Terrorism has been a menace for the past decades. It has generated some impacts on many countries globally particularly the developed countries. In fact, developing countries have not been spared either. Apparently, it is critical for all governments to reassess the strategies that have been previously implemented in combating terrorism. The US has been at the center of combating terrorism since time immemorial. The effect of terrorism is reflected today by the strategies that the US has applied. These include the existence of Guantanamo Bay and the elimination of terrorist elements in different parts of the world.1
The terrorist activities that took place towards the close of the 20th century were so disturbing that the international community consolidated the effort to combat terror. The efforts towards combating terrorism culminated in the establishment of the Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) 2005. This was consequently and overwhelmingly endorsed by UN member states. The CTITF enhances the synchronization and rationality of anti-terrorism efforts of the UN system. Terrorism activities are so vicious that unsuspecting countries find it critical in the fight against the menace. In this regard, the CTITF under the umbrella of the UN created 31 global entities. By the virtue of the work of the task force, the entities have immense responsibility in multifaceted counterterrorism efforts.
The effort by the international community has resulted in reduced international terrorism. However, the terror groups continually evolve. In recent decades, homegrown terror has been taking root. This has resulted in nation-states making individual efforts to eliminate the terror groupings. The efforts to combat homegrown terrorism escalated after the 9/11 terror attack on American landmarks. Despite the huge security budgets allocated for combating terrorism, it continues in different global parts particularly in the Middle East where western countries’ interests are targeted.
This paper seeks to highlight the main challenges that the United States and its global partners encounter in attempting to combat terrorism menace.
There is a wide range of viewpoints regarding what terrorism is. Every school of thought or affected groups develops a definition that suits them. The US DOD view terrorism as the premeditated application of viciousness to impart fright with the intention of coercing the system or communities in pursuing governmental, spiritual or philosophical objectives. There are groups that view terrorism as unjustified application of violence on blameless people to accomplish sociopolitical goals. Others define terrorism as the repeated threats and actual use of radically and covertly prearranged violence by a network or group with the objective to influence a psychosomatic target to force it act in a manner the group aspires. The FBI defines terrorism as the illegitimate application of violence against individuals or possessions to frighten or compel a regime, the public or any of these divisions thereof in pursuit of sociopolitical goals.2
Reevaluating the war on terror
Terrorism carries real and grave danger to the safety and security of any individual in any part of the world. The global danger knows no boundaries, nationality, race or spirituality. Since it impacts the society irrespective of the location, it is a challenge that requires the input of the international community in tackling. Our minds are always jogged by events that take place daily that terrorism is real. In fact, following global news is disturbing as one watch the pain and suffering terrorism inflicts on people globally.
Barely a week passes without an act of terrorism being executed in some place in the world. The terror does not discriminate. It affects blameless individuals, who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Combating the menace is the concern of all nations. The United Nations has placed high priority in countering the bane for decades.
18 universal instruments to combat international terrorism have been placed within the framework of the UN system regarding specific terrorist activities. UN member countries, courtesy of the General Assembly, have been actively accumulating and coordinating antiterrorism determinations using resolutions and the establishment of a variety of secondary bodies including antiterrorism police units and agencies. The UN has a variety of programmes, bureaus and organizations within the system that engage in explicit antiterrorism activities. The Security Council has always been proactive in combating terrorism.3
In 2006, member countries engaged a new level in the war against terror. They approved and supported a global plan to combat terrorism by combining and increasing the initial activities against terror. The member countries committed to persist in developing domestic legal norm-setting frameworks. The strategy embraced by member states marked the first time that the entire membership of the United Nations settled on a collective tactical and functioning structure to combat terrorism. The strategy further assists member countries in their antiterrorism activities. It forms a foundation for a solid plan of action in addressing the settings favorable for the spread or terrorism.
Consequently, it develops the plans for the prevention and fighting terrorism. The plan gives the measures for member countries to take in developing state capacity to combat terrorism. Most importantly, the strategy reinforces the role of the UN in fighting terrorism. Despite terrorism being the meting of violence against innocent people, the strategy outlines and ensures the respect of human rights while fighting terrorism. The strategy further constructs on the distinctive accord reached by global leaders during the 2005 Summit. The accord condemns terrorism in all its arrangements and appearances.
Many terrorist groups have emerged since the 1930s. In fact, the US has experienced many terrorism threats. The 9/11 radicalism attack on the American landmarks was a major revolution on how the world views terrorism. The effect and shock of 9/11 was widely blamed on security agencies. The impacts were however felt globally.4 In fact, the impact remains up-to-date and it can be felt in many global positions. However, for more than a decade, the record on global terror has amazingly improved. The armed forces have been at the center of American and British in fighting terrorism. Hard objectives are at the center of realizing the American and British goal of achieving global pace. However, the failure to address globally increasing terrorism by leading powers is a main challenge.
Armed successes and failures have so far been undercut by weaknesses in pointing out the escalating radical recruitment. In 2007, President Bush assured that martial maneuvers would be matched by improved neighborhoods and societies in the Islamic population. The pomposity is not necessarily new as it has been observed for decades. However, it required prompt action by world powers to ensure that terrorism did not affect globalization efforts. The move by the Obama administration was an onslaught on terrorism. The elimination of Osama by Obama administration shaped the way of fighting terrorism not only in Africa but also in many other countries in the Middle East.5
Successes and Failures
After the 9/11 attack on American landmarks by terrorist groups, particularly the Al- Qaeda, the US has enjoyed extraordinary accomplishments in the world war against terrorism. The achievement of the US government started with the urge to ensure that terrorist cells in the Asian countries were subdued. Notably, terrorists had succeeded in attacking American interests in East Africa in 1998 when the American embassy in Kenya and Tanzania were simultaneously attacked. Scores of lives were lost. Decisive actions were taken upon these attacks.
