tv Foreign Policy Combating Terrorism CSPAN April 2, 2018 8:31am-10:02am EDT
the supreme court ultimately ruled the statute to be unconstitutional and in the process established a right to privacy that is still evolving tod today. our guests to discuss this are a law professor at george mason antonin scalia law school. and a researcher at temple university. watch landmark cases tonight and join the program tonight. we have resources on our website for background on each case. the landmark cases companion book, a link to the national confusion center's interactive constitution and the landmark cases podcast
c-span.org/landmarkcases. >> now a discussion on u.s. and russian counterterrorism efforts following the collapse of islamic state terrior yal control in syria. this is 90 minutes. good morning, welcome to csis the russia and eurasia program he here. i'm the person you'll look to in the case of an emergency and the moderator of this excellent panel. the seat the daesh, the islamic state, however you want to call them has changed. it's not right to say after syria as the conflict continues, but it does, the defeat of isis does raise
questions about what the scenes for count are terrorism, for terrorism, and interestingly enough, with both russia and the united states having their very own approaches to these questions, how we will be looking at these from moscow and washington, and how we'll be interacting with one another. and i couldn't imagine a better panel to have this conversation. we have the chief research fo fellow of oriental studies. and at the institute of african and asian studies at moscow state university who knows more about the middle east than i'm going to wager a guess anybody here possibly, you know, most people in the world. seth jones who holds the share and directs a project here at
csis and he-- and is also an adjunct professor at johns hopkins who has been writing about u.s. counterterrorism and the development of the terrorist stretch for many years. and is the author of any number of books which you can buy at your local independent bookstore. and from the peace and studies unit at the world and academy relations at the russian academy of sciences at russia, moscow, written a book several times on terrorism and how to counter it and i think you know is one of the most cogent explanners. and we lost one panel member culled away unexpectedly and sorry not to be here. before i turn to the panel though, i would like to give a
few words to the director of the east-west institutes moscow office. the east-west institute just held a series of conversations about the united states, russia, terrorism and afghanistan and he's the reason we're lucky enough to have him here with us. and i'd like him to take the opportunity, have the opportunity to say a little about his project and their work before we get started. >> thank you, olga. yes, good morning. i just wanted to add a little bit of intrigue to this panel. again, our colleagues from russia who are on the panel are coming here in the frame work of the program, which is run from our new york and moscow offices, devoted to u.s.-russia relations and they're coming here as members of a team of
russian members of the working group on counterterrorism in afghanistan. it's a joint working group which was established in october last year by the east west institute with funding from the carnegie institute of new york and we had our second meeting actually three days meetings here in washington d.c. with seven russian participants and more or less the similar number of american participants. and i also had some meetings with u.s. officials in the state department as well as the u.s. institute for peace. we actually discussed a number of topics which sits interestingly in the current u.s.-russia agenda which is particularly interesting against the backdrop of current diplomatic controversy between
russians and-- russia and the united states. and the key focus of our project is to find a common ground in this difficult turbulent time for u.s.-russia context. i would say that's our deliberations. we're very productive. although, we mainly outlined a lot of disagreements in between russia and the united states, in the areas of counterterrorism and how we see the situation evolving, particularly for afghanistan, nevertheless, we found a lot of topics which are of common understanding and we particularly discussed such issues as the u.s.-russia strategies on counterterrorism, how they practically implantera
in syria and what are the prospects for u.s.-russia cooperation or in afghanistan. we see in afghanistan, as a possible area where america and russia could cooperate in the future. although it is also a scene full of contradictions. we discussed the peace process in afghanistan and possible implications of the upcoming elections next year there for fighting against terrorism in afghanistan and around afghanistan. we discussed many regional issues and how the-- how numerous key regional players are seeing the situation in afghanistan and how u.s. and russia could be engaged in contributing to the stability of this country in the future. this panel, which will take
place here, will be devoted mostly to the issues of evolving terrorist trends, we also discussed it in the frame works of our project and believe me, that was a very interesting discussion. this is-- this group works currently in a close regime. we do not publish much, but we're planning to issue a threat assessment report on terrorism in afghanistan they beginning of the next year. with these words, i would like to thank csis and olga for hosting this event here and giving an opportunity to broaden the discussion and to present some of our conclusions and views to the broader audience. thank you. >> okay. we will get started.
what i'm going to do is ask each of the panelists to give some brief introductory remarks and then we'll talk amongst ourselves for a little bit before turning to you, our audience, for your questions. and i think we're going to go straight down the line. >> thank you very much. i would like to thank the east west institute for bringing us to washington this time and of course, i would like to thank olga, who made this meeting possible. and it's a great pleasure for me to discuss here the issues, which i believe are of great importance to all of us right now. so, if we start from syria, i would like to mention first several drivers of the russian policy in the area because as you know, there are so many questions concern the goals of russia in syria, for example. so, i would like to start with
a-- intention playing an important role in fighting terrorism. if we look back to 2015 it was the main driver, which shaped russian policy vis-a-vis syria, when there were also other considerations like we wanted to prevent state failure. we didn't want to see the jihadists ruling in syria, probably and other countries, russia also had the goal of defending minorities, christi christians, and very, very other not so important considerations, though they already existed. but as for the main idea to prove that russia can, despite all differences, to fight along with the western coalition against common enemy, namely isis, that was the main driver.
