UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy


The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on 8 September 2006. The strategy is a unique global instrument to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism.  

Through its adoption that all Member States have agreed the first time to a common strategic and operational approach to fight terrorism, not only sending a clear message that terrorism is unacceptable in all its forms and manifestation but also resolving to take practical steps individually and collectively to prevent and combat it. Those practical steps include a wide array of measures ranging from strengthening state capacity to counter terrorist threats to better coordinating United Nations system’s counter-terrorism activities.

The adoption of the strategy fulfiled the commitment made by world leaders at the 2005 September Summit and builds on many of the elements proposed by the Secretary-General in his 2 May 2006 report, entitled Uniting against Terrorism: Recommendations for a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Reviewed every 2 years: The General Assembly reviews the Strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to Member States’ counter-terrorism priorities. 

The Fifth Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy took place on 1 July 2016. The General Assmbly examined the report of the Secretary-General (A/70/826) on the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy over the past decade. It also gave further consideration to the Secretary-General's Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (A/70/674A/70/675), which was presented by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly in January 2016. The General Assembly adopted the resolution (A/RES/70/291) by consenus.

4 pillars

The General Assembly reviews the Strategy every two years, making it a living document attuned to Member States’ counter-terrorism priorities. The fourth review of the Strategy took place in June 2014 (A/RES/68/276) and was preceded by a report from the United Nations Secretary-General (A/68/841) that included an overview of the evolving terrorism landscape, recommendations to address challenges and threats, and a compilation of measures taken by Member States and United Nations entities to fight against terrorism.

The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the form of a resolution and an annexed Plan of Action (A/RES/60/288)composed of 4 pillars

  1. Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism
  2. Measures to prevent and combat terrorism
  3. Measures to build states’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard;
  4. Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.

The 80th Anniversary of the Two-State Solution

In 1937, an official British report first proposed the partition of Mandate Palestine. The story behind it helps to explain why the Arab-Jewish conflict remains unresolved.

Lord Peel and Sir Horace Rumbold, chairman & vice chairman of the Palestine Royal Commission, after taking evidence from the Arab Higher Committee in Jerusalem in 1937. Library of Congress.

In this epochal year of Zionist anniversaries—the 120th of the First Zionist Conference in Basle, the 100th of the Balfour Declaration, the 70th of the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, the 50th of the Six-Day War—there is yet another to be marked: the 80th anniversary of the 1937 British Peel Commission Report, which first proposed a “two-state solution” for Palestine.

The story of the Peel report is largely unknown today, but it is worth retelling for two reasons:

First, it is a historic saga featuring six extraordinary figures, five of whom testified before the commission: on the Zionist side, David Ben-Gurion, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and Chaim Weizmann, the leaders respectively of the left, right, and center of the Zionist movement; on the Arab side, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem; and on the British side, Winston Churchill, who gave crucial testimony in camera. Louis D. Brandeis, the leading American Zionist, also played a significant role.

Second, and perhaps even more important today, the story helps to explain why, a century after the Balfour Declaration, the Arab-Jewish conflict remains unresolved.

The history and prehistory of the Balfour Declaration has been notably covered in anniversary pieces in Mosaic by Martin Kramer, Nicholas Rostow, Allan Arkush, Colin Shindler, and Douglas J. Feith. In November 1917, as Britain fought the Ottoman Turks in the Middle East during World War I, the British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, formally declared British support for “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration, as it came to be known, was issued after extensive consideration by the British cabinet and consultation with Britain’s allies, including the United States, whose president, Woodrow Wilson, approved it in October 1917. In 1922, the League of Nations incorporated it into the Mandate for Palestine that the League entrusted to Britain, and the Declaration thereby became an established part of international law.

