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Policy paper: WAR ON TERROR

The future of globalization has been hindered by the terrorist activities that have been witnessed over the past decades. This has consequently slowed down the world economy .It has also affected the international relations that were slowly strengthening the world economy. Nations have come together to form unions in an effort to end terrorism. United States has worked with the United Nations and has successfully eliminated a number of terrorists like the case of Saddam Hussein. It has however been observed that majority of the terrorist groups have a leader who plans and coordinates these activities. This can be effectively defeated if nations go to an individual level and fight terrorism from within their borders. This will ensure that any existing terrorist activities will be easily discovered and eliminated as compared to the international level of elimination. If the United States adopts policies that are more concerned with terror in its own country, it will be a major step towards eliminating terrorism even at the international level.
The war on terrorism has been integrated in the US national security policy following the numerous attacks that have been experienced in the US over the past decades. This war has been dragged down by the evolution of mass destruction weapons and the advanced technology in communication (Stibli, 2010). Terrorist activities can be easily planned and coordinated by groups based in different regions. They are very political; most of these activities are connected to hunger for power (White, 2005). The ease in travel has also been a major factor contributing to increased terrorist activities. With the advent of air travel, terrorist activities have increased with some involving the hijacking of flights like the incidence of Pan Am Flight that occurred in Karachi. Terrorism has been an issue of concern since the world wars through the civil wars. The number of terrorist activities is growing despite the efforts directed to fighting terrorism by bodies like the United Nations. At first, terrorism was a domestic affair but has changed to become an international issue due to the growing incidences of international attacks. This has resulted to the global approach in which nations all over the world are uniting to prevent and eliminate terrorism (Reese & Lewis 2009).
Since the September 11th attacks in the world trade centre, the US has dedicated a considerable amount of its funds on security. This has been done at both domestic level and the international level. It has come up with means to primarily monitor the Afghanistan and the rest of the terror groups’ operations. Providing security to its military bases and the general domestic security is also another area of concentration (Alden, 2008). The operation “new dawn” that focuses on gaining freedom from Iraq is also aimed at fighting terrorism. Through these operations the government led by George W. Bush has managed to evict the Taliban group together with its Al-Qaida who were their sponsors. It has also defeated Iraq by conquering Saddam Hussein’s Army. However additional threats have kept on emerging especially after the September 9th attack (Tellis, 2004).
Terrorism was initially directed towards obtaining freedom from colonization and defending religion by some Islamic groups. However currently terrorist activities that are baseless have been witnessed. It has become a global issue since the Second World War. This is attributed to the challenges facing security with some nations being associated with sponsoring and support of terrorist activities. This is a cheap strategy employed by nations to gain power (Elshtain, 2003). Terrorism not only affects the US, but the international community as a whole. Therefore the policies that have been put in place also affect other individual nations. This has resulted to the formation of bilateral relationships with the rest of the nations for them to fight terrorism effectively. America’s efforts to counter terrorism have been strengthened by the global policy and legal frame work that have been put in place. They have been effective especially because they are corporate with the United Nations strategies towards preventing and eliminating terrorism (Art & Jervis 2012). However some nations have been discovered to sponsor terrorism, nuclear weapons smuggling was a contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union. This implies that in as much as these combined efforts have greatly reduced terrorism; the best strategy lies within each individual nation’s contribution in putting terror to an end (Hamilton, 2006). This paper discusses on the advantage of America fighting terrorism at the individual level over the combined efforts that have been put in place. It further describes the benefits of eliminating terrorism at the domestic level anticipates the possible outcome if this approach is adopted.
The US government has managed to fight terror with a partial success and it is evident that they still have a long way to go. This is necessary for America to protect its economy and maintain her position as the sole super power. The process of combating terrorism begins with a good understanding of the terrorism threats and the risks involved. This should include analysis of the weapons used and it is very sensitive when the weapons of mass destruction are involved. Currently the US government has concentrated on the vulnerability of the country other than the threats involved. The intelligent service is lacking when it comes to extracting of information, what is collected is not realistic when compared to the terrorist activities that have been witnessed. For instance, it is expected that the terrorist groups experience a lot of challenges and technicalities while planning and executing their activities. There is more to terrorist activities than simply attacking. There is a big probability that foreigners liaise with the locals for them to succeed in their activities. The existing policy is biased towards strengthening the borders and the military which has resulted to the country spending a lot on security. A different approach could be adopted by concentrating on the possible threats and how they can be detected. This way it would be easier to prevent any major attacks from finding the country unprepared. Funding decisions are based on the probability of attacks actually occurring and the degree to which the country may be vulnerable (Smith & MyiLibrary, 2008).
Another point of weakness is evident in the way the programs are planned and developed. This has been based on the analysis of the worst cases of terrorism ever experienced. This has resulted to an exaggeration in the way the legislation views the terrorist threat. This has brought up a challenge when it comes to resource allocation because programs that are planned and developed involve a lot of spending. This may not be effective in the long run if other minor attacks continue being experienced. The best strategy to managing this issue is coming up with a threat and risk analysis to ensure that all forms of terrorist activities whether minor or extreme are considered. This will ensure that resources are easily accounted and that a variety of strategies towards curbing terrorism are employed. It will no longer be a case of “worst cases only” scenario. It would be advisable that a country concentrates on all the possible forms of attack including the emerging ones before embarking on the plans to counter act them. This way, there is no over estimation in planning and directing resources towards security matters (Smith & MyiLibrary, 2008).
