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INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND GLOBAL TERRORISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY

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INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND GLOBAL TERRORISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon it has long been a method of violent action by organizations and individuals attempting to achieve political goals. Indeed, terrorism is not an end but rather a modus operandi. According to Bruce Hoffman, all   terrorists   share   one   common   denominator:   they “live” in   the future and are convinced that they will defeat their enemies and achieve their political goals. The questions on how we can have a secured and terror free world have been a recurring one with little answers. The threat of terrorism has steadily increased over the last 30 years. With advances in technology, Terrorist acts have come much more destructive and the perpetrators of those acts have become more elusive. Maintaining a secured world has been a difficult task especially in this era of globalisation.

Looking at the security side of the globalization analysis, security became so complex and multi-dimensional, traditional national border-setting type of security perception is not capable of recognizing new threats that transcend the national borders. In this context, international terrorism became one of the main concerns with its highly complicated characteristics. Thus, globalized world has to face an immediate threat: international terrorism. This problem has been recognized not only by one nation, but also in the era of globalization when the nations became much more connected and interdependent, it became a threat to international security.

The dynamic nature of terrorism further exacerbates the threat terrorist pose to security officials. Even if they achieve success in foiling terrorist plots, security agencies cannot rest on their accomplishments as terrorist organizations constantly change their tactics, organizational structure, and even their tactical objectives. As such, terrorist groups and those who work to counter them are constantly competing strategically in an attempt to stay one step ahead of each other, whether via new technologies or operational tactics. In this manner, the phenomenon of terrorism has evolved over the years, with each stage emerging more dangerous   and   lethal   than  the   preceding stage. Some few states have witnessed terrorist threats since many years. Nevertheless, though these states have already known the pains of terrorism, it became more a concern of many other states   with September   11, 2001   (9/11)   terrorist   attacks   in   the   United States. This a turning point for all the nations to see the threat of terrorism. The September 11 attacks represented a new reality in international terrorism. The world   community, in   the   wake   of   these   attacks,   found   itself   seemingly   in unprecedented peril. The face of international terrorism had changed. But the phenomenon of global jihad terrorism has roots and ramifications that reach back several years. Before 9/11, it was convenient for many states and world leaders to turn a blind eye to the unfolding threat, as long as they were not its direct   victims   or   its   central   focus.   Indeed, the   radical   Islamic   movement originally focused not on attacking western targets, but on conquering the hearts and   minds of   Muslim   communities   all   over   the   world   through   educational, religious, and welfare activities, known as “dawah” activities. These activities were   based   on   the   dogmatic   radical   perspectives   of   the   movement, which praised  the   use  of   violence   in   “defence   of   Islam.”   Still, in most   cases, the principle remained theoretical, and the call to violence never manifested itself as a concrete act of violent terrorist activity. This made it possible – and even convenient – for world leaders to underestimate the threat. The death of nearly 3,000   civilians,   the   collapse   of   the   World   Trade   Center   buildings,   and   the destruction of parts of the Pentagon building on September 11th, forced the international   community   and   especially   the   American   people   and   US administration – to acknowledge the imminent threat of terrorism. Since then, members of the global jihadist network have not hesitated to utilize a method of modern terrorism that has proved more effective than any other, namely, suicide attacks.   Almost   a   new   awareness   has   started,  because   everybody   saw   its damages while a lot of people have died or injured, and unfortunately while terrorist declared their success. Terrorism became the main topic on the top agenda for many nations and institutions. Today, global terror is a giant problem for all humanity. We are used to think security in terms of military threats and arising beyond the borders of one’s own country. Traditionally national security is   understood   as   “the   acquisition,   deployment   and   use   of   military   force   to achieve national goals. Since the September 11 attack, nations saw that it is of great importance for countries to cooperate and share information as regarding to security and tackle the spontaneous threat posed by terrorists.

