Experts at UIC Barcelona coincide that that the strategy to end DAESH must go beyond military operations

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On Monday 9 May the Saló de Graus room at UIC Barcelona hosted a conference and round table on “The Threat of the Islamic State, Checkmate in Europe” organised by the Charlemagne Institute for European Studies, with cooperation from Adalede, the Spanish Institute of Strategic Studies (IEEE) and Grupo Atenea. 

Experts at UIC Barcelona coincide that that the strategy to end DAESH must go beyond military operations

The Charlemagne Institute for European Studies at UIC Barcelona celebrated Europe Day once again this year.  The Director, Carlos Espaliú, said “after the attacks in Paris and Brussels and the continuous messages we are receiving from the Islamic State, we have observed that there is a need to talk about this threat and how we are responding to it”.

The event began with a conference given by General Miguel Ángel Ballesteros, Director of the Spanish Institute of Strategic Studies (IEEE), who presented the characteristics of the DAESH which differentiate it from other similar threats such as Al Qaeda. “The DAESH is much more dangerous than Al Qaeda. In Europe we have only seen two attacks so far, but it is much more powerful.  DAESH has propagated all around the world in the places where there are jihadists”. 

Subsequently a round table took place in which subjects such as the conflict in Syria and Iraq were discussed, as well as other forms of jihadism which are arising, the response from Europe and the political and religious perspectives of the conflict. 

Francisco Fernández, the Spanish Ambassador, was the first to talk.  Fernández compared the conflict in Syria and Iraq to a Russian doll, out of which various dolls of different sizes always appear.  “It is a problem that does not have a single diplomatic solution, we need a change of mentality” he said.

Then Pedro Baños, an army Coronel, analyst and public speaker who is an expert in international relations, insisted that “the militia in the Islamic state is not a problem as such, but instead it is the mentality they have.  If they have grown so much it is because they have received a lot of popular support”.

Soha Abboud Haggar, a Professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the Complutense University of Madrid, presented a different point of view, from the side of a moderate Islam that observes these attacks with horror.   “Regular Muslim people are feeling attacked because DAESH accuses them of being infidels, because they are moderate.  They really feel threatened”.

Carlos Echeverría, a Professor of International Relations at the UNED and an expert on the Islamic world talked about the situation in Libya, and also said “when another Muslim is considered to be apostate inside Islam, they are dehumanised and then taken to their death”. 

Finally, Montserrat Nebrera, a Professor from the Faculty of Law at UIC Barcelona, stated that although the European Union has reached agreements and created pacts for the fight against this type of terrorism “the feeling that people have when they hear the word Europe is that it has not believed in its own unity and instead depends on votes in each member-state.  It is necessary for Europe to find out what it wants to be and what direction it will go in”.