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Global Terrorism Challenges & Response

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Terrorism is an historical as well as a universal phenomenon; has been practiced by every type of organisation, religious or non-religious, right-wing or left-wing.Consequently, the reasons for the terrorist activity and the identity of those who carry out these acts are always subject to the context, time and place.Unfortunately, there is no consensus on its accurate definition. More than one hundred definitions in the field; one country’s terrorists are other country’s freedom fighters. Rather than seeking the causes of terrorism itself, a better approach is to determine the conditions that make terror possible or likely.Stopping violence is rarely simple or easy. Only time and commitment by a majority of the parties involved can resolve a conflict. Keeping in view the multidimensional nature of terrorism, we must adopt a long term holistic and comprehensive approach for its eradication.
This presentation is an attempt to encompass the various issues related to this complex phemenon and presents a plan of action to control this menace

Published in: Education
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Global Terrorism Challenges & Response

  1. 1. Shahid Hussain Raja Author/Consultant www.shahidhussainraja.com
  2. 2.  Introduction  Terrorism Defined  Terrorism-Historical Background  Causes of Terrorism-Initiating Conditions ◦ Pull Factors ◦ Push Factors  Causes of Terrorism-Sustaining Conditions ◦ Marginalisation ◦ Identity Politics ◦ Foreign Policy Decisions ◦ Betrayal Syndrome ◦ Lack of Political Empowerment  Strategy to Curb Terrorism  Conclusion
  3. 3.  Terrorism is an historical as well as a universal phenomenon; very few countries can claim not to have been affected by this menace which is on the rise.  Has been practiced by every type of organisation, religious or non-religious, right-wing or left-wing Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus even the so-called most peaceful Buddhists have engaged in terrorist attacks,  Consequently, the reasons for the terrorist activity and the identity of those who carry out these acts are always subject to the context, time and place.  As per Global Terrorism Database, more than 61,000 incidents of non-state terrorism claiming over 140,000 lives have been recorded from 2000 to 2014 while in 2016 OECD countries experienced the most deaths from terrorism since the September 11 attacks.  Middle East, Asia, and Africa were most affected by terrorist attacks with Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan being the worst affected
  4. 4.  Unfortunately, there is no consensus on its accurate definition  More than one hundred definitions in the field; one country’s terrorists are other country’s freedom fighters  However, for this presentation, we can define, "terrorism" as “any violent act of intentional targeting of non-combatants by a person or a group to create panic among the public with the aim of getting tactical or strategic concessions from the policy makers for the accomplishment of their political or nonpolitical goals.”
  5. 5.  Zealots: Historically, Jewish Zealots could be the counted as the first organized terrorists whose acts of violence against the Romans resulted in their banishment from Israel 2000 years ago.  Assassins: Followers of Hasan bin Sabah(10th century) can also be described as terrorists for the violence perpetrated by them on the order of their spiritual leader.  Thugs: Members of secret Indian cult, both Muslims and Hindus, worshipped Mother Kali,goddess of destruction, operated as gangs of highway robbers, tricking and later strangling their victims with handkerchief or noose. They would then rob and bury their victims.
  6. 6.  Jacobins: Radical revolutionaries who coined term “terrorism” during French Revolution, killed more than 35,000 people to terrify French people into submission to their ideas  Anarchists: Pioneers of modern terrorism at global level, started in 1880s in Russia, later spread to Europe/North America. Using extremes acts of violence as their main strategy to achieve their objectives, assassinated several world leaders/bombed buildings  Nationalist/anti-colonial Terrorism: Terror groups that operated in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere during last phase of colonialism and continued up to 1980sa. Also the Zionist underground terrorist organization Irgun used these very tactics, including the notorious act of bombing of the King David Hotel on Monday July 22, 1946
  7. 7.  1970s/80s Terrorists: Irish Republican Army, ETA in Spain and PLO/Black September in the Middle East to press for the acceptance of their respective political demands. Tamil Tiger in Sri Lanka popularized suicide bombing and women suicide bombers, successfully copied by the Jihadist terror organizations in the Middle East and Europe  Leftist Romantics: Those who took part in 1968 street demonstrations in Paris, London and other European capitals became disillusioned taking armed struggle as a strategy to begin a communist revolution by force. Inspired by the success of Chinese and Vietnamese guerrillas, they espoused pseudo-Marxist ideologies and wreaked havoc with the help of modern technology.  Italy's Red Brigades hijacked Italian prime minister's plane and executed him. Germany's Baader-Meinhof group carried out acts of violence in association with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
  8. 8.  Pre-9/11 Terrorists: Trained by CIA during Soviet Afghan War of 1980s, these radicalized Muslims took arms against oppressive, un-Islamic governments of Middle East and their sponsors for implementing true Islam.  One such resistance group was Al-Qaida led by Osama Bin Laden started a global Jihad against the West after the deployment of American/NATO forces in the Middle East during the First1990 Gulf War.  Post 9/11 Terrorists: Terrorist activities carried out after the actions taken by the USA after it launched War on Terrorism.  One such group is IS asserting that only way to progress for Muslims is to follow the original religious principles of Islam practiced during golden period of Islamic Caliphate, a 7th century empire led by Islam's founding generations.
