Early detection, and precise identification, of the specificities of the terrorist threat – fundamental in the decision-making process, in relation to the levels of action – can, in the context of jihadist terrorism, sustain the anticipation of distinct scenarios – taking into account the capacities of the group/organisation, the anticipated effectiveness of their modus operandi, the “attractiveness” of certain targets – a cell or organization, as well as the probable or potential targets that fulfil their objectives, strategic or operational, thus allowing not only to prevent the threat, but at the same time, the adoption of counterterrorism measures, of a preventive or reactive nature, which cancel, or minimise, their impact. We Intend, therefore, to analyse, on the one hand, the degree of motivation and capacities of a cell or organization to plan and execute an attack, and on the other, the actions of detection, prevention, protection, response and mitigation of the effects of this attack previously implemented by States. In the specific case, our macro analysis will focus on the instruments of the European Union – at both levels of structures and cooperation mechanisms – and, in the Portuguese case, in the performance and efficacy after 2015, that is, after the National Strategy to Combat Terrorism (ENCT). Taking into account that often terrorism and counterterrorism is referred to as “two sides of the same coin”, an analysis is due of the capacities, new modus operandi and efficacy, both on the threat side and in the response of the Member State(s) of the European Union as regards the threat of jihadist terrorism. The terrorist attacks perpetrated in Paris on 13 November 2015, by a jihadist cell led by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, it will be our framework for analysis.
Keywords: Target Typology; Counterterrorism; Hostile Reconnaissance; Surveillance; Modus Operandi
Hermínio Matos | ISCPSI, OBSERVARE-UAL
Associate Researcher at OBSERVARE – UAL, Integrated Researcher at the Higher Institute of Police Sciences and Internal Security (ISCPSI).