now three years later, we can sum up what really has happened. so first, it seems that fight, the fight against terrorism, international terrorism is no longer a unifying factor. first of all, because we should recognize that isis was militarily defeated, the area which is controlled has shrank to almost nothing in syria. i'm speaking about syria right now. and so though the fight has managed to get away from syria, but this is another story. in syria, isis is no longer a threat as it was several years ago. but at the same time, the problem is that the differences between the two coalitions and between the united states and
russia went deeper in syria. first of all, because i believe that we very much depend now on our region al-- and it's a conversations. right now, we can make a conclusion that the role of the regional powers, including nonstate actors, have been authorizeded and they are really trying to take advantage of the two powers, the two coalitions just to secure their own interests, which might have nothing to do with fight against terrorism or with representing the state and things like that. so, as far as this region al is concerned, i can tell that we have difficulties with turkey, probably have greater difficulties with turkey, but no one is very happy about
turkey trying to secure buffer zones at the expense of kurds. as you remember, the united states supported kurds in their fight for, let's put it not clear at the time what kind of configuration within syrian state they will have, but as for russia. russia, as you know, probably was not a direct ally, but we insisted very much on pointing up special delegation and after-- and opposition leaders were very much against it, so that we have kurds in our delegation, and why should we have a separate one? but it was very, very important to be sure that kurds would get what they need in syria. so, it's really a strange situation where turkey still remain-- will remain forever this member of nato and at the same time is
buying russia 400, and good relations with russia, despite, as you know, the crisis way was there. as for iran, it's also a headache because on the one side, iran is very important for russia because it's important role for the middle, and take for example, the central asia and for r russia is important as neighbors. and as far as syria, iran contributes to the fighting with isis, but at the same time, nobody knows what the intentions of iran would be, post-conflict. whether they'd like to remain in syria, whether they'd like their bases to be in syria and also take into consideration the considerations of israel. you know we have very good
relations have israel now days. despite the fact that we agreed to disagree on certain issues, but still, relations are very good as well. so, we cannot ignore what israelis think and what it's doing. sometimes things which are detrimental. so, i just mentioned several players, we can of course, mention saudi arabia, also, but if we come back to the russia america, there's also coordination, was a bit ambiguous. because on the one side we cannot deny that we managed to work out together at the security counsel, the resolution 2254 which is very important corps resolution for
the solution of the syrian conflict. and it's even short of a-- that shows us by stage what should be done to reach these, including elections, including the new constitution and things like that. but-- and we also have very effective policy in syria. but it seems now that it is not enough because with the isis gone, and with the-- liberated the two coalitions are getting closer together. and this might be dangerous because certain groups might try to run into risks and you know, there were already such
collisions, i mean, the-- these were private of course, but still, it was very amazing to find out that they were by the americans. the minister of defense, but they're human beings, we cannot ignore it. and so, and this is a problem because our goals in syria now are getting further apart because we do know the have a common approach to the future, to the political future of syria, including syrian regime. though i wouldn't say that anyone right now insists that-- is a precondition. it's not true, but we know that western coalition and its allies, they simply would not-- were not there and for a longer period, is requested by the
resolution to fight for. as far as the political processes, you know that now there is, unfortunately, a-- there are no positive developments in geneva and the process in geneva was frozen. russia was trying to u.s. the regional allies for partners to make a new approach, as you know, which was not thought of as a constitution, of course, but on the contrary, a process which might help geneva, because to start with a peaceful solution, you have to start with the situation on the ground. so you have to stop fighting on the ground. you have to introduce cease-fire, you have to bring humanitarian aid to the people. so, the idea was setting up several coalitions. some of them were successful in the south, for example, where
egypt and jordan also participated and really, and was successful. at the same time we don't understand there are certain zones where the terrorists, and others, where they actually have their hot beds and where the fighting still continues because of it. like the eastern, for example, because as you know, from eastern, they were every day with killed every day and of course, it was a sort of threat. so, this was so-- and what is really bad about this, that unfortunately there were a lot of civil population and many people fought-- but the problem was that this--
the fighters, you know, they practically duck out of sort of underground city. underground town where they had all what they needed. so the people, really, they used to live there, but it was very difficult to get to-- because they were underground. so and another example where they also have a very complicated situation, because of the same reasons. what's more, that many fighters who were out from other areas, they came, and it seems like turkey wants to take it all, i will say, but probably to take care of-- they can't. it means that the force will be used because i don't see how otherwise this problem can be
solved. so, i'm naming all of these issues just to show that the situation in syria is far from being stabl and i really don't know how much effort would be needed and how long time will be needed to improve it, but what is absolutely obvious, that we need on the one side coordination with the western coalition, with the united states in particular, and on the other side, we need coordination with regional actors, otherwise, it won't work. and i'm describing here pluses and mines minuses of the russian policy because we've managed, we managed to step in good relations with practically all players, with iran, turkey, saudi arabia, and practically every, but we cannot with the united states and this is a
problem. and this is why i believe still, though i have lost a lot of optimism, really, but i still might believe that syria and other con flkt in the middle east can be used instrui insmentally because it's necessary for us, it's necessary busse we need to start to press down the tensions in the region. it's bet are for all of us because these are hotbeds of tensions and on the other hand, we need to get certain experience, new experience of cooperation which-- thank you. >> thank you very much, that was really a great overview and i think set the stage very well for seth and others to dive deep into the terrorism question.
