IN response to the continuous attacks being carried out by terrorists across various lengths and breadths of the world (especially in Middle East and Africa) which pose significant threat to the international peace and security and continuous harmony, the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) lately converged in Marrakesh, Morocco and brainstormed on the road map for stemming the rising tides of terrorism. The parley held on Wednesday May 11 was co-chaired by the Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita and the United State Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. As a result of threats due to the ever-increasing expansion of terrorists and their nefarious activities, the US deemed it necessary to announce on September 10, 2014, the formation of a broad international coalition to defeat ISIS. Members of the coalition comprised 85 states and a host of international organisations. Among other mandates, the coalition is aimed at protecting member states against any form of terror attacks and equally provide humanitarian supports to unavoidably affected nations.
This time around, officials from member states and a handful of organisations, including the Arab League, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, and Interpol attended the ministerial roundtable discussion for a move against ISIS. For Nigeria, its delegation included State Minister of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno (Retd). In February, Monguno was in London where he engaged with his United Kingdom counterpart on security, Stephen Lovegrove, in a dialogue bordering on a range of issues including counter-terrorism, civilian policing and human rights. At the event, participants reaffirmed their shared determination to continue the fight against Daesh/ISIS through both military and civilian-led efforts contributing to the enduring defeat of the terrorist group. They emphasised the protection of civilians as a priority and affirmed that international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as well as relevant UN Security Council resolutions, must be upheld under all circumstances. As noted in the UN Security Council Resolution 2170, “terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all states.
Meanwhile, Africa’s issues were not to be underscored at the parley as underlying causes of insecurity on the continent were also discussed at the event. The coalition reiterated that any lasting solution to the spread of ISIS in Africa would rely primarily on national authorities, as well as sub-regional and regional efforts and initiatives that acknowledge and address the political and economic drivers of conflict. In addition, the ministers noted with concern the proliferation of non-state actors, including separatist movements, and the deployment in Africa of private military companies that generate destabilisation and further vulnerability of African states and that ultimately favors Daesh/ISIS and other terrorist and violent extremist organisations. The ministers also recalled that the Defeat Daesh/ISIS Coalition would continue to be a civilian-driven effort by, with, and through African members, in line with the principles of national ownership, and in accordance with the specific needs of African member states.
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Again, the ministers reiterated the importance of allocating adequate resources to sustain coalition and legitimate partner forces’ efforts. Civilian-led efforts, including prevention, stabilization, countering terrorist financing, counter narratives and foreign terrorist fighter prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration are increasingly necessary to achieve the lasting defeat of Daesh/ISIS. Therefore, Nigeria’s participation in the 2022 Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS was an opportunity to compare notes and share knowledge, as well as expand network on strategies to minimise or eradicate national, sub-regional and regional threats posed by the activities of terrorist groups and violent extremists. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria and the United States co-chaired a virtual meeting of the same event in November 2020, where Nigeria’s position on the global coalition was firmly emphasised. Nigeria, through the Counter-Terrorism Centre in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), highlighted, among other issues, that the challenges of global terrorism had negatively impacted virtually every facet of human endeavour, including national security, the economy, polity, environment and the lives and livelihoods of people, as apparent in the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and parts of the North-East of the country. Thus, the need to suppress the activities of criminal elements is a function of multinational societies as whole and other security apparatus.
The U.S. emphasises that there is a role for every country to play in degrading and defeating ISIS. To that effect, some partners are contributing to the military effort, by providing arms, equipment, training, or advice. These partners include countries in Europe and in the Middle East region that are contributing to the air campaign against ISIS targets. International contributions, however, are not solely or even primarily military contributions. The effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIS will require reinforcing multiple lines of effort, including preventing the flow of funds and fighters to ISIS, and exposing its true nature. At the birth of the Coalition, five mutually reinforcing lines of effort to degrade and defeat ISIS were put forth at an early September 2014 meeting with NATO counterparts. These lines of effort include providing military support to the partners, impeding the flow of foreign fighters, stopping financing and funding, addressing humanitarian crises in the region and exposing the true nature of the terrorists’ syndicates.
- Madobi writes in from Kano via email@example.com