American Military University Causes of Terrorism in the World Discussion

For this Module’s Discussion answer these questions: Is trying to address the root cause of terrorism an effective strategy and should this be considered counter-terrorism.  What do you thing are the best strategies for combating the threat from terrorism that we’re currently face? What would be the roles in of the federal, state and local governments in these strategies? What other stakeholders might also play an important role?

Student Post 1

Counterterrorism refers to proactive policies that specifically seek to eliminate terrorist environments and groups (Martin, 2020). Counterterrorism has a clear and ultimate goal to save lives by eliminating as many terrorist threats as possible. There is much debate about if solving the root cause of terrorism is an effective strategy. Economic and social conditions have been argued to be the cause of terrorism and why many resorts to finding other means. Terrorism is therefore perceived almost exclusively as a ‘security threat’ with no discernible socio-economic roots or links with deprivation (Taspinar, 2009). There is no unique or simple way to solve the causes of terrorism and put an end to it. It is crucial to come to a mutual understanding of how to put effort into counterterrorism strategies. Fighting radicalism with human development’ should emerge as a new public narrative and long-term objective for a smarter effort at strategic counter-terrorism (Taspinar, 2009). Those who want to combat terrorism by combating the root causes are not for counterterrorism. Rather, they want to combat the conditions that created terrorism from the start. The development agenda is not about terrorists themselves, but rather those most susceptible to the goals and messages of terrorism (Taspinar, 2009). Domestic terrorism is one of the biggest threats our country faces today. We are seeing a deterioration in the threats from outside our borders and the threat inside is growing. Domestic terrorism is nothing new and it is a constant and evolving threat. Addressing domestic terrorism is no easy task and recently, the White House outlined its approach to handling domestic threats.

After reading through the report, I could not agree more with the White House plans. At a policy level, this strategy demands that the broader federal government coordinate and collaborate on programmatic aspects of countering domestic terrorism, such as information sharing, training, prevention, and intervention efforts (National Security Council, 2021). This allows for the different government agencies to ensure current policies are up to date and allow law enforcement officials to carry out their job properly. There is too much confusion with different agencies having their agendas and there is no universal understanding: protecting the homeland. The White House will also build a community to address domestic terrorism that extends not only across the Federal Government but also to critical partners. That includes state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as foreign allies and partners, civil society, the technology sector, academia, and more (NSC, 2021). Federal agencies can use these strategies to in-cooperate communities into combating domestic threats and keeping their eyes open for anything that might occur. With these different policies in place, it is also important for the government to keep in mind the civil rights and protections, that we as citizens, have and not invade privacy. Violence or insurrection is not protected by the First Amendment which gives the government the right to intervene. Our country and its laws leave wide open the space for political and ideological views and their articulation, including through peaceful protest. But they leave no room for unlawful violence (NSC, 2021). The stakeholders that would be impacted by this are the public. The local, state and government have enough on their plate as it is and they are relying on the public to play its role. The statement “if you see something say something” has been encouraged by the NYPD and NYC officials and is a method that should be used nationwide.

Sources:

Martin, G. (2020). Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues (7th ed.). SAGE

National Security Council. (2021, June). Domestic terrorism has no place in our society. National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/National-Strategy-for-Countering-Domestic-Terrorism.pdf. (Links to an external site.)

Taspinar, O. (2009). Fighting Radicalism, not ‘Terrorism’: Root Causes of an International Actor Redefined. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/summer_fall_radicalism_taspinar.pdf. 

Utilize proper citation

TITLE: Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues 7th Edition AUTHOR: Martin, GusPUBLISHER: Sage PublicationsDATE: 2020ISBN: 978-1544375861

Student Post #2

Addressing the root cause of terrorism is 100% a valid strategy and should be considered an aspect of counter-terrorism. Schroden, Rosenau, & Warner (2016) describe “root cause” counter-terrorism as follows: “In this school of thought, relevant counterterrorism approaches include the promotion of economic development, the rule of law, good governance, education, and social justice more generally. Without such systemic approaches, adherents argue, counterterrorism becomes an exercise in “mowing the grass” rather than performing the “weeding and landscaping” aimed at reducing if not eliminating the threat.”

The pathway to the 1998 Good Friday Peace Accords in Northern Ireland is an excellent example of a “root cause” counter-terrorism strategy. Forsythe (2004) describes the Good Friday Agreement as, “intended to form a basis for ending over 30 years of civil and sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. It attempts to lay the foundations for peaceful co-existence between the two main traditions within Northern Ireland and to develop cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The agreement addresses highly contentious issues such as human and civil rights, policing, prisoners, and weapons decommissioning.” Despite years of distrust, some missed milestones, and sectarian friction during the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement is considered a success due in large part to the United Kingdom’s commitment to a devolution of power to the Northern Ireland Republic as well as the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) disarmament and commitment to the political process.

The United States should maintain a multilayered defensive and offensive counter-terrorism strategy to combat today’s threats. External to the U.S. (OCONUS), while we continue to withdraw military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, maintaining the ability to neutralize terrorist leaders and operators (such as bomb makers) through continued military operations, including airstrikes, is essential to the security of the U.S. and its allies. Also, building strong diplomatic partnerships with countries most vulnerable to terrorist operations, such as countries in the Middle East and Africa, is essential to combating terrorists in sovereign countries that lack the resources and laws to arrest and prosecute terrorist actors on their own.

