Combating International Terrorism in the Context of Globalization

Author: Rozanov, A.
Almanac: Globalistics and Globalization Studies

The article considers the problem of international terrorism and its prevention, which is a system of measures aimed at the timely elimination of potential ‘sources’ of terrorism. Particular attention is devoted to identifying the key provisions of the so-called ‘counter-terrorist ideology’ that, in author's opinion, can unite the international community for the common goal: countering any terrorist activities.

Keywords: globalization, international terrorism, the prevention of terrorism, counter-terrorism, counter-terrorism ideology.

In human history, terrorism is widely recognized as the world most famous enemy of the humanity. We should not underestimate this threat: terrorism is annihilation with far-reaching and destructive effects; it is the cruelest of crimes against humanity. It is able to turn neighbors into enemies and to make our societies and the whole world unsafe for living. Its aims and applications are global and uncompromising (Michael 2003: 7). Neither terrorism, nor perpetrators are new. Socio-economic explanations of terrorism suggest that various forms of deprivation drive people to terrorism, or that they are more susceptible to recruitment by organizations using terrorist tactics.

Fig. 1. Number of international terrorist attacks

Note: ‘International terrorist incidents’ are defined as attacks in which terrorists go abroad to strike their targets, select domestic targets associated with a foreign state, or create an international incident by attacking airline passengers, personnel or equipment (Presbey 2007: 5).

Source: MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Database, Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.

No doubt, terrorism with its destructive power has reshaped the world we live in. Now we live in the world characterized by increasing violence and conflicts. This, in turn, has led to the emergence of mistrust, fear, division and now represents a significant new threat to international justice, peace and security.

The term ‘terrorism’ describes a particularly heinous methodology that is used to create or cause change within a society. It is a political tool directed at achieving a specific goal through the deliberate targeting of noncombatants. In other words, terrorism is an activity that engages groups and individuals – this term describes what they do, but not who they are.

Before September 11, 2001, terrorism was considered as a tool used primarily by insurgents and, to a lesser extent, by organized crime and disgruntled individuals. A great deal of literature has been written on why insurgencies arise, how they go about creating change, and how to combat them. The focus is invariably on organizations attempting to revise a certain social system (Markell 2003: 69). There has been virtually no discussion about non-state actors working globally to destabilize the situation across international boundaries and across societies. Such ‘pansurgency’ is a new phenomenon. Globalization has enabled organizations to interact at the international level, provided the mechanisms to influence vast populations, and provided the opportunities to lash out at distant governments (Keohane and Nye 2000: 17).

Three major trends that have had an overwhelming influence on the strategic landscape deserve mention (Peckinpaugh 2001: 23):

• the collapse of the bipolar system;

• the resurgence of globalism;

• the rise of Islamic radicalism.

These trends are quite challenging. They have created a strong backlash against what is meant by some societies as increasing homogeneity among nations and cultures that threaten to overwhelm and destroy traditional local values.

Terrorism has now acquired a wide-scale character. Terrorist methods are practiced by many extremist organizations around the world so it gives us the right to speak about terrorism as an international phenomenon.

Baudrillard gives the following definition of this term: ‘Terrorism is a phenomenon in the political life of nations and international relations, covering the theory and practice of terror organizations and movements that are the bearers and performers of this method of violence…’ (Baudrillard 2008: 140).

We suggest the following definition of international terrorism. International terrorism is the organization and implementation of deliberate, illegal violent acts (actions), or the threat of their use, carried out to disrupt international security, intimidate population (or to influence the decision-making authorities) in order to achieve terrorists' goals (Huyghe 2004: 12). The forces of international terrorism can operate in any country only if there are internal conditions for the emergence of the terrorist threat – that means an ‘introduced’ terrorism must find a fertile soil for itself and thus may strengthen (Baudrillard 2008: 165).

In the era of globalization, international terrorism is an effective political weapon in the hands of the leading world powers, as well as extremely profitable business, which involves both illegal and legal structures (Novak 2006: 38).

What is the essence of counter-terrorism? It is a system of measures, which gives an opportunity to identify potential ‘sources’ of terrorism and to timely eliminate them.

We must start the struggle with terrorism not when a terrorist act has actually been committed, but from the moment when the first ‘symptoms’ of this ‘disease’ appear (Sprinzak 1999: 112). In this context, the phrase ‘prevention of terrorism’ is quite appropriate and fully reveals the nature of activities aimed at combating terrorism.

In the modern world in the face of increasing intensity of various political, economic, social and other processes it is very difficult to confront the threats that are caused by globalization (Chabot and Tournu 2004: 10). International terrorism is, of course, one of these threats.

The prevention of terrorism also includes the formulation of the so-called ‘counter-terrorism ideology’ that could unite the international community to realize a common goal: combating any terrorist acts and eliminating sources of the spread of extremist ideas.

It would be advisable to lay the following key provisions to the basis of ‘counter-terrorism ideology’:

1) The rejection of any extremist ideas.

2) Avoiding the exploitation of religious, cultural and other differences to provoke ethnic hatred.

3) Extensive promotion of tolerance and the unacceptability of violence in the resolution of international conflicts (Weinberg and Pedahzur 2003: 28).

4) Outreach impact on certain categories of citizens (Kepel 2010: 92), potentially most vulnerable to radicalization (youth, immigrants from the Muslim countries, pardoned militants).

5) Increasing development of legal culture in Russian society, the elimination of legal ignorance among the citizens as regards the fight against extremism and terrorism (Vishnyakov 2006: 87).

The fight against terrorism is a common task for all countries in the world, it is a ‘collective’ responsibility for the whole international community (Zhdanov 2003: 157). The prevention of the terrorist threat will be only successful if the states abandon the policy of ‘double standards’ and interact with each other strictly in accordance with universal principles of international law.

In our opinion, possible measures against international terrorism could be as follows:

1) to eliminate the communication channels between various terrorist organizations and criminal groups operating in the territory of any state (Breton 2002: 18);

2) to shut down all sites and Internet resources that contain material of a terrorist nature and/or propaganda of extremist ideas;

3) to create a common international database on terrorism, which will serve as a tool for collecting and analyzing information on terrorist elements, groups, movements and organizations around the world;

4) to hold a regular dialogue with the leading politicians, cultural and religious leaders to disseminate ideas to combat terrorism, explaining the terrorists' real objectives, thus creating in civilians' minds the image of the real enemy – the terrorism (Roy 2002: 59);

5) to formulate the so-called ‘counter-terrorist ideology’.

The main ways to reduce the politicization of Islam and prevent the spread of ‘jihadism’ and ‘radicalism’ in the world could be the following:

1) The integration of the ideas of ‘open Islam’ with education and support of the institute of the family.

2) The practice of deterministic consensus (Weil 2006: 68).

3) The distinction between the concepts of ‘the psychology of faith’ and ‘psychology of war’ (Luwayhiq 2001: 59).

4) To support the ‘transformative’ course of Islam (Krause and Renwick 1996: 39), in order to provide mechanisms for equal participation of the Islamic world in international affairs and to promote the full potential of the Islamic world in order to overcome the internal destructive phenomena, such as Islamic radicalism.

5) Identification of the overall flow of Islamic political ideas and theories that can balance a fairly marked increase in authoritarian and radical concepts and make the ‘pole of moderation’ (Al Qaradawi 2009: 28).

6) The rejection of the ‘double standards’ policy toward the Islamic world (Camus 2007: 46).

7) The denial of practices of ‘exporting democracy’ to the Islamic world from the outside.


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