ATbar ICT's 14th International Conference on Counter-Terrorism Summary

ICT's 14th International Conference on Counter-Terrorism Summary

31/12/2014 | by ICT Staff  



From September 8th-11th, 2014, against the backdrop of the recently-concluded Operation Protective Edge, the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at IDC Herzliya held its annual conference, this year on the subject of “Terrorism in Shifting Context.”   
ICT, one of the world’s leading academic institutes for counter-terrorism, facilitates international cooperation in the global struggle against terrorism. This year, ICT’s annual conference brought together over a thousand top decision-makers, defense, intelligence and police officials, scholars, and security industry leaders from over 60 countries to learn from each other about the challenges posed by terrorist organizations and strategies for dealing with them.
For the first time, the initial two days of the conference, comprised of plenary sessions, took place at the Daniel Hotel in Herzliya. The last two days, composed of various workshop discussions, took place on the IDC Herzliya campus. Mr. Jonathan Davis, Vice President for External Relations and Head of the Raphael Recanati International School at IDC Herzliya, served as the conference’s master of ceremonies.
The first day of the conference was comprised of plenary sessions with Israeli politicians and security figures. 
Prof. Boaz Ganor, Founder and Executive Director of ICT and Dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy at IDC Herzliya said that “two weeks ago, we weren’t even sure that there was going to be a conference, as we were still in the middle of Operation Protective Edge.” Prof. Ganor shared his perception of what happened during the campaign, but cautioned that it was “too early to judge who the victor was and whether Israel was successful in achieving deterrence.” 
Following welcoming greetings from Prof. Ganor and a warm introduction from Prof. Uriel Reichman, President and Founder of IDC Herzliya, the opening keynote address was given by President Shimon Peres, who had just recently completed his tenure as ninth President of Israel. Peres said that the international community must include Israel in its fight against terror. "Terror is a system that needs to be addressed religiously, militarily, nationally and financially,” he said.  He gave strong support for the use of economic sanctions against Qatar and Turkey to punish them for financing terror. He also praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying, "while the Palestinian Authority has a pro-terror camp, there is also a pro-peace camp, led by Abbas." 
Several Israeli ministers and Knesset members addressed the plenum, often presenting opposing views regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. MK Tzipi Livni, Minister of Justice, declared that a clear distinction must be made between the religious ideology motivating Hamas and the nationalist ideology of the Palestinian Authority. “Just as it is a mistake to try to appease religious terrorism, it would be a mistake to let the cruel terror in this region work against all the rational thinking that obligates us to find a solution to the conflict between us and the Palestinians,” she said. Livni called for Israel to adopt diplomatic initiatives to better connect it to moderates in the Arab world in light of the threat of extremist terrorist groups operating in the region. Commenting on Operation Protective Edge, Livni claimed that Israel had made a mistake by not finishing the operation with a peace agreement. "Our military force weakened Hamas, but we need to weaken them even more,” she said, adding that what would achieve that goal would be “a resolving act of diplomacy.”
MK Yair Lapid, Minister of Finance, also called for peace talks at the conference, saying, “we need a regional agreement in which a Palestinian state will be established with a demilitarized Gaza.” Regarding the fight against terrorism, Lapid said that Israel has to "chase after the heads of terrorism everywhere in the world and wipe them out. It must also take a tough stance against the money that finances terrorism." 
MK Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy, in his first public speech since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, sharply criticized the Israeli left, accusing them of having outdated world views. “ISIS is moving to the east, Hezbollah is getting stronger to the north, Hamas is building terrorist tunnels to the south – and the Left is continuing with its regular refrain that a Palestinian state will solve all problems.” Bennett added that he had been ridiculed for saying that a Palestinian state would destroy Israel’s economy, until Ben-Gurion Airport was partially closed for two days during Protective Edge. “Does anyone still think that it is right to give Palestinians the hills overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport?” he asked. “One mortar a month and the economy would be ruined.”
MK Gilad Erdan, Minister of Communications, expressed similar sentiments, emphasizing the dangers of territorial concessions. "Every place that Israel has evacuated was seized by terrorists. Leaving territory breeds more difficult conditions for defending Israel's borders." Erdan also stressed the importance of thinking outside the box and involving Egypt and Jordan in an agreement, citing Egyptian President Sisi’s suggested solution as a positive example. 
Dr. MK Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Intelligence, warned that Mahmoud Abbas's plans pose a threat to the existence of Israel, saying that “recent events have shown us that what Abbas has suggested -withdrawal to 1967 lines without peace, without defensible borders, without the demilitarization of Gaza, without security control of the Jordan Valley- is collective suicide for Israel.” Steinitz and others, including Lt. Gen. (ret.) MK Shaul Mofaz, Head of the Kadima Party, emphasized the fact that ISIS and Hamas are “branches of the same tree,” as Mofaz put it. He strongly advocated that Israel set itself the goal of demilitarizing the Gaza Strip. 
