Jean-Charles LARSONNEUR (France) - PRELIMINARY DRAFT REPORT
20 May 2022
While Russia’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy, to include the unprovoked full invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, is the principal threat to Allied peace and security today, terrorism remains the main asymmetrical threat. Terrorism has been a key challenge for Allies since the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001.
This preliminary draft report demonstrates that terrorism is an evolving and complex challenge. The threat facing Allies in 2001 principally came from al Qaeda as a centrally organised, isolated, and ideologically driven network in Afghanistan. Twenty years later, the threat is more dispersed geographically along the arc of instability from Afghanistan through to the West African coast.
Today the Sahel appears to be the epicentre of the global terrorism challenge. However, the deadliest terrorist attack in 2021 occurred during the Allied evacuation efforts at the Kabul Airport after the fall of Kabul in August; and ISIS’s and Al Qaeda’s recent resurfacing across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in terms of scale and scope of attacks suggests they (and their affiliates) are far from being eradicated as a threat.
This preliminary draft report reviews the current global terrorism challenge as it has evolved in recent years and the persistent threat it poses to Allied populations and interests. It also reviews NATO’s existing policies, initiatives, missions and operations, as well as partner outreach which Allies combine to degrade, disrupt, and deny terrorist groups’ organisational and operating capacities. The conclusion outlines a series of recommendations for Allied parliamentarians.