Transatlantic Dialogue on Terrorism

The Transatlantic Dialogue on Terrorism (TDT) was launched in 2003 by the International Security Program and the Europe Program to promote an open and timely discourse between counterterrorism experts from across the United States and Europe. The transatlantic community’s experience with global terrorism since September 11, 2001 has presented complex and novel security challenges and new requirements for international cooperation.

The Transatlantic Dialogue on Terrorism seeks to identify common counterterrorism priorities among its American and European participants and also highlight areas where consensus is lacking. The project’s format involves a series of closed roundtables, alternating between the United States and Europe, involving the leading researchers, intelligence and security professionals, academics and journalists in the field.

The discussion has so far addressed a broad array of issues including the rise of non-state actors, the question of root causes, and the significance of diaspora populations. Phase One of the Transatlantic Dialogue on Terrorism took place over a period from December 2003 to May 2004 and concluded with the release of its initial findings in August. The second and third sessions within Phase One focused on four key factors judged to be critical contributors to the radicalization of Islam: poverty and development assistance, the role of Muslim NGOs, demographic trends, and the radicalization of education.

Phase Two consisted of meetings in Berlin, Washington, DC, The Hague, New York, and Australia throughout 2005 and 2006. This portion of the TDT focused on issues including indigenous radicalism in Western Europe, the role of the Internet as a terrorist’s tool, the relationship between local conflicts and the global Islamist networks and perceptions of the Iraq War in the minds of American and European Muslim communities. Phase Two concluded with the publication of Currents and Crosscurrents of Radical Islamism in April 2006.

In February 2007, the TDT launched Phase Three with a meeting in Berlin, entitled "The Transatlantic Dialogue on Muslims in Europe: Dealing with, and Looking Beyond, the Terrorist Threat." The focus of this meeting shifted towards the situation facing Europe's Muslim communities in terms of economic advancement, social mobility, and political participation. The meeting resulted in the publication of Muslim Integration: Challenging Conventional Wisdom in Europe and the United States in September 2007. The report consists of six papers by U.S. and European experts on immigration, demographics, and integration policy, and further explores these issues in the context of Muslim communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the spring of 2008, the TDT paired with the CSIS Human Rights and Secuirty Initiative to host a Berlin conference under the aegis of the Transatlantic Policy Dialogue on Human Rights and Counterterrorism. This initiative examines the cross-section of human rights and counterterrorism policy by bringing together experts from the policy, security, nongovernmental, and legal communities. By operating under the premise that human rights are compatible with effective counterterrorism efforts, the TPD seeks to increase the level of international cooperation in promoting human rights as a critical component of national and intenrational security. The latest, on-going phase of the project compares best practices in U.S. and European counterterrorism policies.