Counterterrorism

Over numerous years, terrorism has continued to present severe threats to the security and peace of nations, which affects the overall population’s rights and socio-economic development. It seeks to undermine the values that unite a given country. Ultimately, the global threat is a persistent act. It does not have any border, religion, or nationality. The international community must come together to tackle the challenge by implementing various ways.[footnoteRef:1] For most law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and the population, the topic of terrorism threats and the means to fight it is an essential concern. The government’s responsibility is to protect the people within their jurisdiction from any attacks. [1: Huq, Aziz Z. “Community-led counterterrorism.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 40.12 (2017): 1040]

The overall strategy and way to fight terrorism is counterterrorism. After extensive research, while utilizing the library resources, I learned that counterterrorism monitors terrorists identify individuals who may be radicalized, provides at-risk people, and builds additional security.[footnoteRef:2] It is a strategy that contributes to safeguarding the security of a country through government approaches, collaboration, and coordinating working arrangements.  [2: Silke, A., 2018. The study of terrorism and counterterrorism. In Routledge handbook of terrorism and counterterrorism, 1.]

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Definition of terms

 

A few terms will repeatedly appear throughout the study, thus the need to define them. This includes:

Terrorism is the use of intimidation and violence unlawfully, mainly in the quest for political aims against a civilian.[footnoteRef:3] [3: Silke, A., 2018. The study of terrorism and counterterrorism, 1]

Counterterrorism– refers to measures designed to prevent or combat terrorism.

Attacks are the act of taking an aggressive military action against n civilian or enemy forces using armed forces or weapons [footnoteRef:4] [4: Huq, Aziz Z. “Community-led counterterrorism.” (2017): 1042]

Malicious– intended or intending to harm.

Suspect– Having an impression or idea of the presence, existence, or truth of a given something without having much proof.

Why counterterrorism?

 

Counterterrorism is an integral and exciting topic to explore in relation to America’s foreign policy. It is efforts against terrorism to engender attempts or conditions that terrorist organizations could engage in when carrying their malicious activities. From research, the essential part of the topic is learning the origin of counterterrorism.[footnoteRef:5] The topic was invented to explore terrorism and define the impacts that it causes, especially in the past years. Essentially, terrorists target the border infrastructure, usually the weakest links. Counterterrorism involves implementing good practices and international standards of sound, cooperative,[footnoteRef:6] and modern integrated border management to stop terrorists and related illicit trafficking flows. It also involves preventing violent extremism favorable to terrorism, and it requires multidimensional cooperation between civil societies, regional and international organizations, and member states. [5: Terrorism as a problem predates the 1980s, but the Reagan administration’s approach differed from earlier ones because it used counterterrorism as a justification for making war on sovereign nations like Nicaragua. In the confusing and tumultuous 21st century the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘war on terrorism’ are often tossed around by the media and the political leadership in the United States, but few Americans really understand that these commonplace terms signify a landmark transformation in how the United States uses and justifies its use of force in the world.] [6: da Cruz, José de Arimatéia. “Counterterrorism Strategy from an extended Global online Level.”103]

Counterterrorism is paramount in any nation. Through it, massive terrorists can be killed, detained, or taken out of action. Through the cooperation of various countries, it becomes practical to work together to identify and develop programs needed to ensure no terrorism. Countries through specific bodies may carry counterterrorism activities such as promoting the international legal framework implementation against terrorism,[footnoteRef:7]and enhancing legal cooperation in criminal matters relating to terrorism. Also, they may need counterterrorism by suppressing and preventing terrorism financing or countering the internet use by individuals who have terrorism intentions. Moreover, they can also counter violent extremism and radicalization that lead to tourism-this becomes a success only when a multidimensional approach is used. [7: Travis, Philip. “We’re Going to Nicaragua: The United States, Nicaragua, and Counterterrorism in Central America during the 1980s.”n.d.]

Similarly, there may be dialogue promotion and cooperation on issues related to counterterrorism between the private sector and State authorities (through public-private partnerships). Also, there may be strengthening of national efforts to implement security resolutions on the non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons.[footnoteRef:8] Consequently, promoting and preventing fundamental freedoms and human rights in the context of countering terrorism measures may be an effective strategy. Moreover, an essential activity to ensure counterterrorism is strengthening travel documents’ security. [8: Silke, A., 2018. The study of terrorism and counterterrorism, 4 ]

The 9/11 attacks

 

Terrorism did not commence on 11th September 2001. Prior to the attacks on this day, there were frequent attacks, but the attacks on this day changed the world significantly. The attacks in America claimed many lives of innocent Americans, indicating that terrorism had morphed into a phenomenon that could cause enormous destruction and massive pain.[footnoteRef:9] The incidence involved hijacking four planes and conducting suicidal attacks against the United States passengers. The magnitude of these attacks was felt everywhere and had become a global phenomenon. [9: Winter, Aaron. “The United States of America: Counterterrorism pre-9/11, 619]

It is essential to relate this event with the concept of counterterrorism. Also, connecting it to the bible teachings would assist every Christian to remember the incident with respectfulness. From the Holy Scriptures, always rejoice with those rejoicing and mourn with those who are grieving (Romans 12: 15). It is essential to remember the suffering people and act as we are suffering with them (Hebrews: 23: 3).