  9. 9.  Terrorism is a complex phenomenon, a specific kind of political violence committed by people who do not have legitimate army at their disposal.  Rather than seeking the causes of terrorism itself, a better approach is to determine the conditions that make terror possible or likely.  Barring few Lone Wolf cases, most of these conditions have to do with the circumstances such as political, social repression, or economic strife.  There are two sets of conditions which make violence against civilians seem like a reasonable and even necessary option; ◦ Conditions facilitating Start of Terrorism-Pull Factors vs Push Factors ◦ Conditions facilitating Survival of Terrorism-4 Ss Model
  10. 10.  Pull factor-something appealing in the ideology, person or the organization  Maybe Intellectual underpinnings of organization/idea, promises of salvation in hereafter, sheer charismatic personality of person behind ideology/ organisation.  Personal quest, a sense of belonging to a cause, ideology or social network, friendship and kinship ties/compulsions could also motivate a person to resort to join an extremist outfit.  Sheer excitement of enjoying power and control, adventure and the possibility of heroism/ personal redemption are also strong pull factors for attracting the rich.  For poor persons, it may be the financial benefits of joining such organizations.  Lastly, members of mafia join such organizations for protection from the state agencies.
  11. 11.  Push factors-reasons which force a person to become extremist or join a terrorist organization and start an armed struggle against those whom he thinks responsible for his grievances.  Five main reasons for a group of people to resort to acts of violence and ultimately terrorism are; ◦ Marginalization ◦ Identity Politics ◦ Foreign Occupation/Interventions ◦ Betrayal Syndrome ◦ Lack of Political Empowerment
  12. 12.  Socioeconomic deprivation and political marginalisation of significant minority in a country for any reason, actual or perceived, create feelings of hatred against the institutions of the state  Repression and injustice provide justification for terrorists to mobilise people for protest, converts these groups in violent outfits and even militant if their grievances are not redressed.  To get support of silent majority of their group, they resort to their emotional manipulation by using cards of race, religion, caste, colour etc  These feelings of economic injustice and socio-political marginalization are then used by the vested interests, local or foreign, state or non- state, for furtherance of their foreign policy or domestic agenda.
  13. 13.  Popularised by Francis Fukuyama, identity crises relate to cultural marginalisation, which produces alienation and a lack of belonging to either home or the parents’ society.  According to him, the second generation of Muslim migrants to Europe are facing this identity crises as they are not owned by the people of their respective host countries while their links to the parent’s country are not so strong.  Consequently, this sociocultural isolation reinforces their religious solidarity with Muslims around the world; any issue of the greater Muslim Ummah is internalised by these isolated youths prompting them to turn extremist
  14. 14.  Foreign occupation or the foreign policy decisions of powerful countries against the weaker countries arouse the feelings of injustice and nationalism which is then exploited by others  Domestic grievances are framed around victimhood against Western foreign policy and military intervention. The central core of this narrative is that the ‘West is at war with Islam’, which creates a narrative of ‘them and us’.  Conflicts are filtered through this core narrative: Bosnia; Chechnya; Iraq; Syria; Somalia and Palestine, etc. These conflicts and events can become a focal point for mobilisation.  The ban on the Muslim veil; the cartoon crises and other contentious issues are all evidence that the West is at war with Muslim communities. There is a keen sense of alienation and injustice which is reinforced by Islamophobia, xenophobia and discrimination.