i'll turn this over. >> yes, thanks. >> also co-host of this program. >> that's right. >> thanks. and thanks to you, and my fellow panelists for their ability to come today and have a frank discussion on an important subject. i'm going to take a little bit of a step back and look for broadly at patterns of terrorists, particular will ly with jihadist activity and put it in a broader context. i mean, i think it's certainly true just to start off with two points that the islamic state or daesh has lost territorial control not just in iraq and syria, but also in other countries where it had some control of territory. it's lost control of territory in libya, including in darna and sirt where it had control.
it's lost control of territory from peak levels in afghanistan, and particularly southern afghanistan. and it's lost from its peak levels in boca haram and it's downward particularly on territory. al qaeda has also struggled in many ways which ill he get-- i'll get to in a moment. and there are joe had aedists across the globe really among the highest recorded numbers in recent history and there are particularly large numbers in iraq, in syria, in libya, and in a few other locations, including, if you start to include groups like the afghan taliban, that have a relationship with al qaeda in the afghan-pakistan areas. so, they don't control territory, at least at certain levels, but we see a lot of fluidity among a rang of locations, so i would push back
on the notion, and we've heard it even in the u.s. national security strategy, that these organizations have been crushed. i think they've certainly lost territory, but have strong reservations that they are-- they have been defeated in any meaningful way, and so, i'll look a little bit at this juxtaposition between decline and control and a pool of individuals out there that i think are concerning. first, let me start with isis and al qaeda. i think it's certainly true that they've faced challenges. they're the two largest transnational pan-islamic movements that compete with each other. they actually have similar ideologies as we know, but competed in a range of areas and i think with the islamic state tore daesh, i think that the decline in territorial control has been pretty well documented by all sides, the syrians, the russians, the
americans, the turks in iraq and syria. it's been a combination of state activity and substate activity and on the iraqi context, the counterterrorism service forces and local militias and european and other countries that are conducting air strikes, and have special operations and conventional forces on the ground. in the syrian context it's everybody, state and nonstate, where they've lost peak levels of support. the same is true in libya where it's been a comenation of state and nonstate activity against islamic state activity in darna and sirt particularly. al qaeda has also faced challenges as we look at it globally. the core in the afghanistan-pakistan region is in what i would call survival mode. al-zawahri i think has been
hamstrung by his operational security challenges. in syria, al qaeda has historically had a relationship with nusra. if you look closely at the debates within the jihadist community in the past year or two there's bin intense discord where zawahiri's operational security has made it difficult to provide guidance in any meaningful fashion so i think what we've seen on the ground is a range of the groups has made a number of operational and tactical decisions essentially on their own and in a few cases with the-- with individuals like this in direct opposition to what zawahiri has put out. in the last months i think he's
become frustrated with al qaeda's failure for meaningful guidance. there's a lot of competition between networks in syria and other locations and i think a lot of fracturing. what struck me was how many name and group changes we've seen even over the past six to eight months in the syria area. so, that's, i guess, the good news is the islamic state has lost control. al qaeda is in a bit of confusion, there's been discord in the pakistan-afghanistan area has been put in this mode. the downside, if you look at some of the numbers, csis is putting together a data base for the number of jihadists including groups. the numbers, i think, are
telling. the data base indicate they're still on the high side, as many as 200,000 global of these jihadists almost at an all-time low. slightly lower than what we have' seen in the last year or two, but compared to three years ago, five years ago, ten years ago, we're at leerl record highs right now. most of these fighters are in iraq and syria, libya, the afghanistan-pakistan theater, primary battlefields where we see them. they're not always under the umbrella of isis, daesh or al qaeda, but operating with local groups in a range of these areas. roughly 65 active groups along these same battlefields on multiple continents and there is substantial fluidity, i think, between and within these categories. syria is really useful example
because we've seen a constant series of rebranding. some splintering and where there's a pretty significant pool. notice, by the way, that ng there were a number of countries including the u.s. that were concerned about a significant return of foreign fighters to places like europe. for the most part, those numbers have been much lower than most people anticipated. there has been an exodus of fighters to a few locations, including the caucuses, and almost certainly the balkans and some areas of africa, including libya and the horn. but the numbers are relatively low compared to at least predictions in south asia. i just got back from west africa, the number of foreign fighters is much lower. there's a lot of movement in and among battlefields in africa, including the nigeria, libya, somalia, and this area
including northern mali, but not a lot of movement, not a ton of movement from iraq, syria into those areas. again, i think it's helpful. we as analysts, and i think governments like to put these groups into categories. we hike to call them group x or group y and i think it's important to understand that we're really dealing at the microlevel with sort of fluid networks and lots of changes and names, but pretty large numbers right now. so, i think this leads to a range of key questions that are worth considering, particularly on the u.s.-russia radar screens. the first is turk, and how will turkey be impacted by some of the near-term battle efforts against these groups, particularly in syria and iraq? i have certainly think damascus, there's been a push in eastern gouda and damascus