The Palestinian Arabs rejected both the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate, even after Britain in 1923 severed the larger portion of Palestine, east of the Jordan River, and recognized Emir Abdullah of Transjordan as its new ruler. In 1929, Arabs rioted in Jerusalem, massacred Jews in Hebron and Safed, and attacked Jews elsewhere in the land. In 1936, in a substantial escalation, the Arabs called a general economic strike, sabotaged trains, roads, and telephone lines, engaged in widespread violence against Jews, destroyed their trees and crops, and conducted guerrilla attacks against the British Mandate authorities.

In May 1936, the British announced their intention to establish a commission to “ascertain the underlying causes of the disturbances” and make recommendations for the future. Arab violence continued through October, delaying the arrival in Jerusalem of the commission, led by Lord Peel, until November. While it was on its way, the Arabs declared they would boycott its proceedings.

Recognizing that the future of their national home was at stake, the Jews presented to the commission a major defense of the Zionist cause: a 288-page printed memorandum, together with five appendices, covering the history of Palestine, the legal basis of the Mandate, and the extensive Jewish accomplishments in Palestine in the two decades since the Balfour Declaration. The memorandum emphasized the urgency of the hour—the Nazis had been in power for three years and had stripped German Jews of their civil rights. The memorandum stressed that Jews were “not concerned merely with the assertion of abstract rights” but also with “the pressure of dire practical necessity”:

After reports of chemical attacks, White House considers new military action against Syrian regime

Footage released by the Syrian American Medical Society on Feb. 25 showed the aftermath of an alleged chlorine gas attack in Ghouta, Syria.

The Trump administration has considered new military action against the Syrian government in response to reports of ongoing chemical weapons use, officials said, raising the prospect of a second U.S. strike on President Bashar al-Assad in less than a year.

President Trump requested options for punishing the Assad government after reported chlorine gas attacks — at least seven this year — and possibly other chemicals affecting civilians in opposition-controlled areas.

In a Feb. 25 incident, residents and medical staffers in a rebel-held Damascus suburb, Eastern Ghouta, described symptoms associated with chlorine exposure. One child died, medical staffers reported.

The president discussed potential actions early last week at a White House meeting that included Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, officials said.

One official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to address internal deliberations, said that the president did not endorse any military action and that officials decided to continue monitoring the situation.

Children receive treatment after an alleged gas attack Feb. 25 on a village in Eastern Ghouta, Syria. According to activists in the area, more than 18 people were affected by poisonous gas, and one child was killed. (Mohammed Badra/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Dana White, chief Pentagon spokeswoman, denied that Mattis took part in discussions about military action in Syria and said the “conversation did not happen.”

One senior administration official said that Mattis was “adamantly” against acting militarily in response to the recent chlorine attacks and that McMaster “was for it.”

The prospect of renewed military action, even if tabled for now, underscores the explosiveness of a conflict that has become a battlefield for rivalries between Russia and Iran on one side and the United States and its allies on the other.

The White House discussions come amid a drumbeat of accusations from Trump administration officials, who have sought to galvanize international pressure on Syria over repeated small-scale chemical attacks amid an escalation of widespread conventional air and ground assaults that have killed hundreds of civilians in recent weeks.

On Monday, the Assad government allowed a U.N. aid convoy to deliver food and other aid, but not certain medical supplies, to Eastern Ghouta, even as shelling and airstrikes continued.

The Trump administration has condemned Iran for deploying weapons and fighters that have helped turn the war in Assad’s favor. It has also blamed Russia for failing to enforce a U.N.-backed cease-fire proposal and for allowing the use of chemical weapons to continue.

“The civilized world must not tolerate the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical weapons,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Sunday.

Russian and Syrian officials have rejected reports of government chemical weapons use.

Images of Syrians suffering the effects of chemical exposure appear to have energized the president to explore launching a new assault, as they did before the missile attack he authorized on a Syrian air base in April.

Trump ordered the Pentagon to fire Tomahawk missiles on the Syrian facility believed to be linked to a sarin gas attack that killed 80 people. It was the first direct American assault on the Assad government, a step that President Barack Obama had shied away from, even after an estimated 1,400 people were killed in a gruesome attack in August 2013.

