Terrorism as a Threat to International Security and Peace
Terrorism is a problem that can strike not only big cities but even small communities, as well. No country can be sure that it is protected from terrorism and is ready to reduce the risk. Terrorism is a spontaneous, unpredictable, and violent act that can be a threat to the whole humanity. Terrorism is the use of violence or force against property or people, violating criminal laws with the purposes of ransom, coercion, and intimidation (Saul, 2005).
One can divide terrorism into two groups: domestic terrorism and international terrorism. Domestic terrorism is performed without foreign direction. International terrorism is done by foreign terrorists and sponsored by international groups or organizations (Bondi, 2002). It is necessary to mention that international terrorism is more difficult for fighting than a domestic one since it is more global and well planned. Besides, international terrorists have more sponsors and support for operating in different countries and in their own ones.
The distinctions between domestic and international terrorism do not concern their location but the origin of terrorists. For example, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma is a domestic terrorism; in 2001, the terrorist attacks were international in nature. International terrorism is a bigger threat for the national security. The growing number of international terroristic groups is more difficult for identifying rather than domestic ones.
Terrorists create fear and panic among the public, convince citizens that government does not protect them. Terrorists use weapons of mass destruction: radiological, incendiary, chemical, biological, explosive, nuclear agents that can cause serious bodily injury, death, and other catastrophic incidents. The main hazards of terrorism are: a conventional bomb, a biological agent, a nuclear bomb, a radiological agent, a chemical agent, arson/incendiary attack, agriterrorism, intentional hazardous materials release, and armed attack (Rosand, 2003).
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Terrorism can be predicted and identifiable, but there are geographical boundaries for terrorism. However, one cannot predict a terrorist attack with accuracy as it can happen at any time and place. The Homeland Security Advisory System proposes a color-coded terrorism warning system and distinguishes five threat levels of varying intensity. Green color is a low threat level of terrorism. In order to protect the country from low level of terrorism one needs to assess facilities for finding weaknesses in defense and ways for reducing them. Local government employees should be trained for handling terrorism situations. Blue color is a guarded threat level of terrorism. Government agencies should review emergency procedures and communication systems for providing the necessary information (Intoccia, 1987).
Yellow color is an elevated threat level of terrorism. The government should increase surveillance, especially, in critical locations, implement emergency response plans, and coordinate emergency plans in order to forecast terroristic attacks. Orange color is a high threat level of terrorism. The government should undertake coordinating necessary security efforts with using of law enforcement agencies and armed forces. All public events should be forbidden. Red color is a severe threat level of terrorism. The government should completely control the situation in the country, set up specially trained teams, take emergency actions, monitor and redirect transportation system, increase the number of personnel for emergence needs, and close all public and government facilities (Barber, 2001).
The phenomenon of terrorism has been known for a long time, but the problem is that the humankind still does not know the way of struggling with it. Besides, it is difficult to define the events connected with terrorism, but it is evident that it is connected with a violation of international security and peace and is a serious problem that demands national and international solution. International solution is the most important one as leading terrorists operate in different parts of the world in order to gain wider exposure and more success. For the Security Council, there is a constant dilemma as to how to achieve international peace and security in the conditions of terrorism. The problem is that terrorism falls within the competence of the Security Council (Bindi, 2013).
The most famous case of terrorism happened in September 11, 2001 and was connected with Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization. This terroristic attack had catastrophic consequences as terrorists used weapons of mass destruction. After this case, the US nation was mobilized for struggling against terrorism (Dinstein, 2005).
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In 2003, nearly half of the known Al Qaeda leadership was killed but this was only the start of a real terrorism in the whole world. It has been established that terrorists operated not in the places that were safe for them but in the USA and Western Europe where the struggle against terrorism is everlasting. The USA begins to create a Counter-Terrorism Action Group that has anti-terrorism capabilities and capacity to fight terrorism. Not only the USA but also other, especially, European countries begin to introduce laws to fight against terrorism (Vark, 2009).
