The Growing Threat of Terrorism in the Region
- 12 June 2014
Fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have seized control of a number of Iraqi governorates. This rapidly expanding extremist force indeed poses a major threat to Iraq’s fragile stability and the wider region. While ISIS extends its control over Iraqi cities and provinces, extremist elements belonging to Al-Qaeda are spreading across Syria and are exploiting the armed conflict to impose its agenda and strengthen its influence. Libya is also witnessing a growing extremist and terrorist threat, which is leading to unrest and causing instability in the country.
A similar situation exists in Yemen, which is trying to meet the conditions of a peaceful transition with the help of brothers and friends, even as Al-Qaeda impedes its progress and threatens the stability of the country and the unity and cohesion of its territory. The threat of Al-Qaeda has also grown in Somalia, Mali and other parts of Africa. This threat has spread so much so that it continues to raise regional and international concerns regarding the presence of Al-Qaeda on the African continent and its impact on global stability.
The threat of terror in the region highlights two key facts. Terrorists do not target a certain area alone but the entire Middle East. They move tactically, exploiting unrest to build their bases throughout the region. Also, a wider regional cooperation is needed to fight against this kind of terror. This is particularly important considering experience the recent experience of the global war against terror, which has proved to be a complex and long battle. Moreover, this war cannot be waged by security forces alone and needs a comprehensive vision in which intellectual response complements security response, and is shared by different entities, including religious, intellectual, educational, media and other institutions.
UAE Foreign Minister His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan recently denounced the elements that commit acts of terrorism and destroy property. This has been a consistent UAE position, which rejects terrorism and extremism and calls for regional and international cooperation in this battle against this menace. Any struggle against terrorism and extremism should be comprehensive. The UAE has taken significant initiatives to promote the values of moderation and reject intolerance and fanaticism. It has worked toward building values that construct strong cultural barrier in the face of evil ideologies that the forces of extremism want to disseminate.