and i'm sure into italy as well. where are these individuals going to go? turkey is the closest location. turkey, there's a fairly substantial amount of evidence that turkey provided assistance to some of these groups and may provide sanctuary, but i think as we've seen in syria during the iraq war, post 2003, there are always opportunities for blowback when states allow groups to operate on their territory. so, i think there are a range of questions about stability of turkey if we see a decline in territorial control, particularly in this area of syria thanks to a ranger of operations, syrian and russian operations against them. the second question, will we see collectively a change, particularly among groups like al qaeda a shift towards more internal operations? they've focused predominantly
on fighting in certain areas, with syria, with yemen, for example, the focus is mostly on fighting the near enemy, and trying to inspire attacks in the west or in russia. will we see groups start to migrate towards more attempts to get directly involved in external operations? i think that's an open question right now. it'd certainly be concerns if we did, and then finally, just on questions, i think my most serious concern moving forward and i think there are probably opportunities for both the russians and the americans to, a, identify and find ways to start to ameliorate our governance challenges. i think all the countries i identified, including syria and iraq, yemen, libya, have substantial governance
challenges. as long as there are governments that are weak, ineffective, illegitimate in many cases, there will be opportunities for groups to use that territory for sanctuary and use them for a launching pad externally. i see very limited optimism that in the next two to three years, so for the immediate short-term, we're likely to see significant improvements in governance. especially legitimacy of the populations in most of those countries and i think there's a very serious counterterrorism, it's not just a military effort about you broader diplomatic and development need to build more competent and effective governments in the range of these areas or we will continue to face these problems. i mean, even in syria, our estimates are still between 30 and 50,000 jihadists in syria that may move across the border
into turkey and if we don't have effective governments in these areas, i just don't think we're going to get much progress. so let me conclude with a couple of final points. i think the u.s. has got to be really careful. if you look at the national defense strategy that he -- it doesn't move quickly from terrorism to state-based competition. if you read the national defense strategy, the priority is threats, russia, china, north korea, iran. and based on my comments that there remains significant challenges on the terrorism side that washington not move too quickly. i think it's also worth noting that there will be-- whether we like it or not, this is not a-- this is not a policy prescription. i think it's a reality. there will be competition between moscow and washington in a number of areas.
they have different interests. they have different groups they're working with on the ground. they have an interest in to try to maximize their own interests and i think this will put them in some degree in competition in syria, particularly with the russia, iranian relationships. i think that puts them to some degree in competition in south asia, particularly with the military presence there and there may be competition in libya where the russians and americans have competed over even individuals, and relationships with various factions within libya. so there will be competition, but there also-- and this is my concluding remark. i think there will be and there have to be avenues for cooperation. both countries have substantial interest and should in-- and they have common interests in targeting groups like al qaeda and the islamic state and they both consider moscow and washington enemies.
and so i think they have a reason to share intelligence and to work together against those groups. so, where they have common interests, i think there is a need to continue to talk and share information and then to coopera cooperate. the peace settlement in afghanistan, i think they have a mutual interest in trying to establish some kind of a settlement. but my broader point, just to summarize is, i think while groups like al qaeda and the islamic state have faced some unsettling times, there are simply a number of networks still operating on multiple fronts and i think if you put the u.s.-russia relationship in a broader context and other things outside of just counterterrorism, there will be competition. we should expect that, but i also think there are avenues of potential cooperation. thank you. >> thank you, seth. i am struck, two panelists into
this discussion the future of terrorism, how little terrorism has come up. we've talked a lot-- we've talked a lot about insurgency, we've talked a bit about competition, so i'm very glad for our final speaker because i strongly suspect she's going to bring us back to terrorism, the actual tactics rather than the groups that may use this. >> and it's not mutually excluded-- anyway, title the way it sounds from your booklet, whatever, suggests its primary focus on transnational terrorism, but the part of the title, i have a slight problem with, olga is after syria. i mean, even defeat of isis caliphate does not yet imply. that does not mean the end of
transnational civil war in syria or iraq. so, probably what was implied here really was after the caliphate. after daesh, what happens after and that leads me to two questions which i will try to answer to the best of my capacity. one is how does the challenge of transnational terrorism evolve after the demise of of isis physical core in iraq and syria? and second, what really are the related problems for international cooperations on terrorist particularly in the russia-u.s. context. both are subjects. so we'll have to be selective. so on question one, i'll try to focus on how much change could we expect in global terrorist
patterns after daesh, as we know it, is gone. at least its physical sort of core. and on question two, i will actually argue that the main impediment, the main complication in international cooperation and anti-terrorism is globally, has nothing to do with the east west, with the new east-west divide. nothing. although it has important implications for the russia-- west russia-u.s. relations. so on question one, up until the present day, international terrorism in this century, basically in the early 21st century has been dominated we all know by terrorism and radical islamist. but that's not the only form, but the dominant form. the thing is that the main layer, main in terms of
intensity of terrorist activity was not formed by any single group, nor by even a single micronetwork. the real layer, the most problematic layer of terrorist activity of this type has been formed by a handful of no more than six, seven, regionally based militant movements all engaged in conflicts in the middle east, south asia and eastern central africa. okay? these movements are distinct, they generated in different regions. they emerged in different contexts, but they share many similarities. they are all in muslim states or in muslim-populated regions so nigeria is a large muslim
