|On 16 September 2013, the Center for the Study of Democracy held a roundtable discussion on the latest developments regarding terrorist threats in the Middle East. |
Mr. Brian Jenkins, Senior Adviser to the President of the RAND Corporation presented to the audience the current situation in Egypt, the possible outcomes of the civil war in Syria and the developments within Al-Qaeda. His presentation was a follow-up from his visit to the Center for the Study of Democracy in July 2013, when Mr. Jenkins took part in a discussion on the financing of terrorism.
Mr. Jenkins discussed the possible scenarios for the evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and highlighted the generational divide that is manifesting itself within the organization. The younger members prefer legal participation in public activities, while the more conservative older members are still leaning towards the more traditional illegal activities of the organization, including cooperation with some extremist groups.
Mr. Jenkins also explained that Israel, similarly to the USA, hopes that President al-Assad will step down, but at the same time it fears that the Ba’athist regime will be replaced by jihadist groups.
A major risk for Europe is the possibility of foreign mercenaries who are currently fighting the Assad regime returning to their countries of origin in Western Europe. This is a serious concern for EU security at large and in particular for Bulgaria, because it is one of the countries which they would go through on their return.
Experts of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense were also present at the Round table.