Analysis of the threat that modern terrorism poses Essay

From the latter half of the 20th century onwards, aspects of terrorist act ( both the culprits and their actions and aims ) can be identified that jointly depict ‘modern terrorist act ‘ . This essay will get down by placing some of these aspects and with an analysis of the menace that modern terrorist act airss. The essay will briefly put the context of the menace from an international position but will concentrate on the menace to the United Kingdom ( UK ) . Although there will be some commonalty, the menace to a Western, sectarian, broad democracy will differ from the menace to an Islamic monarchy or sectarian Islamic province.

The justification for concentrating on the UK is that an in-depth analysis of the menace from a planetary position is beyond the range of this short essay. The menace to the UK and the subsequent analysis of the grade to which the UK ‘s military can be used to work out it is deemed most relevant to the essay ‘s audience. The term solvable besides needs shaping. For illustration, the function of the armed forces is likely to be really different in the context of neutralizing the menace of terrorist act to the UK from eliminating international terrorist act wholly, even if the latter is really executable.

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The current UK scheme for countering international terrorist act is known as Contest. The purpose of the scheme is “ to cut down the hazard to the UK and its involvements overseas from international terrorist act, so that people can travel about their lives freely and with assurance ” .[ 1 ]The scheme comprises four strands: Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare. The first two of these elements aim to cut down the menace of a terrorist onslaught being committed in the UK ; the last two purpose to cut down the exposure of the UK to an onslaught.[ 2 ]The armed forces may hold a function to play in any four of these sub-strategies. Therefore, in order to reply the essay inquiry each will be examined in bend before making a decision as to the grade to which the menace from modern terrorist act is solvable by military agencies.

Modern Terrorism

The UK ‘s National Security Strategy states that international terrorist act is the ‘principal national security menace ‘ .

[ 3 ]Terrorism, nevertheless, is non a new menace: “ between 1969 and 1998 over 3,500 people died in the UK itself as a consequence of Irish-related terrorist act ” .[ 4 ]One of the cardinal aspects of modern terrorist act though is that it is international and is non concerned with accomplishing individual patriot or political aims. More traditional terrorists such as the IRA had nationalist aims and resided in propinquity to where they executed their onslaughts.By contrast, Islamic Extremism seeks to accomplish spiritual aims and uses faith to warrant the usage of force. These terrorists offer 2 picks to the universe ‘s population: fundamentalist Islam or decease.

The deficiency of a individual, touchable aim and the planetary nature of both the terrorists ‘ nationality and the locations in which they conduct their onslaughts are the incarnation of modern terrorist act. One of import effect of this is the parturiency of the menace ; Islamic Extremism is multinational since its purposes are non confined to a individual state province. As a consequence, the security of any province can be threatened, by any figure of persons but, most significantly, potentially by its ain citizens if they are susceptible to the modern terrorists ‘ rhetoric. This was the instance for the terrorist onslaughts in London in 2005, which were perpetrated by British citizens. Modern terrorist act is non dependent on province sponsorship.

Another aspect of modern terrorist act that consequences from its international nature is the construction of the administrations that are “ progressively are following a decentralized, non-hierarchical cell construction, connected by engineering such as the Internet and satellite telephones and inspired by a common political orientation or faith ” .[ 5 ]This quotation mark identifies another aspect: terrorists ‘ entree to, and usage of, modern engineering. This is relevant for terrorist communications both internal and external to their administrations but more notably for the handiness of arms engineering. The proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction ( WMD ) and the preparedness of modern terrorists to utilize them is a beginning of important menace. This was demonstrated “ by the Aum Shinri Kyo ‘s nervus agent onslaught on the Tokyo metro in 1995, the proliferation of atomic expertness from the Former Soviet Union States and the more recent Anthrax onslaughts at the terminal of 2001 ” .[ 6 ]

Menace and Solution

The most evident menace from terrorist act is to the personal safety of the single citizens of the state provinces in which onslaughts take topographic point. This menace is exacerbated in the instance of modern terrorist act because of the addition in the figure of provinces that are apt to be attacked ; because the spiritual political orientations of modern terrorist act require mass civilian casualties to make consequence, instead than the act of panic itself ; and because modern terrorists are prepared to utilize unconventional techniques, including WMD.

This menace is the same to any state province and is hence planetary.However, the menace to broad, democratic societies, such as the UK, is more complicated than this. There are less obvious, second-order impacts.