Another dangerous trend has emerged over the recent past; Individuals have realized that nations are withdrawing their support for terrorism. They have come up with private groups who engage in criminal activities and raise funds to support terrorism. This has been solved by doing away any trade relationships that the country may have with these terrorists to ensure that there is no probability of peace disruption through them (Federal register, 1995).This is a good strategy because the likelihood of nuclear weapons being smuggled into the country is minimised. However this strategy may not be a hundred per cent effective if other measures are not included. These measures include monitoring the communications that exist between terrorist groups who may be located in different regions. Terrorist activities can easily be coordinated between countries that have no trade relationships. The best way to cut any engagement with other foreign countries that may support terrorism is by initiating the process from within. Investigations should be carried out within the country to ensure that there is no existence of any sub groups that support the major foreign terrorist groups (Hamilton, 2006). Cases of the Al Qaeda recruiting and training students like the case witnessed in Palestine; students from Lumumba were trained and given leadership roles in the Palestinian terrorist groups upon graduating. Cutting any engagements from countries that sponsor terrorist activities should be followed by screening to ensure that these countries are not represented in the given country at all (Reese & Lewis, 2009).
Terrorist organizations have taken advantage of the growth in technology and globalization to coordinate and plan their attacks. In some instances this has betrayed the good trade relations that exist between nations. This has resulted to withdrawing of economic agreement from nations suspected to sponsor terrorist’s activities (Stibli, 2010). The U.S has introduced more strict immigration procedures and increased the budget for intelligence services as well as restricted civil liberty. This may have worked to ensure that the possibility of terrorist entering the country is minimized. However this has reduced the economic power which has consequently affected the whole world’s economy. An alternative approach to this could be by encouraging international cooperation in which willing nations would work together to monitor the flow of information, products and people across the borders. If different nations work as one to ensure that weapons are not traded among them, then detection of terrorist activities would be done without trade restrictions. At the present many countries which were supporting terrorism have withdrawn and joined the joint effort of eliminating terrorism (Alden, 2008). Such nations can be involved in trade to ensure that good relations are maintained among nations. This way the effect on the economy would not be felt as much as it is now.
Combating terrorism requires a step by step procedure to ensure that major signs in the nature of the attack are not overlooked. First the targeted group should be established to determine whether the threat is a civilian attack or a militant one. This will determine the kind of approach that should be used to develop a program of counter acting it. It should also be determined whether the threats originate from within the country or they are international. When this information is available, it is easier to establish who and where the terrorist activities are being planned. Through these procedures a lot of information can be retrieved and the planners can know whether the terrorist activities are having foreign sponsoring or not. This strategy is more effective because the process becomes continues thus any emerging threats can easily be detected and acted upon. It should not be a case of simply putting up plans; it should be an evolving process that captures all the emerging trends. It should be put in a way that terrorists will experience a lot of challenges while organizing and executing their attacks. Their capability is diminished or completely eliminated if their plans are monitored continually (Conquest, 2008).
America has employed disaster preparedness programs that have been effective in ensuring that the extent of the damage experienced is minimised. The federal agencies have performed a number of exercises that are aimed at counter acting the terrorist activities. These have mainly focussed on post terrorism activities which mainly consider the consequences of the attack. It has been observed that these exercises take moths to be prepared and often exclude the state and local officials. From this observation, there are loopholes which make the preparedness programs less efficient because the planners do not get a first hand experience. Moreover the relevance of the counterterrorism exercises conducted is reduced because the process takes too long to plan and implement. It would be more appropriate if state and local officials are involved and the process is speeded up. This way, the relevance of the procedures would be felt and the results would be more accurate and useful in planning (Elshtain, 2003).
The United Nations has been very pro active in focussing on terrorist organizations and this has worked because many of them have been identified and stopped. The conquering of Saddam Hussein’s army in 2006 is an example of the success attributed to focussing on these organizations. However, more emphasis should also be put on individual terrorists. This is because an individual poses a greater long term threat as compared to group which may not perform as well if the leader is eliminated. The existing policies are driven by the situations being experienced and this may be a danger sign because the solutions become short term (Reese & Lewis, 2009). To that the counterterrorism strategies are effective even in the long term, alternative means can be adopted. A good example is taking the war to the attacker’s territory other than strategizing for defence against them. Terrorist recruitment will also be on the minimal because priorities will switch so that the terrorists also concentrate on their defence as well. This is a good strategy that will shift the attention from focussing on vulnerability to monitoring threats and initiating programs to stop them (Stibli, F, 2010).
Counterterrorism should be a continuous process to ensure that programs employed are effective even in the long term. The existing policies in the United States have been partially effective in preventing and eliminating terrorism. This is attributed to the fact that the country has been working alongside international organizations like the United Nations. The existing shortcomings can be attributed to the event driven nature that they are based on. It is however important to note that the most effective way of preventing terrorism is using a domestic approach. It is easy to discover terrorist groups and activities amidst the nation’s citizens than investigating in foreign countries. When this approach is used possible coordination by the main groups like the Al Qaeda is disabled. If all nations adopted this, then terrorism would be eliminated because these activities depend on a network of groups distributed in various countries. When the leaders of these groups are targeted, the possibility of eliminating the whole organization can be realized since the leaders are known to perform most of the coordination activities. The domestic approach can be effective even at the international level if individual nations work towards a common goal of terrorism prevention and elimination.

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