Terrorism — A Threat to Global Peace

Nowadays, no one seems to be saved in the world. Terrorism, an ugly development which has compelled the world leaders as well as the public figures to spend millions of dollars beefing up their security, has become a global threat. Amidst this seemingly tight security and threat, thousands of innocent souls have lost their lives to the annihilation called terrorism.

Statistically, it has been proved that no country of the world is exceptional to terrorist attacks. Pius Odiaka writes on the palpable fear pervading world following the series of bombings in some countries. He declares in the Guardian Newspaper, Friday, July 29th, 2005, (page 24) that “No part of the world has been left without terrorist bloodshed. From Kenya, Algeria, Egypt in Africa to many countries in the middle East and the Gulf; Indonesia, Philippine, Pakistan and India across Asia; Washington and New York in America; Spain and now London in Europe, many innocent souls have been sniffed out of existence.”

The paper will present how terrorism is a threat to Global Peace. It will enumerate the category of acts of terrorism. It will also examine the causes and implications of terrorism in human advancement especially in the area of peace building and keeping. Above all, it will provide recommendations by referring to the United Nations recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy. It concludes by affirming that the global peace can only be achieved if the world- the leaders and the followers-condemn terrorism in all forms and ramifications, and act unconditionally and justly in their quest to providing everlasting solutions to peace, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to global peace and security.

Introduction

In human history, terrorism is widely recognized as the world most famous enemy of mankind. As history itself will admit that terrorism is annihilation with far-reaching and destructive effects, it is the cruelest of crimes against humanity. Its remains have turned neighbours into enemies and have made our societies and the whole world unsafe for living. Its aims and applications are global and uncompromising. Neither terrorism nor is perpetrators are new. Even though it has been used since the beginning of recorded time, not history itself can keep, with precision, the number of lives and properties lost to terrorism.

No doubt, terrorism with its destructive power has reshaped the world we live in. We now live in the world characterized by rising violence and conflicts. This, in turn, has led to the world of growing mistrust, fear, division and represents a significant new threat to international justice, peace and security. This ugly development thus made Amnesty International to observe in its 2004 Report the lasting effects of the crime on humanity. 
This report and others provide a valid point on how terrorism or terrorist acts have made the world unsafe and how it has threatened global peace.

Historical Background of terrorism

It is pertinent to recall that forms of society and governments in the past differ from what they are today, when describing the history of terrorism and the use of terror through time. Not until 1648 (Treaty of Westphalia), there was nothing like modern nation-states. More recent is the state’s monopoly on warfare or interstate-violence. The absence of central authority gave many more players opportunity to participate in the game of warfare. However, this did not make the use of terror a method of affecting a political change. In contrast to the modern era, where only nations go to war, the involvement of players such as religious leaders, mercenaries, mercantile companies, national armies and many more was considered to be lawful and normal.

Terrorist acts or the threat of such action have been in existence for millennia. So, in narrating the history of terrorism, it is important to talk about the various types of terrorism and terrorist individuals and groups. Below is the summary of the history of terrorism.

Ancient World:

Sicarii Zealots

Political scientists see the radical Sicarii offshoot of the Jewish Zealots as one of the earliest forerunners of modern terrorism. Like modern terrorists, they intended their actions to suggest a message to a wider target audience: in this instance, the roman imperial officials and all pro-Roman and collaborationists

Al-Assassin

The Hashshashin (also Hashishin, Hashsshiyyin or Assassins) were an offshoot of the Isma ili sect of the Shiite Muslims. After a quarrel about the succession of leadership in the ruling Fatimide dynasty in Cairo around the year 1090, the losing Nizariyya faction was driven from Egypt. They established a number of fortified settlements in present day Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon under the charismatic leader Hasan I Sabbah.Persecuted as infidel by the dominant Sunni sect in the Muslim world; they sent dedicated suicide murderers to eliminate prominent Sunni leaders whom they considered “impious usurpers.” The sect was decimated by the invading Mongols, their last stronghold being flattened by Hulegu Khan in the year 1272.Many scholars believe the term Hashshashin, a name given to them by their enemies was derived from the Arabic “hassasin(hashish user),which they are alleged to have ingested prior to their attacks, but this etymology is disputed. The sects referred to themselves as al-da-wa al-jadida, which means the new doctrine, and were known within the organization as Fedayeen.