MK Yaakov Peri, Minister of Science, Technology and Space, discussed the necessity of adapting to the constantly changing realities of the Middle East. He said that of all of the threats facing Israel, he viewed Iran as “the most critical and dangerous.” Like Peri, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intelligence MK Dan Meridor spoke of the rapid changes taking place in the region and in security doctrines, which he said must adapt themselves to modern reality. Col. (res.) MK Omer Bar-Lev, Member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the Israel Labour Party, dealt harsh criticism to the Israeli government, for “humiliating Abu Mazen” and thereby strengthening Hamas. “Given the current situation, the Israeli government is a real danger to the citizens of the south. It is a ticking time bomb to Zionism, demographically and politically,” he said. 
Lt. Gen. (ret.) MK Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, Minister of Defense, stressed the fact that terrorism is a challenge to the entire world, as well as the importance of international cooperation and intelligence sharing. “ISIS is now raising awareness in the western world, which gives hope for a continued coalition to fight terrorism,” he said. Ya’alon criticized the international community's failure to condemn Hamas, and Turkey, a NATO member, for supporting it. Iran is attempting to renew aid to Hamas in Gaza, he said, as Hamas has "proven itself against the Zionist enemy" in Iranian eyes. He also said that the IDF “takes steps that no other army would take in warning civilians of approaching strikes against terrorists.”  He discussed the difficulty in fighting Hamas, who hide amongst civilians and launch attacks from hospitals and schools, but said, “I have no doubt that we can defeat terrorism. There is no better incentive than the fact that we have no other choice.”
MK Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, claimed that each IDF military campaign strengthens Hamas politically. “Hamas is now the dominant force among the Palestinians,” he said, pointing out that before the campaign Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was the dominant force inside the PA, but polls today show that if an election were held now, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win. Lieberman also called for a permanent international coalition to fight against terrorism, and a new set of norms to address the modern reality. “International law must be adapted, and quickly. Terrorists work in real time, and without bureaucratic restrictions. They use the internet for recruitment, propaganda, and raising money. The laws of war are not updated to this reality. We need new legislation. We can’t have any strategic breakthroughs while we are still using old tools.” The foreign minister welcomed the US initiative to organize the coalition against ISIS. “This initiative should be expanded to battle not only ISIS, but the world of terrorism,” he said.
Amb. Dr. Michael Oren, Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Lauder School and former Ambassador of Israel to the United States, gave a talk about the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement and its international campaign to isolate Israel. He referred to the BDS movement as an existential threat that Israel does not take seriously enough. “We need to dedicate a lot more thought and resources to this,” he said.  “Hamas’s goal was not to militarily defeat us – it was to provoke the IDF to fight an enemy that hides behind civilians and causes casualties, live in front of news cameras. It was a very successful strategy.”
Commissioner of the Police, Yohanan Danino, discussed local terrorism, and said that the police would muzzle any local show of support for ISIS. He described the challenges that the Israeli police face, particularly during times of war – protests, riots, mayhem on the streets, attempts at ‘popular national terrorism’, tensions in Jerusalem, and more. “We have to allow freedom of expression,” he said. “We put in place a system to allow for protests and rallies to take place - I think that really shows how democratic Israel is.”
A memorial ceremony was held at the conference in honor of retired Marine Corps Colonel Nick Pratt, who founded and directed the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany. Prof. Boaz Ganor called Col. Pratt “an exceptional man, a man who dedicated his entire life to fighting terrorism. He was a friend of Israel, of ICT, and of mine.” Lt. Gen. (ret.) Keith W. Dayton, Director of the George C. Marshall Center, said that Pratt had always felt that “Israel has much to teach on terrorism. He brought people here who had no diplomatic ties with Israel, and they returned with a renowned respect for it. He prided himself on building a living network on combating terrorism. If he were here today, he would tell you all that there is nothing inevitable about these groups. They cannot defeat us. We are strong, and they are weak.”
At the conference’s official welcoming ceremony and reception. Prof. Reichman congratulated Prof. Ganor on his recent appointment as Dean of the Lauder School. He told the audience about the efforts of IDC students in launching a Public Diplomacy Center during Operation Protective Edge. Reichman posed the difficult question of why the campaign was not aimed at destroying Hamas. He also said that Israeli leaders needed a vision of peace, or the country would become increasingly isolated in the world. When such a vision is restored, he said, the world will give Israel the support it needs to defeat Hamas, who he called “enemies of life.”
Mr. Shabtai Shavit, Former Director of the Mossad and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ICT, discussed the concept of proportionality in fighting terrorism. “If your enemy does not represent an existential threat, you should practice proportionality,” he said. “But when the threat is existential, this term has no meaning. Victory in an asymmetric war is deterrence, for as long as possible, and the long term strategic goal of convincing the enemy that they cannot destroy us.” 