The attack on the Pentagon was a wake up-call for America to react. These included military responses in the Middle East where terrorist cells were destroyed. In Afghanistan where most progressive and reachable abilities were globally renowned were destroyed. In duration of less than three months, the Taliban was overthrown. The American perspective in the fight against terrorism was advanced by President Barrack Obama after his successful bid against President George Bush (Jr) Walker. Obama delegated the Navy SEAL to capture and eliminate Osama. Several other protuberant leaders of the 9/11 have been arrested or killed in the US military operations. American allies including France and Britain have been involved in these attacks.
Britain and France have facilitated the freezing of more than $200 million prospective funding by terrorist groups. The US has dispatched troops to Yemen, Georgia and Philippines. The troops train domestic militaries in the fight against terror. Besides, twenty-two federal agencies were combined into a single Department of Homeland Security to defend against terrorist attacks6.
Substantial improvements have been made in safeguarding the US against the most radical or extremist Islamic fanatics. However, there still persists actual danger against the US and its interests in different global locations. In recent years, terrorists in Somalia and the Middle East have extended terrorism in East Africa inviting the wrath of the Kenyan, Ugandan and Ethiopian military actions. American government was a failure during the 1992 capture of Kismayu. Military personnel perished during the night attack on terrorist groups. The US government withdrew its military from the country after the troops were attacked.
Al-Qaeda remains a major threat to the US national security. During the leadership of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda was never a comprehensible, organized and tiered organization that drew direct command of the powerful Bin Laden. Instead, the group had many affiliates including the Al Shabab network. The US and its allies failed effectively destroying Osama’s training camps that allowed modest terrorist cells to have far-reaching impacts on global peace and appealed to young Muslims to join terrorism in the fight against the West. Upon the end of the Afghan war, many terrorist camps had been bomb-shelled.
However, the US and its allies failed to combat the ideology of terrorism. The existing terrorism that faces majority of American allies and international security is basically motivated by the ideology of al Qaeda. The prospective bombers existing today are not affiliated to the late Osama but his epitomes, character and worldview. Osama’s call to radicalism has not been productively checked by the US and its allies. Instead, the terror networks have the capacity to enlist members quicker than the US and allies can abolish the terror groups.
United States of America ought to be devoted in regard to the mission of Terror groups. The US and its allies must engage in deterrent, nonviolent, and dignified dynamism to efficiently pawn the threats posed by the worldwide terrorism. In fact, it is suitable to employ justifiable resolution by extinguishing the enthusiasm of terrorist besides strengthening the US controls. Victory would merely carry the day if the battle of ideology that terrorism cannot end is conquered. Therefore, through the quest of stability, higher living standards, and economic prosperity US must engross the Islamic nations and balance their martial exertions.
In order for the United States and its allies to avert any nation falling into terrorism, it should continue committing its actions to the operations of terror squad nations like Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of policy recommendation, America must reinforce and carry on with technical aid and as well concentrate on cost-effective programs in prone terrorism zones. Moreover, the Islamic states should get assistance from America and its allies in order to embrace governmental liberalization.
It is essential for the US to keep on playing the starring role of providing bearable resolution to disputes like that of Palestine and Israel. Generally, disputing the detestable philosophy of extremism and backing the customary Islam is important for US and its allies in fighting terrorism. Thus, the declared values must be guaranteed by United States since identity and image are important for America’s internal and overseas self-perception.
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1 Thomas M., ‘Transnational Terror and Organized Crime: Blurring the Lines’, The SAIS Review, vol. 24, no. 1, 2004, p. 49–61.
2 Helfstein, S, Predisposition and foreign policy surprises: Assessing the impact of rationale and biased beliefs on strategic decision making, Ann Harbor, Proquest LLC, 2008.
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4 Hoffman, B, Responding to terrorism across the technological spectrum, terrorism and political violence, vol. 6, no. 3, 1994, p. 365–389.
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6 For example, in 1996 members of White separatist cell calling themselves Phineas Priests committed a string of bombings and bank robberies in Washington State. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Terrorism in the United States 1997 (Washington DC: FBI 1998) p.8. Some members of the Aryan Republican Army, which went on a bank-robbing spree in the Midwest in 1994–95, invoked the term Phineas Priests. Paul Hill, the antiabortionist activist who murdered Dr. John Bayard Britton and his escort, had written an essay advocating ‘Phineas actions’. Finally, Hoskins printed a letter from Byron de la Beckwith, the convicted killer of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, in which he concluded with the statement, ‘Phineas for president’. See ADL. ‘The Order and Phineas Priesthood’,’11 Aug., 1999. As an aside, law enforcement authorities found a copy of another book by Hoskins, War Cycles—Peace Cycles, in the van of Buford Furrow. Some observers argued that this book motivated Furrow to commit his attack, but the book really has nothing do with terrorism; instead it focuses on international banking.