Terrorism is defined as the intentional use of violence for political gain. Terrorism was well known throughout history, but the term ‘terrorism’ is newly invented. It was in the 1970s and 1980s when the term was introduced and came into fame in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks. In recent years, terrorist attacks became frequent and many governments made their priority to prevent terrorism and extreme ideologies.
The whole world suffers from terrorism, whether directly or indirectly. Since 2001, millions were spent on counter-terrorism policies and programs, but still, the world suffers from it.
One of the main strategies that were used to counter-terrorism was direct military use. This strategy was useful in some situations but didn’t reach its full potential.
The use of the military to crush terrorists was useful in some areas such as Syria and Iraq, in both countries ISIS was crushed by an international coalition lead by the US.
on the other hand, there are other situations where the strategy of military use is not useful at all, such as Afganistan, in Afganistan the US was at war with the Taliban for 20 years! And is still searching for its victory over the Taliban. The reason why the military strategy was successful for the former and not for the latter was a difference in the nature of the terrorist in these two areas.
ISIS’s ideology was not an ideology that was shared by the populations of Syria and Iraq, it was rather an ideology that was limited to them. The Syrian’s believed that ISIS was an extreme group that had nothing to do with Islam and was only trying to gain power by using Islam as a cover, whilst the ideology of the Taliban was believed by most of the population of Afganistan. In short, the Taliban had the people’s support, but ISIS didn’t.
For societies like Afganistan, military use is not useful and will not work. Other productive strategies that will prevent terrorism should be introduced.
The ways people are recruited and join terrorist groups vary widely across contexts. In many cases people are kidnaped, forced, brainwashed, etc. others may join terrorist groups by being aligned with their ideologies or by thinking they are fulfilling a social or religious obligation. But one of the main factors that contribute to terrorist recruitment is economic vulnerability.
People ( mostly youth ) that are living below the poverty line or in search of more money are the most targeted by terrorist groups. When people like these are promised to gain financial benefits, they are most likely to join and become terrorists and conduct terrorist activities.
Counter-terrorism strategies should not only be limited to the traditional, new strategies should also be introduced. Economic and developmental policies are strategies that will productively lower terrorism. As mentioned earlier, one of the main factors that contribute to terrorism recruitment is economic vulnerability.
New economic policies that are intended to prevent and counter-terrorism are needed. Economic policies that will enhance the lives of the people ( especially the youth ) and will promote integration, not only on a national level but also on a regional and international level. Also, developmental policies are needed for countering terrorism.
Some of the main developments needed to counter terrorism are education, health, and transportation. When the society has the education, health, and transportation and has economic freedom and opportunities, terrorism and extreme ideologies will have no were to come through.