Mr. Moshe Fadlon, Mayor of Herzliya, expressed the importance of holding meetings such as the annual ICT conference, and said that he was proud that it was being held in the city of Herzliya.
The second day of the conference featured talks by several international participants. Dr. Alexander Evans, Coordinator of the Al-Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Team at the United Nations, said that “Al-Qaeda is significantly weaker than it was ten years ago, but has a broader group of affiliates. There’s an unhealthy need among them for competition to conduct the biggest or most sophisticated type of attack.” However, he said the UN could play a preventative and disruptive role by enacting sanctions. “It isn’t good enough to have a list saying ‘this group is bad’,” said Evans, “it needs to move a step further, to freezing assets. The UN is also a good place to build consensus between states. However, to put things in context, the entire UN system has only about 85 people who work on counter-terrorism full time and less than 25 million dollars a year for counter-terrorism programming. That’s not even on the scale of a medium state.” 
Maj. Gen. Nicola Gelao, Director of the Military Centre of Strategic Studies and the Centre for Advanced Defense Studies in Italy, discussed maritime affairs. He pointed to two major threats: piracy, for example the serious threat it has presented off the coast of Somalia, and maritime terror, which can involve attacks directed at vessels, harbors, and fixed land-based targets, as well as the hijacking of commercial or passenger ships.
Brig. Gen. (ret.) Russell Howard, Director of MonTrep and Adjunct Professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in the United States, claimed that with regards to ISIS, much of what is perceived as a challenge can actually be seen as an opportunity. Now that the group controls territory and is seeking to seize more, it is becoming more and more centralized, which makes it vulnerable. “When ISIS is decentralized and flexible it is difficult to attack,” he said. “The more they centralize I think it will be easier. They will have to be governed, with their own army, civil judiciary, and propaganda instruments. They will need a capital – which is a good target.” 
Dr. Robert Satloff, Executive Director and Howard P. Berkowitz Chair in U.S. Middle East Policy, The Washington Institute, said that “the grim reality for Israel is the long war. My entire professional life I’ve advised Israelis to take initiative to control their destiny in politics as well as in security, or it will be determined by others. Israel either acts or is acted upon.” 
Dr. Mirza Dinnayi, Chief Coordinator of the Yazidi community in Europe and Former Senior Advisor to the President of Iraq, asserted that ISIS is being supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and controls territory four times the size of Israel. He complained that the international community was too slow to react to the Yazidi persecution. “Today there are more than 300,000 refugees, 3,000 killed, and 5,000 women kidnapped,” he claimed, and continued to say that “ISIS has thousands of suicide bombers that can attack people anywhere in the world.” 
Prof. Irwin Cotler, Member of the Canadian Parliament and Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, said that the summer of 2014 marked a “tipping point” in the “toxic convergence” of global anti-Semitism and terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists around the world. “Israel is the only state and Jews the only people today who are the standing targets of state-sanctioned genocide,” he said, “while also being the only state and only people accused of genocide. There is a symbiotic relationship between genocidal anti-Semitism and international terrorism. This convergence represents a clear and present danger, not only for Jews, but for our common humanity.”
Mr. Weixiong Chen, Deputy Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) at the United Nations Security Council, said that “states must combat and prevent terrorism through an integrated, comprehensive and holistic approach that includes, inter alia, identification of regional and national vulnerabilities, facilitation of technical assistance and project delivery, mechanisms to measure the impact of delivery, and measures to protect human rights. They must move beyond the response from government apparatus to engage actively with all sectors of society, including religious figures, youth, women, and victims. They must focus not only on enhancing physical equipment, but also on strengthening human resources."
Prof. Alex P. Schmid, Director of the Terrorism Research Initiative in The Hague, discussed religious extremism. He shared statistics that showed that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the world have been executed by Sunni extremists. He also pointed out that religion is on the rise: 90% of people today as opposed to 80% ten years ago identify as followers of some kind of religion. Schmid said that for democracy, this is not necessarily a good thing, as it has been found that the more religious one is the less likely he or she is to comply with the rules of democracy. He recommended focusing more on hearts and minds, and using the internet to counter hate speech and educate against extremism.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka, The Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory, US Marine Corps University, analyzed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s speech in Mosul declaring the return of the caliphate, reminding the audience that “this is not about geography, this is about religious war.” He claimed that ISIS is much worse than Al-Qaeda, as it “is about to capture a state, it understands social media, and its recruiting pool is enormous.” He also criticized the US administration’s analysis of the jihadist threat, saying that what it needs to do is attack the ideology of radical Islam. 
Mr. Emile Simpson, Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy in the International Security Program at Harvard University, spoke of the difficulty of applying the traditional logic of war to terrorist organizations. Drawing on his personal experience in Afghanistan, he said that there are now “no clear boundaries between war and peace - the concept of victory is different. The solution is to try to understand contemporary warfare and its political context in its own terms.” 