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon in human experience; it is characterized by the use of violence against civilians and military personnel with the expressed desire of causing terror or panic in the population. Terrorism is not unique to the 21st century. Terrorism existed in 18th century revolutionary France during the reign of terror, as well as among the Zealots of Palestine in opposition to Roman rule some 2000   years   ago.   Today, terrorist   activity   can   be   found   in   so   many countries of the world. Terrorism is the universally recognised crime, a crime which at a moment notice can reach every facet of our lives and at times it can dominate our existence. In the past the first image that came to mind when one spoke about terrorism was that of the persistent Arab – Israeli conflict, today it is   entirely   different.   Every   day   we   read, see   or   hear   about   the   death   and destruction caused by terrorist, if it is not about Al-Qaida bombing in Pakistan it’s   the   Taliban   bombing   and   kidnapping   in   Afghanistan   or   the   mass   and ruthless killings by Isis in Iraq and Syria and  also the destructive  nature of boko-haram in Nigeria. We can go on and on listing terrorist group and their violent   nature.   Today   terrorism   has   changed   as   it   is   now   becoming   more organised and sophisticated and only  few parts  of  the world have  remained untouched by the current wave of terrorism in the 21st century.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Terrorism has been a major threat to international security and world peace. The international community under the auspices of various international organisations  like   the  United   Nations   (UN),   European Union   (EU),  African union (AU) etc have all developed various strategies for the maintenance of security   and   peace   in   the world. One of the  strategies   is   the   concept   of international security. International security consists of the measures taken by nations and international organisations   such   as   the   United   Nations   (UN)   to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military actions and diplomatic agreement such as the treaties and conventions. Looking at the world today, can the concept of international security be said to be effective? The measures taken by nations to ensure mutual safety and survival have it in any way helped to curb terrorism and its acts in any part of the world. Talking of terrorism, we ask how it is different from other kind of political violence. Why exactly is it wrong? Why is war often thought capable of being justified? On what ground should we judge when the use of violence is morally acceptable? Why do people resort to terrorism for the achievement of their goals in the 21st century? International security and global terrorism in the 21st century offers a critical assessment of international security with terrorism (global terrorism) as the focus of much of this work.

1.3       PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The general purpose of this study is:

i.  To   explore   the   various   methods the   international   community   through various   international   organisations   are   applying   in   the   fight   against terrorism in the globe.

ii.  To   analyze   how   these   methods   being   applied   by   the   international community have to a large extent curbed or reduced the threat to world peace posed by terrorism.

iii.  To explain why individuals see terrorism as the channel through which their goals could be achieved.

iv.  To understand the effect of terrorism on the globe and how it has changed the world in the 21st century.

v.  To establish some similarities between terrorist acts and war fought by nations.

vi.  To proffer solutions that would prevent terrorism, eradicate terrorism and solutions that would help in maintaining international security.

1.4       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The concern of this study is basically about global terrorism, its causes, its effect and how it has changed policies and politics of the world in the 21st century. The research focuses on the international community, how they have contributed and how they are contributing their resources to fight and put an end to global terrorism. The steps to be taken by the international community under the aegis of the united nations (UN) to combat terrorism and its rise in the 21st century.

1.5       LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

There are some limitation this data may have and the problems that could arise if this limitations are ignored. The verification of existing data is difficult, secondary   data   can   be   general   and   vague   and   sometimes   it   may   cause difficulties in decision making. It is possible that the data could be outdated and the sample used to generate secondary data may be small. The source of data may not be reputable. While keeping in mind the limitation of this research, I will use data for my research from reputable academic websites and published literature.

1.6       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Making the world a peaceful, secured and stable environment is a mission that requires all the effort and contribution of all states in the world. This study is therefore part of this effort to make the global arena a secured, peaceful and terror free world. This study will also contribute to the body of knowledge in ensuring security   and   peace   in   the   world.   Highlighting   the   roles   countries   and international organisation are to play in maintaining a secured and terror free world. The findings of this research will also assist various states, international organisation, security outfits, intelligence agencies etc, in making sure that the world is secured and free from the destructive nature of terrorism. In addition   this   work   would   impact much   knowledge  to   students   of political science, more especially those who are aiming at occupying the post of the president, governor, director of intelligence agencies etc. This work would guide them in various ways they can maintain security and gather intelligence to ensure a peaceful and terror free world.

1.7       METHODOLOGY

The methodology   of this   research  follows   the  qualitative  approach   of research   and   the   evaluation   is   based   on   textbooks,   journals,   newspapers, magazines, online publications and articles from eminent scholars. It involves critical analysis cum normative judgement guided by the personal experience of the   researcher   in   relation   to   terrorism.   This   is   in   order   to   find   out   how international security can curb the rising rate  of  global   terrorism   in the  21st century.

1.8       THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Understanding the motivations and causes of terrorism helps to frame a comprehensive   counterterrorism   strategy.   Terrorists   are   not   a   homogeneous group.  Their roots are diverse, not being the same from place to place.  Some see themselves as legitimate geopolitical actors, while others are nothing more than gangs or thrill-kill cults.  The history of theoretical effort at understanding terrorism comes from the subfield of collective violence in the field of political science, it can be safely said that political science pretty much had a monopoly over   theories   of   terrorism, followed   perhaps   by   other   disciplines   especially disciplines found in social sciences.

