International terrorism has become an issue of global concern. It has caused many deaths and damage of properties as well as misleading of masses to abuse law and order. Terrorism has existed since the world wars and has continued growing despite the efforts by organizations like the UN to stop it. Initially it was experienced at domestic level but has grown to threaten peace at the international level. This is attributed to support by some nations. Developments in the communications industry and travel have also encouraged the growth of terrorist activities. The elimination of terrorism has been based on the national level whereby nations that support terrorist attacks have been identified and asked for cooperation to investigate. However in the recent past, it was realized that terrorism not only involves the nation as a whole, but the terrorist groups themselves. The approach has been changed to domestic level so that individual nations can assist in identifying and investigating terrorist groups. This has simplified this process and many of these activities have been discovered and the process of elimination initiated. The prevention and elimination of terrorism has become a global affair whose aim is to maintain international peace.
Nations have employed terrorism as a low cost strategy for obtaining power at both domestic and international levels. This was especially experienced during the world wars. In most cases terrorism activities were meant to fight colonization. The terrorist attacks experienced before the Second World War were minimal and less brutal with most of them being domestic. After the Second World War the situation changed for worse; terrorism became a global and institutionalized issue. It became very brutal and this is associated with ethnic and national differences. Other factors contributing to increased terrorism include religious differences, advanced technology, improved communication tools as well as cost effective travel. As a result of these, global terrorism has become common, it has enabled people to communicate and travel easily to plan terrorism activities (Alexander, 1992). Democracy among nations has been a cause for imbalance in international scene due to the hunger for power. This is a cause for concern because the weaker teams result to force their objectives through crude methods like terrorism (Mahncke, 2006). At the present a new trend has emerged whereby the terrorist attacks are organized and funded by private groups who form an international network covering several countries. This is a very dangerous trend that threatens to mobilise the whole globe, if successful, its effects can be very dangerous because they involve the whole world. The introduction of mass destruction weapons is also an evolving trend that threatens world peace. It has been reported that between 1970 and 1999, the number of terrorist attack activities reported was close to 11000 internationally. In the present millennium, this number has grown up to seven times more when compared to the previous millennium. This is an alarming rate of terrorism which has resulted to growth in numbers and threatened world peace (Taghavi, 2010).
The number of terrorist organizations and strategies has been increasing over the last decades. These activities target citizens and business organizations as well as the governments. These are the three main pillars towards the growth of nations and the effect of terrorism on these areas has resulted to destroyed economies, disabled governments and unproductive citizens. This unproductivity is as a result of insecurity, fear and also the struggle experienced after the destruction of property (Taghavi 2010). This paper discusses on the regional trends and developments in terrorism, it points out some of the worst case scenarios experienced in terrorism. It also discusses on the likely scenarios resulting from terrorism if changes are not implemented to stop it. Terrorism will become a thing of the past if the world unites to fight all forms of terrorism in each and every place it may exist. Terrorism will not be experienced in future if a global response is directed towards its prevention and elimination.
Mass violence is a common phenomenon that has been experienced in most of the nations in the world. Terrorism is a threat to peace and it does not exempt any nation no matter how much power it possesses. This is because it can either be manifested at the domestic level or in the international community. This has been shown through the ignorance of the freedom values and peaceful coexistence. It is common in societies where democracy and pluralism is cherished. (International terrorism: 3, 2002). Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) is one of the terrorist groups which operate from Albana in Iraq. Its effects have been felt in twenty countries whereby more than nine hundred people died. Some of its worst cases include the airport attacks in Rome and Viena as well as the Pan Am flight incidence in Karachi. Its latest attack occurred in 1994; it involved the assassination of a diplomat of Jordan origin, this occurred in Lebanon. It is feared that this organization is widening its operations to include Asian countries, the Middle East and even Europe. This expansion is attributed to the support it gets from Iraq and the Syrian community. Libya is also known to assist this group (International terrorism: 1, 2002).
Aum Shinrikyo cult is a terrorist organization which is closely linked to Russia and once performed an attack in Tokyo that left twelve people dead and further injured five thousand. It was believed that Osama bin Laden was involved in the procurement of the mass destruction weapons that were used in most of the attacks in the United States. Another well known group is the Taliban group which is believed to operate in Iran and was responsible for the New York attacks in the world trade centre. This group also works closely with the Al-Qaida and has been attributed to many attacks especially in mass destruction. These groups are known to be internationality linked. They communicate to plan and execute these destructive activities while based at different regions. This coalition has complicated investigations and most of them have remained at large despite the efforts to track them. These links are the focus that has been targeted as a way to separate them so as to track them down faster. As long as they remain united in their activities, establishing which group committed a particular attack will remain a difficult task (Pearl 2010). The formation of terrorist groups involves selection and training of individuals who are later given their roles in the terrorist activities. An example is the Lumumba training in which terrorist groups from Palestine sponsor university students who on graduating are given leadership positions in the Palestinian terrorist groups (Kushner, 2000). This is a dangerous trend which resulted in many recruits who consequently led to baseless terrorist activities in Palestine.