Judge David Benichou, Senior Criminal Investigation Judge in the Counter-terrorism Unit of the Court of First Instance in Paris, discussed the rise of jihadist networks in France and the increasing numbers of French foreign fighters in terrorist organizations. Prof. Fernando Reinares, Chair of Political Science and Security Studies at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Senior Analyst on International Terrorism at the Real Instituto Elcano in Madrid, provided data on radical jihadism in Spain. Prof. Harald Haas, Chair of Mobile Communications in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, presented the technology of light communications and its application to various security challenges. 
Mr. Matthew H. King, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, gave a talk on using law enforcement to mitigate the terrorist threat. He said that the increasingly global nature of security means that “seemingly isolated events often have transnational origins and security challenges that are borderless. The consequence is that security must begin and end not at the border - the border must be the last line of defense.” King also maintained that international partnerships are vital to countering transnational threats.
Mr. Brian M. Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the President at the RAND Corporation, explained that “as armed conflict has declined, terrorism has ascended, from only tactics in the 1970s to a sophisticated strategy. Its perpetrators have evolved from a handful of gangs to global terrorist enterprises. We have seen the emergence of terrorist states, quasi-states like ISIS, Hamas, and Hezbollah.” He continued to say that “warfare is increasingly about the manipulation of perceptions. This is something that our terrorist adversaries may understand more readily than we do. As an Al-Qaeda strategist said, communications are 50 percent of the battle. We do shock and awe with airpower. They do shock and awe with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.”
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of the UK Metropolitan Police, who also leads the counter-terrorist network for England, reminded the plenary that the UK has lived under the shadow of terrorism since the 1970s. “Since 2001, our police have foiled at least one major terrorist attack every year,” said Hogan-Howe. “Central to any counter-terrorism strategy is the pursuit of those involved in terrorist activity, and we have seen a significant rise of this - arrests are being made at a rate fivefold of those made in 2013.”
In a session on countering terrorism propaganda and Israeli advocacy, moderated by Mr. Dan Diker, Research Fellow at ICT, panelists discussed the phenomenon of “soft-terrorism”, which includes de-legitimization and anti-Semitism. Mr. Shabtai Shavit discussed the UN refugee agency UNWRA, calling it “one of the UN’s gravest mistakes.” He gave numerous examples of the double standards applied to Palestinian refugees in comparison with all other refugees in the world, which in fact perpetrate the refugee problem rather than help to solve it. “UNWRA’s rationale is political rather than humanitarian,” said Shavit. “Hamas uses this agency’s money and infrastructure for tunnels and hiding rockets.” Prof. Rafi Melnick, Former Provost of IDC Herzliya, presented his research on terrorism’s macroeconomic impact. He demonstrated the negative effect terrorist attacks have on GDP, and pointed out that the media is actually a silent partner in this. “Terrorists have found the winning formula and it is the media,” said Melnick, and went on to suggest the possibility of finding ways to deal with the media’s coverage of terrorism without violating democracy. 
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, spoke about the need for better due diligence in western government funding for NGOs that are often linked to terrorist groups. “Finding where the money comes from is essential,” he said. “It’s not just from Qatar and other oil-rich countries - western countries play a role too, knowingly or not. Dr. Charles Small, Director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy, called contemporary anti-Semitism a “powerful fuel for the phenomenon of radical jihadi terrorism.” Amb. Gideon Behar, Director of the Department for Combating Anti-Semitism at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed pessimism regarding the anti-Semitic trends in Europe in particular, saying that “if we don’t take immediate measures to stop it, the situation will deteriorate more and more.” He pointed to Islamic radicalism as the source of anti-Semitism in Europe, which appeared even more rampant during Operation Protective Edge. Mr. David Brog, Executive Director of Christians United for Israel, expressed concern over the fact that in the United States, Israel is rapidly losing the support of both young people and Democrats. 
On September 10th and 11th, a series of workshop sessions were held on a variety of topics.  
The workshop entitled “New Battlefields/Old Laws: The Next Steps in Counterterrorism: Adapting to an Evolving Threat and an Expanding Battlefield” was co-chaired by Prof. William Banks, Founding Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University, and Dr. Daphné Richemond Barak, Senior Researcher and Head of the International Law Desk at ICT. A great part of the discussion focused on the difficulty of identifying the enemy when targeting terrorist organizations. “There's a big difference between who is a part of the group versus who is fighting with the group,” said Prof. Laurie Blank, Director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory Law School. Moreover, as Dr. Barak pointed out, “We see more terrorist groups acting like governing authorities, such as Hamas in Gaza, Boko Haram controlling northern Nigeria, ISIS controlling parts of two states, and Hezbollah gaining more power within the Lebanese government. So we are fighting against quasi-governmental movements that also provide social services - this can have legal consequences as well.” 
