Essay Sample on Debating Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Published: 2023-03-07
Essay Sample on Debating Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  Violence Terrorism Islamophobia Social issue
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1814 words
16 min read

Terrorism is changing with time. The author of the book, Stuart Gotlieb, focuses on the issues and the questions emerging from tourism and counterterrorism. Terrorism seems to pose a significant threat to nations and the whole world in general. Different terrorist groups are forming every day, each with their ways of operating. Efforts to curb terrorism has seemed futile. Although Stuart Gotlieb has not given satisfactory answers to some issues. Terrorism has become a menace that policymakers need to be responsible and act fast in case of any threats.

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Terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, need to be stabilized as they are a great threat to most nations. How terrorists perceive things is different from what ordinary citizens think. Terrorists tend to use violence and killing others, with reasons defined by them. Islam is associated with terrorism, and most Islamic nations contain a higher number of terrorist groups.

Chapter 1. Is The New Terrorism Really New?

In this chapter, Stuart Gotlieb tries to evaluate new terrorism with its trends as compared to old terrorism. In the first section, he identifies the old and new terrorism and their features. The next section outlines the relationship between new and old terrorism by identifying the motives of terrorists, organizational structure, and their tactics. The last section concludes on the consequences of using modern terrorism.

The old terrorism, also referred to as traditional terrorism, had rational political reasons and secular motivations that made the terrorists settle on violence. They selected their targets carefully, had a scope, and proportionate to the intensity of the practical objectives they are pursuing. The terrorists did not want to enforce much violence since they wanted to maintain their legitimacy, increase their supporters, and raise the number of funding and recruits. They had a hierarchical with well- defined control and command organizational structure.

New terrorism, on the other hand, is characterized by the concept of the prominence of religion. The new terrorism lacks a political demand or agenda. As opposed to old terrorism, new terrorism has a feature of using excessive violence. The group is not concerned about losing their supporters out of their acts of violence since they consider themselves only answerable to their God. The new terrorists dehumanize their victims and consider all non-members as infidels. Their motivation is their religion, increasing independence from state sponsors, and excessive use of violence. The new terrorism is weakly organized with no stronger command structure. Al-Qaeda, for example, is more of new terrorism than old terrorism.

Chapter 2. Does Poverty Serve as Root Cause of Terrorism?

Stuart Gotlieb argues that in the western world, there is a notion that poverty is the root cause of terrorism. The economy of the West argues that material benefits motivate poor people. A person who can be able to sustain themselves would not necessarily have to join a terrorist group to get some monetary opportunities.

President Bill Clinton once said that terror and extremism are a result of poverty, despair, and disillusionment (p.35). Colin Powel, in 2002, also noted that poverty situations and ignorance are the root cause of terrorism. George W. Bush outlined that countries should fight poverty because terrorism gives hope to the poor. Poverty and inequality are perceived as critical factors of terrorism. They are responsible for the threat of terrorism. Public officials argue that impoverished countries should strive to develop their economies to reduce the wealth gap. The developed countries should reduce the poverty level, while the wealthy nations should focus on making more international development and budget for aids. All of this will ensure a reduction in terrorism threats. Countries like Afghanistan faces many terrorism challenges due to their low socioeconomic profile and severe political turmoil.

However, Von Hippel and James Piazza argue that there is a very minimal correlation between poverty and terrorism. Piazza uses the current data to maintain his stand on the relationship between terrorism and poverty. In this modern world, there is no enough evidence to prove that low levels of socioeconomic development and poverty directly causes the emergence of more terrorist groups. There is no consistent pattern in countries that show that economic stagnation leads to terrorism. Countries that are developed tend to attract more terrorists because of the excellent infrastructures offered in those countries.

Chapter 3. Can Terrorism Ever Be Justified?

According to Stuart Gotlieb, different scholars define terrorism differently. For example, Honderich does not determine what terrorism is but claims that making others fear you do not necessarily mean it's a form of violence. Terrorism is more like other political violence. Honderich also contends that there is no need for terrorism, which is a part of political violence that also applies the infliction of harm and injury to the people. From Honderich's view, Noam Chomsky assumes that it would mean that we are all terrorists. The FLN and their supporters described killing and violence is a way of getting to their legitimate political goal. Legitimate means they have a right to use violence.

On the other hand, humanitarians and opponents of FLN see terrorism and the use of violence as a filthy and illegitimate deed. Ben M'Hidi and the French reporter, argued that it is a filthy action to carry explosives in women's baskets to go and kill people. Humanitarians say that terrorism is an immoral form of free-riding, "isn't it a filthy thing to use women's basket to carry explosives for killing people?" (p.69). According to humanitarians, doing right involves using effective means and not engaging in self-defeating ways that may lead to taking people's bad lives. The principle of humanity judges policies, actions, societies, and institutions based on their consequences.

