Terrorism as a Threat to Global Security

Terrorism as a Threat to Global Security

The approach in tackling global terrorism took a different perspective after the major event of the September 11 attack. New multilateral approaches for fighting terrorism were adopted in reaction to the unprecedented Alqaeda attack that confirmed terrorism to be a new danger to global security. Many institutional strides have since been made to counter terrorism since then, such as the killing if Alqaeda leader in 2011. However, the world is still grappling with the question of how to devise the best structures to curb terrorism. This paper examines the notion that terrorism poses the greatest security threat to global security.

International concern

. Other parallel counterterrorism efforts beyond the UN include the establishment of the Counterterrorism Action Group, the Group of Eight and the Financial Action Task Force. These have been operating independently to curb terrorism through action such as combating money laundering to deprive terrorists of finances. Other regional actors in the global counterterrorism efforts include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union and the African Union. The EU established the Europol and Eurojust to create judicial and law enforcement frameworks for countering terrorism. The growing interest of these major bodies in countering terrorism underscores the growing global security threat posed by terrorism. Samoilenko 2005)Indeed, terrorism is evolving into a global security issue, if the varied legal frameworks established by the UN Security Council to counter terrorism are anything to go by. Examples of the counterterrorism frameworks include the establishment of the Counterterrorism Committee, 1540 Committee and the Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directorate. The 1540 committee has been overseeing the provisions that require states to prevent non-state actors from possessing weapons capable of causing mass destruction. Most African countries have been giving low priority to the war to counter terrorism (

Today, terrorism has become the most significant threat to global security owing to the rising cases of terror activities in various parts of the world. Everyone is unsafe from the negative effects of terror and the innocent civilians who have suffered from the actions of terrorists are testimony to this fact. The main weak areas that have been undermining international efforts to counter terrorism include failure to agree universally about the acts that should be deemed as terrorism, inadequate enforcement of established instruments for curbing terror at the international level, and limited resources and poor expertise among the developing nations. There is unprecedented global attention to the matter of global terrorism, through most countermeasures are either executed in an uncoordinated manner, or are totally insufficient to effectively curb the problem (Bush, 2002).

The world in recent times has witnessed tremendous loss of life and property, which can be connected to terror. One can define terrorism as the use of violence or the threat of the use of violence aimed at achieving political, ideological or religious objectives. The objective of terrorism is to instil fear or intimidate the masses so as to bend to a particular political or ideological cause. In this respect, it is a violation of global criminal laws, as it is designed to coerce governments, the people, and other authorities into pursuing certain social or political goals.

There is need to build international consensus on the best approach to counter terrorism so that the many established counterterrorism frameworks can be pursued harmoniously. The actors need to cooperate and implement the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy. Considering recent cases of terror in the world, terrorism can be said to pose the greatest security threat to global security and stringent measures should be instituted to mitigate the situation if safety and peace is to be restored in the world (Gardner, 2013).

The mention of terror immediately brings to mind the September 11th attack of the United States in 2001. In as much as this event shook the world. This event showed that no nation in the world is safe from terror an attack, considering the relatively high security instruments that US has established to secure its borders. Terrorism has not relented since the September 11th terror attack on US. Terror activities have continued to shake the global security efforts. For instance, the attack on France on 14th of July, 2016 left 84 people killed and hundreds others injured after a terrorist drove a truck into a crowd of civilians amidst a celebration of France’s Bastille Day.

In early 2016 in Brussels, terrorism disrupted calm and threatened security when the airport experienced a suicide bombing and another suicide bombing targeted the Brussels Metro killing 35 people and wounding more than 300 people. In January 2016, there was an attack by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. The attack was carried out by extremists who set fire on civilian houses and killed an estimated 65 people with some being burnt alive. These are just some of the most recent cases of terror activities and the list is increasing as terror sweeps the world.

Many nations moved to join hands in curbing global terror after major attacks on the US and subsequent terror attacks across Middle East, Russia, Asia, Europe and Africa. Most players moved to develop international instruments and initiatives that would help curb the threat of terror attacks. These strides happened amidst emergent challenges such as opposing views by member states on the extent of legitimacy for the bodies formed to counter terrorism, and the difficulty in tracking of non-state terror actors who exploit civilian tranquillity to cause terror. There is no central international body whose mandate is to counter and prevent terrorism. This lack of coherence creates a multi-layered approach consisting of guidelines, regional frameworks, multilateral institutions and legal instruments that all seek to address terrorism with divergent action. Terrorism does not discriminate on the people threatened. It is indiscriminate and affects multitude of innocents, which means that no one is safe (Samoilenko 2005).

The efforts by various governments around the world to mitigate the actions of terrorism points to the level of security threat posed by the phenomenon meaning that everyone is concerned about the dwindling levels of safety. Every country has tightened its security apparatus in recent times in response to the terror attacks witnessed by the world. Airport security, immigration laws, free movement, border security, and religious activities have all been revised in efforts to minimize the security threat that comes with terrorism (Buzan 2006).

Terrorism has a long history characterised with constant evolution from being sponsored by states into new emergent individuals and terror networks acting without state support. Terrorism has often thrived on the interconnectedness brought by international systems such as communications, finance and transit. With porous borders, terrorists can easily push their message to most corners of the world. Those charged with curbing terror have often sought to address the issue by looking at the political dynamics in the local, national and international stage.