The Situation with Terrorism in the World
Terrorism has risen for the past ten years, and it is present in different forms such as bombings, hijacking, murder, kidnapping. It has been proved that, in most cases, terrorism is done for achieving a political purpose. Besides, terrorism is always done to change a nation’s government. When terrorists want to change government’s political positions, they take the situation in their own hands. That is why it is important that the government pays attention to fighting against terrorism and extremism. Hate toward religion, nationality or race is another reason of terrorism (Wellens, 2008).
Earlier, the Soviet bloc supported terrorist groups. However, now, it does not exist anymore but terrorism is remains. Many countries condemn terrorism, especially, those that belong to United Nations and, besides, one can notice that countries work in cooperation when it comes about terrorism. However, the problem remains acute since there are countries that support terrorism. These are Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Palestine, and North Korea, which are known as locations for the development and support of terrorism.
There is nothing strange why the USA has used weapons against Syria. The Obama administration is against military actions in Syria, but they are for struggle against terrorism. Barack Obama stated that he had no interest in the open-ended conflict with Syria. He only takes measures, because this country violated the international norms on chemical weapons that threaten the USA. He does not take their relations with Syria seriously, and it frightens and provokes troubles (Kushner, 1998).
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Currently, terrorism is included in the state policy, and this means that they worry about their nations. Other nations include terrorism in their state policy, as well, but only as the way of supporting and using of terrorism. For example, in Iran, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Revolutionary Guard Corps support terrorists and give instructions to them. Sudan, Syria, and Afghanistan provide training bases, funding, refuge, and weapons to terrorists, and that is why they were attacked by the USA. Libya is also a supporter of some Palestinian terrorists, and North Korea is a provider of weapons.
As for Cuba, there are many terrorists there. Besides, there are countries that provide terrorist with their sponsorship, but they hide this information rather carefully. It is an alarming statistics as the countries described above are the places for the development and spreading of international terrorism (Wedgwood, 1999; Frowein, 1948).
Nowadays, terrorist threats are changing and becoming more dangerous and difficult to counter. At first, international terrorism threatened Americans when they were in other countries, especially, in Iran, Afghanistan. However, now, international terrorism is a usual phenomenon for American society. Brian Jenkins wrote: “Terrorists want many people watching, not a lot of people dead.” It means that terrorism is a way to provoke fear, create panic, and make the government worry. R. James Woolsey states: “Today’s terrorists don’t want a seat at the table; they want to destroy the table and everyone sitting at it.” This quote proves that terrorism is the way of demonstration of protest against a certain society (Rosand, 2003; Fawcett, 1966).
It is necessary to mention that there are those who are in opposition to the USA administration and their policy and suppose that this is the USA administration that is guilty of terrorism because they interfere with internal affairs of other countries. These contradictions between the USA and Syria, Iran, Iraq lead to terroristic attacks. Americans suppose that Syria is a home for terrorism. However, Syria rejects this. When one talks about the USA-Syrian relations, these are not liberal views. The American side violates democratic norms by involving military forces in their relations. Syria, in turn, violates democratic norms by involving terrorism (Kushner, 2003).
However, despite international conflicts, terrorism continues to develop and spread to Europe. The problem is that every day people legally and not legally enter the USA, and it is difficult to define whether an individual is a terrorist or a peaceful tourist. Border controlling and procedures cannot defend the USA and the whole world from terrorism. Terrorist attacks such as a bombing of a school, public places and public transport, kidnapping are becoming more lethal. If, in the 1970s and the 1980s, terrorist organizations had political objectives then now, their objectives are not clear. Now terrorist attacks aim at killing as many people as possible (Hudson, 199).
Terrorism in 2014
Speaking about terrorism in 2014, it is necessary to say that that there were many cases of it: car bombing, grenade attack, a car bomb, a truck bomb, a bomb, a series of explosions, a suicide truck bombing, a suicide bombing, an assassination, train derailment, a remote controlled bicycle bomb, a roadside bomb, gun attack, hostage taking, an improvised explosive device, village attack, mortar attack, assault on train station, shooting, kidnapping, ambush. The statistics shows that during 2014, in one case of terrorism there was killed from 1 to 212 people. The main locations of terrorism in 2014 were Somalia, Kenya, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Thailand, Madagascar, Yemen, China, Israel, and South Sudan. The main perpetrators were Al-Shabab, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Tehreek-e-Taliban, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al-Nusra Front, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Ajnad Misr – Soldiers of Egypt, Hizb-i-Islami, Abdullah Azzam Brigades, Ahrar-ul-Hind, Al Qaeda (Österdahl, 1998).