Chapter 4. Does Islam Play a Unique Role in Modern Religious Terrorism?

Islam species who attack or spur attacks usually earn themselves a pedigree. This is a norm that is fourteen centuries old, which is rooted in the scriptures and commands. The system has won over almost all Muslims, whether intellectuals or illiterate, poor or rich. The Muslim supremacies have also failed to agree on the best tactics for implementing violence. The military sharia is one of the aggressive and non-violent campaigns. In the West, Islam's construction is not given a priority though there is adherence in the increase in forceful pluralities.

Fawaz Gerges said that tolerance and moderation are very predominant in the Muslim world. Most Islams admire the Western cultures and values, and they wish to coexist peacefully among people. The Muslims detest the westerners for what they do and not who they are. The western policies attract Muslims. Also, Islam is not the only religion that initiates violence. Getting the roles played by the Islamic radicalization, may aid in communicating the policy choices in governments both western and around the world.

Chapter 5. Is Suicide Terrorism an Effective Tactic

From the Mumbai and Unite States attacks, suicide attacks have been more observed in lethal terrorism. It has sacrificed thousands of innocent people through suicide terror. Terrorist soldiers have various ways of paying off from suicide terrorism. Suicide terrorism is more fatal and provokes fear than conventional terrorism. Gordon McCormick and Lindsay Fritz say that suicide terrorism involves strategic actors who make sure they achieve their objectives. All the attacks are believed to have the same purpose, which is the greater return on the investment. Attacks against the civil population usually have a probability of not occurring. These terrorist groups do not always make better decisions.

Suicide terror does not relate to political work. This, however, does not mean they cannot do anything. Therefore, suicide terrorism is effective while achieving non-political actions. Suicide terrorism is cheaper as it requires very few personnel and resources. They help in preserving an organization. Preserving the organization leads to good leadership by maintaining prestige, identity, and legitimacy.

Chapter 6. Is Nuclear Terrorism a Real Threat?

Stuart Gotlieb argues that terrorists have been using nuclear devices even before the September 11, 2001 attack. As years pass by without the nuclear terrorism attack, more frightening predictions emerge. Nuclear terrorism poses a significant danger to both the USA and global security. Securing the stockpiles could have prevented nuclear weapons. The terrorists could access nuclear bomb materials from various countries. The terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons may be a probability that they would attack. Nuclear terrorism would be a real catastrophe that poses a real threat to nations, states, or individuals.

Many nuclear managers and key policymakers in the world do not see the threat of nuclear terrorism as a real danger. They need to be convinced further that nuclear terrorism in their countries' security which may inconvenience their investment and resources. Otherwise, they would not pay attention or take actions that may help prevent nuclear terrorism.

Chapter 7. Counterterrorism Strategies: Do We Need Bombs Over Bridges?

President Barrack Obama, upon taking the leadership mantle in 2009, he designed an outreach campaign to all the Muslims all over the world. The president chose one of the Arabic safelights for the first formal interview, where he requested a new kind of partnership. After the interview, the president gave a speech in Turkey and Egypt, where when quoting some Qur'an, he promised that the United States would bridge the misunderstanding, listen carefully to the Muslim demands and seek common ground.

During the period of President Obama's presidency, he also authorized many targeted spots for the suspected Islamic extremist in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many other places. The strikes are carried out by the guided missiles and the plans that are Unmanned, killing the terrorist leaders. In the process, innocent bystanders and women and children were killed, provoking protests and mass outrage across the Muslim nations.

The above two examples differ. They depict counterterrorism. To minimize terrorist activities, it needs robust activities and many options as possible. The counterterrorism acts seek to cat the support base of terror actions and weaken their strike capacity.

Although the military actions are approved against the countries that support terror activities, they tend to be the main shortcoming. These actions can trigger more terrorist actions and widen the terrorist campaign. In destroying the terrorist network base and the states, the political and economic sanctions prove to be effective. Also, flexible approaches to a terrorist like offering relief services and target foreign aid have proved an effective way of combating terrorism.

Chapter 8. Can Spreading Democracy Help Defeat Terrorism?

During the president bush regime, he was a crucial person in the stirring of the election in the middle east. Promoting democracy was one way of stabilizing the extremist groups that supported terrorism. Democracy would act as a "long-term antidote to the ideology of terrorism." (p. 243).

The Palestine elections in 2006 revealed that countries like morocco Tunisia and Egypt if the free and fair election were held, the outcome could be Islamic and anti-American governments. Although the idea of spreading democracy in the Islam world looks so practical in theory in practice, it remains a significant challenge.

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