The primary map of a State is to “ set up, keep and support basic societal conditions and values, including peculiarly security, freedom, order, justness and public assistance ” .[ 7 ]In return for this citizens sacrifice elements of their personal freedom to obey Torahs and they pay revenue enhancements. A menace from modern terrorist act is the possible to sabotage peoples ‘ belief in the ability of democratic States to accomplish this map and hence by extension the state province system itself. Acts of panic such as the onslaughts by al-Qaeda in the United States of America in 2001 may do citizens to oppugn the ability of Government, statute law, the constabulary and the security services to efficaciously implement the regulation of jurisprudence[ 8 ].Democracies support the flourishing of multi-cultural societies.

This is peculiarly true of the UK. However, the ability of modern terrorists to work and amplify bing minority jobs in these multi-cultural societies represents a important menace. The usage of engineering such as the cyberspace makes this easy for terrorists to accomplish.

The consequence on society can be terrible as some align themselves with the terrorists ( in the instance of Islamic Extremism they become ‘radicalised ‘ ) and others adopt xenophobic inclinations towards those they perceive as the menace. “ Commander Janet Williamsaˆ¦told a assemblage at RUSI that ‘radicalisation ‘ was the greatest menace to British fatherland security ”[ 9 ]. The UK ‘s interventional foreign policy over the past 10 old ages has besides contributed to this.The definition of solvable could run from containment and isolation to obliteration. The idealist solution would be to see modern terrorist act and its menace holistically and eliminate the menace by placing and taking the root cause of modern terrorist act.Yet for terrorist act to be conquered, the 21st century must witness a shutting of the spread between the developed states and the remainder of the universe, which widened during the 20th century. It is merely, Sid-Ahmed claimed, when underdevelopment is corrected that people will no longer be willing to kill themselves to harm their enemies.[ 10 ]However, this solution is non likely to be executable for a figure of grounds.

Terrorism has existed as a tactic since history was recorded. Therefore, while one might eliminate terrorists, eliminating terrorist act is impossible. This solution would necessitate perfect cooperation between the international system that struggles to hold on a common definition of terrorist act. The international jurisprudence and enforcement bureaus for such jurisprudence do non be. Finally, the graduated table and cost of resources to accomplish this and the compensatory decrease in peoples ‘ civil autonomies are likely to do it socially and politically unacceptable. “ The response, hence, needs to be tempered between the every bit detestable factors of lawlessness and repression, therefore the challenge is how to cover with multinational menaces whilst retaining autonomy ” .[ 11 ]A more operable solution is to separate between the menace of modern terrorist act and eliminating terrorist act wholly, recognizing that the latter is non executable and even if it were it would necessitate resources and degrees of international cooperation that do non be.

Alternatively a counter-terrorism scheme is required that combines strands that can be nationally resourced but recognises that international cooperation is necessary to undertake a multinational job. This scheme must concentrate on the current terrorist menace but be flexible plenty to run into the following nicety of international terrorist act. Contest is a scheme that fits this demand.

The function of the armed forces in CONTEST

“ The Pursue strand of CONTEST purposes to cut down the terrorist menace to the UK and UK involvements overseas through the sensing and probe of terrorist webs and the break of their activities ” .[ 12 ]This component of CONTEST is non advanced and, as with countering the IRA, it relies on intelligence.

The disparate nature of modern terrorist administrations makes garnering this intelligence more complicated, nevertheless, but the actions that result from it remain a constabulary and security services lead in the UK. There are legion Government services garnering this intelligence but the military intelligence community does lend ; strategic intelligence assemblage is the first Military Task specified in the revised Defence Strategic Guidance.[ 13 ]Many of the actions of Pursue that consequence from this intelligence rely on statute law to be effectual.

Examples include prosecution, control orders, exclusion of foreign subjects from come ining the UK, annulment of citizenship and exile. Improvements to this statute law will cut down the menace to the UK. However, the Government does besides recognize the demand to better our capableness to interrupt terrorist activities overseas.[ 14 ]Modern terrorists have the ability to project fright into the UK and behavior onslaughts without really being within its boundary lines, chiefly by utilizing the cyberspace to advance radicalisation. For illustration, they can set instructions on how to construct bombs on the cyberspace and usage spiritual rhetoric to convert a UK citizen to construct and explode one. Consequently, to work out the menace to the UK there will be occasions when intelligence is gathered that necessitates the ability to project capableness and pursue at the beginning of this external influence.

