Conference to debate 'axis of truth'

ICT conference to focus on countering the motivation of terrorists.

Hamas rally 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas rally 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Strategies for dealing with the growing threat of global terrorism will be the focus of the sixth annual international conference at the Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya next week. The conference, which has become a meeting place for experts in the field, is expected to attract more than 700 participants from more than 50 countries. The ICT stresses the importance of applied research and not merely theoretical studies. Therefore, one of the goals of the conference is to bring together academics and practitioners, creating a practical synthesis and working relationship between the often separate fields. A significant aspect of the conference will focus on countering the motivation of terrorists. "Terrorism is a combination of two factors - motivation and operational capability," explained Dr. Boaz Ganor, founder of the ICT and deputy dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy. "Current global strategies to combat terrorism only focus on beating the operational capabilities but not the motivation. These strategies only buy time but do not solve the problem; if the motivation still exists they will find new methods to carry out attacks." One goal to be discussed at the conference is the creation of an "axis of truth," which should be made up of Arab and Muslim countries which understand the threat radical Islam poses. "They need to deal with the problems internally, for themselves, for their own causes," Ganor said. This pragmatic Muslim campaign must be financially supported by the international community, he added, noting that "we need billions to counter the motivation factor, but it can be done." Organizers have added a session to address the recent war in Lebanon. "We will deal with the ramifications of the war and how it affected other arenas, such as the conflict with the Palestinians and the situation in Iraq. We will focus on future methods of deterrence and the lessons learned," Ganor said. He suggested that one of the outcomes of the war may be the government's realization of the necessity of an exchange of information and expertise between the ICT and the security services. As a non-government institution, ICT has not hitherto had any official relationship with the government. "Until now we have had no official ties to the Israeli security services," Ganor said. "Unlike in the United States, the culture here does not foster exchanges between the government and academic institutions. We hope this will change."