June 2017 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2017
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THEMATIC ISSUES

Counter-Terrorism

Expected Council Action

In June, the Security Council will be briefed by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on UN counter-terrorism efforts in support of member states against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The briefing, which will be followed by consultations, will be based on the fifth strategic-level report of the Secretary-General requested by resolution 2253 of 17 December 2015, expected to be released at the end of May.

The Council is also expected to adopt a resolution updating the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions regime.

Key Recent Developments

On 17 December 2015, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2253, strengthening the Al-Qaida sanctions regime and focusing on ISIL. The sanctions list was renamed the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions List to reflect this focus. In the resolution, the Council decided to review the sanctions measures with a view to possibly strengthening them within 18 months, that is by 16 June 2017.

In more recent developments, the Council was briefed on 11 May by the chairs of its counter-terrorism-related committees: Ambassador Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan), chair of the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In a statement on behalf of all three chairs, Aboulatta emphasised the importance of cooperation among the committees and their expert groups in addressing the grave threats posed by terrorism and the risk that weapons of mass destruction might fall into the hands of non-state actors. He added that the committees and their respective groups of experts had synchronised efforts in conducting country visits. With respect to ISIL, he said the CTC Executive Directorate (CTED) and the 1267/1989/2253 Committee’s Monitoring Team had thus far issued four Secretary-General’s reports on the threat posed by the group.

Feltman presented the latest Secretary-General’s report on the threat posed by ISIL on 7 February. The report noted that the group is adapting to military pressure by altering its communications methods. ISIL continues to encourage its followers and sympathisers outside conflict zones to perpetrate attacks including, in some cases, in their countries of origin.

On 26 April, the CTC, following consultations with CTED, provided the Council with a “comprehensive international framework” to counter terrorist narratives. (The framework was requested by the Council in a presidential statement of 11 May 2016.) On 24 May, the Council adopted a resolution, welcoming the CTC proposal for a comprehensive international framework and providing guidelines for the implementation of the framework. The resolution directs the CTC, with the support of CTED, to include reporting on counter-terrorist narratives within its country assessment reports, identify good practices in the field and assist states in building their own capacity to develop counter-narratives.

On 8 May, Italy and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) co-chaired an Arria-formula meeting on “International Cooperation in Criminal Matters within the Peace and Security Pillar: the Role of Central Authorities”. Karen Kramer, Senior Drug Control and Crime Prevention Officer at UNODC, and David Sharia, Chief of Branch at CTED, briefed members. Three prosecutors from Uganda, Spain and Italy also briefed on their experiences within their domestic jurisdictions. (Resolution 2322 of 12 December 2016 on international judicial cooperation in countering terrorism calls on states to cooperate on administrative, police and judicial matters to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including preventing terrorists from making use of transnational organised criminal networks. Among other things, the resolution focuses on aspects of enhancing mutual legal assistance in criminal matters related to counter-terrorism.)

Key Issues

The immediate issue for the Council is to review resolution 2253.

A continuing issue for the 1267/1989/2253 Committee and the CTC is to ensure that they are able to address, within their respective mandates, the widening scope and various facets of the Council’s counter-terrorism agenda.

Options

The Council is likely to adopt a resolution updating the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime, including:

  • changing or updating the reporting requirements and cycles therein;
  • in particular, on the strategic-level report on ISIL, requesting more in-depth reporting from the Secretary-General while reducing the frequency of the reports;
  • consolidating counter-terrorism language from the various resolutions and presidential statements on counter-terrorism it has adopted since resolution 2253; and
  • requesting the CTC, CTED and the Secretariat to focus on specific areas or trends related to counter-terrorism.
Council Dynamics

At press time, it seemed that Council members had yet to fully consider the content of a new resolution on the 1267/1989/2253 sanctions regime. It appears, however, that several Council members expect the resolution to update the language of resolution 2253, taking into account both the Council’s work on the issue over the last 18 months and developments on the ground, but not to alter its substantive aspects.

Some members believe that the reporting cycle for the Secretary-General’s strategic-level report on ISIL (once every four months) is too frequent and has not proved particularly insightful. They suggest a longer gap between reports, allowing for more in-depth analysis in each one.

The US is the penholder on the 1267/1989/2253 Sanctions Committee and Kazakhstan is the chair of the Committee.

UN Documents on Counter-Terrorism
Security Council Resolutions
24 May 2017 S/RES/2354 This was a resolution on a “comprehensive international framework” to counter-terrorism narratives.
17 December 2015 S/RES/2253 This was a resolution strengthening the Al Qaida sanctions regime and focusing on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The sanctions regime was also renamed the “1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List” to reflect this focus.
Security Council Presidential Statements
11 May 2016 S/PRST/2016/6 This was a presidential statement focusing on countering the narratives and ideologies of terrorism.
Security Council Meeting Records
11 May 2017 S/PV.7936 This was a briefing by the chairs of the counter-terrorism-related committees.
7 February 2017 S/PV.7877 The Council was briefed by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on UN counter-terrorism efforts in support of member states’ fight against ISIL.
Security Council Press Statements
26 May 2017 SC/12845 Council members condemned the terrorist attack that took place on a bus traveling to a monastery in Minya, Egypt, where at least 28 people were killed and dozens were injured, including children.
23 May 2017 SC/12833 Council members condemned the terrorist attack which took place in Manchester, UK, the night before, during which at least 22 people were killed and 59 injured.
Sanctions Committee Documents
26 April 2017 S/2017/375 This document contained the CTC’s proposal for a “comprehensive international framework” to counter terrorist narratives.