After a decade-long engagement the transatlantic partners are currently on track to transfer full security responsibilities to Afghan forces. This exit strategy has been a work in progress for several years. As U.S. president Barack Obama campaigned to end the war in Afghanistan and as president has repeatedly pledged to finish the job. The re-election of President Obama helped even ensure that the timetable will remain in place and that the transition will accur without interruption.
European governments used the US announcement of a drawdown timeline as an opportunity to gradually remove their forces without facing heavy US criticism for doing so. Although it was already becoming clear that the surge had not achieved its full intended effect, NATO leaders nevertheless pledged to abide by a conditions-based by improving the security situation on the ground and not a calendar -driven approach and the international community to provide sustained agreement and practical support to Afghan security institutions beyond 2014.
“Rasmussen played a valuable role in helping convince NATO members to contribute additional forces to President Barack Obama’s surge strategy,” say Jorge Benitez, senior fellow for trans-Atlantic security at the Washington, D.C.-based Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
Simply, “ruling out” NATO operations in both Syria and Iraq is not in the best interest of the alliance. This region of the world is spinning rapidly out of control, with dangerous implications for both Europe and the United States. Many terrorism experts and government officials now consider ISIS as an offshoot of al-Qaeda that broke with its parent organization over strategic differences to be the world´s most dangerous terrorist organization.
At this point, ISIS is more terrorist army than terrorist group. A U.S intelligence official says ISIS has about 7,000 in Syria and 3,000 in Iraq. With some 3.000 Europeans, North Americans and Australians are in Syria and Iraq, according to security analysts, a once distant war in which the West had no immediate involvement could be coming much closer.
As many as 3,000 foreign fighters from Europe and North America have gone to Syria and Iraq to become soldiers, most often fighting for jihadist groups such as ISIS and Al-Nusra. Western foreign fighters have traveled to conflicts in the Islamic world in the past—in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Somalia, for example—but never in such numbers.
France estimates that 700 of its citizens have gone to Syria, and Germany believes there are roughly 320 German citizens alongside Islamist rebels there. And Turkey have at leas 1,000 Turkish fighters in this Islamic state and of course you have the spillover on Lebanon.
Now, more trouble is brewing on Turkey´s souther border, more than 80 Turks taken hostage by ISIL. Turkey is very much aware of the risks posed by ISIS. One way to rebuild consistency and trust is to control the jihadists at the Turkish-Syrian border, instead of calling tourists the thousand of European and Arab fighters who have gone to or come back from Syria,
Turkey would be better off implementing tight controls at its borders, regional airports and Istanbul airports. Lists have been given by European intelligence services: Turkey to ensure that their control of the border, cooperation has been offered and controls have been tightened at the European end of the circuit. So, there is and there are steps taken with some results with the numbers of foreign nationals who will not be able to cross Turkish borders now, having increased to more than 5,000. the time has come to show solid counter-terrorism results.
Most European citizens agree with the security priorities identified by the EU. Indeed , according to a Eurobarometer, Europeans identify terrorism and organized crime as two of their top concerns. Cyber security, nuclear disasters and environmental degradation are also perceived as security challenges to a lesser extent – cyber-crime is seen as an emerging challenge, likely to increase in the medium term. This is not a challenge unique to the European Union. But it also speaks to a deeper question that has to do immigration policy at the EU level on security or mobility (as well as the strategic debate inside and outside Europe. And If future policy is about security and safety).
Illustrating that point, the advance in Iraq and Syria of the Islamic State poses a threat to both Europeans and the United States security, while clarifying choices for policymakers on Global Approach to Migration and Mobility. A policy looking into the distance and addressing the serious demographic challenges that await over the next decade. The question has to do with if we need new strategy for global and regional conflict to enhance credibility and to meet requirements of extended conventional deterrence.
Western security officials have seen this movie before. Afghanistan´s decadelong battle with the Soviet Union in the 1980s attracted any where from 10,000 to 20,000, some of whom went on to form al-Qaeda including Osama bin Laden. For Iran, the breakup of Iraq and the creation of a radical Islamist Sunni state next door would be catastrophic.
Simply put, in order to give the next Afghan president an opportunity to stabilize the country, the United States and its NATO allies should reconsider extending the mission in Afghanistan past 2016 during the alliance’s September “force generation” summit in Wales, although their mission should remain limited to training and enabler assistance.
The choices ahead are difficult and questions confronting the United States and Iran is no longer whether to work together but how to do so. And in light of decades of distrust and animosity, communications between the two countries can be greatly facilitated by reaching a comprehensive nuclear agreement in talks at Vienna.
