LOCATION: Westin Lobby
The Premier of Greenland, the Honorable Aleqa Hammond, made a special, on-the-record address at the Halifax International Security Forum.
The session examined whether terrorist threats remain present, in what form and how they are combatted. Panelists agreed that terrorism is an ever-present threat and discussed anti-terrorism strategies including surveillance. Panelists discussed how terrorism and the war on terrorism has mutated and globalized. The success of anti-terrorist activities was considered difficult to measure in comparison to the failure of those activities, but anti-terrorism is a now a critical part of the post 9-11 world. Panelists indicated that governments must prepare for new versions of terrorist threats, such as cyber-terrorism, to be effective in the evolving world of terrorism.
“As a society, we have to send a strong signal that if you are to use violent means to reach your goal, this is not acceptable. We will ensure that we take preventative action.”
“One terrorist attack is too many and we ought to take everything we have to prevent it.”
“We never exaggerate when it comes to security. You have to prepare yourself for the worst, always. This is a principle of providing security to society.”
“Terrorism is any activity that can destroy the society we want to lead.”
“Counterterrorism has been a cash cow and legitimacy cow to the Arab rulers. And that needs to end.”
“We should not underestimate the geopolitical changes effecting the terrorists themselves.”
“Now the frustration is big, is huge, and I don’t know if we rightly dealt with the situation in Egypt.”
LOCATION: Atlantic Ballroom
With a deal having been reached just hours earlier on the freezing of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the limited relief of sanctions, panelists engaged in a particularly timely discussion about weapons of mass destruction. There was relative consensus on the panel that an interim deal has been reached, and the success or failure of the agreement will reflect equally on Iran as it does on the other signatories. Panelists and audience members felt the outcome of the process will demonstrate if Iran has truly abandoned its nuclear ambitions. Panelists also considered the intent of the current program in Iran and indicated that, if the singular intent is to remove particular weapons, it may be proceeding well. Panelists also weighed the relative injury on humankind of nuclear weapons versus other kinds of more conventional warfare.
Panelists debated the viability of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They disagreed on the importance of trust in the relationship with Iran; some panelists argued that a deal with consequences for breaking the agreement does not require trust. The “right” to enrich nuclear material was discussed given that Iran believes it to be a natural and inalienable right. The concept of a Pax-Iranica was raised with trepidation. Panelists concluded that much remains to be seen with the six-month deal with Iran and the outcome will have a lasting impact on the future of the region and relations with the West.
“The only thing worse than weapons of mass destruction is people who are willing to use them.”
“We have to be practical and realistic of what the Iranian regime is prepared to accept.”
“Nobody has clean hands in the Middle East.”
“What we need to do is try to create the conditions for further nuclear disarmament.”
The closing news conference marks the successful conclusion of engaging discussions amongst democratic thinkers at the 2013 Halifax International Security Forum. For the past three days, democratic leaders, business leaders, military strategists, security experts and members of the media joined together in an intimate setting to discuss international relations and pressing security challenges. Peter Van Praagh, President of the Halifax International Security Forum, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, made remarks.