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U.S. and Turkey to Create Fund to Stem Extremism
Friday, September 27, 2013
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The United States and Turkey on Friday will announce the creation of a $200 million fund to combat violent extremism by undercutting the ideological and recruiting appeal of jihadists in places like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, State Department officials said Thursday.
While the United States and its allies in the global campaign against terrorism have over the past decade effectively honed their intelligence and reconnaissance skills to hunt terrorists, the West continues to struggle in its efforts to prevent the process of radicalization that creates them.
The new fund, formally called the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience, will for the first time combine financing from both government and nongovernment entities to identify credible local organizations; develop, monitor and evaluate programs; and channel funds to local projects that target groups and individuals vulnerable to appeals from terrorist groups.
It is expected to be operational by mid-2014, officials said.
The initiative, based on other global funds to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, is to be announced by Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Global Counterterrorism Forum in New York. The United States and Turkey are leaders of the group, an organization of 29 countries and the European Union created two years ago with the State Department’s support to act as a clearinghouse of ideas and actions for civilian counterterrorism specialists.
“Countries that have a radicalization problem previously had to rely on ad hoc support from wealthier donor nations, many of which are not bureaucratically capable of sponsoring the small intervention programs necessary to disrupt the radicalization process,” said William McCants, a former State Department counterterrorism official who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Now countries can turn to the global fund to sponsor programs that will pull young men and women back from the edge of terrorist violence.”
The United States is initially expected to contribute $2 million to $3 million to the fund, which will be administered in Geneva. Other likely donors besides Turkey include the European Union, Canada, Qatar, Denmark and Britain as well as private sources. American officials said they expect the fund to raise more than $200 million over a 10-year period.
Grants from the fund would provide vocational training to youths at risk of being recruited by terrorist organizations; new school curriculums that teach tolerance and problem solving; and Web sites and social networks to educate youth about the dangers of violent extremist ideologies.
The new fund builds on other efforts the counterterrorism forum has promoted including the creation of a center in Abu Dhabi to counter violent extremism.
Denmark has already forged a partnership with Burkina Faso to respond to violent extremism in the Sahel region of Africa, and backed it up with a war chest of $22 million over five years. Separately, Saudi Arabia announced last month that it would donate $100 million to the United Nations Center on Counterterrorism. American officials have suggested that the United Nations give some of the Saudi money to the new fund.
Although countering violent extremism is a policy priority for the United Nations, it does not have the ready ability to provide financing to small grass-roots organizations that do that work, American officials said. Thus, providing money to the fund would allow the United Nations to support an important counterradicalization effort, the officials said.
On Friday, Mr. Kerry is expected to explain that radicalization is often fueled by conditions at the local level and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to countering violent extremism, State Department officials said.
Citing recent terrorist attacks in Kenya and Pakistan, Mr. Kerry will note that communities are at the heart of any solution in combating this threat, and that authorities must tailor responses to conditions in those communities.
American counterterrorism officials say that the most enduring anti-extremism programs are those owned and carried out by local civic and government partners.
Source: The New York Times
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