Marshall Center Participants Learn about Camps, Refugees, Migrants, Lone Actor Terrorism

PTSS 16-12 Participants Learn about Camps, Refugees, Migrants, Lone Actor Terrorism

Marshall Center Participants Learn about Camps, Refugees, Migrants, Lone Actor Terrorism

By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (July 19, 2016) – Professor James Howcroft, director of the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies, moderated an alumni discussion panel on “Camps, Refugees and Migrants” July 19 during PTSS 16-12 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Maj. Rabih Fakih, vice head of the National Security Branch in Lebanon, talked about “Syrian Refugees: Humanitarian vs. Security Perspectives.”

“Syrian war refugees or Syrian refugees are Syrian nationals who fled Syria with the culmination of the crisis,” said Fakih, who is a PTSS alumnus. “By 2016, more than 4 million Syrian refugees had been registered in the neighbouring countries, especially in Lebanon.”

He said that about 1,300,000 Syrian refugees are currently present in Lebanon, and the Lebanese government and population are trying to provide them with the available assistance and services.

“The problem is still far larger than the available capacities,” Fakih said. “With the growing numbers of refugees, the Lebanese society is witnessing various problems which are getting worse every day, such as social, economic and especially, security problems.”

The majority of refugees are present in northern Lebanon and in the Bekaa region, especially in the areas with a Sunni majority, Fakih said.

The other panel member was Dr. Cuneyt Gurer, also a Marshall Center PTSS alumnus, and 20-year law enforcement professional who has worked on projects for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who talked about “Syrian Refugees and Camps in Turkey.”

He talked about the Syrian crises and the scope of the problem, government responses to mass movement of people, international approach and European Union- Turkey Agreement, and humanitarian vs. security approach.

In the afternoon, Dr. Sam Mullins, Marshall Center’s professor of counterterrorism, gave a presentation on Lone Actor Terrorism.

He defined lone terrorists as those who operate alone, and who are not part of organization or network and are not following orders.

Mullins then described the lone actors’ development, rate, profiles, radicalization, modus operandi and challenges for counterterrorism.

“Lone terrorism has increased,” Mullins said, “and happens mostly in the U.S.”

Mullins added that compared to other terrorists, lone actors have higher rates of psychological problems and are socially isolated. Sometimes, lone actors have had previous activism.

The modus operandi, he said, are mostly single attacks with varied planning – could be days or years. The targets are symbolic and soft, and weaponry used depends on the terrorist skill or availability.

Challenges for counterterrorism professionals is that the lone actor is difficult to identify or predict, said Mullins. In addition, there is always questions about accomplices before or after the attack.

More PTSS 16-12 photos can be found on the Marshall Center Photo Gallery.