International Efforts Urged to Tackle Terror

  • 10 April 2013

The 18th Annual Conference of Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) called for international efforts to tackle terrorism, which remains one of the most prominent future challenges threatening global security and stability.

Center Director-General H.E. Dr Jamal Al Suwaidi, in his welcome speech, said that the discussions on the future of warfare demands consideration of several vital factors, the most important of which are the emergence of unpredictable non-conventional threats alongside the decline of conventional threats; the growing role of information technology within traditional warfare; and the diminishing role of geography as wars are now waged in trans-border dimensions.

Held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and President of the Center, the two-day conference was inaugurated in the presence of diplomats and a select group of researchers, security experts and mediapersons.

Al Suwaidi further added that the Center has always discussed topics of vital strategic importance in its annual conferences, “and the conference today tackles one of the most urgent issues of concern to decision-makers, policy planners, researchers and academics.

“Although one cannot overstate the relevance of this topic, any attempt to academically explore its dimensions will present challenges due to the rapid technological developments. Indications and developments being manifested today suggest that information technology would be the backbone and foundation of the future of warfare.”

He also said the human element was declining while that of technology and computer systems is growing. “All this is in addition to the emergence of cyber threats as the main challenge facing national security in the 21st century as well as the advent of new forms of tactical alliances aimed at achieving specific objectives.”

He added that the GCC countries, especially the UAE, face cyber security challenges that should not be overlooked.

“The UAE is at the regional and global forefront of a shift taking place towards knowledge-based economies, innovation and information technology. There is a need to pay greater attention to the discussions of this conference as they will significantly contribute to the development of a national strategic perspective in dealing with these challenges,” said Al Suwaidi.

Michele Alliot-Marie, former French Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs, in her key-note address praised the UAE leadership and the country’s peaceful approach in dealing with international affairs based on the principles of justice and respect for all.

She pointed out that the UAE plays a vital role in fighting various forms of terrorism and stressed that technological innovation is crucial for any country in counter-terrorism efforts, especially cyber attacks which pose a threat to national security as well as information security.

The first panel discussion, titled “Contemporary Threats and Changing Nature of Warfare”, was chaired by Saif Sultan Al Aryani, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security in the UAE.

Dr Austin Long, Assistant Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, and Member of the Arnold A. Saltzman, Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University, USA, spoke about Asymmetrical Warfare and International Terrorism.

The conference has a total of four panels, comprising 12 papers by prominent experts, intellectuals, researchers and officials from the UAE, GCC and the rest of the world.