  15. 15.  Every global and regional power creates/supports militant groups in their areas of respective interests for the furtherance of their foreign policy agenda.  Once used, these militants are abandoned by their erstwhile sponsors; they in turn become their nemeses-a “disposal problem”.  ‘After every covert war there is an unintended disposal problem. We steered and encouraged these people. Then we dropped them. Now we’ve got a disposal problem. When you motivate people to fight for a cause – jihad – the problem is, how do you shut them off?’-Jack Blum
  16. 16.  Majority of the terrorists are now coming out of the Middle East where dictatorial regimes are the norm rather than exception. Whatever the cause, the lack of democracy has left the Middle East vulnerable to radical recruitment:  Globalization with increasing integration of economics, communications, and cultures across national boundaries is affecting, directly as well as indirectly, the governance structures, processes and the cultural fabric in every country.  It is stoking the aspirations of middle classes for better quality of life with greater say in the socio-political decision making. However, political establishment in most of ME countries, historically governed by authoritarian elites, are not providing them adequate channels of expression/empowerment.  Consequently, these countries are increasingly witnessing the outbursts of popular resentment against the status quo which is then exploited by the regional and global hegemons as well as the non-state violent actors.
  17. 17.  Irrespective of the fact how they are defined or what is their cause of action, a terrorist organisation ultimately needs four things to survive and be successful ◦ Slogan/Cause ◦ Support of People ◦ Space for Operations ◦ Sponsors-Finance and Armaments
  18. 18.  Terrorism must have a cause, how unachievable or absurd it may seem to be.  It could be an armed struggle against occupation forces (i.e. Taliban fighting against NATO forces in Afghanistan) or foreign policy decisions of outside states adversely affecting those resorting to terrorism (i.e. 9/11 or the. terrorist acts in Europe).  Similarly, a vocal group of minority facing oppression at the hands of state or by the majority may take up arms and carry out acts of terrorism against those whom they think responsible for their grievances. (i.e. Moros in Philippines/ Rohingyas in Myanmar).
  19. 19.  Terrorists need the shelter, support and sympathy of the people they think they are fighting for.  If they think that they are not being supported by public, they start terrorist activities against them to force them to support them.  See the acts of terrorism by the Muslim militias against their own people in this context.  As Peter Neumann, the director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, puts it: "Terrorism is not necessarily about the number of people you kill; it's about the terror you create."
  20. 20.  Terrorist organisation must have an area of operation for their terrorist activities.  Their main aim is to create panic among the public and awe the law enforcement agencies and other organs of the state by performing high visibility, maximum casualty acts of terrorism to create maximum impact.  For this they need some space-urban or rural.
  21. 21.  Whether they spring up spontaneously or created by some agency for specific objectives, every terrorist organisation ultimately needs and gets a foreign sponsor.  There is no dearth of such sponsors in modern days. It could be a global power, a regional aspirant for hegemony or any disgruntled neighbour interested to achieve its national interests.  It provides them finances, arms, training and strategic/tactical advice. Tamil Tigers, Mukti Bahini, Moros, Uyghurs, Hezbollah, IRA, Taliban, I SIS-all were are being sponsored by outside forces for the advancement of their respective foreign policy agenda.
  22. 22.  Stopping violence is rarely simple or easy. Only time and commitment by a majority of the parties involved can resolve​ a conflict.  Keeping in view the multidimensional nature of terrorism, we must adopt a long term holistic and comprehensive approach for its eradication.  While the Pull and Push causes of terrorism need long term policies, the sources of survival of terrorism can be choked even in the short term. Some of the measures are as follows;
  23. 23. 1. Formulation of long-term Vision/Legal Framework 2. Use of Force-legitimate but adequate 3. Countering 4Ss-Slogan,Support,Space,Sponsors 4. Plugging in the sources- Discrimination, Poverty, Inequality etc 5. Improving Criminal Justice System 6. Regional and Global Cooperation and Coordination 7. Mainstreaming Ex-Terrorists/Returning Foreign Fighters
  24. 24.  Urgent need for comprehensive framework for tackling terrorism, implemented in letter and spirit with more emphasis on intelligence gathering and better coordination among all the agencies involved in counter-terrorism at the provincial and federal level.  Carrot and stick strategy to announce amnesty for those who voluntarily renounce terrorism and severe punishment to those captured during counter-terrorism operations  Divide and eliminate strategy to divide the terrorist by infiltrating professional spies inside their ranks and create dissention among their ranks.  Hearts and mind strategy to win over those segments of population who hold sympathies for these groups and provide them material, financial and logistical support through systematic information campaign  Living document and should be revised in accordance with the requirements and incorporating the lessons learned.
