January 26, 2016



The Pathankot attack on 2nd Jan 2016 is highly monstrous and cowardice. In the attack India lost many of his heroes.  Media reports suggested that the attack was an attempt to derail a fragile peace process meant to stabilise the deteriorated relations between India and Pakistan as several evidence was found linking the attackers to Pakistan. The attack on our own Indian Parliament was also one which again checked our patience. We were always united and doing action like these will make us even more unite and fight more strongly than ever against it. Last year of Paris attack, Twin Tower attack in USA, years ago of Mumbai attack, kargil, middle east affair make us ponder where the World is going.

Terrorism is something which all over the world is a major problem at the moment. Its effects are very much that it can ruin a country's economy and can cause between the countries. Terrorists were not born but they were made in the name of religion. None of the religion preaches terrorism nor ask the followers to take the lives of other people but it was preached by wrong leaders and innocent people fall as a prey and lose their lives and kill other people as well.

Terrorism is an International issue. Terrorism has become a global phenomenon and a kind of global awakening and enlightenment against terrorism has been created .Terrorism contains four elements. The first is a threat of violence or an act of violence. Next is a political objective. Third is that violence and threat of violence is a direct attack on civilians making civilians a primary target. Lastly, it is perpetrated by a supporting a nation or nations of terrorism. The terrorist attacks in France and Denmark and the sharp rise in terrorist activity in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East have focused the international community’s efforts on areas beyond fighting the terrorist activities of organizations like Al-Qaeda. The ongoing flow of foreign fighters from many countries into Syria and Iraq, and the threat to their countries of origin upon their return, in combination with the globalization of the threat of the violent extremism of the Islamic State (ISIL), have centred discussions in the European institutional organs and internationally on issues having to do with prevention of terrorism, including deterring the radicalization and recruitment of young terrorists, confronting violent extremism, and intercepting the financial flows fuelling terrorism.

In spite of the extensive legal and political debates, spanning decades, the question still remains: ''What is terrorism?'' With no common international legal definition, on what grounds do countries establish and pursue a terrorist entity? And could this void in definition provide a smokescreen for governments to orchestrate state sponsored terrorism by clamping down on legitimate political movements - both domestic and foreign? Countries across the world are being terrorised and ravaged by extremism; both territory and minds conquered by a militant and ideological crusade. Right or wrong, the mere mention of the word “terrorism” conjures up images of bearded Muslim men – holding AK 47 - intent on eradicating any thought, person or object which runs contrary to their narrow fundamentalist ideology. Terrorism did not begin with the attacks of September 11th, 2001 in New York City and Washington DC, or in April 1995 with the bombing in Oklahoma City, or with the hostage taking at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Nor did terrorism begin with the Cold War or the establishment of the Soviet Union after World War I. Nor has terrorism been restricted to activities by groups from the Middle East or those parts of the world with large Muslim populations. Terrorism has been a nearly universal phenomenon. There is no doubt that extremist Muslims are a driving force behind terrorism in the Middle East and South Asia, but the problem is clearly a much wider one. Ignoring this fact is to jeopardise our ability to comprehensively tackle the scourge that is terrorism.

In recent years , terrorist networks have evolved , moving away from a dependency on state sponsorship , many of the most dangerous groups and individuals now operate as nonstate players. Taking advantage of porous borders and interconnected international systems-finance, communications and transit-terrorists groups can reach every corner of the globe. While some remain focused on local or national political dynamics, others seek to affect global change.

The international counterterrorism regime continues to suffer from three main weaknesses. First, lack of a universal agreement over what constitutes terrorism weakens efforts to formulate a concerted global response. Second, multilateral action suffers from inadequate compliance and enforcement of existing instruments. Third, although counterradicalization and deradicalization initiatives have gained some attention over the last five years, progress is lacking, particularly in states with limited resources and expertise. Presently the counterterrorism regime lacks a central global body dedicated to terrorist prevention and response. The landscape for counterterrorism activity thus lacks coherence. It is multilayered-ranging from legally binding instruments and strategic guidelines, to multilateral institutions and regional frameworks. 

Terrorism is a global problem but also a relatively localized one. Last year, 82 percent of terrorist attacks counted by the GTI occurred in just six countries: Iraq, India Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria. In all of these countries, there are large regions where the government is fighting with militant groups for political control. These attacks were primarily carried out by four groups: the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, and various affiliates of al-Qaida. While these six countries dominate global terrorism, the report also notes that there were nine additional countries last year that had more than 50 terrorism deaths, bringing the total number to 24-the highest in 14 years. These were: Algeria, Central African Republic, China, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Sudan, and South Sudan.

