The Casimir Pulanski Foundation published a policy paper in which a summary of the NATO Summit in Warsaw is presented, focusing on NATO’s decisions concerning terrorism. Here is a summary of this document.


The Warsaw Summit was held on 8-9 July 2016 and focused on strengthening NATO member states’ security, particularly focusing on the eastern flank. Whereas this is the issue which attracted attention from the media, many other relevant issues for the member states were discussed at the conference.

Fighting international terrorism was one of the issues discussed at the conference, particularly related to the Islamic extremism. NATO’s approach toward asymmetric threats to state security will certainly be influenced by the discussions carried on at the Warsaw Summit. There were some important decisions taken at the summit related to the fight against Islamic extremism and terrorism however, the main objective of the summit was to focus on the threats coming from the Russian Federation.


NATO against terrorism

One of the decisions related to the fight against Islamic terrorism was unexpected, respectively an agreement of the Alliance’s member countries to deploy few airborne early warning aircraft to the Middle East. In order to identify the reasons for this deployment, it is worth mentioning that the Caliphate and Islamic State do not possess their own air force, thus, the explanation of this operation does not appear to be related to the fight against Islamic extremism, but rather focused on Russian military aircraft operating in Syria.

There are also other decisions taken during the summit regarding the Middle East which are related to the fight against Islamic extremism. A declaration of further cooperation between NATO and Jordan is relevant, as for years already, military experts from NATO member states have been conducting professional military training courses for Iraqi troops on the territory of Jordan, which is NATO’s strategic partner.

Furthermore, NATO also pays attention to the North Africa region to diversify operations against terrorist groups. Some key decisions related to the region were taken at the Warsaw Summit, such as the establishment of the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre in Tunisia, which represents only a primary step of the project. Decisions related to the Southern flank, such as the declaration of support for the EU’s naval operation ‘Sophia’ were also taken at the Warsaw Summit, but they are indirectly related to the fight against terrorism. Operation ‘Sophia’ is not focusing on its primary goals, but rather is dealing with migrants who are continuously coming into Europe, thus, focusing on rescue missions. In the waves of mass migration coming from North Africa into Europe there are also supporters of Islamic extremism and as long as Europe does not turn back any vessel carrying migrants, the terrorist threats will continue to exist. However, this strategy seems impossible to implement due to significant reasons.

The situation in Afghanistan was also addressed at the Warsaw Summit, the decisions adopted at the summit being related to political and financial matters. The issue of Afghanistan is not directly related to the fight against Islamic terrorism, but nonetheless NATO announced that the military training mission in Afghanistan will be extended.


Summary and conclusions

The decisions taken at the NATO Summit in Warsaw did not represent a breakthrough on what concerns NATO’s operations against Islamic terrorist groups. The summit emphasized that NATO’s main role is still traditional defense.



Synthesis by Roxana-Ioana Viţă