A New Round in War Against Terror

  • 31 October 2010

Several indications suggest that the danger of terrorism is growing significantly in different parts of the world and we might be fast approaching a critical stage in our fight against extremism and violence, a scourge that needs to be confronted seriously in the times to come. Perhaps the worrying sign in this regard is the evidence of repeated threats of terrorism, through words or deeds. The day on which US authorities announced the arrest of an American citizen of Pakistani origin, accused of planning attacks on subway stations in and around Washington city, the leader of Al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden – in an audio recording attributed to him and broadcast by Al Jazeera channel – warned France and asked it to withdraw from Afghanistan. The same day, European Union’s anti-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove announced that hotels in Europe are possible terrorist targets and urged countries in the union to cooperate to avoid the possibility of such attacks. Then came the “parcel bomb” plots, which targeted several countries around the world and proved to be a serious and persistent threat of terrorism.

The United States and Britain have warned of the possibility of a rise in terror attacks in Europe, particularly targeting the transportation sector infrastructure. Besides, there are signs of significant activities of what is called Al-Qaeda organization in the Islamic Meghreb countries, especially kidnapping of foreigners for ransom and Al Qaeda organization in the Arabian Peninsula, which is in confrontation with Yemeni authorities. These circumstances indicate that the main aim of terrorists is to inflict a huge loss of life and property through its major operations and show that it is still a potent threat despite a war against them since 2001. The evidence of this can be found in the repeated terror threats to transportation sector, hotels as well as other infrastructure.

Targeting such facilities lead to a large number of causalities as has been the case with Mumbai attacks in India in 2008, attack on London Underground in 2005 and on Madrid trains in 2004. Organizations such as Al-Qaeda seek to shed more blood and pose an even greater challenge at the international level. It is also clear that the organization does not target a specific region in itself or focus on one independent of the other. Instead it wants to focus on the entire world and the threat they pose impacts Europe, North Africa, Afghanistan as well as the Arab region. Active international cooperation is needed to challenge this threat based on a detailed review of the war on terrorism in recent years. We must learn the lessons from the past and benefit from it.