There are the 3 main factors associated with terrorism:

Greater social hostilities between different ethnic, religious and linguistic groups, lack of intergroup cohesion and high levels of group grievances. Presence of state sponsored violence such as extrajudicial killings, political terror and gross human rights abuses. Higher levels of other forms of violence including deaths from organized conflict, likelihood of violent demonstrations, levels of violent crime and perceptions of criminality.

Is there any business behind terrorism? When Al-Qaida first began to form under Osama Bin Laden, members of the organization wre recruited from communities that already had a large presence in the organization. They were then taught and essentially radicalized in the infamous madrasas, partnered with a mentor, and eventually worked their way up in the ranks of the organization.

Today, terrorist organizations including ISIS rely heavily on Twitter and Facebook to reach out to potential recruits -- those who are friends or family with someone already affiliated with the organization. From most of the terrorism research available, Abrahms said, those who join terrorist groups like ISIS are the most "ignorant people with respect to religion and they are generally the newest members to the religion." 

Terrorist leaders are deadly sadistic psychopath to the humanitarian to the idealistic driven. Dozens of young men - neighbours, sons, friends, from places like London and Minnesota - had left their homes to join the terrorist’s organisations. They are driven to join ISIS by the need to “belong to something special and got a purpose for the Higher Calling.” Do terrorists have their reasons for committing atrocities? Sometimes people do what they do for the reasons they profess. Sometimes not, because what they do is motivated by reasons that are too dark, shameful, or bizarre to be openly acknowledged. Sometimes people do things that are so morally contentious that when called to account they are liable to justify, rather than to explain, their actions. They are highly motivated. Terrorism scholar John Horgan opined, “The most valuable interviews I’ve conducted [with former terrorists] have been ones in which the interviewees conceded, ‘To be honest, I don’t really know,’’ he writes. “Motivation is a very complicated issue. To explain why any of us does anything is a challenge.” It’s a challenge further compounded by the fact that some actions are informed by multiple motives, and even if these can be reliably identified it is often difficult to disentangle them and calculate their respective causal weight. “

According to anthropologist Scott Atran , who has dedicated his career to studying the psychology behind terrorism, with a recent emphasis on ISIS and how they radicalize youth. Atran has interviewed terrorists in the days leading up to their executions, rifled through terrorist training manuals and formed a broad understanding of what is going through the mind of a terrorist before, after and during an attack. “None of the ISIS fighters we interviewed in Iraq had more than primary school education,” according to Atran. “When asked ‘what is Islam?’ they answered ‘my life.’ They knew nothing of the Quran or Hadith.” Meanwhile in Europe, the average terrorist is a different breed. Foreigners join ISIS for the camaraderie, but are otherwise educated, emotionally stable people who, “fall within the mid-ranges of what social scientists call ‘the normal distribution’ in terms of psychological attributes like empathy, compassion, idealism, and wanting mostly to help rather than hurt other people,” Atran writes. “They are mostly youth looking for a new family of friends and fellow travellers with whom they can find significance.” Atran says, the youth are exceedingly easy to radicalize. What inspires kids to join ISIS, “is not so much the Qur’an or religious teachings,” Atran writes. “It’s a thrilling cause that promises glory and esteem. Jihad is an egalitarian, equal-opportunity employer: fraternal, fast-breaking, glorious, cool and persuasive.” As more anthropologists and psychologists begin chipping away at what makes terrorists tick, perhaps a real understanding of what drives terror will help us combat it in the future, and prevent these unspeakable tragedies.” The first step to combating terrorism is to understand it,” Atran writes. “We have yet to do so.”

How does one get out of this vicious circle? Of course it is not easy, and even a lot of the “peace movement” struggle on this answer, but perhaps if more voice was given in the media to these broader views, then alternative thoughts could be considered. True, more on peace-related alternatives are discussed in TV forums and debates, but when it comes to the actual reporting and one-on-one discussion and analysis, the context is limited to the current actions and options. The discussions are therefore within those confines, mostly.

Honestly, I don’t find any conclusion. Whatever the conclusion - it is still guessing.

Siddhartha Shankar Mishra
The Writer is a Lawyer ( Human Rights & Socio-Legal Awareness )

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