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Old Tuesday, August 05, 2014
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Default Essay on terrorism. This is my first essay for css. Please seniors check it for me.

World has been prey to worst kind of terrorism since the new millennium started. Thousands of people are dead, hundreds of thousands wounded and millions left their home countries. No matter whichever country one lives in, the 9/11 stricken USA, Taliban congested Pakistan, Tamil tigers home Sri Lanka, Mumbai attacks sufferer India or civil war torn Syria, every-one is crying for peace but the fate of world is hanging in the poles between hope and uncertainty. Afghanistan war started in the name of restoring peace and Iraq war gained momentum for minimizing nuclear annihilation threat but neither Afghan war restored peace to the South-Asian region, nor the Iraq war ended in a victorious way. Arab spring was looked upon as a hope for the emergence of democracy in the Middle East but caused chaos and turned the region into an arena for terrorists. No one call oneself terrorist and that’s why the world in confused, who is terrorist and who is not.
Terrorism is a relative word. Till now, no one has come up with such a comprehensive definition which could be acceptable to everyone. Angis Martyn while directing the Australian parliament expressed his concern regarding this issue as:
“The international community has never succeeded in developing an accepted and comprehensive definition of terrorism. In 1970’s and 80’s, The United Nations attempts to define the term were floundered by the conflict of opinion of different members about the use of violence in context of conflicts of national liberation and self-determination.”
There are a lot of instances where people are considered as terrorists by one state and are considered to be fighting a sacred war of their rights or independence by some other state e.g. Kashmiri’s are fighting against the Indian occupation in occupied Kashmir and are called mujahideen by the fellow country man and Pakistan but the Indians and the indian lobby in Kashmir consider them as terrorists. Hamas fighting Israeli’s in Palestine is considered as a terrorist organization by Israel and the west but Russia and muslim countries look upon them as the freedom fighters. However, different people and organization have tried their best to define the terrorism and terrorist acts.
According to United Nations:
“Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke terror in general public, a group of people or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstances unjustifiable whatever the considerations of political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.”
It means any kind of aggression against the ordinary, innocent and bare handed people for political gains is a terrorist act as Obama says:
“Any time bombs are used to target common innocent people, it is an act of terror.”
According to Encyclopedia Britannica online, terrorism can be defined as:
“The systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in population and thereby, to bring about a particular political objective.”
Muslims are suffering from terrorism the most and are considered to be the perpetrators too. Ignorance of the basic teaching of Quran and Sunnah has made the muslim communities intolerant and hostile. The roots of the word Islam lies in the Arabic word SALAMA which means submission and peace, Submission to Allah Almighty and peace to the humanity. This is why the salutation in Islam is Assalam o alaikum (peace be upon you). Islam considers the killing of a single human, the killing of the whole human race.
“If anyone slays a person, unless it be for a murder or spreading mischief on the earth, it would be as if he slew all the people and if he saved a life it would be as if he saved all the people” (Quran, 5:32)
Similarly Islam teaches patience to its followers. If punishment is to be inflicted, it should be in proportion to the wrong done to us is the teaching of Islam.
“Invite all to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching. And argue with them in a manner that is best and most gracious. And if you punish it should be in proportion to the wrong done to you and if you show patience it is indeed the best course. Be patient, for patience is from God.”
It is not Islam which is causing terrorism but the misunderstanding of Islam. Islam even restricts its armies from harming the old, kids, women and even the unarmed youth of the defeated enemies but on the contrary, today some Muslims kill their fellow Muslims and innocent citizens, believers as well as non-believers without any differentiation of women and children or old and young in the name of Islam. However neither all the Muslims are terrorists nor all the terrorists are Muslims.
Terrorism is as old as the human race. We had terrorists in the form of siccari’s in the 1st century AD, Hashshashine’s in the 11th century AD, Govt; supported terrorism in the late 18th and early nineteenth centuries. The Anarchists emerged in the late 19th century and the Russian revolution and Irish rebellion in the early 20th century. The 2nd half of 20th century was the time of global terrorism and the 21st century is facing global terrorism and global ventures to counter terrorism.
Siccari’s were an offshoot of the jewish zealots that used to kill the collaborators of Roman Empires. Josephus laid the foundation of the zealots. They used to kill priests, politicians, judges and civilians who had soft corner for the romans. Sicarii’s would hold daggars under their cloaks, enter the crowds and kill silently their targets and would flee leaving behind a confused mob.
Later in the 11th century AD, a terrorist group emerged in Persia termed as Hashashashines. Hassan-e-sabbah was leading them. They seized alamut and other strong holds across the Persia. They were too small in number to challenge their enemies militarily. They used to assassinate city governors and military commanders in order to create alliances with militarily powerful neighbors.
In 1793, 94 French revolution introduced the Govt; supported terrorism. Maximillian Robespierre and his Jacobin Party ruled iron handedly with maximum use of terrorist acts to suppress the opposition to the revolution.
