SS Terrorism Chapter

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  • 1. SS Notes 6: TerrorismImpact of terrorism Factors: Economic, social and politicalEconomic: Terrorism has tremendous economic impact, especially after a terrorist act has occurredin a country or region. Such acts cause a loss of faith and confidence of consumers and prospectiveinvestors. This causes economic loss to the country or region. In addition, tourism suffers as touristsavoid areas that have been recently attacked by terrorists. An example is the aftermath of theSeptember 11 attacks. The airline industry lost a lot of revenue as consumer confidence was shakenby the attacks. The government had to step in to provide economic help to the airline industry toprevent airline companies from closing down. Thus, economic impact is an important impact ofterrorism.Social: Acts of terrorism can create feelings of animosity and suspicion among the various ethnicitiesand religious groups living in a country or region. This causes social conflict and may lead toexplosive race riots. This threat is particularly pervasive in a multi-ethnic country like Singapore. Inaddition frequent terrorist attacks cause inhabitants of a country or region to feel threatened andtraumatized. An example of this is Israel, which has experienced frequent terrorist attacks. A publicopinion poll carried out by the National Security Studies Centre at the University of Haifa, found thatin October 2000, 80 percent of Israeli Jews polled declared that they feared terrorist attacks againstthemselves or close family members. Although this far from an objective indicator of anything, itgives a general sense of how the public feels and provides an insight into the societal psyche ofIsraelis. The trauma caused to the populace has a detrimental effect on the country. Thus, socialimpact is an important impact of terrorism.Political: Governments have a responsibility to keep citizens safe from terrorists. Much pressure isoften placed on governments to prevent terrorist acts as well as relieve the hardships caused byterrorism. For example, the Indonesian government faced pressure to relieve the economichardships faced by the people in Bali after the 2002 attack. Also, airport security is tightened inorder to prevent terrorism. Critics argue that these measures and laws infringe on individualfreedom and personal privacy. Thus, governments face pressure from both sides which may cause ashift in power in certain countries. Thus, political impact is an important impact of terrorism. Basis of Comparison: Social impact>all other factors: Social impact is the most important factor as it is the root cause of the other impacts. The purpose of terrorism is not to mutilate or murder but to attack the social cohesion of a country and to strike fear within the populace with the hopes of promoting chaos and confusion. The fear that terrorism creates translates to both economic and political impacts. The loss of consumer confidence is a reason for economic problems faced by countries after a terrorist attack. The widespread fear and panic caused by acts of terrorism breeds a desire to halt it, leading to almost paranoid measures and laws imposed at border security. Thus social impact causes both economic and political impact. Thus social impact is the most important factor.
  • 2. Management of terrorism Factors: ASEAN, International, Nurturing environmentASEAN: ASEAN leaders view terrorism as a major threat to international peace. As such, ASEANgovernments have pledged their determination to cooperate against transnational terrorists throughjoint police and intelligence measures. For example, ASEAN has pledged to enhance information andintelligence exchange on terrorists and terrorist activities. This has helped member countries todisrupt terrorist activities on their soil. For example, in January 2002, the Philippine authoritiesarrested JI bomb-maker Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi based on information provided to them bySingapore. Fathur had been involved in the bombing of the Light Railway Train in Manila inDecember 2000. The member countries have also used the ASEAN Regional Forum as a platform todiscuss transnational terrorism issues. Thus ASEAN’s efforts are an important way of managingterrorism.International: The audacity and scale of the September 11 attacks mobilised the internationalcommunity into action. The UN passed a series of resolutions in a bid to stop terrorism. Membercountries pledged joint cooperation through these resolutions to disrupt terrorist activities and toshare information and cooperate in criminal prosecution. The UN also set up the CTC to monitormember countries’ adherence to the resolutions as well as provide technical assistance to countriesthat require help in implementing the resolutions. Since the resolutions were passed, membercountries have managed to freeze more than US$200 million in terrorist funding. In addition, morethan 4000 terrorist suspects have been arrested. Thus international efforts are an important way ofmanaging terrorism.Environment: All members of society have a role to play in countering the threat of terrorism.Terrorist groups preach a message of hate and enmity, glorify the use of violence and falselysanction a person to commit violent acts. There must therefore be no ambiguity in society’s standagainst these ideas. Every individual has a role to play to deny the terrorists space in society. Thusnurturing an environment that censures terrorism is an important way of managing terrorism.Basis of Comparison:Environment>all other factors: Nurturing an environment that censures terrorism is the mostimportant way of managing terrorism as it is the most effective. Today’s terrorism cannot be dealtwith just by arresting terrorist operatives. Terrorists are able to recruit new operatives to replacethose who have been arrested or killed if the society does not actively and unequivocally reject theideas propagated by terrorists. It is therefore more crucial to ensure that society plays its part tocounter radical and extremist influences purveyed by terrorists. Thus nurturing an environment thatcensures terrorism is the most important way of managing terrorism.