ICT's 15 International Conference will address the "Shifting Sands of Terrorism", exploring the evolution of the terrorist threat in the face of an evolving environment and growing diversity of terrorist actors. Furthermore, the conference will address questions of counterterrorism policy and strategy to address the evolving nature of the terrorist threat.
ICT's workshops will be held on September 9 and 10, 2015 at the IDC Herzliya campus. The workshops will be divided into three sections, each addressing an important issue facing terrorism today.
The morning workshops on the third day of the conference are devoted to examining the changing environment that affects today’s terrorist threat. The workshops on the evolving environment will hone in the following topics:
In the last decade, the threats posed by the cyber world have become a reality. The workshop will address the role of the internet as a medium for communication and recruitment, as well as a tool to carry out acts of terrorism.
The jihadi terrorist threat has changed from that of the centrally planned and funded al Qaeda, to the ISIS inspired lone actor. Many of these individuals trained in Syria, Iraq, or elsewhere, while other have been radicalized on-line without ever leaving their homes. Thousands of volunteers from Europe and the United States have travel led to Syria and Iraq, and now potentially pose an enormous threat to their countries of origin. Today's counter-terrorism strategies look at how to dissuade people from radicalizing, as well as identifying those who volunteer to fight, and those who return home determined to continue the campaign. The focus of this workshop will be on the exchange of best practice and de-radicalization techniques, where the speakers will be practitioners drawn from government-affiliated bodies, as well as civil society.
This workshop will address the ideas and ideologies behind terrorism. Looking at Islam, Christianity and Judaism, participants will examine how an idea and ideology can be distorted in order to push a radical agenda.
This workshop addressed the important links between BDS, antisemitism and terrorism. Speakers focused on the ideology behind the movement, the links between NGO's and terrorist groups, as well as the recent 2014 clashes and its international repercussions. The workshop also addressed how to tackle this difficult issue.
The afternoon workshops of the third day will scrutinize the growing diversity of actors that are engaged in acts of terrorism today. While formal terrorist organizations continue to play an important role, the workshops will explore how these groups have evolved to a dynamically changing environment by adopting a variety of forms of political violence, while also attempting to establish a semblance of governance. Besides these formal terrorist, hybrid, and insurgent organizations, the workshops will also discuss other traditional and emerging types of terrorist actors, from self-starters to informal networks and state actors.
When examining the problem of terrorism, scholars and practitioners have traditionally focused on formal actors such as terrorist organizations or states as the main units of analysis. While these formal actors continue to carry out acts of terrorism, informal actors such as lone wolves and loose networks—including homegrown terrorists and foreign fighter networks—are becoming more important players on the international terrorist scene. This workshop examines these informal actors in greater depth.
The global jihad is a social movement composed of a variety of actors, including individuals, networks, and formal organizations. Formal global jihadi organizations continue to pose the most consequential threats, as evidenced by the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram, and similar groups. At the same time, terrorist groups have increasingly adopted other tactics and strategies, such as guerrilla and insurgency, and have become more adept political actors. This workshop is dedicated to the discussion of the threat posed by formal terrorist groups and their evolution over time.
Formal research into terrorism tends to focus on sub-state actors, but such a view ignores the key role played by states that sponsor or otherwise abet terrorism. Speakers in this workshop analyze the role played by states in terrorism, relying on various case studies of contemporary conflicts such as Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
On its final day, the conference will devote itself to counter-terrorism. The workshops and other events of Day Four will seek to analyze how states affected by terrorism should best devote their limited resources to formulate optimal strategies to confront the continuously evolving threat of terrorism. This year’s workshops on counter-terrorism will pay special attention to the legal challenges that are part of Western attempts to address the foreign fighter problem; and to discussions on the role of police, law enforcement, and military elements of counterterrorism.
The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) and the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at Syracuse University cooperate each year in a project called New Battlefields/Old Laws. This year, the workshop explores the threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters and the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178.
This workshop will address the diverse and difficult challenges that confront law enforcement, the police and the judiciary in combatting terrorism. Participants will address specific state policies and practices, and critically review international standards in the struggle against terrorism.
Counter-terrorism strategy is composed of various elements, one of which is the role of the military. The workshop explores the benefits, drawbacks, and conditions for the employing of military force. Participants will critically assess contemporary military activities, and discuss the difficult question of how military success can be defined.
The workshop will take stock of the main structural, geopolitical dynamics shaping the region; analyze the impact (actual and potential) of the cascade of state failure in the region on local, regional, and global security; explore how these changes are transforming the ideology, organization, and modus operandi of terrorist organizations; and ask how counter-terrorism tactics, strategies, rules, and institutions need to evolve to better understand and manage the new reality.