Bid to improve common action against terror




By Mark Huband, Security Correspondent

Financial Times, 30 May 2003

The G8 summit will be dominated by development issues and the threat from global terrorism, which President Jacques Chirac, its host, hopes will allow the world’s leading industrial powers to revive the co-operation that existed after the September 11 attacks in the US but disappeared in the furore over war in Iraq.

Alongside the United Nations counter-terrorism committee, the G8 countries have been the driving force behind the globalisation of action against terrorist organisations.

While UN resolutions on counter-terrorism and organised crime have set the global standard for diplomatic co-operation between governments, the pooling of police, security and intelligence service resources by G8 countries has been the essential conduit for the global flow of information that has allowed arrests to be made.

The rapid introduction of financial measures to halt the flow of terrorist finance after September 11 was almost entirely dependent on the existing means of co-operation between G8 countries, operating under the auspices of the Financial Action Task Force. The FATF has been acting as a co-ordinating body to ensure compliance by banks, and has been vital in the freezing of $122m (£74m, €104m) of alleged al-Qaeda funds.

Co-operation between law enforcement services has remained remarkably unaffected by the poor diplomatic relations that dominated the run-up to the war in Iraq.

A large concern was that the war would see effort and resources diverted away from the unfinished campaign against al-Qaeda. In fact, the measures that had been put in place by the G8 before the month-long Iraq conflict, particularly in the area of intelligence sharing and police action, have endured, security officials say.

These measures are now regarded as certain to become even more important as the process of establishing an understanding of al-Qaeda’s strategy post-Iraq war starts to emerge.

G8 information-sharing, focused on efforts to confront the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, is now a key aspect of this effort. G8 states are co-ordinating strategies for dealing with terrorist use of WMD, and are jointly developing best practices to respond to a terrorist attack using WMD.

Analysts also regard the G8 as having a vital role in addressing the economic and social conditions that provide terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda with a constituency for recruitment.

“There are strong grounds for lining up worldwide development strategy with the anti-terrorist campaign,” Nicholas Bayne, an analyst of the G8, wrote in the wake of the September 11 attacks.


© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2008.