Combatting Terrorism in the Arab World

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The League of Arab States (LAS) has determined to fight against terrorism in the region concerning the threats’ security, economic, ideological, and social measurements. The League of Arab States was founded on 22 March 1945. It is an intergovernmental organisation and has a membership of 22 Arab nations. Its founding mechanism is the Charter of the Arab League. It was adopted on 22 March 1945. It provides that the Organization’s overarching goals include strengthening relations between its Member States, coordinating their approaches to enhance cooperation, and protecting their independence and sovereignty. Its main organs are the Council, the permanent Committees, and the Secretariat General.

The threat of terrorism is not new to the geographical areas represented by the Organization’s membership. It includes the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa. In response to the concurrent threats and the need for expanded regional cooperation, an agreement was signed on the Arab Strategy to Combat Terrorism in 1997. The following year, the League embraced its primary, binding mechanism against terrorism, the Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism. It was adopted on 22 April 1998 and entered into force on 7 May 1999.

To accomplish these ends, the Arab League advocates for adopting comprehensive and coordinated strategies at both national and regional levels to fight terrorism. The Arab League works to develop reports and recommendations on Arab States’ security challenges, legislate necessary legislation to outlaw terrorism and money laundering, support or join universal conventions on terrorism, encourage dialogue, tolerance and understanding among civilisations, cultures and religions, manage the conditions and factors that lead to terrorism, and collaboration in intelligence, extradition, and mutual legal contribution.

The Convention is relatively broad, ranging in terms of the spectrum of topics that it includes. Compared with most other regional mechanisms, except the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, it has several distinctive features. Its principles include international law and “the tenets of the Islamic Sharia.” 

Another component of the Convention discussed in “Module 4” about varying regional strategies for defining terrorism – is that it “affirms the right of peoples to combat foreign occupation and aggression by whatever means, including armed struggle, to liberate their territories and secure their right to self-determination”. Under this provision, persons employed in these armed struggles shall not be considered to have committed criminal offences under the Convention.

Several other features of the Convention raise points when considered from the view of the rule of law, international human rights and international humanitarian law responsibilities of individual Member States, and related normative criteria. The drafting of the Convention is extensive. The concepts of “threat” and “violence” are not specified), and there is no reference within the Convention’s text to international human rights law; instead, reference is created only to the national law of the Convention’s States parties – not all of whom are parties to relevant international human rights treaties – as well as the Convention itself. Clearly, concern has been described by some commentators about the possible effect of the implementation of the Convention within the national legal systems of Member States concerning efforts to encourage and strengthen domestic human rights reforms at a national level. Finally, it is reported that the Convention needs to expressly declare the international legal framework underpinning the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its principles or goals.

The principal moves of the League of Arab Statues include the convening of summits and administering of recommendations to its Membership. For example, during the 26th Arab League Summit, held in Egypt in 2015, to examine significant regional crises, including terrorism-related matters, several recommendations were embraced, including the creation of a joint Arab military force to combat the challenges posed by extremist terrorist bodies. Further, Reflecting the inherent boundaries of soft law resolutions, statements and so forth, this suggestion has yet to be implemented.

Moreover, To fight terrorism, the European Parliament passed a resolution in March 2015. “Relations between the EU and the League of Arab States and cooperation in countering terrorism.” The text of the resolution was the follows, “whereas terrorism is a global threat that needs to be tackled in a coordinated effort by national governments and regional and international organisations; stresses that only a global alliance can address this threat effectively, in full compliance with international law, fundamental values and international human rights standards;” “whereas the EU and the LAS share a common interest in long-lasting solutions to ensure regional peace and stability; whereas this memorandum of understanding is intended to support and strengthen relationships between the Member States of the EU and the Members of the LAS to enhance their working structures, exchange experience and dialogue to achieve common goals and objectives in areas of mutual interest”

To fight against terrorism, the region, The United States and the League held successful talks in July 2023 in Washington, D.C., on topics varying from easing tensions in regional conflicts and security to countering terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms. The Arab League and the United States released a mutual statement after the meeting.

“We are encouraged by the common ground we have found on the importance of community engagement, building resilience to recruitment to violence, and supporting the role of education in countering radicalisation to violence and terrorism. Together, we stand firm in our fight against ISIS/Daesh, al-Qa’ida, and all other terrorist groups.”

“We strongly condemn any threats, armed seizures, and attacks against commercial ships that interfere with navigational rights and freedoms in the strategic waterways of the region. We resolve to increase our commitment to pursue collective efforts to address threats to the security of vessels travelling through the region’s waterways that are critical to international trade and the global economy.”

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