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Counter Terrorism In Changing World

Introduction

Terrorism is a way of using intentional violence strategies to create fear and to achieve an ideological, political, or financial aim. On the other hand, to prevent or demolish terrorism, the government makes certain strategies to fight against those forces who intentionally create violence. Many types of research have been conducted, and scholars have said that terrorism is an effective coercive strategy, but no study has been conducted on a broader level to show whether it is a coercive strategy or not. The article written by Max Abraham on “Why Terrorism Does Not Work” tried to explain the above-stated question. In his study, he took twenty-eight of the most important terrorist organizations from the US Department of Securities. Abraham found that the most important element of the success of terrorist activities done by these organizations is based on the selection of the target. Terrorist attacks made on military and the attacks made on civilians, some case studies showed that attacking civilians increases the chances of whatever the terrorists are demanding from the government. The notion that terrorism is an effective coercive strategy is backed by some case studies and small articles but never coercive in a broader way. There has been evidence that proves that to gain political objectives, terrorism is one of the most effective strategies. In the article, it has been analyzed that activities done by terrorists to force the government to change its policies for money or to release prisoners who are valuable to terrorists are the most effective strategies. The effectiveness of terrorism can be measured by comparing its objectives with the outcomes it has achieved from its policies. Anti-terrorism activities have been performed on a higher page after the 9/11 terrorist activity in the USA.

Discussion

In my view, terrorist activities can be curtailed. However, it is not possible for terrorist activities to be stopped fully. All those countries that are experiencing major terrorist activities are trying to cut these activities. Although they are not doing this on their own, they are doing it mostly with the collaboration of the USA. Most of the people working in terrorist organizations believe that it is the implementation of Islamic laws and rules in Islamic countries, plus other purposes related to things that are not according to the terrorist organizations in the world. Terrorist organizations like Al Qaida and ISIS, their operations around the world especially in Pakistan, had the same purpose to let the world know about them, they fear them. They take responsibility for whatever violent activities are going on in the country. The study revealed that target selection is the key element for a terrorist to meet their goals, sometimes the goals of terrorist cannot be coded. It has also been shown that attacking civilians outnumbered the attacks on the military.

There are two type of groups in terrorism, first are that terrorist who only targets the civilians, second are those who target the military but eventually attacks civilians.  Some of the major terrorist activities done in the past include the attack of 9 September 2011, the 1999 apartment bombing in Russia, and the First Intifada in Israel. All of the above-stated activities are major terrorist activities that have changed the course of the world. It has been said that violence is one of the key elements that can help achieve political and financial gains. All of these attacks involved civilians, who were the most valuable people in the country. Many fractions of popular support are experienced inside a populace that they declare to symbolize (Bueno & Dickson, 2007). The campaign of terrorism can either rise or fall in this level of support. Empirically, it has been evident that counter-terrorism activities enable people to stay positive and motivated that the government is really taking care of the terrorists. The United States Armed Forces helps countries to reduce the terrorist activities going on in their respective countries (Arce M & Sandler, 2005).

After 9/11, the US establishment worried about national security. Al Qaida was one of the most brutal terrorist organization at that time, the attack on world trade center has changed the course of the world (Cronin, 2015). For years, the government of Iraq has been telling the world that they are taking control of the terrorist organizations, but nothing changed until the USA sent its troops inside Iraq (Kilcullen, 2016). Thousands of documents published by Eden Snowden in 2013 revealed that America was spying on its own people by keeping a record of the phone calls they make, the emails they send, and the conversations they make with everyone. This happened after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The main purpose of doing this was to know who was responsible for carrying out the terrorist activities in America so that they could overcome it. Many countries are trying the same ways to prevent terrorism in their respective countries.

PRISM is one of the surveillance programs used by America to have a check and balance on chat histories, phone calls, data mining, etc., to prevent terrorist activities. It proved efficient when it really stopped one of the major terrorist incidents that were about to be executed shortly. This program was introduced after the 9/11 activity because, at that time, surveillance was inefficient and ineffective (Houston, 2017). From the article, I have observed that terrorist organizations always targets those where the target audience is in mass numbers, by targeting those areas they know that the government of that particular country will accept the terms they want to be accepted. In Islamic countries, the purpose of terrorist organizations is the implementation of Islamic rules and regulations. In other countries, the purpose of terrorist organizations is to get their demands fulfilled by the government. According to the article, terrorism cannot be stopped fully but can be reduced to a lower level by establishing significant strategies and by having meetings with terrorists to see if their demands can be fulfilled so that they all would come to the same page.

