In this edition of Unpuzzling Terror, Mr. Etai Handman interviewed Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Russell Howard, Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University in Tampa, Florida. To start the discussion, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Howard provided a brief overview of the special operations forces, explaining how their focus has changed from their primary mission. He also stated he would like for them to get back their original main objective of working with indigenous forces in different countries and training them how to do what they need to do. When asked whether these special operations forces can help secure places such as Syria, Libya, Iraq, or Afghanistan, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Howard replied that it may be too late as that is what should have been done previously.
The session was part of the ICT's 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: "Unpuzzling Terrorism". Dismantling funding to terrorist organizations is a critical aspect to reducing their ability to operate and recruit. In the past, AQ relied on foreign donors while ISIS capitalized on exploiting resources within its controlled territories. ISIS is known to be the most well-funded terrorist organization of all-time. Although sanctions have been somewhat effective due to the legal and subjective risk they impose on the potential collaborator, the ability to defeat terrorist funding in the future will rely on the international community’s ability to disrupt back-door banking transactions, oil sales from ISIS controlled-areas, and stopping money from being sent across borders to fund other terrorist organizations. NGO’s also have an important role in preventing the funding of terrorist front companies through diligence and transparency of their actions where known terrorist groups operate.
The session was part of the ICT's 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: "Unpuzzling Terrorism". Resilience is a crucial aspect to consider before a crisis or terrorist event occurs. Resilience can be viewed from a community or individual perspective, but both are equally important to ensure a terrorist attack does not succeed in achieving maximum negative impact. Within a community, preparedness and leadership are paramount to ensure that a population is in the best possible situation to respond and rebound from tragedy. Crises in recent years demonstrate that a community who possesses an engaged leader who is in touch with the needs of the population is far more resilient than those who have a leader who is behind the scenes. This is true both psychologically and economically. Individual resilience is an attribute that must be cultivated starting at a young age. The benefits of a resilient person and community cannot be overstated and a proactive approach before a crisis is far more efficient and effective.