minority state, but mostly muslim regions. they're all regionally based and absolutely endemic to their regions. so they may have developed connections, but they remain regional context and they're endemic to their region. they all are in weak-- based to operate in weak or failed, failing states. often surrounded also by a couple of weak and failed states. they all aspire to build alternative systems of government, not just any single country, in the region. and they all combine active combat, intense combat against the governmental and foreign and security forces in the
context of the most intense armed conflicts with their lead role as terrorists globally. to give you an idea, i mean, we have statistics, empirical basis more or less on terrorism, 74% as of the middle of this decade, which is basically now. 74% of all terrorist fatalities are accounted for by just the-- 74% of all, by identified groups and that's basically isis, the taliban, boca haram, al-shabaab and sometimes one more, depending on the year, but it's just, it's just -- and daesh is not always the lead
actor, not a known parameter, not each year. daesh is frequently outmatched by other actors of this group. so, for instance, it was the most deadly group, terrorist group, daesh in 2016 the latest year for which data is available. but there was a single attack the highest in the world, 12 people killed per attack. boca haram essentially evertook daesh a couple of times, 2014 as the most deadliest terrorist group in the world. taliban leads as a chief terrorist sector because of existence longer. and what made-- isis belongs to this group by history, how it's formed. you know? they all-- all of this movement went
through bottom up regionalization, and started with something more localized and cross border and then getting regionalized. the only reason-- the main reason isis stood out was not the intensity of the terrorist activity, it's compatible to other groups of this type. the reason it went far beyond, it extended. ambitious not beyond syria and iraq, but beyond the middle east and grew up into a terrorist category of its own. so, basically isis is an accumulated product of this regionalization and i would say of three in transnational terrorist and one is bottom up regionalization and second, i call it network fragmenttation of global jihad. which perhaps everywhere, but mostly in regions outside the muslim world. in developed world we see this
fragmenttation and then, of course, this intensified targeted flows of jihadists within the region and between, across regionals. and these trends are interrelated, but they're distinct. they may be rooted in different context and they only partially overlap. the problem, it's exactly where they overlap, all three, you know, that you get daesh. the way we knew it at its peak. basically, a system with territorially based caliphate at its core, reinforced by inflows of fighters and settlers from the middle east and from beyond the middle east. and extending, it's propaganda influence, ideology, whatever, to many localized groups in other parts of the world,
microcells of jihadists, in developed world, and individuals and so on and so forth. now, the demise of isis core in syria and iraq, yes, it may not be complete, i agree, it may have some aftershocks as seth just explained to us, but frankly, it more or less brings an end to daesh as this ambition to have a global caliphate. because that's completely dependent on controlling significant territory in the historic lands of the caliphate and this basically-- and then of this centrifugal sort of system or this claim. however, it does not necessarily change the overall pattern that i have described. it's a pattern. so there's very solid grounds to expect that in the forseeable future, the bulk of global terrorist activity will
still be produced by a certain type of movement. you know? this relatively large tear toral torally-- territorially combined movement in the measure of armed conflicts in primarily the muslim world. and i don't have any grounds to suggest this pattern is likely to radically change and this is a more important finding whether isis would be replaced by any-- whether it's al qaeda coming back again to reassert itself. there's not going to be a single replacement. we're dealing with a complex thing, a number of conflicts. second, moving to the second question, which is international cooperation, what does this mean for international cooperation on terrorism, international cooperation on anti-terrorism has a face of many, faces many
impediments, many constraints. i don't even want to go to the list, anything from rivalries, and any regional balance, in the regional conflicts, same thing. sometimes domestic politicals interfere. the ubiquitous double standards a one is freedom fight and one is terrorist, so on, so for the. i would argue the main complication is actually far more serious at the global level. it points to a sharp contrast, a dies disproportion. imagine a divide that's not along the east-west at all. which is not exactly north-sou north-south, but i would rather say, it divides between the
developed west, oecd's, the west, and the developed world on the one hand and then several areas of major armed conflicts in the muslim world on the other and this divide manifests itself, manifests itself in extreme distribution of terrorist activity, of of physical harm, suffering from terrorism, between the two worlds, if you like. so, just to briefly give an example. 94% of people die from terrorism in the middle east and south asia and in eastern central africa. 94%. so, not in the global best. nor in the east, however you define it, russia, eurasia, whatever china, they're in this
part of the world. so if you go beyond fatalities, look at the parameters of terrorist activity. 90% of all terrorist activity is accounted for by just countries with global terrorism index, those who want to read up about it -- just none of them are western states. none of the top 20 in the world are western states. iraq and afghanistan, wore torn iraq and afghanistan, they lead, absolutely, by all counts in the century, as the two countries most affected, heavily affected by terrorists, followed by conflicts in syria, nigeria and pakistan. so, together just five countries in the world account for two-thirds of all people killed in terrorist attacks. step aside immediately, what this high concentration of so
much terrorist activity globally and just a few areas and in the hands of just not as many handfuls of groups, what does it imply for national cooperation with international terrorists. the implication is obvious. if we want to reduce terrorism by just six, seven groups, let's concentrate on the groups first and let's pull ourselves together and concentrate on it first. and this is what happened and so even if you intercreased regionally, best of all, national, regional and international level. even gets one or two such groups, you immediately see a very substantial reduction in global terrorism, you know, indicators. this is what happened in the past two years in syria, due to increased international pressure, wherever it comes
