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French Senate roundtable looks to future in fight on terrorism in Middle East

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By Euronews
French Senate roundtable looks to future in fight on terrorism in Middle East
Copyright  Reuters

A round table at the French senate asked, with the fall of so-called Islamic State in Iraq where is the fight against terrorism headed? Participants came from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Yemen to discuss the situations their countries are facing.

"International coalition in Yemen will bring back stability to the war-torn country."

Ahmad Asiri, an adviser to Saudi Arabia defence minister, defended his country’s decision to lead an international coalition in the war against Yemen's Houthi rebels. As a bordering country, he said that Yemen was of “extreme interest” to Saudi Arabia.

Without intervention, he claimed there was a risk that Yemen would turn into the Libyan model “where there aren’t national institutions anymore.”

"Terrorism doesn't have a religion"

Former director of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces Ashrad Rifi warned that “sticking a terrorist connotation to a religion exacerbates the problem and allows terrorists to develop their networks unnoticed.” He added, “Terrorism doesn’t have a religion.”

Rifi said the Palestinian conflict was the main reason for violence in the region. “Totalitarian regimes woke up nationalist sentiments that had lied dormant for centuries, they promote terrorism,” he said, calling on western countries to join forces in the fight against terrorism in the region.

Hezbollah 'normalises' jihad

Expert on terrorist movements Romain Caillet said that Lebanese militant group Hezbollah uses the concept of “resistance” as a means to normalise Shiite jihad in Lebanese society

Shiite jihad is more of a regional jihad rather a global jihad. Caillet pointed to the ties between regional groups like the Iraqi Shiite militants and Hezbollah.

The roundtable was also joined by Yemen's ambassador to France Yassin Abdullah and journalist Wassim Nasr. It was moderated by Nathalie Goulet, a member of French Senate.