The workshop on the "Psychological Aspect of Terrorism" was chaired by Prof. Ariel Merari, a Research Fellow at ICT and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Tel Aviv University. The main issues discussed were characteristics of terrorists, suicide bombers in particular, the issue of deterrence, and resilience. Dr. Yoav Broshi and Dr. Ilan Diamant, both clinical psychologists, presented the findings of a study examining the characteristics of suicide bombers.  A main finding was that the bombers themselves had a significantly lower level of ego strength than the organizers of suicide attacks. They also had more suicidal thoughts and tendencies towards depression than their organizers and controllers. Dr. Reuven Gal, Founding Chair of the Association of Civil-Military Studies, gave a talk on resilience, saying that he had found that two factors help measure a society’s resilience to terrorism: the ability to face a crisis without giving up on national strategic objectives, and the degree to which people demanded that their governments not make hasty decisions. Gal’s study found that in Israeli society, “public behavior was adaptive and adjustive.”
The workshop on "Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Research and Academia in a Changing Context" was held in memory of Prof. Ehud Sprinzak z”l,  Founding Dean of the Lauder School at IDC Herzliya. The workshop was co-chaired by Prof. Assaf Moghadam, Director of Academic Affairs at ICT, and Prof. Alex P. Schmid. Panelists discussed the interaction between academia and government policy. “Often intelligence analysts don’t understand how broad academic generalizations can apply to policy and understanding. Intelligence officials need to know how to read academia better, and academics need to learn how to write for their audience,” said Dr. Tricia Bacon of the School of Public Affairs at the American University. Prof. Adam Dolnik, Professor at the University of Wollongong in Australia, discussed the issues associated with interviewing terrorists for academic research.  
The workshop entitled “Terrorism's New Targets: The Health Industry” was co-chaired by Prof. Boaz Ganor and Dr. Miriam Halperin Wernli, Vice President and Head of Global Business and Science Affairs at Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Ltd in Switzerland. The panel dealt with the threat of explosive attacks on hospitals, where there is often low security, pharmaceutical crime, and the security of medical devices and the vulnerability of their software to manipulation. Regarding medical devices in particular, Prof. Ganor said that “we are concerned that terrorists would explore these options in order to kill and harm specific figures in the near future.”  
The workshop entitled “ISIS: Return of the New Caliphate?” was chaired by Dr. Eitan Azani, Deputy Executive Director of ICT. Prof. Eyal Zisser, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Tel Aviv University, pointed out that ISIS represents the first real threat to the survivability of the Assad regime in Syria. Dr. Jonathan Spyer, a Senior Research Fellow at IDC Herzliya’s Gloria Center, said that currently, ISIS in Iraq is losing ground to Kurdish forces backed by the United States, but near the Syria/Iraq border and Raqqah area, ISIS is strong and will be hard to destroy. According to Spyer, “ISIS will only be destroyed when ground forces enter Raqqah. The US and the West are determined not to go in on the ground, so the only forces possible are Shia ones – the Iranians, Assad, or Hezbollah.” Mr. Shiraz Maher, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Outreach at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College, London, spoke about foreign fighters. “Overall, from Europe, two and a half thousand foreign fighters have gone to Syria. Not all have gone to fight with ISIS but increasingly, they are the majority. Europeans offer ISIS slick propaganda, communication with Western Muslims, recruitment and incitement.” Mr. Emile Simpson maintained that the West is fundamentally ill-configured to deal with local issues and politics such as tribal relations, corruption, and land and water rights. His observation on a strategy to deal with ISIS was that the West should take on ISIS militarily in the initial phase and deny ISIS control of jurisdiction, but in the long-term, support regional powers instead. Mr. Yoram Schweitzer, Head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies, said that while ISIS flags have been seen in Israel, Israel has many partners who want to block it from operating in the area, including some of its enemies, like Hezbollah and Hamas, who don’t want to lose their hegemony. 
The workshop on "Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Innovation" was chaired by Dr. Gil-ad Ariely, Chief Knowledge Officer at ICT. On the one hand, it was suggested that terrorists always seek new technologies in order to expand their killing capacities. On the other hand, as Prof. Adam Dolnik pointed out, “Since 9/11, we have seen a decrease of technology in terrorist attacks. For example, Al-Qaeda is pushing for the simplification of attacks.” Mr. Brian Jenkins said that the most significant innovations have been in the development of communications. “Terrorism is a choreographed violence toward a targeted audience,” he said. “The biggest developments in the terror arsenal are the internet and social media. It gives them the capability to communicate alarm, to recruit followers, and to proselytize the ideology.” It was also pointed out that terrorists’ innovations have not only been in technology. As Prof. David Passig, Head of the Graduate Program in Information and Communication Technologies at Bar-Ilan University, said, “terrorists have innovated a new warfare doctrine that counters the superiority of the warfare doctrine that democracies developed during the 20th century. I believe they have found a renewed warfare doctrine to bring democracy to its knees.”   