from. it increases the national pressure on isis and mostly because of national and regional, regional efforts, they cooperate -- international cooperation, regional cooperation against terrorism. but just this, too, helped to reduce terrorist fatalities by 22% in just two years since the historical peak of 2014. you know, so no matter what happens between russia and the united states, okay, no matter how they hate each other or not doesn't matter, whether you like it or not, but they both actively contributed to this decline. through them the military campaigns in syria. yes, not uncoordinated, but through parallel efforts with at least one shared goal, anti-isis. coming back to this colassel disproportion globally that i
was talking about, with so much activity concentrated in just the several areas of mentioned of armed conflicts. what we're seeing in the developed world, well, in 2016 that accounted for just 1% of global terrorist fatalities. well, again, that's not the impression-- and we're coming to the reverse disproportion near here. there's a disproportion in political effect. political media, effect that attacks have on world politics, security, global anti-terrorism agenda and you see a diverse disproportion, of course, because, against this indirect, broader, politically destabilizing effect of terrorism compares very much on the centrality over the context
of world politics and the west is simply for central. that's why despite minimal, i would say minuscule, direct manifestation comes from the developed world. any attacks in paris, london, orlando, whatever, immediately get overwhelmed global media, you know, the bout of political media attention. compared to far more frequent and far more deadly attacks. anyway in kabul, magazine, mogadishu, you name it. i'm coming. i'm wrapping up. but the problem is that this will-- you could say few, minimum
amount of terrorism in the west because of centrality to global scene or whatever. they also have disproportionate influence on local global terrorism gaen agenda. some of the concerns to a western society, radicalization of second generation of migrants, i don't know. emergence of self-generating microcells, jihadist type. anti-migrant, the rise of anti-migrant right wing violence. they may be down for the west, but frankly, they're hardly-- they are hardly a priority or hardly even relevant for much of the rest of the world and particularly for those countries which suffer so terribly more from direct manifestations and broader armed conflicts at the same time and they have every right
to claim that their concerns are underrepresented in a way in global anti-terrorism agenda, especially since this country also had the resources and some let the shia minimal level of state functionality required to sort of counterterrorism and even to implement those anti-terrorism obligations that they sign up for. so, globally there is a huge need to bridge this gap somehow because it's an objective, you know, gap. and i think russia, actually, as being somewhat between the two worlds, you know, has maybe one of the countries that can play a role in bridging this gap, given that making global anti-terrorism agenda a balance to this disproportion. russia is on one hand a major player at u.n., a champion, one
of the champions along with the states along with other states of india, you know, other states as well of anti-terrorist agenda at the u.n. and at the same time clearly a nonwestern power. if there were any doubts about it, they should be gone by now, yeah? it's also, in terms of vulnerability to terrorism, russia is actually-- it went through the worst-- i'm going to. >> and russia went through the worst, i mean, it was the only country not former soviet countries that actually made it into the top ten earlier this century. the only one. and it was also the only one that effectively improved its position on all of this by falling out the first top ten and then of the top 20, and then from the top 30 and by now, if you look at objective indicators, doing better than
either the united states or france. okay. so, in a position to do that. just to conclude, if we come back to the fact that-- because i think it connects us back to what irina was talking to conflicts and answer your question why so much talking about things other than terrorism, if we come back to the fact that the lion's share of global terrorist activity is linked to the agenda and to the context of armed conflicts, over very specific type, they're similar these conflicts. ... the my answer unless you get
you indicated that it's not entirely clear where it's going to go. what do you think russia's interests are in terms of where iran will go and how much influence russia has over iran to gain those interests? and then for status and a ekatarina, the same question because you both touched on that. made a very convincing case that most terrorism, is the product of the worker of a small number of groups and neighborhoods where they live. so my question to the two of you is twofold. one is what proportion of these group strategies in terrorism sites insurgency, particularly now after the prestige and i
says. and as their focus on their neighborhood a matter of even opportunity or anything intentional? is it that they target western countries really because you do get so much bang for the buck or would they target them more and i think that speaks to some of the ways we in washington and moscow are trying to assess the threats. >> first of all, i would say that since the conflict and unfortunately for some indefinite time. we cannot say what the endgame for iran will be in syria. we can suspect, of course that since iran continued to the situation in syria and i mean
pursued the jihadist and coming to power. so from this point of view, we can say that iran will be very much interested in something in return. [inaudible] bad because it is always ambivalence. because on one hand, of course he helped the same power. but if it gets strong enough, he will go. [inaudible] from the domestic point of view appeared as far as russia is concerned, we are not interested in the division of theory.
we are supporting the idea again at 2254. and the effort of the original power to identify their zones of interest, i believe it is detrimental to the political sentiment. as far as russian leverages can learn, i believe that under certain conditions, but unfortunately the ambitions of iran and syria has increased against the background of the united states and european countries, just exerting pressure and the nuclear deals. so you know, this is a very complicated game.
