The Need for Comprehensive Strategies in the Fight against Terrorism

  • 21 March 2016

The threat of terrorism is surging throughout the globe, notably in the Middle East where it grew qualitatively and quantitatively. The rising numbers of terrorist acts in the recent years is a matter of concern, as terrorist diversify their carnage methods to an extent that is beyond the understanding of any reasonable human being. The range of terrorism has also expanded  to an extent that no area, country or society can claim insulation from such a threat.

Terrorism continues to take innocent lives, including children and women. There is an international unanimity that terrorism has no religion, race or nationality, as it was perpetrated throughout history by individuals and groups from different religions and cultures. Yet, there is a deliberate fixation on the terrorism committed by individuals and groups who wrongly associate themselves with Islam. We cannot ignore the multiple factors breeding terrorism, such as social aspects like poverty and unemployment and political conflicts, sectarian and racial strife as well as social exclusion. However, the most important of these factors is intellectual and religious resulting from an erroneous understanding of the precepts of religion and its message. Oppression and authoritarianism also offer breeding grounds for terrorism. All these factors are often intertwined in a way that complicate the eradication or the curbing of terrorism. This brings into question the effectiveness of the policies adopted to crack down on terrorists at the local, regional and international levels. Despite the numerous conferences and symposiums that put forth recommendations to counter the terrorist threat, the world and the Arab region in particular continue to be affected by this global calamity.

Many politicians and experts in terrorism point out to the lack of strategy in several states as well as in international anti-terrorism cooperation. Terrorist groups took advantage of the strategy vacuum to recruit fighters and perpetrate more attacks on innocents in a context of widening of the conflict scope in the region, coupled with economic hardships.

Therefore, there is a need for more comprehensive strategies that go beyond the security dimension to focus on treating the root causes of terrorism. Hence, the need for more support for development efforts and appropriate religious education. In this respect, the UAE’s experience shows the way. The country adopts a comprehensive strategy combining the security, intellectual, educational and development dimensions. The UAE has also been one of the first countries who reformed the religious discourse in line with the Islamic values of tolerance and moderation.