Terrorism in 21st Century
Dr. Abdul has been writing on this blog focusing on the reasons behind Islamic terrorism. Here is a western perspective on terrorism in the 21 century.
Terrorism in the 21st Century*
As shown on September 11, 2001, the people and infrastructure of the developed world are vulnerable to attacks that can cause massive casualties and disruption.
Also as shown on that terrible day, terrorists can be perceptive in finding weaknesses, such as the vulnerability of airlines, and innovative in realizing that airliners could be turned into suicide cruise missiles.
Global terror networks such as al-Qaeda have the resources and patience to coordinate attacks over a wide area.
The “old terrorism” based on ideology or national aspirations is susceptible (as in Northern Ireland, Spain, and Sri Lanka) to developing peace processes that provide a plausible alternative to violence.
The “new terrorism” such as that of apocalyptic or radical fundamentalist movements (such as al-Qaeda) is much less susceptible to being brought into some sort of negotiation or peace process.
The worst possible combination would be radical “new terrorists” and weapons of mass destruction. International cooperation is needed to prevent states from developing such weapons; systems must be developed to detect them before they are deployed; emergency responders must be trained to deal with the results of their use.
There are a number of ways to harden a potential terrorist targets, but risk can only be reduced, not eliminated.
The growing disparity between developed and developing nations that can take advantage of global trade on the one hand and nations seemingly stalled in poverty and isolation will be one of the most powerful engines driving terrorism in coming years.
Other possible “engines” of future terrorism include dislocation from environmental change (global warming) and population and immigration pressures.
*From Global Terrorism (2004) by Harry Henderson, New York