[inaudible] >> thank you. i'm going to sort of differentiate between focus on the far enemy, the west, russia and the near enemy, rather than sort of terrorism and insurgency. i think the evidence is overwhelming that the vast majority of violence is happening by local groups in the countries within which they are operating. if you look at the data from james or any of the databases, overwhelmingly shows the vast majority of the violence is directed at near enemy regimes and then countries operating against them in somalia, for example. i'll should bob's primary regional terrorism is directed at the canyons in particular and the ethiopians because they are the lead efforts on the ground. but here is the challenge and i think this is where, and this
becomes an issue for states outside of that, whether moscow or paris or washington. and that is a few things. one is when you look at the leadership of virtually all of these groups. i'm going to call some of these groups within the al qaeda sphere in part because they pledge allegiance. so if you look at his statements and some of their actions. if you look at the modern over the last few weeks, if you look at the leadership comments for and i'll should bob, if you look at the leadership of al qaeda in the peninsula. debut focus on enemies being both internal in that area they are targeting and also the countries that are supporting them overseas. this is why we get attacks
against because they tie those two together. it is not just the regimes locally, but it's also supporters wherever they are. moscow or paris or washington or london. so i think there is some tie between those organizations. now, we've seen these groups due to kinds of things to tie the conflicts together. one is inspire attacks in the last and i think this is where daish based on its media has been more successful in other groups inspired attacks in the west. i would not underestimate as we've seen in france in the past two years the ability for individuals to be inspired. sure, the numbers in france and europe are much smaller than they are in iraq or afghanistan.
but it is the dominant theme in the french society, the most significant threat it has right now comes from jihadist groups both internally, but also outside in that connection. second involvement in plots in the paris november 2015 attack as an example of where we see the connection plotting in the middle east and going in that case paris to connect the attack. these broader now works by outside powers in u.s. special operations, british, french and even not russian operations has for the moment degraded the external capabilities of these groups. we've seen into europe.
and the individuals who have been plotting attacks who have killed and in that case, the u.s. strike. the challenge i see as a very good example of this. they have controlled an increase in al qaeda more recently in helmand or up in northern helmand. dacey of burdening of these wars, these local wars and violence in these countries as long as they continue there will and continue to be connections and desire, built to focus on attacking the regime in the countries they are operating as well as to target if they can to
groups providing assistance to those regimes and that means look at the statements very specifically as our cheery, bin laden and baghdad he target in their words and plotting moscow and paris. so if we don't deal effectively with these burning conflicts, we continue to risk threats. however, small percentage of number base. >> first of all, a slight correction. we are talking about all sorts of local groups active in their neighborhood. when we talk about the critical layers, the most dangerous, we talk about it's neither extraterritorial al qaeda style nowhere, you know, with no
territorial base with any particular countries. more and more a wide variety of islamists separatist groups fighting on the periphery of otherwise relatively functional space, mostly muslim minority states. they are dominating medically. many more. first of all, russia, china, india, for us in asia, it is a very standard thing, almost every second country it's at the national level.
then operate the clear problem here and the links in the middle east i don't want to preclude, but basically there is a crisis for fundamental crisis have stayed. they are dealing with groups that combine. most of them are prioritized conduct overt terrorist means, especially groups like olivia. we spent the last two days showing the terrorists. they remain in the care sector in afghanistan coming even the new isis bring spare or
whatever. in their activity conduct clearly dominates. movements like that, there's not much you can do without, you know, changing something fundamental. and it's very hard to deceive them militarily just by mobilizing external international support. the only reason is because the movement went out of its region. it started to present a global problem and created a necessary degree of international consensus of a very broad coalition. nevertheless, this is probably the broadest you can have. but the movement like the telegram does not have any particular goals beyond the afghan means. the area of operation, you know, it's very hard to mobilize.
neighboring countries, and is a complex regional balance. there's not much you can do. most of the cases actually, somalia, afghanistan, even libya. there is no clear military solutions to the problem, which means it's all very suspect to fundamental things. in trying to find the solution to respective conflicts, where these groups usually remain in opposition force, which means addressing so on and so forth. they present the main challenge at all levels.
>> i'm going to take for questions and then come back to our analysts to respond to them and say anything additional. over here in the grave. please identify yourself and please do ask a question. >> thank you very much for your interesting question. my question is although different from the topic it is settlement and i just want to ask your opinion. it is acknowledged now in the deadlock do you see any alternatives or do you see anything that can renew this process and just force it to bring something new to the table? thank you very much.
