Global Terrorism

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The threat of terrorism has had a profound impact on the world and Western Europe is not shielded from its effects and its consequences. The US war on terror has so far cost over a trillion dollars and has been matched by a rise in global terrorism since the 9/11 attacks. Islamic Insurgencies in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Somalia have brought fierce retaliation from the West with a sharp increase in drone bombing and airstrikes.

Terrorism has no religion and the indiscriminate bombings of mosques, schools and markets in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and across the middle east and in Africa, as well as mass shootings in Paris are a result of radical extreme sections of Islam turning the heads of the vulnerable young men who commit the atrocities. Their despicable acts of violence almost always affect civilian populations and most particularly women and children.

The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was a fatal error on the part of the US government. Afghanistan’s geography and military history made the Taliban experts on waging guerrilla warfare on foreign armies. Afghanistan has always been the graveyard of empires.

In 2001 the US plan was to prevent another Al-Qaeda attack and retaliate for the 3,000 civilians who died on 9/11. But since the US invasion of Afghanistan over 92,000 civilians have been killed in that country alone.

What has made ISIS such a powerful military force in Iraq and Syria is their belief and commitment to their leader and a perverse interpretation of their faith. The size of the group was 8,000 in 2013 but has now risen to 30,000 and it is estimated that over 20,000 foreign fighters have also travelled to Iraq and Syria since 2011. The fear they generate has allowed the group both to expand territoriality and to take equipment and more advanced weaponry from the Iraqi army.

Another terrorist group that has received a lot of media attention is Boko – an Islamic insurgence in northern Nigeria. The group has been responsible for 10,000 deaths since 2009 and stole the headlines when they kidnapped 200 schoolgirls from a school in northern Nigeria last year. Fortunately for us their activities have so far been confined to Africa.