To   analyze   global   terrorism   in   the   21st century, a   good   theoretical framework should be drawn up to achieve this task. Therefore, to do justice to international security and global terrorism, we have chosen the rational choice theory   as   possessing   sufficient   viability   and   explanatory   powers.   Rational choice theory, in particular, has found a place in criminology, and holds that people   will   engage   in   crime   after   weighing   the   costs   and   benefits   of   their actions to arrive at a rational choice about motivation after perceiving that the chances of   gain outweigh any possible punishment   or loss.   Criminals must come   to   believe   their   actions   will   be   beneficial   --   to   themselves, their community, or society -- AND they must come to see that crime pays or is at least a risk-free way to better their situation.   Perhaps the most well-known version   of   this   idea   in   criminology   is routine   activities theory (Cohen   and Felson 1979), which postulates that three conditions must be present in order for a crime to occur: suitable targets or victims who put themselves at risk; the   absence   of   capable   guardians   or   police   presence;   and motivated offenders or a pool of the unemployed and alienated. Modern history has seen the   rise   of   terrorist   organizations, diverse   in   their   political   objectives   and geographic   origins.

All   these   terrorist   organizations, however,   share   one, unifying variable – their reliance on the use of violence against civilians to achieve their goals. The decision to embrace terrorism as their preferred modus operandi is the outcome of a rational decision-making process, based on a cost–benefit analysis that leaves terrorism outweighing any  other   alternative. The decision   to   conduct   a   terrorist   act   does   not   necessarily   mean   that   the perpetrators   are   “abnormal”   or   that   they   suffer   from   severe   personality disorders. Rather, a rational calculation of the costs and benefits leads them to adopt the  modus  operandi,  which they  perceive as  being  the  most  effective method to achieve their political objectives and make a mark in their theatre of operations. Rational choice theory, in political science, follows a similar line, and  holds  that people  can   be  collectively  rational,  even  when  making   what appears to be irrational decisions for them as individuals, after perceiving that their  participation  is  important  and   their personal  contribution  to   the   public good   outweighs   any   concerns   they   may   have   for   the   "free   rider"   problem (Muller and Opp 1986).  For those unfamiliar with it, the "free rider" problem is a classic paradox in social science and economics which  asks why anybody should do something for the public good when most likely someone else will get credit for it and most everybody else will benefit merely by sitting idly and doing   nothing.   Perhaps  the   most  eloquent   spokesperson   for   rational   choice ideas in the field of terrorism is Wesleyan professor Martha Crenshaw (1998), whose writings inform my remarks below.

Let's take, for example, a typical terrorist event that involves hostage-taking and   all-too-frequent  hostage-killing.   From   an   individualist   rational   point   of view, the best choice would be to keep at least some of the hostages alive in order to bargain with the  government for leniency.   Yet, often a  collectivist rational mentality sets in, and the group choice (or groupthink) is to kill all the hostages.   Is   this   killing   senseless,   the   product   of   deranged   minds,   or   an example of mob behaviour? The answer is NO on all points from a rational choice   point   of   view.   It   may   be   a   reasonable and   calculated   response   to circumstances.   It may involve a collective judgment about the most efficient course   of   action   that   has   the   most   lasting   impact   on   observers   (for   social learning purposes).   And most importantly, the senselessness of it all may be just what the group needs to make their ideological point that they are terrorists, not   just   ordinary   criminals.      Factors   that   influence the rational   choice   of terrorism include place, size, time, and the climate of international opinion.  A terrorist plot in a democratic society is less likely to involve senseless violence than a scheme hatched under an authoritarian regime because under the latter, terrorists  realize they have nothing to lose with the  expected  repercussions.

Size is important because a small elite group is more likely to resort to terrorism when the population is passive.  This means that more senseless acts of violence may occur in a stable society rather than one on the verge of collapse.   Time constraints are important because the terrorist group may be competing with other   groups   or   attempting   to   manage   a   tit-for-tat   strategy   with counterterrorism.  The climate of international opinion, if low for the problems of the host country, may force the terrorists to take action that risks a repressive counterterrorist   reaction,   in   hopes   that   their   suffering   will   capture   public attention.   In short, terrorism  is an  excellent  tool  for  managing the  political agenda on a world stage.

1.9       HYPOTHESIS

1) International security as the sole responsibilities of states, through information sharing and diplomatic agreements.

2) The fight against terrorism should be taken as a collective action by states   using   the   United   Nations   as   a   body   to   understand   such actions.

3) Using all available technology to track down terrorist and sharing of information and such technologies between states in order to assist countries with low technological knowledge.

1.10     DEFINITION OF TERMS

Security:  security can be defined as the freedom from danger, fear and risk and measures or precautions taken to guide against crime, sabotage and murder.

International security: International security consists of the measures taken by nations and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety in the world. These measures include military action and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions.

Terror: something that causes very strong feelings of fear. It can also be seen as a violence that is committed by a person, group or government in order to frighten people and achieve political goal.

Terrorist: An individual who uses violence, terror, and intimidation to achieve a result.

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