Another organization is a small group called Abu Sayyaf which operates from Southern Philippines. It once carried out a kidnap attack in 2000 which involved thirty foreigners. Its activities involve bomb attacks, kidnapping and assassinating which in most cases are meant to fight for the Islamic religion. Pakistan also has a terrorist group known as Al Badr Mujahideen known to be the AL Qaeda’s lead group. Al Fatah based in Tunis is also another group which is not known to cause any recorded major attack but has threatened the US on several occasions. It is supported by Saudi Arabia. Others include The Algerian Terrorism which is believed to be supported by Iran and Sudan. It is known to attack key government representatives, police and the general security providers. This is done in form of bombs and assassinations. Its latest attack occurred in 1193 in which foreigners and journalists were targeted. Nine people died in this attack. Other organizations exist and are also widening their operations, it has been reported that forty two terrorist groups exist in total all over the world. This has necessitated the formation of policies to counter act the activities of these groups (International terrorism: 1, 2002). From this observation, it is evident that these groups are linked to nations that fund and support their activities. Thus should be the starting point in eliminating these activities. It can only be possible if support is withdrawn. There is a global concern on the various ways in which terrorism can be stopped and nations united to practice peace and international unity.
To stop international terrorism, this initiative starts from each individual nation. Diplomacy can be a good tool towards this task. This can be done by cutting any relationship that may exist with the countries that sponsor terrorist activities. They can also do away with the diplomats who may be implicated in terrorism. Economic agreement done with terrorist supporting nations can also be broken. This may be a difficult procedure which involves a network of countries. However it can be easily implemented if these countries come together and support one another to detach themselves fro these engagements. This is a good strategy because most terrorist attacks target business and aim towards disabling the economical stability of the stronger party. (Alexander, 1992).Air travel has also been another area of target by terrorists and this can be prevented by taking up international laws that prevents any form of interference international air travel (Choi, 2010).
Trends in Terrorism
One of the ugliest terrorist attack scenes was witnessed in New York when the jetliners were rammed into the World Trade centres killing three thousand people who included foreigners. This was a major loss to US considering that inclusive of the deaths, property worth more than Eighty billion UD dollars was destroyed. The Al-Qaida terrorist group was the top suspect in this attack that occurred in the 11th of September 2001 (Pearl 2003). Following this attack the United States started reviewing its policies on counterterrorism, the structure of its organization as well as the intelligence services. These became the central concern in which possible terrorist attacks could be anticipated and counter acted before they can be carried out (Nesi, 2006).
The world centre attack led to the discovery of micro groups that represent the main group in other countries. This mostly consisted of the AL Qaeda who strategically placed and coordinated these micro groups in other countries as is the case in the US. This was fought by the US through isolation of their leadership. On isolating them, they would then be killed and this saw majority of their leaders killed. The terrorist groups were discovered to be using information technology as a major tool for their communication, financing and exchange of ideas. This worked for them well because they could plan and organize terrorist activities while located in different regions. This has been a major challenge for the ant terrorists because of the advancing technology. It is difficult to track this communication and establish any on-going plans. However measures have been taken to ensure that there are to stop any planned activity from being carried out. This means that the communication cannot be easily controlled but a quick response to a sign of any planned terrorist attack can prevent its effect. Measures that have been put to control international crime have helped a great deal in the discovery of terrorist groups. This has simplified the ant terrorism activities because as other crimes unfold, terrorist groups are also discovered. These groups are not only involved in terrorist attacks but also in other international crimes like dealing with drugs. Iran has been identified as one of the countries that sponsor terrorism the most. This is done through provision of funds, training activities on how to perform these attacks and providing weapons for mass destruction (Pearl 2003).