Terrorist Groups, Objectives, and Outcomes

By looking at the twenty-eight most wanted terrorist organizations in the world issued by the United States. It seems that some of them have some success in meeting their objectives, but most of them failed in fulfilling their main objectives. Al Qaida, Hamas, Islami Jihad, and Tamil Tigers have some success in achieving the objectives they established for their organizations. If we look at the stats given in the article, one can clearly see that in a broader way, terrorism has not impacted the world, but some of them did affect it in a smaller way, like Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist organization that had the main objective of expelling peacekeepers and Israel. Its target was not civilians, but the military and outcome were remarkable as it had a huge success in fulfilling its objective. This organization abandoned Israelis and cut off all those who were in favor of peace. A study has shown that the ultimate goals of terrorist groups must be distinguished from their other goals, which are strategic ones. In order for the government to take serious counter-actions against terrorism, it must find out the pattern from its strategic goals (Plumper & Neumayer, 2014).

Organizations like Hamas, Al Qaida, and Tamil Tigers all of them had the same target, that is, civilians, and all of them had some success in their objectives. Of the twenty-eight terrorist organizations, few of them have succeeded. 14% of the total twenty-eight organizations have succeeded, while the remaining did not. I agree with the validity and success of terror attacks on civilians. Civilians are the main concern of any government. The government would do anything to protect its civilians and its prestige. Terrorists knew this weakness of the government, so they targeted these civilians to achieve their ultimate objectives. Mostly by targeting civilians, terrorist wants to fear the government so that terrorist could get whatever they want, it could be the releasing of a prisoner, money etc. Few of my father’s friends were working in World trade center when it got attacked, I know how it feels to be scared to death. In the time of attack nothing matters, the thing that only matters is saving one’s own life. After the attack, there has been fear among people going to their offices. This happened to me as well while going for my classes, and it could be possible that the next target for Al Qaida is my school. The government can do anything, and I mean anything, to protect their civilians. Most of the supporters of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Kashmiri Harakat ul-Mujahidin claimed that they had served efficiently in US-Israel relations.

Most of the studies conducted on terrorism failed to answer the question of whether terrorism is effective. It has been found evident that civil wars last longer than wars. For larger political objectives, terrorist rebel groups are more likely than other known terrorist groups. In the context of democracy, terrorism is ineffective and will not win ever (Fortna, 2015). Researchers have shown that limited issues can be resolved than highly complex issues. Issues like Kashmir between Pakistan and India cannot be resolved. The main purpose behind terrorist groups can be either they want control over the country or they want to expel the country from occupying another country. In the maximalist approach, the demands of a terrorist group can be either to attack a country to transform its political system or to destroy the country against its values. So far, I do not completely agree with the author that attacking civilians is not effective. Countries like America, Canada, Australia, and Russia take high care of their civilians. They can do anything to protect their civilians. From all that I have learned from the case study and my research on various topics related to terrorism, I totally agree with Abraham’s saying that terrorism is ineffective if they target civilians.

Russia’s Response to the 1999 Apartment Bombings

An apartment bombing in Russia killed 300 people and wounded hundreds of others. The author of the article said that attacking civilians is strategically ineffective, and I agree with him. Before the news of being separated all over Russia, agreement was widespread that Chechen objectives were only limited to making up an independent Chechen state. After the bombing, people of Russia started cutting from the Chechen people because of the fact that Russia did not let them create their own independent state, they started destroying Russia by doing terrorist activities. The first Chechen war started in 1994 and ended in 1996, during this war Russians recognized that objectives of Chechen were only limited to self-determination. These objectives were named territorial by the Russian government. The second Chechen war started in 1999 and is still present. Russians ignored the policy demands by Chechens against the response to the terrorist attacks.

A significant poll has been conducted, which showed that they believed only 15% of Chechen people were fighting for their independence rest of the 85% believed they wanted to destroy Russia. Russians, after the bombing, concluded that the objectives of the Chechens had become maximalist, and the poll indicated that the Chechens’s main motive now was to kill Russians. According to the public opinion foundation, about 71% of the Russians were in favor of trading land for peace, but they do consider Chechen people not trustworthy. In the first war, Russians were in favor of giving out land to create peace, but this reversed after the apartment bombings. After six months of bombings, about 73% of Russians wanted Russian forces to invade Chechens. When the Soviet Union got separated in the late 1980’s, the objectives of the Chechens remained the same as they were for establishing a separate independent state. The war won against the Chechen Russians impacted the daily lives of the Chechen people (Dube, 2016).

