Syllabus: General Studies Essay Paper: Security Issues
Terrorism: The most potent global threat
Terrorism is difficult to define as a concept because of its pejorative connotation & its relationship with violence. The meaning of terrorism changes within different social & historical contexts. Walter Laqueur defines terrorism as the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective by targeting innocent people. Although the word terrorism dates only from the time of French revolution, the acts it embraces go back to Biblical times. Robespierre installed a dictatorship to stabilize France & justified his methods as necessary in the transformation of monarchy to a liberal democracy. His sentiments laid the foundations for modern terrorists, who believe violence will usher in a better system. The history of terrorism is as much European, as Middle-Eastern and as much secular as religious.
Terrorism comprises four crucial elements- it is an act of violence, it has a political motive or goal, it is perpetrated against innocent persons, it is orchestrated to create fear, suspicion in the minds of people.
All acts of terrorism are motivated by two factors, social and political justice, and the belief that violence or its threat will be effective in bringing change. Research and media suggests that the forces that lead people to militancy, include experiences of injustice, discrimination, marginalization, corruption, or physical violence by the state against the innocent civilians. A lack of political inclusiveness in states or grievances against a certain political order may cause individuals to join or create terrorist groups. Different categories of terrorism are domestic, international, non-state actors, state-sponsored, politically motivated, right-wing, left-wing extremism. Most of the people affected by the terror attacks come from countries that rebelled against dictatorial and authoritarian regimes such as the Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, as well as the countries that suffered lack of democracy and good governance such as Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
In the 19th century terrorism was associated primarily with the assassination of political leaders and heads of state. This was symbolized by the killing of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand by a 19 year old Bosnian Serb student, Principe, in Sarajevo in 1914 which led to the outbreak of First World War. After the Second World War, terrorism broadened well beyond assassinations and terrorist movements developed with two distinct purposes. The first was to put pressures on the colonial powers such as Britain, France, second was to hasten their withdrawal and to intimidate the indigenous population into supporting a particular group’s claim to leadership of emerging post-colonial states. Sometimes these strategies succeeded, but not always. The 1920s and 1930s saw the emergence of yet another form of terrorism, right-wing fascist terror, as Hitler’s brown shirts and Mussolini’s black shirts used murder and violent intimidation to achieve political power and attack specific elements in the population.
The 1960’s and 1970’s saw the emergence of a new type of nationalism called separatism. This describes indigenous ethnic groups who have long lived in a province but want to separate from their host nations and start their own country. Examples include Quebec, the Basques, and portions of Indonesia. International terrorism became a prominent issue in late 60’s, when hijacking became a favored tactic. The ISI of Pakistan has been heavily involved in covertly running military intelligence programs in Afghanistan even before the Soviets entrance into Afghanistan in 1979. In the 80’s the Intelligence services of Pakistan in Operation Cyclone coordinated the distribution of arms and financial means provided by the USA’s, CIA to some factions of the Afghan Mujahedeen to counter the Soviet’s invasion in Afghanistan. States have always used sponsored terrorism outside their own frontiers and used terrorism as a weapon against their own citizens.
In the context of India, At the time of Independence India is divided into two parts on the basis of religion or community. Later on, this separation on the basis of religion or community scattered hatred and dissatisfaction among some people. Some of them later started involving in anti-social activities and somehow it adds fuels to Terrorism or Terrorist activities in the country.
One of the major causes of the spread of terrorism in India is deprivation. The unwillingness and appropriate efforts on the part of our political leaders and the government to bring the backward groups into the national mainstream and democratic process adds fuels to terrorism.
In addition to the socio-political and economic aspects, the psychological, emotional and religious aspects are also involved in the problem. All this creates strong feelings and extremism. The unprecedented wave of terrorism in the recent past in Punjab can only be understood and appreciated in this context. The demand for a Khalistan separated by these alienated sectors of society became so strong and powerful at a point in time that it put our unity and integrity under tension.
For many decades the roots of modern terrorism coming from the Middle East has been due to European Imperialism, the acts of trying to westernize the Middle East and its citizens. The fight for oil and other resources played a small part as well. But one of the most important aspect of Imperialism has been the creation of Israel post Second World War Muslims turned to radical ways because they were forced to the pressures of westernization. In 1990’s a new face of terrorism emerged with Osama bin Laden becoming a leader of a small fanatical Islamic movement called Al Qaeda. Its public statements were an odd mixture of religious extremism, hostility to US dominance and insensitivity to the effects of terrorist actions. Groups that justify their violence on Islamic grounds- Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah started mushrooming.
In the event of Sep 11, 2001, 3000 innocent lives were lost when civilian aircraft was hijacked by Al Qaeda, demolishing a symbol of the US economic way of life: the World Trade Centre. The importance of 9/11 lies not in the loss of life but in global dimension of an attack on the US hegemony, reflecting a threat to world order. Though it was an attack considered unprecedented in history of terrorism but terrorism as a tactic has been deployed by extremist groups in the global South many times before. For e.g., hard-line Hindu activists demolished the Babri mosque in Uttar Pradesh, India in 1992, an attack that was followed by Muslim riots that killed a number of people similar to that of 9/11. Terrorist tactics have also commonly been employed by the LITE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) in the North eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. The political repercussions of 9/11 have led to an erosion of human rights, civil liberties and democratic values within the US and many other nations. In the aftermath of 9/11, domestic terrorism laws were enacted in the name of ‘national security across many nations. Examples of laws in Germany, Italy, Japan and UK include funding of security and law enforcement agencies, freezing of the assets of suspected terrorists.
