Next week, an important summit will be held by a number of legislators from the European Parliament, the US Congress and the Canadian Parliament to discuss "al Qaeda's and other Jihadi forces' campaigns worldwide against Democracies." The closed meeting, to take place in the US, is sponsored by the newly formed "Transatlantic Group on Counter Terrorism (TAG)," launched in Washington and Brussels last year. TAG was launched in the winter of 2008 by Members of the European Parliament, led by MEP Jaime Mayor Oreja, Vice Chairman for Policy of the EPP Group at the European Parliament (present majority Party) and Members from both Parties of the US Congress, led by Representative Sue Myrick, Co-Chair of the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the US House of Representatives. The goal of TAG is to create a working relationship between legislators from Europe and the United States (North America) to address terrorism and the threat it poses to democracies.
The founding leaders of TAG, members of US Congress and the European Parliament (UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden) in 2008:
The first TAG summit was held April 30, 2008, in Washington, DC, where participants signed a joint declaration of principles. The Third summit of TAG will take place in Brussels. The Second summit to be held in Washington is comprised of meetings between US Members and Senators and Members of the European parliament as well as one member of the Canadian Parliament to discuss issues surrounding Jihadi terrorism and radical Islamists.
These meetings are important steps in forming a strong counter-terrorism trans-Atlantic partnership. It will allow legislators on both sides of the Atlantic to share insights and best practices, as well as talk about how can Democracies address terror threats, not only as individual countries, but as an international community.
The European delegation will include MEPs from France, Spain, Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The North American delegation will include a Canadian MP and members of the US Congress.
The subjects to be addressed, are divided in three categories:
1) Terrorism and International Relations: Ideological Radicalization, the so-called “Islamophobia,” and the role of international organizations in mitigating extremism.
2) International Jihadist Threats: Discussion of the Terror strategies and counter strategies in several areas such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Somalia. European and North American legislators will address and analyze these various issues in their respective realms.
3) "Trans Atlantic Threats" Discussion on new strategies being employed by terrorists and radical Islamists, and the counter-terror strategies to combat them, inside Europe, Canada and the United States. European and American legislators will address and analyze these various issues in their respective realms.
Dr Walid Phares is a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C., and director of the Future Terrorism Project of the FDD. He is a visiting fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels. His most recent book is Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against the West.
Dr Phares holds degrees in law and political science from Saint Joseph University and the Lebanese University in Beirut, a Masters in international law from the Universite de Lyons in France and a Ph.D. in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami.
He has taught and lectured at numerous universities worldwide, practiced law in Beirut, and served as publisher of Sawt el-Mashreq and Mashrek International. He has taught Middle East political issues, ethnic and religious conflict, and comparative politics at Florida Atlantic University until 2006.
Dr. Phares has written seven books on the Middle East and published hundreds of articles in newspapers and scholarly publications such as Global Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, the Journal of South Asian and Middle East Studies and the Journal of International Security. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, BBC, al Jazeera, al Hurra, as well as on radio broadcasts.
Aside from serving on the boards of several national and international think tanks and human rights associations, Dr. Phares has testified before the US Senate Subcommittees on the Middle East and South East Asia, the House Committees on International Relations and Homeland Security and regularly conducts congressional and State Department briefings, and he was the author of the memo that introduced UNSCR 1559 in 2004.
Dr Walid Phares is the author of "The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East." He teaches Global Strategies in Washington D.C., and advises members of Congress and the European parliament. www.walidphares.com