Whether Iran is racing toward nuclear weapon capabilities is one of the most contentious foreign-policy issues challenging the West.
The whole negotiation is about adding substantially to the time it would take Iran to produce a nuclear device if it reneged on the agreement.
This is all the more important in the light of recent nuclear negotiations with Iran and security challenges we face today.
Thanks largely to the crippling sanctions that US and EU worked hard to put in place, our partners were able to achieve the six-month “interim” deal that halted further progress in Iran’s nuclear program at a minimal price in terms of measures to ease sanctions.
The Joint Plan of Action adopted by Iran and the P5+1 partners in Geneva on November 24 was an important first step in the effort to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.
Iran and the P5+1 nations appear to be fulfilling their commitments under the six-month interim agreement – but reaching a final deal seem to be challenging, as the sides remain far apart on key issues.
After three days of intensive talks with his Iranian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “tangible progress” had been made in negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, and that he would return to Washington to consult with President Obama over whether to extend a Sunday deadline for a final agreement.
At a short news conference
Kerry Cites ‘Progress’ in Iran Talks and Says ‘there is work still to do, and we believe there is a path forward, …I am confident that the United States and our partners in the P5+1 remain as squarely focused as ever on testing whether or not we can find a negotiated solution to this most pressing international security imperative. American team as well as our colleagues from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Iran, and particularly Cathy Ashton of the European Union and her team, whose stewardship of these negotiations has been indefatigable and superb.
..Our team will continue working very hard to try to reach a comprehensive agreement that resolves the international community’s concerns. In that effort, we have built a broad coalition of countries, including our P5+1 colleagues, to ensure that the international community is speaking with one voice.
Iranians have returned to earth but are not yet in the ballpark of reasonable offers. When the talks began six months ago, it was generally assumed that if an accord to roll back Iran’s nuclear program was to be reached. But as the July 20 deadline approaches, an accord is not yet in hand.
The temporary agreement allows for an extension of the talks for up to six months. Iran would have to accept sharp limits on its number of working centrifuges — for a decade or more and a robust inspection. That is at the core of the problem of any deal.
President Obama has made it a top priority to pursue a diplomatic effort to see an agreement that assures that the Iranian nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.
Iran has a right to have a peaceful nuclear program under Article IV of the NPT condition that their nuclear activities must comply with Articles I and II of the Treaty.– there’s no question about that – a peaceful program. And what our partners are now working on is: How do you guarantee that what they do have is in fact purely peaceful and that it adheres to the stated intentions of the Supreme Leader and other leaders of Iran never to have a nuclear weapon?
So Iran can have a peaceful nuclear program and they know how to get there. It’s by living up to the demands of the international community, the United Nations Security Council; the IAEA questions need to be answered, the additional protocol needs to be adhered to; and a specific set of verification and transparency measures need to be put in place among other things that make the promises real.
That’s the nature. It’s not specific to Iran. Any country would be in the same place and need to do the same thing, as they do with respect to any kind of agreement.
A new strategic relationship between the United States and Iran may seem impossible and risky, yet it is also necessary and in the interests of both.Iran, EU and the United States share interests in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Finally, strengthened or new partnerships between countries in different levels of development will prove indispensible to maintain security and mobility between borders. Iran’s intelligence network, religious identity, political influence, history and geography give it a pre eminent role in both countries.
At the same time, U.S. air power, special forces, military advisers, recent history and a commitment not to waste the lives and money the United States invested in both places likewise assure that it has a major part to play. The nuclear negotiations with Iran must be resolved before the United States, its partners and Iran can agree to have regular talks on the issue.
22 September 2014
Resolution, proposed by the United States, would for the first time establish international standards for nations to prevent and suppress the recruiting of their citizens by terrorist organizations, and bar the entry and transit across their territory of suspected foreign terrorists.
On January 12, Brookings institution, (that help policymakers and the public engage the great challenges facing the U.S. and the international community in the 21st century) will host the Center on the United States and Europe and the Center on Middle East Policy to launch a new policy paper that examines the threat that Western foreign fighters pose to their homelands.
The U.S. and European officials have expressed fears that this unprecedented flow of foreign fighters creates a serious threat that some of them will someday return and commit terrorist acts in their country of origin.
Update May 2015
During talks in Brussels May 2015, NATO Secretary General, Jen Stoltenberg, told the EU to be on alert for terrorists hidden amongst the thousands of migrants currently being rescued. The Daily Telegraph reports.