Pre-empting terrorist attacks has become one of the most urgent problems of the international anti-terrorist campaign. Below, Oleg Khlobustov, a leading expert at the Russian National and International Security Foundation, offers his opinion on the issue.
"Anti-terrorist efforts will not be effective without streamlining the relevant international legal basis and rejecting double standards. Russia has proposed drafting a kind of code of conduct in this sphere and approached parliaments in a number of countries with proposals to unify their laws on fighting international terrorism, transnational crime and related criminal offences. The idea is to bring national legislations closer together in terms of content and legal form. This will allow prompt responses to terrorist threats irrespective of where they emerge.
"It is time to work out a model law on combating international terror. We have begun work on this in cooperation with a group of American congressmen led by Curt Weldon and Jim Saxton. Once approved by the Russian and US parliaments, the law could become a model for the rest of the world.
"Naturally, security and interior bodies should be given a certain degree of trust, as they have to procure reliable information on the infrastructure of terrorism and extremists' plans. It is common knowledge that information of this sort comes from field agents or ordinary people reporting suspicious occurrences over a confidential hot line.
"Criminal, and especially terrorist, organizations are obsessed with secrecy and they control every member. However, agents have to infiltrate in such organizations. The security agencies of Russia, Britain and the United States have managed to cut off some international channels of arms and drug trafficking through their agents. Major General Arnold Fields, the Deputy Commander of the US Marine Corps in Europe, for example, has given high marks to this form of cooperation.
"No country can defeat terrorism on its own. Russia is proposing that a single center be established to collate and analyze information provided by security services working together to combat crime. The center will help anticipate terrorist threats and resolve national and international crises. The center could also train experts to analyze intelligence information in the international terrorism sphere.
"It would be extremely beneficial for security agencies to get prompt information from a unified database on individuals suspected of radical activities and conduct major operations and investigations if necessary. They must also be given information on the financial backers of international terrorist organizations. This head-on approach would make radicals realize that they face equally grave risks anywhere in the world".