More Than 300 Global Security Experts Attend 7th Marrakesh Security Forum

Discussions Focus on Spread of Jihadist Terrorism in Africa

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - February 18, 2016) - More than 300 security experts from around the globe gathered in Marrakesh, Morocco February 12-13 for the seventh annual Marrakesh Security Forum, hosted by the Moroccan Center for Strategic Studies (CMES) in partnership with the African Federation for Strategic Studies.

Government officials, academics, think tank experts, journalists, and others from the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and other institutions and countries the world over -- including the US, Spain, France, Russia, China, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, the UAE, Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia, to name a few -- participated in nine discussion sessions centered on the theme "Africa and the War against International Jihadism." Presentations addressed topics including terrorist funding; intelligence and shared security challenges; challenges to security and borders control in Africa; the emerging threats of cyber-terrorism, chemical and biological terrorism; strategies to manage the return of foreign terrorist fighters; and more.

A framework document issued at the start of the conference noted that "10 African countries in total have had deadly bombings that caused five victims or more," and that "certain countries in 2015 have experienced their first attacks of wide scale." The document concluded that "the staggering increase of terrorist attacks is mainly the work of Boko Haram and to a lesser degree of Shabab." Over the course of the conference, there was consensus that military action alone will not be enough to stem the tide of terrorism as the number of extremist groups and attacks proliferates in Africa; that underlying socio-economic issues and border security must also be addressed; and that a key element is improved cooperation among international security services.

One session was dedicated to the Moroccan model of fighting radicalization and violent extremism. A panel of speakers that included Dr. Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary General of the Rabita Mohammedia Oulemas; Mr. Driss El Yazami, President of Morocco's National Center for Human Rights; Mr. Nizar Baraka, President of Morocco's Economic, Social, and Environmental Council; and others discussed Morocco's multidimensional approach to the issue. This includes implementing economic development programs, strengthening human rights, and structuring Morocco's religious sphere to promote a moderate and tolerant version of Islam.

"The fight against terrorism requires equal parts hard power and soft power, to fight both violence and the extremist ideologies that fuel it. That's why a year ago today the White House hosted its first Summit on Countering Violent Extremism," said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. "Morocco is a leader when it comes to this multidimensional view of counterterrorism; and the Marrakesh Security Forum shows that it is willing to engage with us and the world as an active partner in this fight."

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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Jordana Merran

The Marrakesh Security Forum was held February 12-13, 2016 in Morocco.