Apart from the known groups of terrorists, an emerging trend of individual terrorists has also become common. An example is Ramzi Ahmed Youssef. It has been speculated that he was responsible for the mastermind of the world trade bombings. It is feared that individual people are capable of plotting and organizing terrorist attacks on their own and only sourcing for support during the attack. This is quite dangerous because this does not involve communication networks that can be investigated therefore it is hard to anticipate for such plans. Religion has always been an issue of controversy especially in cases where wars were based on the fought for a particular religion. The Islamic community is known to be involved a lot in holy wars and this is an issue of concern in condemning terrorist activities. This is sensitive because of the violence exhibited by some radical Islamic groups. Caution is taken so as not to violate this religion and come out as anti-Islamic. Regional conflict is a delicate issue that can lead to the disruption of international peace. Some groups are known to offer charity to support these groups and this has caused a lot of confusion (Kohlmann & Danish Institute for International Studies, 2006).
Another strategy that has been adopted to counter terrorism is from the economic point of view. This is a great challenge because when the terrorists discovered that support was being withdrawn, they began to sponsor their activities on their own. This is still a challenge today although the economic withdrawal by supporting countries has contributed a lot to the diminished terrorist attacks. Initially, efforts were directed towards the sponsors as a nation but this proved in effective. At the present a different approach has been adopted in which the ant terrorists deal directly with the terrorist groups. This has especially been focussed on by taking the war to the enemy’s territory. This is a better approach because these wars result in the destruction of their training sites, their communication network and even their leadership through isolation and killing. Taking the war to the enemy’s territory is a preventive measure which is further enhanced by taking protective measures on the homeland. To achieve these, borders are secured, Infrastructure is advanced to make it less vulnerable for attack and resources are directed towards enforcing law. Caution has also been taken to prevent the entrance of mass destruction weapons into the non-terrorist countries. The military have contributed a lot in maintaining security at the borders and also in the counter terrorism activities. This however has been a great challenge because the world has become a global village and the borders have been opened to support commercial activities. Terrorism is highly linked to political activities and therefore fighting it has at some point affected democracy. Human rights are also violated in cases where intense investigations are done and some particular groups of individuals kept on the watch. These activities seem to go against constitutional rights and this has been a major cause of debate where majority of the citizens view this as unacceptable (Perl, 2010).
Causes of Terrorism and their solutions in future
Initially the people who engaged in terrorism had no obligation but to employ this means. This can be explained by the struggle for independence and protection of religion. However modern terrorism is like a fight against civilization. This deviance behaviour seems like a desirable activity that keeps the offenders occupied. Unlike in the past, terrorism has become a deliberate activity that has no cause. This behaviour has been justified as a form of defence in which the oppressed are freed from their despair and helplessness (Alexander 1992). When political leaders support this activity and even go an extra mile to support it financially, it is idealized thus it attracts masses who may not know that their practice is unlawful. This ideology stems from coping of past behaviours in which groups employ violence to force their way, or simply to disrupt law and order (Picarelli, 2009). However this is not a valid reason to engage in such horrible activities that oppress people and deny them their right to live. The first step towards eliminating terrorism is by changing this notion and justification of terrorism.
Terrorism is a crime which cannot be justified in whatever circumstance. It is unethical and inhumane to practice this behaviour. The first step is to withdraw any form of support for these activities. This can be done at international levels whereby the countries that support this activity are cut out from the rest of the world. They can be restricted from travelling to other countries and all the economic activities involving such countries with other countries stopped. This will discourage countries from engaging in those activities because of the likely repercussions on their economic growth as well as international relations. The United Nations prohibits any nation from involving itself in terrorism and does not support any economic problems experienced as a result of these activities (Alexander 1992).
People have rejected morality as evident in situations where people organize terrorist attacks that have no motive. Once they engage in this activity the society rejects them. This works like a catalyst for them to increase their terrorist activities; opposition becomes an element that is essential in their training. They suffer from moral disintegration which fuels them to be more rebellious and heartless. Their activities become progressive such that they aim at committing a worse attack than the previous ones. It not only affects those outside the group but also the members. In some situations the group members face a worse treatment than the outsiders (Alexander 1992).The formation of the international community is a positive step towards international unity. This however has been abused by some of the nations who have abused this opportunity for economic growth to promote terrorism. They have camouflaged in business relationships to transfer weapons. It is assumed that these weapons are for military purposes while in the real sense they are meant for criminal activities such as terrorism. The challenge comes in identifying whether such weapons are genuine and legal or not (Suder, 2004).