The workshop on the "Impact of the Syria Conflict on Global Terrorism" was held in memory of Lt. Col. Emmanuel Moreno, z”l, who fell during the Second Lebanon War. The workshop was co-chaired by Dr. Ely Karmon, Senior Research Scholar at ICT, and Prof. Joachim Krause, Director of the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel in Germany. Dr. Col. (res.) Rateb Amro, Director-General of Horizon Strategic Studies in Jordan, spoke about the sectarian and interreligious strife in Syria as a catalyst for regional and global instability. “The Arab Spring is dead and Syria is writing its eulogy,” said Amro. Mr. Aaron Zelin, the Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy discussed the development and threats of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS to the region. Shiraz Maher addressed the issue of foreign fighters in Syria, outlining four types: Known radicals with longstanding associations with terrorist groups, humanitarian activists, martyrdom seekers looking for a shortcut to paradise and redemption, and those with criminal backgrounds trying to skip bail. Dr. Karmon pointed out that “these fighters can proliferate outside of the Middle East as well and become the infrastructure of the organization abroad.” Prof. Krause summed up by saying that “what I learned is that the state of Syria is beyond repair.”
The workshop on the "Policing and Law Enforcement of Terrorism" was chaired by Mr. Denis Monette, Chairman of STARCOM (Stop Terrorism Aggressive Response Coordinated Operational Management) and Former Assistant Commissioner of Police of Nassau, New York. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dubi Yung, ICT Associate and Former Commander of the Special Forces Division of the Israel National Police and Chief Superintendent (ret.) Asher Ben Artzi, ICT Associate and Former Director of the INTERPOL Division of the Israeli Police, both associates at ICT, spoke about the challenges facing the police in their efforts to thwart terrorist attacks. Yung focused on the intense planning that terrorist organizations put into attacks, while Ben Artzi emphasized the need for cooperation, be it via INTERPOL or police attachés abroad. Workshop participants also heard from Col. Vladimir Tkechenko, the Police Attaché of Russia in Israel, who is originally from Chechnya.
The workshop on "New Challenges of Countering Terrorism in Africa" was chaired by Dr. Jonathan Fine, ICT Senior Researcher. Dr. Moshe Terdiman, Director of Green Compass Research, Israel said that “what we have in Africa today is terrorist groups from the Salafist Jihadi crescent from Tanzania going North to Kenya and Somalia, on to Sudan, then to Mali and North Africa and the Sahel, and finally Nigeria.” He said that “the leader of Boko Haram is independent, but gets a lot of support from Al-Qaeda and ISIS and collaborates with Al-Shabaab.” Mr. Weixiong Chen described some of the issues that make counter-terrorism in Africa particularly difficult, such as the political instability of states, porous borders, and cash economies. He proposed introducing and fine-tuning new counter-terrorism laws and policies, enhancing internal coordination among agencies, and engaging NGOs. Mr. Jonathan Paris, Associate Fellow of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London, expanded on this, explaining that the demography, conflict and weak governance in sub-Saharan Africa all challenge the counter-terrorist response to Boko Haram. “Boko Haram is as lethal to Africa as ISIS is to the Middle East,” he said. Mr. Frank Horst, First Secretary of the German Embassy in Tripoli, gave an overview of the challenges in post-Gadhafi Libya. “Libya is by and large an ungoverned country, so there is very little capability to counter terrorist groups inside the country that use it as a logistical base and could use it in the future as a base to launch attacks on Europe,” he said.
The workshop on "Iran's Involvement in Local, Regional, and Global Terrorism" was chaired by Dr. Eitan Azani, Deputy Executive Director of ICT. Speakers discussed the unique position of Iran in the Middle East and its vision of becoming the leader of the “Umma,” its support for Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, and its nuclear ambitions. “Iran guides, trains, and supports terror attacks everywhere,” said Azani. “including executing arms deals for Al-Qaeda.” Speakers included Prof. David Menashri, Research Fellow at the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Harold Rhode, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute in the United States.
The workshop on the "Social Aspects of the War on Terror", held in Hebrew, was organized by the Association of Civil Military Studies in Israel. The workshop was chaired by Dr. Eyal Lewin, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Ariel University. Dr. Kobi Michael of Ariel University and the Institute for National Security Studies presented his research analyzing civil-military relations and the strategic decision-making process between the military and political echelons. Dr. Zipi Israeli, a lecturer in the departments of Communications and Political Science at Tel Aviv University, compared social trends from previous wars in Israel to those witnessed during Operation Protective Edge, focusing in particular on how casualties are portrayed in the media. She said that among the factors that affect the public’s perception and acceptance of the inevitability of casualties is a consensus that the war is seen as just and as lacking alternatives.
