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Belgium and Counterterrorism Policy in the Jihadi Era (1986-2007). Egmont Paper, no. 15, September 2007

Coolsaet, Rik, and Struye de Swielande, Tanguy. (2007) Belgium and Counterterrorism Policy in the Jihadi Era (1986-2007). Egmont Paper, no. 15, September 2007. [Policy Paper]

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    Abstract

    Belgium is not a significant safe haven for terrorist groups, according to the 2006 edition of the Country Reports on Terrorism, released by the U.S. State Department in April 2007. Belgium is only a piece in a global puzzle of terrorism, including its jihadi variant that gained worldwide prominence with the 9/11 attacks. In the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, Belgium bore its share of the burden of terrorism, as did some of its neighbours. The Cellules Communistes Combattantes were the Belgian branch of a Europe-wide movement of anticapitalist terrorism that caused widespread anxiety in public opinion. In the mid-1980s, much earlier than most of its neighbours (with the exception of France) Belgium then encountered a new variety of terrorists, religiously inspired groups, linked with the Shia regime in Teheran. Subsequently in the mid-1990s Belgian authorities discovered support cells of the Algerian radical Islamist movement GIA on its soil. These were the beginnings of Belgium’s encounter with jihadi terrorism. Jihadi terrorism went through different mutations. It started as an ‘Islamonationalist’ movement in the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. It then acquired a global character, with al-Qaeda as the vanguard organisation of international jihadi terrorism. As a result of international and national efforts the organisation started to atomize and gave way to a decentralized, largely home-grown patchwork of jihadi groups, linked by ideology and opportunistic links. This Egmont Paper1 explores how Belgium reacted to the growth of this new form of terrorism from its early signs in the 1980s until today. Next, it analyses the measures taken by the Belgian law enforcement apparatus since 9/11. Finally, it assesses Belgian specificities in combating jihadi terrorism.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Belgium
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJC > terrorism
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Islam
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Egmont : Royal Institute for International Affairs > Egmont Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2008
    Page Range: p. 31
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:58
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8974

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