The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were widely considered a badly needed “wake-up call” for the Western world – a watershed event of international terrorism that alerted the public and decision makers to the urgency of the terrorist threat. However, despite the subsequent action taken to combat the terrorist threat post-9/11, the world has yet to fully awaken to the most fundamental necessity of effectively defeating terrorism – international cooperation.
Remarkably, almost nine years later, it seems that international cooperation in the fight against terrorism is as equally defined by its consistent reliance on the “snooze” button as it is on its achievements. In fact, while decision makers are seemingly sleeping, terrorist operatives and recruits are wide awake and taking “international cooperation” to a whole new level – developing complex and dynamic networks that span across continents.
Given the unprecedented scope and severity of the threat of international terrorism, cooperation among counter-terrorism officials, intelligence agencies, academics, practitioners, and local enforcement mechanisms – on a local, national, and international level – is simply non-negotiable.
It is in this spirit that the Institute for Counter-Terrorism holds its international conference on an annual basis, bringing together hundreds of experts and academics once a year in an intensive three-day conference to address the new threats posed by international terrorism and to collaborate on creating new solutions. Conference workshops and panels address real-world challenges posed by modern and post-modern terrorist organizations from a variety of perspectives and disciplines.
In September 2008, over 1,000 participants from more than 60 countries made ICT’s 8th Annual Conference the largest in its history. Some of the ideas exchanged and lessons learned at the annual conference are gathered together in this volume, a collection of select articles from distinguished conference participants.
The international campaign against terrorism faced new challenges in 2008 and 2009. With al-Qaeda’s shift in operational base fromAfghanistantoPakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the al-Qaeda threat arguably proliferated, embracing new local groups and the support of the Pakistani Taliban, as well as expanding its network through homegrown terrorist groups aided largely by the internet and new media technologies. Al-Qaeda linked groups were responsible for hundreds of attacks in 2008. Including the devastating effects of terrorism inIraq, about 11,000 terrorist attacks against non-combatants took place in 2008 around the world.