Terror affects every aspect of world development and progress. Lack of security has major implications on global economy, which means that the very base of security is affected. The economy is what drives progress in the world and terrorism has made it hard for this progress to be positively realised. Countries are apprehensive in opening their borders for visitors due to security issues associated with terrorism (Bush, 2002). Terrorism has significant implications on global security as it threatens everyone’s safety. The world is yet to deal with terrorism effectively and efforts directed at minimizing this security risk are still not sufficient. In light of recent attacks on various countries in the world, a lot still needs to be done if peace, stability, and safety are to be restored in the world.

There are varied strategies instituted by the United States and other developed countries aimed at tightening security in the wake of continued terrorist attacks around the world. This emanates from the recognition of the threat that terrorism poses to the United States and the world. It becomes difficult to hold non-state terror actors responsible for their actions. The legal frameworks for trying them may also prove challenging for some countries. State terror may sour the economic relationships between countries, ending up destroying the diplomatic foundations that hold countries together. Security is a fundamental aspect in global relations. Terrorism and associated activities creates mistrust among states (Buzan, 2006).

The Al-Qaida and ISIS threat

. It also opposes the influence of western nations on the global stage. In pursuit of these causes, Al Qaeda has been using its operatives to kill people in their thousands across the world. Its ideology has been alluring to most Islamic followers, and some have got into violent acts even without the direct command of the Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida’s threat has taken a global and multifaceted characteristic that makes it so hard to control, making terrorism a foregoing global security concern. Hoffman 2004)The single most threatening terror group is the AlQaeda that operates from a base between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It has grown and established networks in Southeast Asia, North Africa and Yemen. This terror group pursues an ideology based on Salifa which seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate that controls the whole globe (

Other than al-Qaida, different terrorist groups also exist in different parts of the world. These groups have their motivational ideologies and goals. It becomes important that global institutions pursue comprehensive solutions at the regional, national and international levels to reverse the methods and factors that support terrorism. The United Nations has been at the forefront in seeking legal and normative ways for curbing the global terrorism threat. This cause was reignited, especially after the September 11 attack on the US. Some challenges to UN effort include the different perceptions that nations have with regard to the extent of threat that terrorism pauses to global security. This has led to many non-binding and voluntary frameworks such as the Financial Action Task Force and the Proliferation Security Initiative that were formed outside the UN.

Many terror activities have been witnessed in Turkey, Iraq, Belgium, and Pakistan in recent years. Thousands of people have died from these deadly events. The continued occurrence of these gross experiences understates the role of the United States in trying to win the war on terror for over 15 years since it fell victim on September 11 2001 (Buzan, 2006). In trying to provide long lasting solutions, the question is, what the new developments are relating to terrorism. Past failures must also be tackled with a great mind and a strong force.

Many counterterrorism policies are launched in trying to address this menace. They range from outright repression, tightened surveillance, Twitter counterpropaganda, to major wars. The best these strategies have done is making ‘the problem less severe.’ Suggestions by foreign diplomats and policymakers for most countries are that the international community is running out of ideas of combating terrorism. From an international perspective, it is true to say that the problem is getting worse by the day.

From a historical perspective, terrorism was a rare occurrence. The worst attack happened in the U.S in the September 11 incident (Bush, 2002). Recently, terrorist incidents have increased leading to a rising case of fatalities. In the year 2014, terrorist attacks in the U.S recorded increased deaths to a tune of 35% compared to the year 2013 (Gardner, 2013). The result is attributed to individual attacks witnessed in highly lethal cases. There is the lack of a reasonable consensus on what terrorist is all about. The reason is that cases of politically motivated attacks are considered as terrorism. Any violence resulting from civil rebels is also related to terrorism.

The manner of killings perpetrated by ISIS may be more or less the same as that committed by Al-Qaeda. Both groups commit atrocities linking them to terrorism. ISIS is involved in the imposition of a brutal and harsh rule on people (Taliban’s in Afghanistan) (Samoilenko 2005). Murder in Afghanistan included public executions and beheadings. Similar tactics are used in Saudi Arabia. Success of ISIS is achieved by launching terror threat to America and its interest and drawing attention, through electronic media, to the terrorists’ political cause. Through the electronic media, terrorists can distribute beheading videos as a strategy to claim responsibility for major attacks.

There are stated intentions of ISIS continued attacking the West, and Europe in particular. An example is an attack in Scotland where a plane blew up a town called Lockerbie killing 259 people. A Madrid train was also bombed in the year 2004 killing 192 people. In the year 2005, London transportation was attacked killing 6 people (Hoffman, 2004). It shows clearly of the intention of ISIS to humiliate the West through numerous attacks. Stopping such occurrences requires that countries join hands to prevent such attacks. Terrorism must be ‘uprooted’ with a strong cultural focus that targets the Middle East. The reason for this is, Middle East is the major base for indoctrination with the Salifa ideology by ISIS, especially in Syria and Iraq. Going in these regions and getting rid of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his affiliates would collapse its plan. ISIS has been thriving on an ideological propaganda of using ‘complete tactical autonomy’ and acting on the innocent people with pro-western ideas as their prey (Michaels, 2013). Success for ISIS is largely based on an on-line platform in recruiting foreign fighters.


In conclusion, terrorism continues to be a growing threat to global security. If the U.S seeks to win the war on terrorism, it must deploy crucial ideologies meant to ‘cut’ on-line engagements by terrorists conducted through the internet. It is not clear what these terrorist groups use in running their causal relationship. Terrorism has become the central focus of global security efforts. Terrorism is known to have a destructive impact on international relationships. The rising cases of terror attack has often frustrated efforts to deal with global security successfully thus pitting nations against each other. Varied measures have been put in place that are aimed at improving security-from tightening border control to revising immigration laws. Terror has great implications on global security.


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