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Terrorism: Unstoppable nightmare?

There are certain factor in some European countries which contribute to the sentiment of disintegration in Arab immigrants
Mauricio Meschoulam
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The unfortunate terrorist attack in Manchester evidence a number of lessons which are essential to evaluate. Some of them are: (1) In terms of the victims, there seems to be no clear line that limits today's attackers, as long as an aggression provokes more terror, then the more efficacy it will have, according to the point of view of the perpetrators; (2) Regarding the tactical aspects: As long as the motivation to commit terrorist attacks exists, some assailers will eventually find ways of evading security measures; (3) While 70 percent of the deaths in the West are result of offensives carried out by lone wolves (IEP, 2016), today we face the re-emergence of complex terrorist networks; and (4) Consequently, in order to fight terrorism with efficacy, complex, whole and collaborative designs are required, not only thinking at a local level but at a global one. I explain myself:

First, in terrorist violence, the direct victims are only an instrument to provoke terror and thus, induce a state of commotion in others. This state of shock is used to channel a demand or a message, having an impact on attitudes, opinions, and conducts, and/or exerting political pressure on those who make decisions. Therefore, the more atrocious the crime, the greater the feeling of vulnerability. In this case, the message has to do with the fact that ISIS, in spite of the war against it, keeps alive and with the capacity to do harm.

Second, despite security measures increasing even more, the Manchester attack shows that terrorists always end up finding “soft targets” or zones in which security control is low or non-existent. In the case of Manchester, the perpetrator was not in the arena, but outside, in an area adjacent to the exit.

Third, for years, most of the terrorist incidents were prevented; most of the successful ones were committed by lone wolves or mini-cells. Paris (November 2015) marks, perhaps, the turning point in which intelligence agencies realized that they were surpassed by ISIS networks. This implies that the risk increases, for the attacks carried out by lone wolves do not decline, they rather boost due to the capacity of inspiration of this organization.

Consequently, terrorism needs to be approached from a complex and whole point of view. It is necessary to reinforce certain security measures at a domestic level, as well as the intelligence, but not only locally, rather in a collaborative way between various states and their agencies. But that is not enough if the real causes of terrorism are not attended. On the one hand, it is necessary to implement strategies to detect, stop and revert the process of radicalization in individuals who can potentially become terrorists. And on the other hand, there is the perception of a lack of integration and social-economic exclusion lived by some immigrant communities in Europe.

The increase of terrorist incidents in western countries is associated with the rise of ISIS and, thus, with the instability created by the Arab Spring. Specifically with cases such as Libya, Yemen, and of course, Syria. It is not unusual the connection between the Manchester attacker with Libya and Syria, two countries which are currently at war, not only with local actors but also with regional and global powers which contribute to the instability. So as long as it is not possible to work together in a whole and collaborative manner in the construction of conditions of peace and stability for those areas of the globe engulfed in war and armed conflicts, there will always be a way for the large networks of crime and terror to keep striking, be it directly or through their capacity to inspire individuals located in distant countries.

Twitter: @maurimm


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