Inflicting harm on the terrorist participants by their leaders is the latest strategy that is meant to scare them away from quitting these activities. They have made it impossible to ensure that when a person is caught up in these activities, they have no choice but to continue practising. They have been locked in and cannot come out of the union. They have been known to not only operate in places where they are welcomed but have also secretly invaded other regions where they are unwelcome. This makes the situation worse and calls for a different approach which will unite them with the society other than oppose. An example of this is the case of Libya which violently opposed the UN’s decision to stop its association with the country due to its involvement in terrorism. When a different approach was used in which the UN persuaded Libya to cooperate during the investigation of the attack involving Pann AM 103, the country responded well. Libya changed gradually until the 21st of December 2003 when it declared the end of its support for terrorism. Another example is Sudan which has cooperated with the US to arrest the AL Qaeda, closing their training camps and exposing them. On the other hand, countries like Iran continue supporting these terrorist attacks especially in its nuclear research (Pearl, 2010).However the fact that it agreed to suspend these activities and cooperate in the investigations and inspection of the nuclear items is a good sign. With such an attitude, it may turn around in future to support the efforts by the international community to stop terrorism.
The process of eliminating terrorism can be improved by establishing a gradual process in which opposing countries can be slowly convinced to give in and stop supporting terrorism. When countries drop terrorism on their own will, the probability of terrorist activities re-emerging is very low as compared to when they are forced to stop. Concentration should be put towards discouraging the education process on terrorism and encouraging morality. The society should work with the terrorists to discourage them as opposed to working against them. For instance, emphasis has been put for international cooperation in fighting terrorism. Enforcing the law and economic support are among the strategies being used so that different nations can work together towards a common goal which is eliminating terrorism (Perl 2010). Enforcing the law at the local level has been preferred by communities as opposed to when the outreach is conducted at the federal level (Picarelli, 2009).
A number of countries like Libya have withdrawn their support for terrorist activities. This has led to the development of a new trend in modern terrorism. Terrorists have established other sources of financing in which they source for finances on their own. A good example is Colombia which is getting a lot of money from criminal operations such as the trade and taxation of narcotics. Obtaining money from illegal activities to support terrorism shows the determination that these terrorist groups have. Charity work has also been offered for this course whereby nongovernmental organizations also support these activities (Shanty & Mishra, 2008). These new trends suggest that there is a probability that terrorism will continue being practised even if all the countries stop funding these activities. This new trend is countering the efforts that have been put to stop terrorism at the international level. Terrorism elimination strategies will have to go back to domestic level where individual nations investigate on the possible existence of terrorist groups amidst its citizens. This strategy will simplify the process of eliminating terrorism because hunting out from within a country is simpler as compared to investigations done by foreign bodies.
Programs that help in combating tourism can be improved to ensure that possible terrorist attacks are prepared for and prevented before they are executed. Programs that need improvement include; securing of information and network. Transmission of sensitive information should be very discreet because its leakage results to abuse by terrorists. Nuclear facilities should be safeguarded to prevent access and misuse by the terrorists, nuclear detectors can also be put in the air travel facilities to minimise chances of flight attacks. Terrorists take advantage of a nation’s poor infrastructure to attack; this can be rectified by improving the quality of the infrastructure to ensure that response is fast in case of an attack. Such steps as laying down programs to assess threats and designing responsive measures to terrorism are a good step towards preventing terrorism. Development is directly linked to the level of security in any given country. Economically struggling nations have higher chances of experiencing terrorism. Therefore, for the developed countries, it is important that they work with economically struggling nations. This is because both parties have equal chances of being affected by terrorism that result from poor economies. If these nations work together, there will be minimal chances of attacks among them if the weaker party is assisted by the stronger one. A good economy means better security in the government (Pearl, 2010).
A global response to the issue of terrorism is a great strategy towards the prevention and elimination of terrorism. Terrorism has shifted its focus from the fight for colonization at the domestic level to baseless attacks at the international level. Technology has been employed to plan, coordinate and execute the attacks that have resulted to many deaths and injuries. The United Nations has contributed a lot in its effort to stop the sponsorship and support of the terrorist groups in some of the countries. The policies established to plan for and anticipate terrorism attacks in future have also been reliable in discovering the activities of these groups, separating their leaders and killing of most of them. These policies have transformed the situation experienced early in the twenty first century in which terrorism seemed to get out of hand. It has slowly been curbed with strategies such as diplomacy being used to stop terrorism. The current trend in which the top leaders like Osama Bin Laden have been separated and eliminated is a good sign that terrorism will become a thing of the past in the new future. If nations continue supporting the UN and taking the initiative to stop terrorism at domestic level, the prevention and elimination of terrorism in the international community will be an easy task that will result in international peace and unity. The declaration of some of the nations like the case of Libya to stop sponsoring terrorism activities and cooperate in allowing investigations in the country is a major step towards achieving this dream. The end of terrorism will only be achieved if nations work together towards the common goal of achieving international peace.
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