Preventing violent extremism in the MENA region – the Transatlantic approach
Violent extremism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continues to be a significant challenge. Thousands of young people left their countries after being radicalised to fight for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). The defeat of ISIS on the battlefield by no means ends the threat. Firstly, ISIS ideology is still alive and kicking. Secondly, a number of countries which saw a huge outpouring of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) – such as Tunisia – now risk a serious blow back as many FTFs return to their countries, bringing with them extremist ideologies that can have a serious and deadly impact on youth living in their community. Thirdly, the factors that led individuals down the path of radicalisation, including poverty, inequality, poor quality education and high unemployment, continue to exist.
The Policy Dialogue will look at the challenge of violent extremism in the MENA region, including the origins of the problem, and the push and pull factors that lead young people into radicalisation. It will focus on the underlying issues such as economic and social factors, and steps being taken to address them at local, national and international level, including assessing projects and programmes being implemented by the US and the EU to build resilience, not least among young people, to prevent them from being attracted to violent extremism.