Administration officials say Syria has continued to make and employ chemical weapons despite an internationally backed deal to remove its stockpiles after the 2013 incident.

According to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which tracks reports from medical staffers, patients have reported symptoms linked to chlorine exposure seven times this year. In November, also in Eastern Ghouta, hospitals described seeing patients with symptoms indicative of sarin, the society said.

Unlike with earlier deadly incidents, U.S. officials say, the Assad regime is now conducting only small-scale attacks and is relying mainly on chlorine, which is made from commercially available materials and is more difficult to detect than nerve agents such as sarin.

“They clearly think they can get away with this if they keep it under a certain level,” a senior administration official told reporters last month.

Officials also suspect Syria of using ground-based systems rather than aerial means for delivering chemical agents, because they are harder to track.

The Syrian government has resorted to such attacks, officials say, to compensate for manpower shortages and to discourage supporters of the opposition from returning to strategic areas.

Even as the U.S. military winds down its campaign against the Islamic State, the Trump administration risks being more deeply drawn into Syria’s civil war, in which NATO ally Turkey is another important player. Many U.S. officials say that only greater political stability can prevent the extremists’ return.

The Pentagon has sought to keep its mission in Syria tightly focused on the Islamic State. There are about 2,000 U.S. troops in the east and north, tasked with advising local forces who have been battling the extremists.

Some officials also have raised concerns about conclusively assigning responsibility for chlorine attacks. Others express skepticism that another strike would deter Assad when the last one did not.

But other officials, particularly at the White House and the State Department, appear more open to renewed action against Assad. They say that a U.S. response might deter the Assad regime from rebuilding its chemical arsenal in a way that might eventually threaten the United States and might demonstrate that the United States will not be deterred by Russia’s presence in Syria.

The discussions highlight the gray area that chlorine has occupied in the West’s response to chemical weapons use in Syria. While chlorine is not a banned substance, its use as a choking agent is prohibited under international chemical weapons rules.

The Assad government’s reported employment of chlorine has been much less lethal than that of sarin, at least in recent reported incidents in Syria. SAMS said two people had been killed in the seven attacks this year.

Mattis told reporters last month that the United States was seeking evidence of renewed sarin use.

Fred Hof, an Obama administration official who is now at the Atlantic Council, said the United States would send a “deadly” message if it lashes out after chemical attacks but does nothing when civilians are killed with conventional arms.

“When we go out of our way to say, in effect, the only time we will lift a finger to protect Syrian civilians is when particularly deadly chemical weapons are employed, we are inadvertently — unintentionally but inevitably — encouraging the Assad regime, the Russians and the Iranians to attack civilians with everything at their disposal,” he said.

Even if Trump authorizes another attack, the Pentagon is likely to advocate limiting U.S. involvement in the war. The April attack, which included 59 cruise missiles, was aimed narrowly at an isolated airfield, minimizing the likelihood of tit-for-tat escalations.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is investigating whether chlorine was used in recent attacks in Eastern Ghouta, Reuters reported.

Greg Jaffe in Washington and Louisa Loveluck in Beirut contributed to this report.

Iran will not negotiate on missiles, has tripled production, officials claim

In response to US President Donald Trump’s threat to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, Iranian officials claim that they have tripled Iran’s missile production. Iran no longer needs to justify operations, an official said.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency via Wikimedia Commons

Iran has tripled its production of missiles, commander of the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Amir Ali Hajizadeh said to the Islamic Republic News Agency. This forceful rhetoric comes as a response to US President Donald Trump’s threat to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.

“In the past, we had to justify our operations to many organizations, but this is no longer the case,” continued Hajizadeh. He further said that Iran has fulfilled its needs for land-to-land missiles and that the entire process was approved by the government.