>> okay, over here. >> hi, thanks for coming. it's not often we get to your russian is from a first-hand account. my question is related to the virgin object is between russia and the u.s. and i just wanted to see if you could speak to an optimal solution within syria from a russian perspective and readies the differences between a not small u.s. solution. thank you. >> let's go to the back. >> hi, alexander, george mason university. my question is about the recent statements from the head of u.s. forces in afghanistan alleging that russia help support the taliban. is there any thing and regardless of that, what does this mean for the future of cooperation between the u.s. and russia is one of the most senior
u.s. officials counter terrorism makes this kind of statement? thank you. >> final question here in the front. >> thank you so much. i am from the voice of america. i have two questions. how about a new version of jihadist selected some backed by turkish government after being destroyed by this type of military effects. the second one is defeating a fifth in syria by the kurdish fighters was a big victory for u.s.a. but u.s.a. did gain might to
control the city and killing people, looting, destroying the city. >> what is the question? >> my turkish government. >> what's the question? is it a green light? okay, let's go in reverse order to answer what you want as you want and if you have final comments we have two minutes each. [inaudible] geneva talks on syria. russia has been supportive of talks throughout. furthermore, i would say
[inaudible] one of its main goals as i see it was to prepare technical grounds for geneva because it addressed three main issues, which prevented previous talks to start in earnest, which was all previous -- several years of geneva talk around. they did not involve players on the ground. they involve a bunch of immigrant. they did not account sufficiently for interested key regional players and they were not based on the cease-fire. the point was to address all the issues to bring together underground and others, radical groups in the position. they did of course account by turkey and iran and it did
create grounds for a ceasefire, which held comparably batter than all previous one despite all the violations. it was the longest holding and remains the longest holding cease-fire. so in that sense, you must realize that his cease-fire talks. they do not address even humanitarian situations. in the main issues, political issues. the future of the country with the political transition. all the things the u.n. security council resolution and the one here that is the joke for geneva, which is why russia will continue to support geneva talks in another way by arranging
sochi and a broader range of tribal leaders. who could not come out in a personal capacity, but trying to engage people in dialogue. and there's not enough. not nearly enough of this dialogue. among syrians, what country they want. i am answering a tricky sort of area. is russia ready to support it indefinitely? if geneva talks are forever. if there's no progress, because russia is firmly set on
diminishing the presence in the area. in its ownership of the syria problems. i think it will consider other exit problems through the settlement. but if not, it will consider other exit options keeping some of the games, but its main focus will be on diminishing while preserving it grow in influence in the context of the broader region. [inaudible] >> will see if other people can pick out. >> i will talk about the taliban. on the geneva talks, my view is fairly cynical. we have decades of examples of
effective successful peace settlements including one that has stuck. there are range of fact or is that your probability of settlement. one of them is stalemate. i think one of the single biggest challenges to geneva right now is the absence of a stalemate on the ground. i think that makes it unlikely to get a serious settlement on the ground. in that sense, it will continue to fight because the prospects every day get better for a better bargaining hand. maybe we will get a settlement on the road, but my prospects are lower than more progress on the battlefield occurs. on the russia issue, this is something i focus a fair amount on another spent time in afghanistan and talk to arrange including the blues back,
cosmetics, russians themselves, pakistan and afghans. my sets on the russian television relationship is to have a bit of context here by far the biggest backer remains the taliban. this is where the leadership structure of the taliban remains. also, three main chewers of the taliban. iran probably second as an outside state dr. iran has allowed camps in iranian soil to be used by the taliban. when the last palestinian leader was killed, he had just come from iranian territory before he was killed by u.s. strike in pakistan. so, this puts the russian assistance in and my general sense is that has been nearly limited. russian objectives in
afghanistan are primarily designed to weekend, if not destroy a face. serious concerns about activity and a range of places. there still is balance of power struggle with the u.s. the u.s. has a presence that's gone up in afghanistan, south of russia. the u.s. has a relationship that continues to develop and i think this presents some rain of a strategic concern. and so, in that sense it looks like there has been limited support between the russians and the taliban. they can be overstated quite easily. i would say one of my general assumptions as the great thing in afghanistan is most major powers play not to lose, not necessarily to win. i think if there's any way they can bog americans down in afghanistan, there are a number
of countries in the region that would be very happy to do that. >> last word. >> as far as conflict is concerned, i really believe the main obstacle is not the united states [inaudible] to do a lot to push it forward. not russia, which also can make use of not doing much. we never take into consideration the positions of the locals. the question is the negotiation settlement. do they come from any venue which is set up for them. they are not coming. they are not showing up. this is the main focus as far as all sources in syria and other states of the region. they used to be dependent on the outside powers.
india now from -- then we have the cold war and they have not traded for anything themselves. it is important for all of us to teach them to be responsible for the faith of their own country because we can not to match. actually for us, whatever will be agreed on by the syrians themselves is fine. we are not going to dictate to them what to do. all of the strategies, if there is a roadmap according to a new model of constitution, which
would strip all of the immense power and then it would be easy. so we would like to see unified syria, but i'm not sure whether this really will come through. >> are not extremely positive note, i thought this was a fantastic conversation. a big thanks to the carnegie corporation of new york, which support that bwi's dead and the russia and eurasia program for cosponsoring it. three wonderful panelists were getting mass so much to think about. and i think this is a fantastically sensitive discussion and our audience can i thank you all so much for
being here. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> surgeon general jerome adams will give the keynote address at the national public health week which kicks off today. our live coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. eastern on espn2. now, a form on the maritime security challenges in the asia-pacific. china strategic and tactical actions in the east and south china seas and the response by the u.s. and its allies in the region. hosted by the atlantic council, this is an hour and 20 minute. >> well, good morning, everyone and welcome. i'