  25. 25.  Using force to protect its territory and people from foreign aggression and internal subversion is the right of every state  Four point strategy to counter terrorism through use of force ◦ 1.Do not kill the political head of the terrorist organisation-his death results in formation of splinter groups difficult to trace and eliminate. Secondly, we need him when finally negotiations are to be held ◦ 2.Do no spare the second tier of terrorist outfit. Being the planners, these are the most dangerous persons in the organisation ◦ 3. Co-opt the third tier (field operators) of these terrorist organisation through every means possible-these are very helpful in locating the second tier leadership ◦ 4.Win over the people living in the terror prone area by carrying out the development activities to ensure life is going on normal
  26. 26.  Slogan: Counter the narrative they use to incite people and get their support with better narrative with facts, logic and emotions. Use opinion makers-religious scholars, media persons, official spokespersons etc  Support: Find and choke the channels of material and financial support to the terrorist outfits  Space: Keep on limiting the space terrorists use to carry out terrorist activity by utilising all the technological and human intelligence  Sponsors: Similarly, take all measures, physical and diplomatic to restrain the access of terrorists to foreign sources of funds and arms
  27. 27.  Improve the investigating and prosecution branches of judicial system so that even the hardened criminals and terrorists are convicted and sentenced with due process of law.  Selection and appointment of all police personnel and prosecution officers strictly on merit and their constant capacity building in accordance with modern techniques of investigation and prosecution.  Similarly, judges need to be appointed on merit and provided maximum security so that they can dispense justice without any fear or favour.  High security prisons to confine the hardcore terrorists to ensure they do not have contacts with the outfield commanders
  28. 28.  Poverty Reduction: Extreme poverty and widespread inequality create environment of resentment and estrangement facilitating recruitment of terrorists. Government must accelerate the growth but also selective attack on worst form of poverty through appropriate social safety nets.  Discrimination: Another important source and driver of terrorism which needs to be prudently tackled through legislative measures, financial support and development effort  Hate Literature: Control the spread of hate material against a group on the basis of caste, creed or colour or ethnicity. In these days of technological connectivity, rumours spread like wildfire.
  29. 29.  While using full legitimate force, state should keep the window open for those who renounce terrorism and surrender. Their systematic re- absorption should be tackled by a special agency who should also keep an eye for possible double dealing  Foreign fighters who travelled to Syria, are returning as ISIS is finally defeated on the ground with ideas and intentions to replicate ISIS model collectively or as lone wolves.  Not all returnees present the same degree of threat, treating all former fighters as high risk may radicalise them further through unwarranted persecution.  Some ex-terrorists could become powerful voices against the groups they once joined.  Government should thoroughly screen these returnees to identify the more dangerous among them as well as to select credible and trustworthy individuals who could counter recruitment narratives.
  30. 30.  Renunciation by all states not to use terrorist outfits as their proxies for the achievement of their narrow national interests  Formulation of comprehensive strategy by involving all the regional and concerned global stakeholders to combat the threats posed by the non-state actors in the region- Intelligence sharing/Money Laundering/Apprehending criminals  Marshall Plan style development of springboards of terrorism (Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan/Pakistan etc) as a region by providing easier connectivity and inter- dependent projects  Peaceful resolution of longterm simmering disputes i.e, Palestine, Kashmir solving which there cannot be any long-term peace in these regions  Promotion of good governance/Human development of Middle East as a priority by UN
  31. 31.  Despite ambiguity of definition, terrorism is a global and historical phenomenon with multiple sets of causes  As such tackling it requires multidimensional and internally as well as externally coordinated approach  However, all our counter-terrorism measures must be in conformity with the accepted norms of ethics and morality with due respect to fundamental human rights
  32. 32.  Thank you for viewing the presentation. If you liked it, kindly show your appreciation by clicking the like button, sharing it with your friends on social media and recording your comments  If not, please do tell me the points needing more elaboration/ correction in the comments section  You can use the material wherever you like. However, as a responsible student, I hope you will acknowledge it in your assignment  If you need its essay version ( 3500 words), kindly send your request at shahidraja@hotmail.com
  33. 33. Thanks

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