SSR to counter radicalisation/terrorism?

26/03/2015 @ 13:26
by Petra van Oijen

Looking at what is happening in the world, it is clear that counter terrorism/radicalisation are key topics of interest. When working on SSR, indirectly, you also hope to minimise radicalisation. However, I am curious to see if there are any clear links between SSR and counter radicalisation/terrorism.

  • Does anyone in the forum know if there are any projects where SSR is specifically used in order to counter radicalisation or terrorism?
  • Or the use of SSR in order to prevent radicalisation from happening?

It would be interesting to hear of some concrete examples or impacts of SSR programmes/projects.

Thank you!


07/08/2015 @ 13:49
by Petra van Oijen

Thank you all for your contributions!

At the moment CVE and terrorism are still hot topics within the NL MFA. We will continue to work on these issues for the coming period. Of course I will share any developments with you.

All the best, Petra

01/04/2015 @ 10:37
by Mirko Daniel Fernandez

In the US and France, security authorities are seeking to enhance the use local security mechanisms like Municipal Local Security Councils as ways to collect information on radicalisation trends. For instance, France recently released an online video to tackle jihadist recruitment (BBC presented a feature on this). This has promoted nation debate on the issue (see Mesures anti-terroristes : quel impact pour les collectivités ?) as it has in the US (see NY time article : N.Y.P.D. Plans Initiatives to Fight Terrorism and Improve Community Relations).

The issue of concern is the potential for anti-radicalisation investigative police work to hijack the community consultation process with issues like gender-based violence falling down list of priorities. The investigative and community outreach roles can become easily blurred and thus impact the trust and perception of the affected communities. An over reliance on anti-radicalisation investigative police work can set back community trust especially if other social issues are ignored. Hence the importance of having creditable mechanisms that facilitates the consultation process and partnership building needed to bring together security and social needs.  

01/04/2015 @ 00:34
by Thammy Evans

Hi Petra,

The U.S.'s new Security Governance Initiative is arguably one initiative being put in place (through direct governance assistance to Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia). There is little available publicly on how this initiative is progressing, so you might need to inquire more formally with the State Department.

See also the blog posted by Colby Goodman last year, in which he states that the SGI is in part designed to focus on strengthening the law enforcement sector to better respond “to critical incidents in urban areas”. 

Two other areas where there might be overlap with SSR and anti-radicalism is in work countering mass-atrocities eg through GAAMAC, as well as work being done on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

27/03/2015 @ 17:18
by Patrick Hagan

The Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) was a CT focused effort to build the Indonesian Police capability, post the Bali bombings. Australia, Canada, the UK, Denmark, EU, NZ and the US have all provided funding or personnel for it, although not necessarily out of ODA. While it still has a CT mandate, it has transitioned to a much broader police education and development remit (Several of the above donors have no CT focus in their support to JCLEC).

The only assessment I can see open source is focused on it’s broader Transnational crime efforts. This is not surprising given how rarely CT work has transparent oversight.

Hope that is relevant. I am not aware of anything specifically targeting anti-radicalisation sorry.

27/03/2015 @ 17:11
by Timothy Reid

A few elements:

There was a lot of work done in Lebanon to re-organize the security sector in order to reduce terrorism while I was working with UNIFIL from 2006-2009. Some of the elements involved creating a new border unit and improving border control measures, improving the technical capacity of the security forces (in particular the Internal Security Forces) to conduct investigations (notably phone tracing and crime scene investigation), tighter control of the Palestinian refugee camps (notably Nahr al-Bared in Tripoli but recently including the formation of an internal Palestinian force for other camps), the formation of the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) and subsequently the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and a program of deradicalization. These are tempered by the political realities of Lebanon such as the sectarian division of Lebanese institutions, Hezbollah's state within a state, the perceived Israeli threat, the wars in Syria and Iraq, and the automy granted to Palestinian refugee camps, particularly the armed ones of the PFLP-GC and Fatah Intifada.

In Libya the entire system of security sector governance was in dire straits after 42 years of Qadhafi and a civil war but the international community and senior UN leadership did not take the threat seriously enough.  They believed that the revolutionary militias would take care of everything and forming a new army and police would only take a few months. Many initiatives were taken and progress finally started to be made but this area was not considered a priority and things started to go backward.  Inevitably, the militias started to each act according to their own perceived inerests, particularly but not exclusively the Islamist ones. Many of their actions could be considered "terrorist" and thus all the efforts to form a functional security forces functioning under rule of law should be considered as "anti-terrorist" SSR.

Similar efforts in places such as the DRC should be considered in the same light.  Unfortunately, insufficient resources and attention were devoted to forming professional forces under rule of law.  Too often, political deals were made to bring in terrorist groups and give high rank to terrorists. These terrorists were usually acting as proxies of Rwanda and Uganda, who in turn received copious financing from the World Bank, IMF, EU and diverse Western governments like the US and UK. A significant problem is that many "SSR experts" have never actually served in security forces and do not fully understand the amount of time, resources and manpower needed to transform these institutions.  It requires at least a decade and a cast of thousands; not 2 months and a few power point presentations.

Finally, for a more Western example, you could look at the current anti-terrorist bill before the Canadian Parliament that gives increased powers to law enforcement officials.   Previously, in 1984, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was created to take over many of the functions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for these issues. For that matter, you could also look at the massive changes in American procedures and security structures.  As a small example: 20 years ago, as a Canadian all I had to do was to show up at the border. Now, I have to show my passport and there is a constant presence of border control patrolling in the area.