Just two days ago, the French Foreign Minister visited Iran. He was told that American belligerence in the region will not stop Iran’s missile program. Furthermore, an official in Iran’s nuclear program said that if the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, Iran will begin enriching uranium again.

In February 2018, Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Deputy Commander Hossein Salami said that Iran’s missile capabilities will not be negotiated with any world power.

Europe's Future Nightmare: The 'Baby Muhammad' Jihad

Sometimes “what’s in a name” really, really matters.

If Muhammad cannot beat the infidels on the battlefield, he’ll outbreed them—literally: “Mohammed most popular name for newborn boys in the Netherlands for second year in a row,” is the title of a recent reportMuhammad is apparently also the most popular name in England. In fact, Muhammad is one of the most popular names throughout Northwest Europe.

While this may seem innocuous enough—what’s in a name?—the fact is many Muslims see their offspring as their contribution to the jihad—literally, the “struggle” to make Islam supreme—since more numbers equate more influence and power.   Nor is the naming of “Muhammad” a coincidence but rather a cryptic reminder from the parents (usually father) of whom they most revere and hope their sons emulate—namely, the founder of Islam/jihad.

Although the original, historic jihad was straightforward warfare on the infidel to make Islam supreme, the ulema articulated a variety of other jihads, all of which work to the same end: as with jihad al-lisan (literally tongue, meaning propaganda, apologias, polemics, etc.), jihad al-mal (monetarily or materially supporting jihadis, including through zakat), jihad al-wilada (or childbearing) is seen as a way to contribute to the “struggle” to make Islam supreme.   

This can be achieved with either infidel or Muslim women.  As an example of the first, a Muslim imam was videotaped saying that, because European men lack virility, their women seek fertility among Muslim men.  Accordingly, “We will give them fertility! We will breed children with them, because we will conquer their countries!  Whether you like it or not, you Germans, Americans, French, and Italians and all those akin to you [Western people]—take in the refugees.  For soon we will call them [and their European born sons] in the name of the coming caliphate!  And we will say to you, ‘These are our sons.’”

That some Muslim men operate along this logic is evident.  The diary of Patrick Kabele, an African Muslim man who was living and arrested in Britain for trying to join the Islamic State—his primary motive being to purchase a nine-year-old sex slave—had references that only likeminded Muslims would understand: in an effort, as the aforementioned imam said, to use European women as incubators and “breed children with them,” Kabele noted that he had been “seeding some women over here, UK white,”  adding, “I dont [sic] kiss anymore.” (Unlike straightforward mating, kissing is deemed an intimate act, and Muslims, in keeping with the doctrine of al-wala’ wa al-bara must never be intimate with, certainly not love, non-Muslims—even when married to them—though they can have carnal relations with them.) 

Even so, Muslim women remain the primary incubators for the jihad—and many of them see it as their obligation.   A Christian Eritrean volunteer and translator who worked in migrant centers in Germany and was often assumed to be Muslim by the migrants, confessed last year that “Muslim migrants often confide in her and tell her about their dislike towards Christians,” and that “a number of the Muslim migrants she has spoken to have revealed a hatred for Christians and are determined to destroy the religion.” How they plan on doing this is telling: “Some women told me, ‘We will multiply our numbers. We must have more children than the Christians because it’s the only way we can destroy them here.’”

World Jewish Congress And Knesset Christian Allies Caucus Honor Christian Leaders Committed To Israel

World Jewish Congress And Knesset Christian Allies Caucus Honor Christian Leaders Committed To IsraelThe World Jewish Congress (WJC) and Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC) on Thursday honored Christian leaders Rep. Alan Clemmons and Christine Darg for their steadfast commitment to the State of Israel, as part of the 12th annual Night to Honor our Christian Allies, at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem, in the presence of government officials and Knesset members from across the political spectrum. This year’s event was co-sponsored this year by Israel 365, and featured a keynote address by US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

“Israel is grateful to our Christian friends around the world for their passionate and unwavering support for the Jewish State and the Jewish People. They have stood with us in good times and bad. When Israel is vilified and Jews are targeted, we know that we can always count on them—just as they know that the imperiled Christians in the Middle East have no better friends than the people of Israel,” said WJC-Israel Chairman, Gad Ariely.