In late 19th century, Anarchists emerged as potential terrorists which used selective individual terrorism and propaganda by deeds to gain their political goals. They believed that killing the heads of the states could result in anarchy. That state of anarchy would serve as a stage for them to have their demands heard by the masses. That’s the main reason for calling this type of acts as propaganda by deeds. While killing their targets they would try their best to save the innocent people, hence was termed as selective individual terrorism. They were successful in killing kings and queens of Austria, Italia, Portugal and Russia.
In 1919 the Irish rebellion started to gain independence from the British rule. Irish rebels (self-proclaimed, “Irish republican army”) were the first to introduce the cell operation technique. Different cells were developed to carry out attacks on the government officials and machinery. Each cell was working as a unit and would have no information of the other cells planning. In case one cell operatives are caught, there would have no danger for the rest of the cells’ goals. These rebels too like the anarchists used the selective individual terrorism and the propaganda by deeds.
Late 1960’s have significance in the history of terrorism for that’s when the terrorism gained an international status. Cuba hosted a tri-continental conference of terrorist and liberation armies from Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia and middle-east, sponsored by Soviet Union. The groups and factions there build political, strategic and intelligence co-operations.The red army faction, (Germany), build alliances with the black September (The Palestinian group). The French Action direct group allied with red Army and red Army Brigade (Italia). The Japanese Red Army got allied to the Popular front for the liberation of Palestine.Cuba became the training ground for the various terrorist groups.
The 1970’s is considered as the decade of air terrorism. Attacks on airlines including hijacks and bombings were the common fashion. 1970’s also saw the rise of Tamil tigers, fighting for the creation of Tamil elam in some parts of srilanka and some parts of India. After a full-fledged war launched against the Tamil Tigers by the current Sri Lankan Government, They got defeated in 2007 following fierce battles and blood shed of civilians.
In 2001, America’s twin towers and Pentagon were targeted by terrorists from Al-Qaeda. Americans negotiated with other powers, took them into confidence and started a joint venture to counter the row of terrorism.
Terrorism is quoted to be caused by a variety of factors. These factors can be broadly classified into three main categories namely, Psychological, Ideological and Strategic.
Some people resort to terrorism due to their psychological state of mind. They do terrorist acts purely because of personal hate for a person or group of persons or desire for power. For example, Auguste Vaillant bombed the French chamber of deputies in 1893 and later during his conviction he told the authorities that he did that purely because he hated the middle classes.
Ideology is the beliefs, values and procedures through which a group of people define their objectives and goals. Ideological causes may include independence movements, religion and sectarianism and political philosophies and programs.
Except a few independence movements almost all of them used terrorism to achieve their goals. For example, Irish Republican Army did terrorism in order to gain independence from the Britain, LTTE i.e. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka fought against the state army in order to get a homeland for themselves, Hamas and Hizbollah are fighting for the liberation of Labenon and Palestine.
Similarly there have been a number of instances when different religious groups assassinate the people of other religions. For example India’s muslims and hindu riots, and current genocide of the muslims in Mayanmar. However, the religious scholars deny religion to be causing terrorism, rather, they say, it’s the misunderstanding of the religion that causes terrorism. People following same religion may divide into different factions called sects perpetrating criminal acts against each other to force their version of the religion on the society. A perfect example is of Shia and Sunni conflict in Muslims, Catholic and protestant conflict in Christians and caste discrimination in Hindus.
Political philosophies other than religion may also cause terrorism. For example communists and capitalists have been fighting in different regions of the world in the 20th century. Similarly supporters of democracy and dictatorship are squabbling with each other in Syria, Egypt etc.
Strategic interests of different groups and countries may lead them to adopt terrorist activities. Generally countries have vested interests in other countries and to have their ends met, they usually opt for terrorism. For example, USA and Pakistan jointly sponsored the rebels against the USSR in Afghanistan because Pakistan wanted to gain strategic depth in Afghanistan over India and USA wanted to stop expanding of the communist bloc. Similarly the African National Congress in South Africa wanted to end the discrimination against the blacks, when they realized that the ordinary protests wouldn’t do the job they took the law into their hands and started terrorizing the government.
The impacts of terrorism can broadly be classified into direct and indirect impacts.
Direct impacts include the loss of life, body parts, damages to property and a general atmosphere of fear and chaos. A research survey, conducted by Barth and his colleagues in 2006, reveals that about 20,000 terrorist attacks took place in the last 35 years causing 90,000 casualties worldwide. Terrorist attacks cause buildings to collapse, damaging whatever is inside the buildings. After some terrorist activity has taken place, people normally prefer to close their businesses for some time. Thus along with the property damaged in the attacks, disruptions of business activities also affect the economy directly. The borders may get sealed immediately after the activity resulting in trade stoppage. For example, after 9/11 attacks, the US borders were temporarily closed and trucks on the US- Canada border had to wait for about 20 hours that normally takes minutes.