The US Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

I agree with Max Abraham that attacking civilians is strategically ineffective. One of the biggest activities done by Al Qaida was the attack on the World Trade Center that changed the course of the world. After this terrorist attack, America did not put its focus on Al Qaida but rather focused on the aftermath of the attack. This changed the course of Al Qaida, and they changed their violence into policies. The main motive behind Al Qaida’s attack was to let America know about the effects of the unpopular foreign policies it makes on the Muslim world. Bin Laden said that human rights and policies of America are likely to have an unfortunate and inescapable outcome. In 1985, when bin Laden declared war against America, the main motive behind this war was to abandon the troops of America present in Saudi Arabia. The military interventions that kill Muslims around the world, bin Laden wants to destroy that too. After 9/11, a poll was conducted, which showed that most Americans believed that Al Qaida was not responding to unpopular foreign policies.

There have been one in five respondents who said that America’s favoring policies to the Muslim world led terrorists to do violent activities like they did in 9/11. In another poll, only 15% of the Americans believed that this attack was mainly due to the American policies. In response to the 9/11 attack, America took different steps, such as increasing the troops over the Gulf, strengthening military relations with Muslim rulers, supporting counterterrorism acts in different countries, and becoming a partial mediator between the conflicts in Israel and Palestine. After 9/11, Americans declared a social war over Muslims residing in America. They started attacking people wearing hijabs or having a beard. Even the Muslims who were born there, because of their names, Americans believed that every Muslim is a terrorist (Lichtblau, 2016).

Israel’s Response to the First Intifada

I agree with Abraham that attacking civilians is strategically ineffective. In the history of modern terrorism, the mass uprising of the West Bank and Gaza was a moderate period. The main purpose behind the first Intifada was to end the terrorist’s occupations from the territories. In the first intifada, 15% of the demonstrations were cruel, although 80% of Israelis believed that the men employed by Palestinians to destroy Israel were mainly violent. One of the main violent acts was throwing big rocks over the defense forces in military territories. Another consensus of Israelis resulted in 93% of them believing that the first Intifada was directed toward the army and towards the civilians. 85% of the respondents believed the purpose of the initial Intifada was to cause injury and damage. However, the remaining 15% believed that it was for protest. The study found that the corrosive influence of terrorism on political tolerance is much more powerful amongst Israelis who discover the right, who’ve additionally grown to be an awful lot more sensitive to terrorism over the years (Peffely et al., 2015).

Conclusions

Terrorism has changed the course of the world. Every major country’s efforts towards the elimination of terrorism are creating a solid impact on it. All the countries that are the most targeted countries for terrorism, in collaboration with the United States, have taken serious steps in eliminating terrorism. They have created strategies, formed military alliances with other countries, and worked collaboratively with other countries so that the world would get rid of this disease, which is breaking its bones.

References

Arce M, D. G., & Sandler, T. (2005). Counterterrorism: A game-theoretic analysis. Journal of conflict resolution, 183-200.

Bueno de Mesquita, E., & Dickson, E. S. (2007). The propaganda of the deed: Terrorism, counterterrorism, and mobilization. American Journal of Political Science51(2), 364-381.

Cronin, A. K. (2015). ISIS is not a terrorist group: why counterterrorism won’t stop the latest jihadist threat. Foreign Aff.94, 87.

Dube, D. (2016). Portrayals of Chechen Identity During the Second Chechen War.

Fortna, V. P. (2015). Do Terrorists Win? Rebels’ Use of Terrorism and Civil War Outcomes. International Organization69(3), 519-556.

Houston, T. (2017). Mass surveillance and terrorism: does PRISM keep Americans safer?

Kilcullen, D. (2016). Blood Year: The unraveling of Western counterterrorism. Oxford University Press.

Lichtblau, E. (2016). Hate crimes against American Muslims most since post-9/11 era. The New York Times17.

Peffley, M., Hutchison, M. L., & Shamir, M. (2015). The impact of persistent terrorism on political tolerance: Israel, 1980 to 2011. American Political Science Review109(4), 817-832.

Plümper, T., & Neumayer, E. (2014). Terrorism and counterterrorism: An integrated approach and future research agenda. International Interactions40(4), 579-589.

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