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2012-09-28

Arab security officials plead for co-operation

By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 28/09/12

Arab counter-terrorism officials on Thursday (September 27th) concluded a two-day conference in Tunis with calls for broader collaboration.

"Security chaos in the Arab region was a fertile ground where all sorts of crime grew: the organised crime market has aggravated, human trafficking has prospered, and activities of illegal immigration and drug trafficking gangs have doubled," Arab Interior Ministers Council Secretary-General Mohamed bin Ali Kouman said in opening remarks.

The meeting, held at the headquarters of the council secretariat-general, focused on ways to strengthen counter-terrorism agencies in light of the Arab uprisings. Participants called for implementing programmes and providing technical means that would allow Arab states to counter and discover terrorist crimes and identify their perpetrators.

They also insisted on establishing a joint system for border surveillance to prevent arms smuggling in the Arab world.

The main battleground, however, is in confronting the ideology of terrorism.

Participants urged member states to benefit from the successful Arab and international strategic plans and experiences in dealing with extremist thought. Arab states need to project the tolerant image of divine religions and expand internet usage, especially social networking sites, in order to raise awareness about the dangers of extremist ideology. They also need to reveal its fallacies by showing that Islam has nothing to do with extremism, according to the attendees.

The events of the Arab Spring have aggravated crime rates and terrorist dangers inside the Arab world, according to Kouman.

The post-revolutionary proliferation of weapons and explosives has put the tools of killing and destruction in the hands of terrorists, he said. Porous borders have facilitated the infiltration of elements and fighters, and the ideological climate has allowed the passage of terrorist discourse.

"These emergency conditions give your agencies new challenges that must be firmly countered in order to eliminate this scourge that impedes development projects, undermines social peace and even endangers the existence of state itself," Kouman told Arab security officials.

"The security efforts, which have made prominent achievements and nipped terrorist plans in the bud before they wreaked havoc and death, are not enough to counter terrorism, but must be backed by multiple confrontations," the official insisted.

He called for an intellectual confrontation that would expose the falsehood of terrorists' claims about serving Islam and Muslims, coupled with economic and social measures which would put an end to poverty and reduce the gap between classes.

"Your efforts must back the efforts of clerics, economic and social bodies in the state and society in the framework of a real partnership between police, citizens, state agencies and civil society organisations in order to eradicate terrorism and crime," Kouman concluded.

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