The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus/World Jewish Congress “Night to Honor our Christian Allies” Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Clemmons, an eight-term American legislator serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Since 2011, Clemmons has distinguished himself as a foremost US policymaker working to support Israel. Currently, 25 American states have passed pro–Israel legislation and key public policy initiatives that began on his desk, and trillions of dollars have been regulated against the BDS movement as a result. His recent efforts include authoring and spearheading the Israel Plank of the Republican Platform, which set the stage for US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“It has been my great honor to lead the policy efforts of the tens of millions of pro-Israel Americans who stand with you as a matter of faith and principle. What I can promise with certainty is that our support for Israel’s wellbeing is of overwhelming concern, and will never be sold out or abandoned. We stand with Israel proudly, now and always,” said Clemmons.

The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, together with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, also presented the “Night to Honor our Christian Allies” Tourism Award to

Israeli Electoral System: How It Developed And How It Works

State of IsraelThe Israeli political system can often appear bewildering to those more familiar with the electoral system of the United States.

The American voter elects individual representatives of district constituencies, while the Israeli voter selects from amongst lists of candidates for the Knesset (Parliament) throughout the country. The American tradition stresses strict separation between the legislative and executive branches (i.e., Congress and the President), while in Israel elected officials often serve simultaneously in both branches.

In the United States, presidents expect to serve out their terms in office barring death or Nixonian-level scandal, and elections for president are conducted under a strict schedule, occurring every four years. In Israel, the prime minister can find himself or herself removed from office on any given day by an act of the Knesset, leading to unscheduled “early elections.”

Even the words used in the different countries can mean different things. In the U.S., “the government” generally refers to all public officials, elected or appointed, but in Israel the government is roughly equivalent to what the Cabinet is in Washington.

These distinctions are due to the fact that the Israeli system stems from traditions far removed from North America. The roots of the Israeli electoral system, like many other aspects of Israeli society, go back to Central and Eastern Europe in the early years of the 20th century. The political traditions of that place and time stressed a lively ferment of multiple parties and broad ranges of beliefs and manifestos ranging from communism to extreme right and everything in between.

The politics of the early Zionist movement, and later the Jewish community in British Mandate Palestine, reflected this tradition of …

Short Comparison Of The Israeli And United States' National Electoral Systems

We the PeopleVoting and Legislative Bodies
ISRAEL: Voters cast one ballot for a single political party to represent them in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. The Knesset is unicameral and is comprised of 120 elected party members. Knesset seats are assigned in proportion to each party's percentage of the total national vote. The number and order of members entering the new Knesset for each party corresponds to its list of candidates as presented for election.

US: Citizens vote separately for three candidates, one for President, one for Congress to represent their local district, and one for the Senate to represent their state. Congress is bicameral – the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, has 435 members; the upper chamber, the Senate, has 100 members. The executive branch and legislative branch are separate. House members and Senators are elected directly, and in nearly all cases represent one of two parties – Democratic or Republican.

Electoral Districts
ISRAEL: Parties and Knesset members are elected by citizens throughout Israel. The State of Israel represents a single electoral district.

US: Each House Member is elected by constituents of their Congressional district. Congressional districts are based on population size. More populous states have more Members of Congress. Each state is represented by two Senators, who are elected by the residents throughout that state.

Political Leader
ISRAEL: The Prime Minister is selected from among the Knesset members. The President of the State assigns the task to the Knesset member considered to have the best chance of forming a viable coalition government with a majority of Knesset members.

