Even as today’s headlines focus on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) and violent extremism in the Middle East, terrorist activities by Boko Haram in Nigeria, al Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and competing militias in Libya show the danger of allowing violent extremism to flourish in fragile states. Continued threats emerging from ungoverned spaces underline the need to address the relationship between weak states and international terrorism – a need that has grown significantly in the past three years. Of particular urgency is the need to focus on comprehensive responses including the most effective preventive measures to address extremism and instability before they lead to international terrorism.
On September 29, the Project on International Order and Strategy (IOS) hosted the first public remarks in Washington by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the new president of the International Crisis Group and former undersecretary-general of the United Nations for peacekeeping. Guéhenno discussed the conditions in fragile states that provide fertile ground for conflict and for risks of international terrorism.
A discussion followed with World Bank Special Adviser Sarah Cliffe, a former assistant secretary-general of the U.N. and an expert on fragile states and conflict zones. Bruce Jones, deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings and director of the IOS project, moderated.