Archive for May, 2009

My latest for the Jamestown Foundation which somewhat builds on previous work I have done for them about Abu Qatada. For those interested, I would naturally commend you to read my previous post looking at his “Comfortable British Jihad” (https://raffaellopantucci.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/abu-qatadas-comfortable-british-jihad/), and I am sure he will be a topic for future writing given the fact that I see no resolution to his current incarceration status (again, sorry for the links, still abroad).

http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35003

British Hostage Threatened with Death Unless Abu Qatada is Released from British Prison

Raffaello Pantucci

Warnings continue to come from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that time is running out for the British government if it wants to obtain the release of a kidnapped British tourist by freeing imprisoned al-Qaeda ideologue Abu Qatada al-Filistini (Ennahar [Algiers], May 2). While Austrian and Canadian hostages were recently released, AQIM issued a statement on April 27 giving the UK government 20 days to release Abu Qatada before their British captive is killed (Guardian, April 27; BBC, April 27). Abu Qatada is currently awaiting possible deportation to Jordan, where he faces a variety of terrorism-related charges (see Terrorism Monitor, July 11, 2008).
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This is a long article for an op-ed, I have actually been circulating the idea for a while but finally found a good home for it. Some mention of the recent Europol report (1) or the upcoming EU-Pakistan Summit (2) would have probably been worthwhile, but no matter. My main point is that continental European government’s need to be a little clearer about what they are trying to achieve in AfPak as otherwise they might face sudden shocks. As if to reinforce my point, I see that the Italian police have just arrested a couple of alleged terrorists in Bari for plotting, radicalizing and organizing to help people travel to fight jihad (3).

1: http://www.europol.europa.eu/publications/EU_Terrorism_Situation_and_Trend_Report_TE-SAT/TESAT2009.pdf

2: http://euobserver.com/9/28104

3: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/09_maggio_12/al_qaeda_terroristi_arrestati_bari_f81b144c-3eb3-11de-914a-00144f02aabc.shtml

And here is the actual article, sorry for these links, I have been having probs hyperlinking where I am.

http://euobserver.com/?aid=28103

[Comment] Europe’s threat from Pakistan

RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI

11.05.2009 @ 18:21 CET

EUOBSERVER / COMMENT – During a recent visit to Pakistan, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated that a third of terror plots in the UK have connections to that beleaguered country.

In a press conference with President Asif Zardari he went on to state that with a set of new proposed measures, he hoped to “break the chain of terror that links the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of the UK.”

But while the UK seems to have taken a view that there is a very real threat to Europe that needs to be engaged with in Afghanistan and Pakistan and makes the case regularly to its public, there is remarkably little sensible public discussion on such matters from other European capitals.
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This is a slightly older piece that I actually missed when it first ran, which I suppose is quite embarrassing. It was originally meant to run in the monthly magazine I write for Homeland Security today (www.hstoday.us), but in the end it got shunted to the website. It is in essence a counter-terrorism perspective from Europe on Obama’s first 100 days. Some of the information could do with a little updating, but frankly the things I would say probably appear in other things that I have written (or have coming up soon). I would be very grateful for any other thoughts on this one – especially from those who think I have left anything off.

http://www.hstoday.us/content/view/8275/149/
European Views on the First 100 Days

by Raffaello Pantucci
Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Europeans view Obama’s change initiatives on counter-terror front with hopefulness, and caveats.

Prior to his election, European expectations of Barack Obama’s presidency were at almost stratospheric levels. Across the continent, European leaders and publics salivated in anticipation of the new president – and nowhere was this more true than in the United Kingdom, where celebrations of the Obama victory resonated on all sides of the political aisle.
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More for Comment is Free for the Guardian (still burdened with that awful picture) – this time looking at the presentational problems which the British government is having with terrorist trials and cases. It is a problem since it is worrisome how much this is exacerbating a long-term problem – and it is very hard to definitively know one way or the other which way it goes. As is usual with CiF, some interesting comments and some which appear not to have actually read the text at hand. Charming.

More on this topic on the way with some other publications I write regularly for, as well as some longer academic pieces which will invariably take months to appear. Big editorial hat tip is owed to a friend and Institute member from Birmingham. As ever, thoughts, comments, links, etc are very welcome.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/04/terrorism-policy-july-7-trials

Appearance is key in tackling terrorism

The number of terrorist suspects cleared after blundered arrests provides a public relations disaster for the government

The conclusion of the trial of the three men accused of being co-conspirators of the 7/7 bombers means it is unlikely anyone is going to be convicted for that terrible crime.

Furthermore, the conclusion of the trial and a number of other recent events and trials in British counterterrorism all suggest one of two things: either the British government is chasing the wrong people, or the British legal system is unfit for purpose in effectively countering the terrorism the government thinks it is fighting.

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