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Thriving on uncertainty: COVID-19 related opportunities for terrorist groups

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3:00 pm September 2021
Add to Calendar 2021-09-23 15:00:00 2022-05-21 10:32:39 Thriving on uncertainty: COVID-19 related opportunities for terrorist groups Description Location Policy Center Policy Center Africa/Casablanca public

The Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) is organizing a public debate titled "Thriving on uncertainty: COVID-19 related opportunities for terrorist groups” on Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 at 3pm GMT+1. This webinar is the result of a Joint Policy Study, coordinated by our Senior Fellow Abdelhak Bassou and our International Relations Specialist Youssef Tobi, in the framework of the EuroMeSCo: Connecting the Dots project, co-funded by the European Union and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed).

Covid-19 has put the world in a state of global uncertainty. State responses have been crucial in dealing with this unexpected pandemic, but by putting pressure on health infrastructures and challenging state legitimacy and responses, the virus has slowly become a global test for almost all governments. The efficiency of the strategies employed to cope with the exponential infection rates generated by the pandemic varies and depends on the initial levels of public services available, as well as on the capacity of States to mobilize and communicate in a timely and coherent manner.

In the MENA and Sahel regions, we notice an entanglement between pre-existing threats and the impact of the pandemic. In fragile states, the constant threat of violent terrorism has been linked to the turmoil caused by the spread of the virus, amplifying the unsteady scene for countering-terrorism efforts.

Terrorist groups, already challenging state legitimacy and human security in the MENA and Sahel countries, have taken COVID-19 as a vindication of their ideological standpoints and have used the uncertainty caused by the virus to further pressure states’ defence apparatuses. Given the limited levels of infrastructures and already challenged political landscapes in these regions, the virus could further weaken economies and fuel public dissent, crafting a perfect storm of conditions for terrorist agendas to thrive.

Exploring related opportunities offered by COVID-19 to terrorist groups in these regions allows for a prospective and analytical work that will deepen the understanding of terrorist tactics and propaganda strategies, thus enabling the adoption of a more comprehensive approach with regards to responding and assisting states on the ground. Policy recommendations derived from this study will not only aim at mitigating risks derived from the interlinkage between the turmoil caused by the virus and terrorism in the region, but will also focus on state responses and the assessment of innovative and applicable ways to support CVE and PVE efforts in an uncertain and novel landscape in the regions covered.

Against this background, the findings of the paper can help EU policy makers adopt more effective policies in weakening the recruiting capabilities of terrorists, and launch new cooperation programs with North African countries.  

This webinar will take place in English and will be broadcast live via our Facebook page and YouTube channel, with live coverage on Twitter.

 

15h00 – 15h05  

Introduction to the panel

Moderator : Mohammed Loulichki, Senior Fellow, Policy Center for the New South

15h05 – 15h30  

Presentation of Euromesco Policy Study’ Key findings and policy recommendations

Author: Youssef Tobi, International Relations Specialist, Policy Center for the New South

15h30 – 15h50  

Debate with the participants

Abdelhak Bassou, Senior Fellow, Policy Center for the New South

Noamane Cherkaoui, Researcher in International Relations, Policy Center for the New South

Nihal El Mquirmi, Researcher in International Relations, Policy Center for the New South

Oussama Tayebi, Researcher in International Relations, Policy Center for the New South

15h50 – 16h05  

Conclusions & Wrap-up

16h05 – 16h20  

Q&A

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Speakers
Abdelhak Bassou
Senior Fellow
Abdelhak Bassou is a Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, specializing in Security Studies and Strategies and Defense. He is additionally an Affiliate Professor at the Faculty of Governance, Economic and Social Sciences of the Mohammed VI University. He previously occupied several offices within the Directorate General of the Moroccan National Security where he was Borders’ Division Chief from 1978 to 1993. He was the former Director of the Royal Institute of Police in 1998. He also served as the Chief of Regional Security (Errachidia 1999-2003, Sidi Kacem 2003-2005) and was also Head of the Central General Intelligence from 2006 to 2009. He also contributed to the output of several international organizations endeavors including the Council of Arab Interior ...
Noamane Cherkaoui
Researcher in International Relations, Policy Center for the New South
Noamane Cherkaoui is an analyst in the Strategic Monitoring and Analysis Unit at the Policy Center for the New South, where he has been researching North Africa geopolitics and security. He graduated from the University of Otago in New Zealand with the Dean’s Award. He is also a postgraduate in International Relations at the University of Leicester, with his dissertation being on the external interference in Libya’s Civil War post-2014. ...
Nihal El Mquirmi
International Relations Specialist
Nihal El Mquirmi is an International Relations Specialist within the Strategic Monitoring & Analysis Unit at the Policy Center for the New South. Her research focuses on North Africa, the gender-security nexus and the use of Private Military and Security Companies. Nihal joined the Policy Center for the New South in March 2019 following the completion of her M.A. in International Security at the University of Warwick, and her B.A. Hons in International Relations from Complutense University of Madrid. Prior to joining the Policy Center, Nihal interned at the General Consulate of Morocco in Brussels and at the Mission of Morocco to the European Union. ...
Mohammed Loulichki
Senior Fellow
Mr. Loulichki is a Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South and Affiliate Professor at the Faculty of Governance, Economic and Social Sciences of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), who focuses on Diplomacy, conflicts resolution and Human rights. He has an extensive experience of 40 years in diplomacy and legal affairs. He assumed inter alia the functions of Head of the Department of Legal Affairs and Treaties in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was also Ambassador of Morocco in Hungary, Bosnia – Herzegovina and Croatia (1995-1999), Ambassador Coordinator of the Government of Morocco with MINURSO (1999 – 2001), Ambassador of Morocco to the United Nations in Geneva (2006-2008) and New York (2001-2003 and 2008-2014), as well as President of the Security ...
Oussama Tayebi
Researcher in International Relations, Policy Center for the New South
Oussama Tayebi is a Research Assistant in the Strategic Analysis & Monitoring Unit at the Policy Center for the New South, where he primarily works on policy and governance issues in Central Africa. Oussama holds a degree in Political Science from the School of Governance and Economics in Rabat and a Master's degree in International Relations from Sciences Po Aix. ...