Islamic state (IS) came into the global media spotlight in June 2014 and since then their group has terrorized en masse those that do not comply with its violent and extremist worldview. The recent attacks claimed by ISIS in France, Brussels, Turkey, Germany, Egypt, Istanbul, etc. since 2014 have killed thousands of people around the world. The purpose of these attacks is to instil fear and anxiety among the voters in western democracies to pressurize their governments to stop military engagements against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It also intensifies the already existing friction between Muslims and non-Muslims, especially in Europe.
India has also been its victim for a very long period. There are many organizations active in the country. There are Pakistan sponsored terrorist organizations in Kashmir which are ready to cause unrest any time in any part of the country. They get financial support from their masters in Pakistan. Nobody can forget the 26/11 Mumbai attack in which more than 200 people had lost their lives. Recent attacks such as Pulwama, and Uri left deep scars on the Indians.
The world has become very connected due to peace and trade entities that are being formed by different countries among different nations. Therefore, this has made the problem of one country an issue of concern to the other nations that are associated with that country. One of the major concerns is terrorism and has become a global threat due to several reasons.
The main reason as to why terrorism has become a global threat is due to the fact that most of the countries in the world export and import goods from one another. In order for international trade to take place, then the key factor is that the involved countries should be secure in regard to terrorism and war so that they can attract international investors. Therefore, if one of the countries faces terrorist attacks, then the peace in that country is disturbed. The aftermath of such attack is that the countries involved in trading activities with that country will have to help in fighting and the elimination of the terrorism acts. The other option would be withdrawing their trading activities from that country but, this would also affect their economy especially in a case whereby they had huge investments in the attacked country. Hence, terrorism is a global threat in the modern world.
As well, many countries have the obligation of showing concern regarding the safety of their neighboring countries. The main reason behind this is the fact that when a country faces terrorist attacks, most of its citizens flee to the neighboring countries whereby they become refugees. This means that the refugees will be surviving on the neighboring country’s resources in order to survive and this may negatively affect the country’s economy. Therefore, this brings the attention of the neighboring countries to assist in the eradication of the terrorist attacks so that they reduce the number of refugees. A good example is the case of Kenya and Somalia in the East African region. Somalia has been under several attacks by the Alshabaab. In order to assist with the situation, the government of Kenya sends out some of its Defense Forces to Somalia in order to ensure that peace is maintained. As well, most of the Somali citizens fled to the northern part of Kenya. Hence, terrorism is definitely a global threat because it does not only affect one country.
In addition, terrorism has become a global threat because the terrorists are based in several countries and carry out attacks in other countries. A good example is the ISIS group. In order to ensure that such attacks are eradicated, then the affected countries together with other nations that are willing to help with the help with the situation come together in order to fight the groups in their native nations. As a result, this ends up involving many nations and the war against terrorism keeps on expanding within different nations. The common notion about the fight against terrorism is that whenever a country is involved to help in the act, then it becomes a target hence making the issue a global threat.
Terrorism has become an international problem and, as such, cannot be solved in isolation. International cooperation efforts are required to combat this global threat. All governments of the world should simultaneously and continuously take bold steps against terrorists or terrorism. The global threat of terrorism can only be reduced and eliminated through close cooperation between several countries. The countries from which the militancy comes must be clearly identified and declared as terrorist states. It is very difficult for any terrorist activity to thrive for a long time in a country unless there is a strong external support to it.
Terrorism does not achieve anything, it does not solve anything, and the faster this is understood, the better. It is pure madness and an exercise in futility. In terrorism, there can be no winner or winner. If terrorism becomes a way of life, the leaders and heads of state of the various countries are solely responsible.
This vicious circle is your own creation and only your combined and combined efforts can prove it. Terrorism is a crime against humanity and must be treated with an iron hand .and the forces behind it must be exposed. Terrorism adversely affects the quality of life and hardens attitudes.
We must recognize and address the specific political contexts in which terrorism occurs, whether by states or non-state actors, whether in Kashmir or Israel-Palestine, by searching for politically just solutions in these cases. Also, we need to work for effective international laws and institutions with the powers to punish all wrongdoers, no matter how powerful, and to broaden our national laws to weaken prospects of successful refuge for leaders/people most responsible for criminal acts and campaigns.
Terrorism has become a global threat due to trade agreements and the effect it brings to other nations such as immigration of refugees. Therefore, the whole world should come together to fight the issue of terrorism because every nation cannot survive on their own. Whenever there is peace in one nation, then such peace is reflected in the neighboring countries and other countries that have trade agreements with that nation. Once this has been achieved, then the world will be a better place to live in as compared to a world whereby every country is left to fight her problems on her own.
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