be­ing pre­dic­ta­ble, ri­gid, hie­rar­chic or sta­tic. Ter­ro­ri­sts to­day are unpre­dic­ta­ble, ne­twor­ked, self-or­ga­ni­sed, in­de­pen­dent, evo­lving, de­ve­lo­ping and ad­ap­ting. The­re­fo­re, a sole fo­cus on le­aders in this case wo­uld be a de­lu­si­ve stra­te­gy in fi­gh­ting an elu­si­ve foe.

What to Do In­ste­ad and What Works Best?