The workshop titled “Cyber Terrorism: What do we do and where do we stand?” was chaired by Dr. Eitan Azani. Mr. Ofir Hason, CEO and Co-Founder of CyberGym, a leader in cyber defense solutions, emphasized the fact that in the cyber world, there are no borders to cross and no need for weaponry, making attacks much easier for the enemy to execute. In addition to cyber defense mechanisms, the use that terrorist organizations make of the internet, GPS systems and social media was discussed at length. 
The workshop “What Comes After Counter-Insurgency?”, chaired by Dr. Amichai Magen, Senior Researcher and Head of the Terrorism and Governance Desk at ICT, was held in memory of the architect and intelligence officer Major Eyal Ragonis, z”l. Dr. Magen posed the question, “if state building and counterinsurgency have become too costly, and the West does not have the stomach for long term campaigns, where do we go from here?” He described the key principles of the counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy as being the notion that victory means leaving behind a legitimate self-sustaining government, and population-centric as opposed to enemy-centric warfare. “Following the crises in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a belief that the COIN strategy of the last decade has failed and that a new strategy is needed,” he said. Dr. Eitan Shamir, Senior Researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, explained that while Israel and the US have found themselves fighting similar enemies, their strategies have been different. “The US has a strategy that has a clear end state: the formation of a legitimate government as close to a western democracy as possible. Legitimacy is crucial to this and to destroying the enemy. Rather than conducting large scale operations and targeted raids, the army is used to secure important population centers and borders. The IDF has shown little interest in population-centric COIN. Winning hearts and minds is foreign to the IDF – it has no relevance, as the enemy will never accept Israel,” he said. LTC John Kenkel, US Army War College Fellow at ICT, recounted his personal experiences with insurgencies in El Salvador, the Philippines, and Libya. Prof. Timothy Hoyt, Professor of Strategy and Policy at the US Naval War College, spoke about the short and long term effects of both “big footprint COIN” and “small footprint COIN,” saying that big footprint coin is “unsustainable, and leads to a perception of failure or incompetency in the US government.”
The workshop on "Competition vs. Cooperation in Global Jihad" was co-chaired by Prof. Assaf Moghadam and Mr. Peter Bergen, Vice President and Director of Studies of the New America Foundation. Prof. Moghadam said that “to understand the global jihad movement, we must understand the relationships between the various groups. Synergy between these actors harms the west, but discord between them serves western goals.” ISIS was used as an example, as ten years ago, it was Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, while today it is Al-Qaeda’s key competitor, with some analysts arguing that it has eclipsed Al-Qaeda’s importance. Bergen pointed out that Al-Qaeda central is more concerned about civilian casualties than other terrorist groups, which could account for its divorce from ISIS, and that “Al-Shabaab can’t name itself Al-Qaeda because it would attract negative attention and Al-Qaeda thinks it should stop killing people in the markets.”
The workshop on the "Impact of Religion on Terrorist Behavior" was chaired by Prof. Ron Hassner, Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Col. (ret.) Jonathan Fighel, Senior Researcher and Head of the Terrorism Prosecution Desk at ICT, said that radical Islamist terrorists are not lunatics; they believe that by committing acts like beheadings they are implementing the practices and will of Allah, based on fatwas and interpretations of the Quran. Dr. Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler, Senior Researcher and Head of the Right-Wing Extremism and Hate Crime Desk at ICT, focused on the link between ideology and radical activism, and pointed out that people do not radicalize on their own but as part of a group. Dr. Michael Barak, ICT Researcher, raised the idea of Sufism as an alternative to Salafism, saying that “there are Muslim actors and governments who aim to reduce the influence of Salafi jihadist ideology by disseminating moderate Sufi Islam, such as Egyptian Sheikh Alaa Abu al-Azayem and Ali Al-Jafri from Yemen. Supporting Sufi leaders can promote religious tolerance by using ideology that can diminish the radicalization process in Muslim communities.” 
The workshop on "Non-Conventional Terrorism – Threat and Realities" was chaired by Dr. Ehud (Udi) Ganani, Vice President of Israeli Operations for EIS Council and Former CEO of Israel Military Industries. Prof. Adam Dolnik remarked that “terrorist groups tend to be very conservative, not very creative or innovative. They tend to use quite crude methods.” However, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Uzi Eilam, Former Director General of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and Prof. Phineas Dickstein, ICT Research Fellow, raised the threat of nuclear terrorism. Dickstein said that “Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Aum Shinrikyo, Hezbollah and the Taliban are all capable of executing CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) attacks.” Eilam said that “the likelihood of a terrorist group building a bomb from the ground up is low. However, the risk of it acquiring a bomb from a disintegrating country is higher.” Dr. Ganani presented the threat of an electromagnetic pulse attack, which could cause far-reaching damage, especially if the target was not prepared for such an attack. Dr. Gad Frishman, ICT Research Fellow, spoke about the threat of chemical attacks, which could include a detonation of CWA (chemical warfare agents), contamination of water and food, and pharmacological tampering. 