As the country continues mourning the incident, it gave birth to counterterrorism. The present administration tries to find the event’s footing to mitigate and prevent any instance of the “second attack”, as many referred to it.[footnoteRef:10] They had to think of how the next attack could be if it were to occur and take the best steps to prevent it. Security became paramount, and from then, the government started allocating massive sums of money to protect the United States, despite the nature of the threat evolving continuously. [10: Tankel, Stephen. “US counterterrorism in the Sahel: from indirect to direct intervention”,875]

How counterterrorism is addressed

 

When addressing the strategy, various regional and international approaches are utilized to address it in broad. For decades, organizations have put efforts into bringing the regions and global communities together to condemn the malicious acts,[footnoteRef:11] while simultaneously developing legal frameworks to enable states and neighboring countries to fight such threats collectively. [11: Silke, A., 2018. The study of terrorism and counterterrorism, 7]

There are counterterrorism programs that have been designed since the 9/11 attacks. Although the government has been fighting tirelessly, it faces minor attacks or attempts to conduct malicious acts. For instance, there was an incident in 2009 when an attacker, Najibullar Zari, had plotted the subway system to attack New York City.[footnoteRef:12] Since then, the United States has transformed the FBI and restricted its operation to necessitate better detection, penetration, and dismantling of any terrorists’ enterprises. This serves as part of a shift to threat-based, national security organizations. The approaches employed include establishing clear priorities emphasizing terrorism prevention while protecting civil liberties and privacy rights. Also, the United States has doubled FBI intelligence analysts and increased the number of linguists.[footnoteRef:13] Similarly, some agents are shifted from various programs such as criminal programs to matters related to counterterrorism and creating threat fusion cells to discourse the counterterrorism priorities of the FBI. [12: Sinai, Joshua. “The United States of America: Domestic Counterterrorism since 9/11, 639] [13: Huq, Aziz Z. “Community-led counterterrorism.” (2017): 1049 ]

The government has built immense infrastructure to protect terrorists from attacking the nation. This involved creating the Department of Homeland Security. Also, the United States united with the international community to counterterrorism. Through bodies such as the United States, some strategies become a success. For instance, the travel by terrorists are detected, and disrupted-terrorists and inspiring terrorists are a transnational threat,[footnoteRef:14] and this is a priority to the community. This approach involves collecting passenger information and utilizing passenger name records (PNR) and advanced passenger information (API) to necessitate improved use of the international database. Detecting passengers’ information involves analyzing data from various transportation modes such as land modes, air, and maritime (Travis, 2016). The known and suspected terrorists are identified by cross-checking against the international or national watch lists and databases, including the previously unknown or INTERPOL threats. [14: da Cruz, José de Arimatéia. “Counterterrorism Strategy from an extended Global online Level.”107]

The global partners and the United States use America’s tools to counterterrorism, strengthen military approaches, and emphasize non-military capabilities. For instance, the decimation of ISIS and pushing the group to extinction in Syria and Iraq has led to recapturing the territories previously held by ISIS.[footnoteRef:15] The consistent counterterrorism capabilities and actions have greatly combatted terrorism in the United States. Through the responsible bodies, the government also focuses on controlling the online space as a way of countering terrorism. This is by exercising solid regulatory powers and rapidly deleting extremist inflammatory content. [15: Travis, Philip. “We’re Going to Nicaragua: The United States, Nicaragua, and Counterterrorism in Central America during the 1980s.”n.d.]

Consequently, securities authorities have partnered with major online platforms operators, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Microsoft. The United States and the global partners also coordinate with Global Internet Forum to fight terrorism.[footnoteRef:16] They use a hashtag database that effectively captures terrorist materials. This enables blocking (cross-platform). The occurrence of threats after the 9/11 threats has led to the invention of crisis protocol that ensures swift or worldwide blocking of any filmed acts of terrorism.  [16: da Cruz, José de Arimatéia. “Counterterrorism Strategy from an extended Global online Level.”110]

Effects of counterterrorism regulations

 

The existing relationship and context in local regions shape the regulations of counterterrorism impacts on suspect populations. Terrorism activities affect civilians in different ways, and it mainly affects the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and human rights. Implementing measures impacts all individuals, including children, adults (civilians), and the suspect population[footnoteRef:17]. In most cases, the measures on children are heightened depending on their age and bearing in mind that they are mostly ignored in the debates on terrorism prevention and radicalization. For instance, children are accepted from detention in case of a severe offence committed by a child. The detention should be outweighed by the safeguarding interest of the child and the development of considerations in action that affect the child. [17: Mythen, Gabe, and Sandra Walklate. “Counterterrorism and the reconstruction of (in) security: Divisions, dualisms, duplicities.”, 1109]

