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'Addressing terrorism requires preemptive measures, reforms'

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 09,2018 - Last updated at Oct 09,2018

AMMAN — Defeating terrorist groups in the field does not mean that they have been eliminated and that the war against terrorism is over, military strategists and experts said on Tuesday.

Victory in the war against terrorism needs to be followed with well-studied strategies, policies and interventions to address the root causes of extremism and combat violent extremism, speakers during the one-day Amman Forum on Countering Violent Extremism said on Tuesday.

“There is a need for ongoing actions and efforts to combat violent extremism and radical ideologies which leads to terrorist acts,” Brigadier General Abdullah Shdaifat, commander of the National Defence College, said during the event, which was hosted by the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army Military Centre for Counter Terrorism and Extremism and sponsored by Spirit of America in cooperation with the US embassy in Amman.

“There is a need for policies and strategies to strengthen the principles of moderation and tolerance to protect future generations, he said, calling for regional and international efforts to draw up a strategy with clear and specific objectives to fight violent extremism that leads to terrorism,” he said.

Policies by some regional and international countries contribute to creating an environment of hatred and violence, he added.

Shdaifat emphasised that the stalemate in resolving the Palestinian issue fuels extremism and the two-state solution is the key for peace and enhancing stability and security in the region to help in containing violent extremism.

“Having well-defined strategies to face violent extremism is a preemptive strike for the terrorist groups,” he said. He added that Jordan is at the forefront in fighting terrorism and violent extremism, he said, adding that the Kingdom is one of the key players in these arenas, and enjoys solid experience in combating terrorism and extremism.

Although 99 per cent of territories once held by Daesh in Syria and Iraq have been liberated, the fight against terrorism must continue as terrorism is resilient and adaptable, Nikolas E. Granger, political officer at the US embassy in Amman said during the forum, which attracted officials, academicians, business leaders and civil society representatives from Jordan and the world, with a view to exchange best practices and lessons learned in countering violent extremism.

Commending Jordan’s role in the fight against terrorism as crucial, Granger said that several countries are experiencing increases in homegrown terrorism, and that Daesh directed and inspired attacks on targets including Jordan.

The US official said military efforts are not enough to address the root causes and prevent terrorism, adding that international partners must come together to address violent extremism.

Taking preventive measures to combat terrorism entails ensuring that the youth have better opportunities and are empowered and that there is a need for reforms to support them.

The US official underlined the need for tackling terrorism propaganda online, saying campaigns are needed to discredit and expose terrorists’ propaganda.

Isaac Eagan, chief of operations at Spirit of America, stressed the need for having a long-term holistic approach to combat terrorism and violent extremism,

Eagan added that Jordan and the US share experiences with terrorism and that success has been achieved against Daesh, stressing the importance of the forum for the exchange of expertise.

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