Indirect impacts contains, the long term effects on economy, travelling difficulties, inter-state tensions and regime changes. According to Dr. Michael Williams the main effect of the terrorist attacks is their ability to disrupt the population’s spending patterns. The perception of terrorism has adverse effects on economy. It may lead to drop in demands of tourism which ultimately influences the hotels, restaurants and travel agencies businesses badly. Because of the insurgency in Kashmir and many other such issues, the trade in between India and Pakistan in 2012 was $2 billion against the capacity of about $10 billion that underscores the effect of terrorism on trade between neighbors. Countries starts investing money they normally invest in profiting businesses in reconstruction, strengthening domestic security and combat terrorism. Terrorism stricken areas lack investors and thus economy stales. Travelling may get difficult because of terrorism. Countries having terrorists in their territories are looked upon suspiciously throughout the world and whoever is travelling out of those countries hardly get visa’s easily and are thoroughly checked at several points that adds to the irritation of the travellers. Some are even denied visas and others face difficulties in immigration. Terrorism causes tensions among countries, for example, Pakistan and India have always been on logger heads due to attacks in Indian held Kashmir by the liberation movements which, according to India, have the support of Pakistan. Israel and Palestine and Pakistan and Afghanistan etc. also have the same problems. These interstate tensions may sometimes take form of full-fledged wars, for example the attacks of 9/11 resulted in US-Afghan war, the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the Mumbai attacks in 2008 brought both Pakistan and India almost on the verge of war and above all the immediate reasons for the World War I to start was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Wife by terrorists in July 1914.
The global efforts to combat terrorism include constitutional and executive efforts.
Soon after the 9/11 attacks, on 28 of September 2001, United Nations adopted the Resolution 1373. The resolution obliges member states to freeze financial assets of the terrorist organizations, to share information regarding terrorist activities, to deny the terrorist, country’s govt; support etc. In order to monitor the enforcement of the resolution, the Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established. One of the main objectives being quoted by the experts of CTC formation was to strengthen the capacity of the governments of the member states against terrorism. In 2004, the United Nation’s Security Council established Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) to serve as a professional secretariat for countering terrorism.
Practical steps taken to eradicate terrorism from the face of the world include the formation of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in December 2001, to oversee the security in Afghanistan and to train the Afghan National Security Forces. In 2003, the NATO took the lead of the ISAF and are fighting till date to eradicate terrorism.
After US forces invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces left for the mountainous terrain on the Afghan-Pakistan border to take refuge. Taliban started building influence in the adjoining areas in Pakistan either by providing the locals with financial support, bombastic interpretations of the version of sharia they wanted to realize in the world or by threats. A new phase in the war against terrorism started. The militant would carry out attacks on the ISAF, NATO and ASF and would hide in the Pakistani territory. In response US started compelling Pakistan to start operation against these militants on its land.
Although efforts have been made to eradicate terrorism from the face of the Earth, still people have reservations. Some people think that the efforts were neither proper nor adequate. Others are of the view that US used this so called war against terrorism to achieve its own ends and objectives rather than eliminating terrorism. A few are of the opinion that war was not the ultimate solution to the problem.
In the wake of terrorist attacks of 9/11, US demanded Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden and to dismantle his network. Taliban demanded the proof. Instead of fighting against the government of Afghanistan, if the Taliban were provided with a proof they would have to dismantle the whole network of Al-Qaeda and to handle Osama bin Laden to US. If in case that had happened the people of Afghanistan would have not seen this bloody 1st decade of the 21st century. If there was no proof against Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda, how US could start a war against them and if there was a proof, why had that proof not been provided to the Government of Afghanistan to help the world eradicate the menace of terrorism without getting involved in a two decade long war. Instead of using only violence against the terrorists, they should have kept in their minds alternatives as well. To kill all the Al-Qaeda operators and supporters, is not actually the way to end Al-Qaeda. A single soldier of Al-Qaeda is killed and two take oath to join Al-Qaeda. The reason of Al-Qaeda formation should have been traced and dealt with, which according to some experts is the US interference in the middle-eastern intra and inter-states affairs. Beside Al-Qaeda there had been a lot of terrorist organizations in the world, their demands and objectives should have been studied and they should have been negotiated with in order to end terrorism, but all the efforts were actually used by US in Afghanistan, which according to some experts was the US plan to have a seat in the areas near to the energy rich central Asian states and to mitigate the ever expanding Chinese and Russian influence in Central and South Asia.
In order to have our world free of extremism and terrorism, we should mend our ways to deal terrorism. Causes of terrorism should be looked into and cured. Instead of fighting terrorists on all fronts, they should be denied financial help, their assets be frozen and negotiated where possible. Armed efforts should be made in the time of ultimate necessity. Legal demands of the people should be fulfilled and actions should be taken against the states which by denying people their rights are promoting terrorism. State sponsored terrorism should not be allowed in any case and if a state does this heinous act, the global community should collectively force it to leave that path of terrorism.
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