The film “Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for bin Laden,” selected for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, was screened for conference participants. The film tells the story of the decade-long pursuit of Osama bin Laden that culminated in his killing during the 2011 raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan. The film was introduced by Peter Bergen, who wrote the book on which the film was based.
Following the screening, a discussion on US counter-terrorism since 9/11 took place, moderated by Prof. Assaf Moghadam. The panel featured Peter Bergen, Brian M. Jenkins, and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Russell Howard. Prof. Moghadam began the discussion by saying, “13 years after the US homeland was struck, Osama bin Laden is dead, the US has not experienced a similar attack on its soil, and Al-Qaeda is a shadow of its former self. On the other hand, Al-Qaeda’s affiliates have expanded into a large number of theaters and other jihadi groups are wreaking havoc in large parts of Syria and Iraq. So my question is, are we better or worse off in terms of terrorist threats then we were 13 years ago?” Howard responded that, “with regards to the threat of another major attack like 9/11, I think we’re better off – we have better intelligence now and a better-trained police force. However, in terms of the numbers of people with jihadi ideology in the West, especially foreign fighters, I think we’re worse off.” Bergen’s estimation was that “we’re better off. Since 9/11, only 21 people have been killed by jihadi terrorists, due to better defensive measures such as no-fly lists, increased cooperation between bodies, and better offensive measures, such as drone strikes.” Jenkins pointed out that “in any long struggle, there are successes and setbacks. And even with our successes, their determination still remains.” 
Approaching the closing of the conference, participants were privileged to hear a special keynote address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister said that all of the terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS, Boko Haram, and Hezbollah, pose “a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the world and to our common civilization.” He said that he believed that “the battle against these groups is indivisible and it's important not to let any of these groups succeed anywhere, because if they gain ground somewhere, they gain ground everywhere. And their setbacks are felt everywhere. These groups must be fought. They must be rolled back and they must ultimately be defeated. That’s why Israel fully supports President Obama’s call for united actions against ISIS.” The Prime Minister asserted that Israel is doing its part in confronting worldwide jihadist terrorism, including ISIS, though not all of its efforts are known to the public. He also discussed the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. “I think it's crucial not to let the fight against Sunni extremism make us forget the danger of Shiite extremism,” he said. “We don't have to strengthen one to weaken the other. My policy is: weaken both. And most importantly, don't allow any of them to get weapons of mass destruction.” The Prime Minister concluded by saying that “we need clarity and courage, and alliances as broad as we can make them with those who understand that we're in a common battle. I'm confident that militant Islam will perish, but we must not allow anyone to perish with it before it goes down.”
As with every ICT conference, on September 11th, a memorial ceremony was held for the victims of 9/11 and terrorism worldwide, and this year an additional ceremony was held to honor IDC Herzliya alumni that were victims of terrorism in 2014. Amb.  Daniel Shapiro, Ambassador of the United States to Israel, mentioned US President Barack Obama’s speech the previous day regarding the continuing of air strikes against ISIS terrorists. He also lauded the US-Israel relationship, saying that “the US strongly supported Israel against Hamas. No nation would fail to defend its citizens in such circumstances. We will work hard to make sure that as Gaza is being rebuilt, it is not allowed to use materials to rearm.” Amb. Shapiro spoke about the importance of resilience, saying that “terrorists achieve their goals when citizens fail to recover and bounce back. Americans and Israelis have demonstrated outstanding composure and resilience in the face of terrorism.” 
Eulogies for the IDC alumni who fell in Operation Protective Edge (Maj. Tzafrir Bar-Or, z”l, Maj. (res.) Amotz Greenberg, z”l, and Lt.-Col. Dolev Keidar, z”l),  as well for RRIS graduate Steven Sotloff, z”l, who was murdered by ISIS terrorists, were given by Prof. Reichman, Prof. Alex Mintz, head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya, and former IDC student Benny Scholder, a close friend of Sotloff. 
The closing gala of the conference took place at IDC Herzliya, with greetings from Prof. Uriel Reichman, Shabtai Shavit, and Dr. Boaz Ganor. Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, gave an address, saying that “Israel must keep its deterrent capability. Iran is still the worst threat to Israel - if Iran gets nuclear weapons, Israeli deterrence will disappear.” He did offer some optimism as well, pointing out that Israel’s success in defeating the threat of suicide bombers mustn’t be forgotten, as well as saying that “we have a broad coalition in the Middle East, including Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.” 
Dr. Mohamad Kamal Al-Labwani, founder of the Syrian Liberal Democratic Union, said he came to Israel “hoping to find friends. We need help organizing ourselves in a coalition against the fanatics. We want human rights, justice, dignity and freedom.” Dr. Mirza Dinnayi spoke about the attacks on the Yazidis by ISIS.  He said that following his time in Israel, he planned to return to his community and tell them that “they are not alone.”