The fight against terrorism has never been so heated. With lives at stake, the world is in need of a solution, one strategy being to increase international cooperation regarding terrorist intelligence. The USA’s implementation on the ‘War on Terror’ came about following the terrorist attack conducted by Al-Qaeda on the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers, however, terrorism has been active since.
Differing Definitions of Terrorism
While some call them ‘terrorists’, others prefer the term ‘freedom fighters’. In 1994, the UN adopted the resolution, ‘Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism,’ stating terrorism as “Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public” whereas the definition of terrorism under UK law states “activity designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system”. A clear distinction can be seen, under UK law acts of violence aren’t considered terrorist activity. Hence another problem arises, the implementation of a counter-terrorism strategy has to be suited to international governments in order for them to be effective.
In 2005, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) was set up in attempt to deal with terrorism on an international basis. One of CTITF’s most significant cases was the attack against Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in 2011 in conjunction with the US government. But with the recent rise in terrorist activity, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the Westgate shootings, late 2011, against the knowledge of government, the CTITF has been deemed less than effective. It is now clear that a new strategy must be found.
Success or Condemnation?
In 2012, the UN devised a global counter-terrorism strategy in conjunction with CTITF outlining its basic principles. It includes terms such as the “vow to devise measures against the spread of the terrorism” and the “enforcement of human rights” as outlined by a UN official document. The strategy has yet to claim successes.
Although the lockdown of Osama Bin Laden was seen as one of the major successes of 2011, the methods used by the US government involving several drone strikes and a forced attack on Afghanistan have been condemned by the UN and the CTITF organisation.
It is clear that the battle against terrorism is in need of reformation but the question remains: how do we deal with this urgent crisis on a global scale?
Privacy v. Safety
Tapping into the lives of citizens is one way of tracking terrorist activity that has been adopted by the US government, yet according to the U.S. Constitution, citizens have the right to protection of their privacy. Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, made news in 2013 as he brought to light the alleged espionage activities of the NSA which attempted to gain intelligence on terrorist organisations. However, this backfired and led to an outrage in the international world. Not only has this event impacted local people, but many governments have had their privacy infiltrated. Since, Several cases of tapping against the US government have arisen including the alleged monitoring of 35 world leaders according to BBC news.
Terrorism has evidently impacted more than just the lives of people, with such a fine line of compromise and innocent lives at stake, is it possible for the delegates at THIMUN Qatar to target the heart of the issue?
By: Vanlee Trindade
Photo by: Aya Nassif