States may also adopt anti-discrimination legislation consisting of punitive and preventive actions to combat any incitement to hatred. The State should always be defined by action, which must be adopted in the context of the international discussions on the prohibition of national,[footnoteRef:18] religious, or racial hatred advocacy constituting incitement to hostility, discrimination, or a reminder to put measures to implement 2012 Rabat Plan policies’ recommendations to guarantee people with the freedom of expression [18: Tankel, Stephen. “US counterterrorism in the Sahel: from indirect to direct intervention.”, 886]

In areas with numerous suspects, the regulations tend to breach equality and human rights laws. Also, the regulations may run a risk of undermining confidence and trust in the security and police services. For the suspect population, their experience on counterterrorism regulations may represent the disconnection between the emphasis on terrorism and critical social issues’ level of importance.[footnoteRef:19] Similarly, some communities may be wrongly suspected, and the population may respond to them by engaging exceptionally and challenging the misperceptions and myths that people may be holding about them. The regulations also tend to raise the population’s vulnerability and anxiety level. [19: Mythen, Gabe, and Sandra Walklate. “Counterterrorism and the reconstruction of (in) security: Divisions, dualisms, duplicities.”, 1111]

Conclusion and recommendations

 

Counterterrorism is an essential strategy in ensuring terrorism mitigation. The primary goal of the counterterrorism effort is to prevent any malicious acts by terrorists. As such, identifying terrorists before they carry any activity is an essential step, and it requires accurate collection and analysis of their corresponding personal information. However, any case of imperfect understanding of the characteristics to look for, alongside inaccurate and imperfect data, may draw unwarranted attention to innocent people. The records pertaining to the personal information of suspects becomes challenging to explore without interfering with non-terrorists privacy.

The laws and practices for the strategy are not necessarily experienced in isolation. However, they contribute to a broader sense among the nationalities, especially for the suspect population. In recent years, there has been an increase in threats from terrorism and other violent extremism, which may be due to advancements in technology. Although governments are putting measures to fight terrorism, the remaining parts require new strategies to implement in future. Terrorism activities exacerbate inequality and governance challenges within societies and countries, which increases the risk of conflicts.

In future, there is a need for the government through respective bodies to work with regional and national entities in fighting against these challenges. Also, a global digital consultation is an essential strategy that assists in seeking the society views on counterterrorism and the gender that is mainly affected by the violence and counterterrorism approaches. Moreover, the prevent strategy can be implemented in most countries and the world. It is a preventive strand that prevents people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist activities in their countries and overseas. Professionals such as nurses, lecturers, doctors, and teachers are required to report any case if they come across a patient, student, or pupil who nay at risk of extremism. This would assist professionals in becoming part of the counterterrorism state, usually in an unexpected way.

 

References

 

da Cruz, José de Arimatéia. “Counterterrorism Strategy from an extended Global online Level.” In Online Terrorist Propaganda, Recruitment, and Radicalization, pp. 103-112. CRC Press, 2019. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.1201/9781315170251-6/counterterrorism-strategy-extended-global-online-level-jos%C3%A9-de-arimat%C3%A9ia-da-cruz

Huq, Aziz Z. “Community-led counterterrorism.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 40.12 (2017): 1038-1053. https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2016.1253988

Mythen, Gabe, and Sandra Walklate. “Counterterrorism and the reconstruction of (in) security: Divisions, dualisms, duplicities.” British Journal of Criminology 56, no. 6 (2016): 1107-1124. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azw030

Silke, A., 2018. The study of terrorism and counterterrorism. In Routledge handbook of terrorism and counterterrorism (pp. 1-10). Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315744636-1/study-terrorism-counterterrorism-andrew-silke

Sinai, Joshua. “The United States of America: Domestic Counterterrorism since 9/11.” In Routledge handbook of terrorism and counterterrorism, pp. 635-647. Routledge, 2018 https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315744636-55/united-states-america-joshua-sinai

Tankel, Stephen. “US counterterrorism in the Sahel: from indirect to direct intervention.” International Affairs 96, no. 4 (2020): 875-893. https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iiaa089

Travis, Philip. “We’re Going to Nicaragua: The United States, Nicaragua, and Counterterrorism in Central America during the 1980s.” Contemporary Voices: St Andrews Journal of International Relations 7, no. 2 (2016). https://jtr.st-andrews.ac.uk/articles/10.15664/jtr.1217/

Winter, Aaron. “The United States of America: Counterterrorism pre-9/11.” in Silke, A. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism Abingdon, UK Routledge, 2018. pp. 615-634 https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/846vx

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