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ICYMI: Morocco and the US launch “Group of Friends” on Violent Extremism – Caitlin Dearing Scott

Caitlin Dearing Scott
September 19, 2016

Caitlin Dearing Scott, SVP, Research, Programs, and Policy, MAC

Caitlin Dearing Scott, SVP, Research, Programs, and Policy, MAC

Earlier this month in Geneva, Morocco and the US launched a “Group of Friends” on the prevention of and fight against violent extremism, yet another initiative in both countries’ efforts to counter terrorism and the extremism that foments it. The group will serve as a platform “for the promotion and reinforcement of dialogue on the human rights dimension of violent extremism” and will focus on the sharing of lessons learned, best practices, and known approaches against violent extremism.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Morocco’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Mohamed Aujjar, underscored that the group would offer a new space for exchange on the different dimensions of violent extremism, its causes, and its human, economic, social, and cultural implications.

The Geneva Dialogue joins a long list of joint US-Morocco programs to combat terrorism and violent extremism. Morocco is also:

  • A member of the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP), to “assist partners in West and North Africa increase their immediate and long-term capabilities to address terrorist threats and prevent the spread of violent extremism;”
  • A founding member and current Co-Chair of the Global Counterterrorism Forum – an initiative to “reduce the vulnerability of people everywhere to terrorism by effectively preventing, combating, and prosecuting terrorist attacks and countering incitement and recruitment to terrorism;” and
  • A major non-NATO ally, which qualifies Morocco for increased US military cooperation.

Morocco has also worked with the US to further improve its domestic capabilities. Initiatives include:

  • Cooperation with US Customs and Border Protection and DHS to address watch-listed travelers;
  • Participation in the State Department Antiterrorism Assistance program, “which provided the DGSN and the Royal Gendarmerie with training in investigating terrorist incidents, post-blast investigations, cyber forensics, crime scene forensics, critical incident management, and executive leadership;”
  • Partnership to “improve the police criminal investigation process through the development and implementation of chain of custody and evidence management procedures; forensic evidence collection and analysis, including DNA; and mentoring and training;”
  • Participation in DHS-sponsored training on “border security, financial investigation, and counter-proliferation topics” and FBI-sponsored training to “improve capacity in intelligence analysis, facial recognition, and leadership and management”; and
  • Support from the Department of State to reform and modernize the prison system, with a focus on limiting the spread of extremism in prisons and rehabilitating and reintegrating prisoners upon release.

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