This capableness can outdo be delivered by the armed forces. “ Terrorist bases and installations can be located, these can be attacked and destroyed by either the careful interpolation of trained military secret agents or the precise application of standoff-range firepower ” .[ 15 ]The UK ‘s military intercession in Afghanistan in 2001 – 2003 ( before it transitioned to a counter-insurgency operation ) is a good illustration of this. However, UK jurisprudence precludes covert work stoppage operations conducted by other states such as the United States of America. Whilst effectual statute law and kinetic operations are critical elements of Pursue, it is besides of import to continue the values of the broad democracy that is being protected.

Otherwise, the terrorists may be advantaged since “ actions taken in support of the Pursue docket can be exploited by vindicators for force and indirectly facilitate radicalisation ” .[ 16 ]There are other, less kinetic functions for the armed forces in Pursue. The UK military behaviors counter-terrorism capacity edifice in precedence states such as the Yemen to ‘develop the ability of those states to counter and interrupt terrorist activities ‘ .[ 17 ]These can consist singleton advisers to several-man preparation squads.

These are an of import facet of the armed forces ‘s function in work outing the menace from modern terrorist act.The purpose of Prevent is to halt radicalisation, cut down support for terrorist act and discourage people from going terrorists.[ 18 ]This is achieved by disputing the political orientation behind violent extremism and back uping persons and communities that are vulnerable to radicalisation. There is no function for the armed forces. The cardinal stakeholders are the FCO, DFiD, the Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government ( CLG ) .The 3rd constituent of CONTEST is to Protect against terrorist onslaught by “ extenuating the hazard of onslaughts on the critical substructure, crowded topographic points and on conveyance systems ; by beef uping our boundary line ” .

[ 19 ]The Police, British Transport Police and UK Border Agency take on this attempt and are resourced consequently.[ 20 ]However, there may be a function to play for the military during periods of heightened menace to bolster national capableness for short, finite periods of clip. Examples of support that could be provided are: advanced hunt squads and Canis familiariss ; nautical security aid from the Royal Navy ; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear ( CBRN ) aid from the Defence Science Technology Laboratory at the strategic degree or the Joint CBRN Regiment at the tactical degree ; the MoD Police with extra armed constabularies support ; or merely extra work force if required.The Prepare component of CONTEST seeks to extenuate the impact of a terrorist onslaught where it can non be stopped. The Home Office is the lead section and has duty for pull offing an on-going onslaught and directing the recovery from its wake.[ 21 ]Although the initial response to any terrorist incident will be managed by the constabulary service, there is a clearly defined function for the armed forces in back uping this activity and particular niche capablenesss exist that can be deployed in support of the constabulary if required. Many of these are the same capablenesss that might be used in the Protect that are described above. These include bomb disposal squads and advanced hunt and study squads.

“ Other specializer capablenesss, including Particular Forces, are held at high preparedness and on a regular basis exercise their response to possible menaces and incidents ” .[ 22 ]


Modern terrorist act is non reliant on province sponsorship and is multinational with no clearly definable purposes. As a consequence it can endanger the security of the international system and is non confined to one state province or a localized part. Its political orientation and methods are much more varied than the nationalist aims of the late 20th century and its entree to engineering has far making impacts. It can endanger the being of a democratic society without the terrorists really being in the state they are assailing. Consequently, the scheme adopted to work out such a menace must be broad ranging and diverse in its range ; it must be more matter-of-fact than merely seeking to work out the menace by destructing the terrorists, as this will non work out the job of terrorist act.Contest is such a matter-of-fact solution. Although the 4 strands vary in the easiness with which their effectivity can be measured, they offer one illustration of an across-the-board scheme.

Despite presently being focused on Islamic Extremism, CONTEST could be adapted to counter other modern terrorist political orientations. It is possibly one of the most comprehensive and wide-ranging attacks to undertaking terrorist act developed by any major state.However, the grade to which the armed forces is employed in this solution is limited.

It is led by the constabulary and other jurisprudence enforcement bureaus with the military able to supply some specific and specialist support to these bureaus when required. It is recognised that the usage of military capableness in counter-terrorism and military intercession in struggle bar is a ‘double-edged blade ‘ every bit far as fanning the terrorists ‘ fires is concerned.The domestic and foreign policy outlined in CONTEST must be supported by international statute law that complements such national counter-terrorism schemes.

Presently non even a normally accepted international definition of terrorist act exists. Any solution to a multinational menace must be dealt with by an international agencies. Until international diplomatic and legislative attempts complement national schemes so some states who attempt to utilize their military to work out the menace from modern terrorist act hazard sabotaging the attempts of those that recognise that constabulary and national jurisprudence enforcement bureaus must take primacy.


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