US: The president is elected by a combination of a national popular vote and the Electoral College (EC). For most states, when a candidate wins the popular vote, he or she also wins the state’s votes in the EC. Candidates need 270 EC votes to win the presidency. The number of votes a state has in the EC corresponds to its representation in Congress.

Israeli Ministers of Government/US Cabinet Secretaries 

First Israeli Congress on Judaism and Democracy

First Israeli Congress on Judaism and DemocracyThe First Israeli Congress on Judaism and Democracy meetings, which took place in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on February 11 -12 2018, with participating public figures and experts from Israel and around the world.

The First Israeli Congress on Judaism and Democracy is the first attempt of its kind to bridge the tension between Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity. Israel is a young country, which managed in the few years since its establishment, to contribute greatly to the world in the fields of science, technology and art. However, as we prepare to celebrate its 70th anniversary, it appears Israeli society is in a dangerous place.

Israel is dealing with tension between religion and state, and is torn between different opinions, rivalries between different tribes and conflicting worldviews: right wingers and leftists, religious and secular, Arabs and Jews, wealthy and poor. Above all these, hovers the tension between Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity,which has reached a disquieting crisis point.

In an attempt to bridge the widening gaps between the different tribes, we, a group of people from businessmen and women, academics and intellectuals, in cooperation with the Bar Ilan University’s center for Jewish Law and Democracy, have established the first Israeli Congress on Judaism and Democracy. We believe that through conversation, open discussion, and mediation, Israel’s image can be reshaped in way that will benefit us all.

The principles of democracy are rooted in Judaism. There’s no reason there shouldn’t be a Jewish based democracy (OR: There’s no reason there shouldn’t a democracy that’s Jewish at its core). However, in order to achieve that, there must be public discourse not only among lawyers and jurists, but also among academics, yeshiva students, high school students, rabbis, social activists and the public at large. The discussion shouldn’t be confined to the state of Israel alone, but …

Israel's Knesset Can Teach Congress About How To Get Things Done

Israeli KnessetWhat has ten parties, four religions, two languages, and 120 opinions, and yet still passed close to 600 new laws in its most recent term?

The Israeli Knesset, which could teach the U.S. Congress a thing or two about overcoming differences and Getting Things Done. The Knesset is the only parliamentary democracy in the Middle East, and its members include ultra-orthodox Jews, secular Jews, Arabs, Christians, and Druze.

In a country strewn with tribalism, in which the religious and secular live in an increasingly uneasy coexistence — not to mention the split between Jews and Arabs — somehow the Knesset remains a radically more effective legislative body than our Congress.

Of course, when you compare anything to Congress, you're setting a very low bar. So how exactly does a deliberative body that has actually broken out into fistfights on the floor of its chamber get such consistently high marks for actually getting meaningful legislation passed on a regular basis?

“You have to remember that we are a young country,” says Yotam Yakir, Knesset spokesperson and the head of Media and Public Relations. – “We are not quite 70 years old, so we are still young as a society. And we also have a certain improvisational spirit here.”

So how exactly does the Knesset avoid the stalemate and divisiveness of our Congress? First, the Knesset is a truly representative body in which its members are elected without any gerrymandering. It's said that American legislators pick their voters, instead of the voters picking their legislators.

By contrast, in Israel, you don't vote for an individual person; you vote for a party. And it doesn't matter where you live — from Eilat in the South to the Golan in the North, every voter gets the same choice of parties.

So there is a certain amount of fairness baked into the system that the American approach to choosing representatives lacks. Next is a level of openness unmatched not only in the Middle East but, for that matter, in the United States. In committee rooms, ordinary citizens can take seats directly behind Members of Knesset, or MKs, as bills are debated, and can even enter the conversation if they have something useful to add.

All debates are broadcast live over Israeli television and are available on the Knesset's own app, so you've got true government in the sunshine, no “if you want to see what's in the bill, you have to pass it.”

The next thing that sets the Knesset apart is its level of collegiality

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