The federal government is responsible for funding diplomatic missions abroad, tasking government agencies to forge international partnerships, and where appropriate, invest money in both the security mission of a foreign country, but also humanitarian efforts such as education, infrastructure building, and economic development.

Domestically, the U.S. faces terrorism threats across the entire ideological spectrum. Focusing on one ideological threat over another leaves the public exposed to extreme acts of violence. We continue to experience Islamic terrorism such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting and Boulder (Colorado) grocery store shooting; right wing violence such as the El Paso Walmart shooting and Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting; and unafilaited gunmen such as those in Las Vegas, Parkland High School, and Newtown, Connecticut.

Aggressive community action that combines law enforcement interdictions with public/mental health services is the best way to combat domestic terrorism threats. Even when law enforcement is unable to gather enough evidence to charge individuals with a crime prior to an attack, it is essential that violent actors be identified and confronted.

Inside the U.S., federal, state, and local partners must engage with multifaith houses of worship as well as non-profit organizations that can assist in offramping individuals trapped in an extremist cycle before they commit crimes. In 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made “$20 million available through the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program to help communities across our country develop innovative capabilities to combat terrorism and targeted violence (DHS, 2021).” The TVTP Grant is intended to address the following priorities: “(1) preventing domestic violent extremism; (2) enhancing local threat assessment and management capabilities; (3) implementing innovative solutions for preventing targeted violence and terrorism; and (4) challenging online violence mobilization narratives for the first time through this program (DHS, 2021).”

References:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (March 21, 2021). DHS Makes $20 Million in Funding Available for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/03/24/dhs-makes-20-m…

Forsythe, A. M. (2004). Mapping the political language of the 1998 good friday agreement: Research and Reviews. Current Psychology, 23(3), 215-224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-004-1021-2

Schroden, J., Rosenau, W., & Warner, E. (2016). Asking the right questions: a framework for assessing counterterrorism actions. CNA Analysis and Solutions Arlington United States.

Student post 3

The attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 claimed many innocent lives depicting that terrorism had morphed deep into the world and could cause massive destruction and pain. A counter-terrorism is an act of developing coordinated strategies to combat terror attacks. One of the best ways to address the concept of terrorism is addressing its root cause. Although there are many causes of terrorism, individual nations should identify their unique cause and address it diligently with the help of the United Nations and other international bodies that counter-terror attacks and engage in peace-keeping missions (Farrell, 2019). Other than the federal government, partners that promote counter-terrorism strategies include United Nations, Civil society, religious leaders, local authorities, prisons, and higher education and probation centers.

According to Obamamoye (2017), addressing counter-terrorism involves research on its root cause and violent extremism despite the rise of the pandemic and other social calamities. COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased discrimination, isolation, and inequality, along with the global shift into the online space, increased terror activities (Fishman, 2019). Social distancing reinforced terrorists’ capability to radicalize and apprentice more hate dialogue and advertising that flourishes on social media as the world is currently considered a small village. Terror activities are also motivated by xenophobia, intolerance, and racism. Also, the national government should tackle the documented connection between terror activities, planned crime and utilize the data for peace missions (Obamamoye, 2017). After the first attack in 2001by the Taliban, the United States increased its security by enhancing the size of its military, establishing a central intelligence Act, and creating a department known as the Department of Homeland security that counters terrorism.

The US government plays an important role in combating terror attacks within its borders and across regions. It created a body in 2001 whose role is to oversee the implementation of strategies and resolutions pertinent to preventing terrorism by all member states (Obamamoye, 2017). Through the FBI, a national law enforcement agency that deals with investigating and preventing terror attacks, the federal government can identify the root causes of terrorism and address them individually (Fishman, 2019). Since the invasion by the Taliban on September 11, 2001, and their removal from power after they refused to sign the peace treaty, the United States launched electronic surveillance to monitor suspected terrorists (Farrell, 2019). The federal government can also use the Patriot Act, as seen in the 2001 counter-terrorism strategy. The concept offers rewards to terrorists who turn themselves in and keep information on suspected terrorists private. Another advanced strategy that can be utilized by the federal government is opening its borders to better track alleged terrorists.

The federal government should adopt specific strategies that prevent and eliminate terrorists and attacks. Social media plays an important role in propagating terror attacks and threats. The choice of a strategy is dependent on the nature of the threat and previous terror attacks. First, the national government should create laws that define terrorism and standard measures to curb them. Programs and initiatives can be created to curb the financing of terrorism, such as the Bureau of counter-terror attacks. The FBI is a leading federal law enforcement agency to counter terrorism through investigations, prevention, and reporting. To prevent terrorism, a nation should adopt strategies such as using electronic technology to halt terror networks, deny terrorists the sanctuary and support of rogue states, and emphasize the proper use of elements of power to combat terrorism.

References

Farrell, W. R. (2019). The US Government Response to Terrorism: In Search of an Effective Strategy: In Search Of An Effective Strategy. Routledge.

Fishman, B. (2019). Crossroads: Counter-terrorism and the Internet (February 2019). Texas National Security Review.

Obamamoye, B. F. (2017). Counter-terrorism, Multinational Joint Task Force and the missing components. African identities, 15(4), 428-440. 

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