According to the State Department’s annual terrorism report, in 2014, “weak or failed governance continued to provide an enabling environment for the emergence of extremist radicalism and violence, notably in Yemen, in Syria, Libya, Nigeria, and Iraq,” said U.S. Ambassador-at Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism Tina Kaidanow:
“We’re deeply concerned about the continued evolution of the Islamic State of the Iraq in the Levant, ISIL; the emergence of self-proclaimed ISIL affiliates in Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, and elsewhere; and tens of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters who are exacerbating the violence in the Middle East, imposing a continued threat to their own home countries.”
Although al Qa’ida’s star continued to fade as its central leadership has been weakened, it nevertheless still served as inspiration to its affiliated groups, including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula which operates in Yemen; al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM; al-Nusrah Front in Syria; and al-Shabaab in East Africa.
Terrorism is a global phenomenon, and no country can fight it alone. The year 2014 witnessed a powerful regional and international mobilization to counter ISIL that halted the group’s initial advances in Iraq. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 in September 2014 constituted a significant step forward in international efforts to cooperate in preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from conflict zones. And to counter-act ISIL’s spread, the United States is forming partnerships, such as the counter-ISIL coalition. Today, that coalition consists of over 60 contributing partners, working not only to stop ISIL’s advances, but to halt the flow of foreign fighters, disrupt ISIL’s financial resources, and counteract its messaging and undermine its appeal.
Partners in North Africa and Asia also took steps in 2014 to strengthen their counterterrorism capabilities through new laws and the development of other means to identify, interdict, and prosecute foreign terrorist fighters and those who support them. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates have all enacted legislation or regulations in 2014 to address foreign terrorist fighters.
The United States and its partners will continue to battle terrorist activity, mitigate underlying conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, beef up border security and strengthen weakened institutions. We are intensifying our efforts, because this is a battle we plan to win.