The USA reports that the terrorist threat is developing rapidly and the number of terroristic groups around the world is constantly increasing. Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations pose a threat to the USA. As a result, worldwide efforts against terrorism were unsuccessful as there are many followers of Al Qaeda. The aggressive and autonomous groups of Al Qaeda are concentrated in Africa and the Middle East, taking advantage of instability in these regions and weak governance. Africa and the Middle East are the locations for broadening and deepening terroristic operations (Vark, 2004).
A range of criminal activities is caused by terrorist groups that demand money, kidnap for ransom, and even get private donations from the Gulf that is the main source of financing of terrorism. Besides, violent extremists can use social media and new media platform for their development. Social media platforms benefit circulating terroristic messages very quickly. A major battleground for terrorism is Syria that gives all opportunities to terroristic development. Even foreign fighters are involved in fighting against the Asad regime with violent extremist groups, but the results are very poor (Talmon, 2005).
When speaking about terrorist groups, it is necessary to say that they are structured, and that is why it is difficult to struggle with them. Besides, they are based on religious and ideological motives, and consequently, they can lose nationalistic or political character. Al Qaeda is the most popular transnational terrorist organization that pursues its own terrorist campaign and consists of numerous militant groups. These numerous militants share its ideological beliefs that are necessary for supporting their violent campaign. Many politicians accuse Al Qaeda’s extremists and its leader Osama bin Laden of spreading terrorism. However, even without Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s extremists, the USA is under a threat of terrorism as there are many groups who try to oppose American hegemony (Martenczuk, 1999).
New terrorist threats can occur because of isolated conspiracies or violence. The problem is that it is difficult to predict, penetrate, and track transnational terrorist networks. In most cases, terroristic organizations are well sponsored, have funding and logistical support, and their main sources of profits are self-financing criminal activities (petty crimes, narcotics, kidnapping). Terrorist organizations can be supported by legitimate business and non-governmental organizations. The most effective channel for communicating between terrorism is the Internet. Conventional explosives and guns are the weapons of many terrorists. Chemical, radiological, biological, and nuclear weapons are extremely dangerous that is why it is hard to cope with the extremists who own such weapons (Hoffman, 1999).
It is evident from the analyzed information that terrorism in 2014 is in the peak of development that is why it remains an unsolved dilemma not only for the USA but also for the whole world. It is necessary that all countries collaborate in the questions of terrorism. International community should help to develop poor countries of Africa and East, as they are the main locations of terrorism.
In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that terrorism is a usual phenomenon of modern time. The main causes of terrorism are politics and international relationships between countries. Nowadays, every country faces with terrorism, and the problem is that it is difficult to be ready for it. International and national security is in danger, and even fighting with it does not help to reduce its level. The statistics is alarming, but the entity of terrorism is deeper than connection with a crime. Terrorism is the result of poor life, economic, and politic instability (African countries), struggle for the ideology (the Middle East), military actions (the USA, Iraq, Afghanistan).
In order to reduce the probability of terrorism one needs to assess facilities for finding weaknesses in defense and ways for reducing them. Local government employees should be trained for handling terrorism situations. Government agencies should review emergency procedures and communication systems for providing the necessary information.
The government should increase surveillance especially in critical locations, implement emergency response plans, and coordinate emergency plans in order to forecast terroristic attacks. The government should undertake coordinating necessary security efforts with using of law enforcement agencies, armed forces. All public events should be forbidden.
The government should completely control the situation in the country, set up specially trained teams, take emergency actions, monitor and redirect transportation system, increase the number of personnel for emergence needs and close all public and government facilities. It is evident that international security depends on the level of terrorism in the world, and that is why analyzing the statistics of terrorism in the world one cannot say that one deals with peace and international security.