Use of Diplomacy Against Islamic Terrorism

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Amongst the international community in the fight against terrorism, there are a number of different ideas and strategies about the best way to counter terrorism. These counterterrorism strategies and ideas range from military force in a theatre of war, such as in Afghanistan, to other methods such as diplomacy, nation building, intelligence sharing and the use of law enforcement. However, there is no one perfect counterterrorism option, instead a grand strategy combining parts of all of these separate strategies must be used (Lutz & Lutz 2004, p239). This combination of different counterterrorism strategies must also be tailored to suit the particular terrorist threat that is being fought and the country that it is being fought in. There is particular debate over the best strategy to counter the popularity and recruitment of terrorist groups in Muslim countries. The current strategy of military intervention, as used in Afghanistan an Iraq, may actually be doing more harm then good, and it is argued that a policy of diplomacy should be used instead (Pape 2010). The military intervention in Afghanistan, and later Iraq, as part of the Western worlds war on terror, has raised a number of contentious issues regarding the best way to combat terrorism in a foreign, Islamic country. The military campaign has been deemed a success by the USA and its allies, having removed both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein from power, and in Afghanistan having removed the political and geographical space needed for al Qaeda to operate effectively. Even though these military objectives have been met, it is still unclear what future ramifications they will have. Since the beginning of military operations in these two countries, there have been considerably more terrorist attacks on both Western forces and other Muslims throughout the middle east (Pape 2010). Military attacks, especially those that hit stray targets, include innocent civilians as part of their collateral damage, or stray over national boundaries, have the ability to greatly increase the feelings of resentment and anger towards the western allies (Hoyt 2004, p164). As a result, these actions have the ability to increase recruitment and popularity of terrorist groups whose ideals align roughly with the population (Lutz & Lutz 2004, p231). It is quite possible for Western military action to cause a rise in popularity of a local terrorist group, and an increase in its recruitment, simply by being in the country (Kilcullen 2009). An estimated 95% of all suicide terrorist attacks are directly due to foreign occupation (Pape 2010). American hegemony and foreign policy was part of the initial reason for al Qaeda’s hatred of the West, and its terrorist attacks on Western targets. The subsequent military interventions in the middle east have further hampered this problem, and as a result the popularity of some terrorist groups or insurgent groups, especially those whose beliefs align with the potential recruits, has risen (Pape 2010). The military intervention against al Qaeda has so far only focused on Afghanistan, Iraq and to a much lesser extent, Pakistan. However, al Qaeda, and other similar terrorist organizations, exist in many countries worldwide, with al Qaeda having cells in possible over 100 countries ( Bajoria 2011). Al Qaeda also has larger chapters, including support and command cells in other mostly Islamic countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia and the southern regions of the Philippines (Bajoria 2011). In at least the latter two, if not other countries, al Qaeda is represented by local organizations such as Jemaah Islamiya (Bhattacharji 2009). Military intervention in Afghanistan has pushed many members of both al Qaeda and the Taliban across Afghanistan’s porous border into neighboring Pakistan, and limited numbers into Iran (Bajoria 2011). Whilst the military action has partially fulfilled its aims, being to deny the al Qaeda the political and geographical space in which...
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