Seventeenth century

Gunpowder Plot (1605)

On November 5, 1605 a group of conspirators, led by Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the English Parliament on the State Opening, by detonating a large quantity of gunpowder secretly placed beneath the building. The design was to kill King James1 and the members of both houses of parliament. In the resulting anarchy, the conspirators planned to implement a coup and restore the Catholic faith to England. However the plan was betrayed and then thwarted.

Eighteenth century

1.Sons of Liberty

The Sons of Liberty were an underground group opposed to British Rule in the colonies, who committed several attacks, most famous among these was the Boston Tea Party. No one was killed or seriously injured by any action that was taken.

2.The Terror (1793–1794)

The Reign of Terror ( September 5 1793- July 28 1794) or simply The Terror ( French: la Terreur) was a period of about eleven months during the French Revolution when struggles between rival factions led to mutual radicalization which took on a violent character with mass executions by guillotine.

The victims of the Reign of Terror totaled approximately 40,000.Among people who are condemned by the revolutionary tribunals, about 8 percent were aristocrats, 6 percent clergy 14 percent middle class, and 70 percent were workers or peasants accused of hoarding, evading the draft, desertion, rebellion, and other purported crimes.

Nineteenth century

1.Anarchism

Anarchists was the most prolific terrorists of the 19th century, with the terroristic tendencies of both nationalism and political movements of Communism or fascism still in there infancy. The disjointed attacks of various anarchists groups lead to the assassination of Russian Tsars and American Presidents but had little real political impact.

2.Tsarist Russia

In Russia, by the mid-19 th century, the intelligentsia grew impatient with the slow pace of Tsarist reforms, which had slowed considerably after the attempted assassination of Alexander II of Russia. Radicals then sought instead to transform peasant discontent into open revolution. Anarchists like Mikhail Bakunin maintained that progress was impossible without destruction. With the development of sufficiently powerful, stable, and affordable explosives, the gap closed between the firepower of the state and the means available to dissidents. The main group responsible for the resulting campaign of terror-’Narodnaya Volya’ (people’s will) (1878–81) — used the word ‘terrorist’ proudly. They believed in the targeted killing of the ‘leaders of oppression’; they were convinced that the developing technologies of the age-symbolized by bombs and bullets- enabled them to strike directly and discriminately.” People’s Will”, possessing only 30 members, attempted several assassination attempts upon Tsa. Culminating in the assassination of Tsar Alexander II on 13 March 1881, killing the Tsar as he was traveling by train.

3. Irish Republican Brotherhood

In 1867, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a revolutionary nationalist group with support from Irish-Americans, carried out attacks in England. These were the first acts of “republican terrorism”, which became a recurrent feature of British history, and these Fenians were the precursor of the Irish Republican Army. The ideology of the group was Irish nationalism.

4. Nationalist terrorism

The Fenians/IRA and the IMRO may be considered the prototype of all ‘nationalist terrorism’, and equally illustrate the (itself controversial) expression that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. At least one of these groups achieve its goal: an independent Ireland came into being. So did an independent Macedonia, but original IMRO probably contributed little to this outcome. Some groups resorted to the use of dynamite, as did Catalan nationalists such as La Reixa and Bandera Negra.

5. John Brown

John Brown was an abolitionist who advocated armed opposition to slavery. He committed several terrorist attacks and was also involved in an illegal smuggling of slaves. His most famous attack was upon the armory at Harpers Ferry, though the local forces would soon recapture the fort and Brown, trying and executing him for treason. His death would make him a martyr to the abolitionist cause, one of the origins of American Civil War, and a hero to the Union forces that fought in it.

6. Ku Klux Klan (1865)

The original Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was created after the end of the American Civil War on December 24, 1865, by six educated middle-class confederate veterans from Pulaski, Tennessee. It soon spread into nearly every southern state of the United States. The Klan has advocated for what is generally perceived as white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, anti-Catholicism, homophobia, and nativism. They have often used terrorism, violence and acts of intimidation such as cross burning to oppress African Americans and other groups. The name ‘Ku Klux Klan’ has been used by many different unrelated groups, but they all seem to center on the belief of white supremacy. From its creation to the present day, the number of members and influence has varied greatly. However, there is little doubt that, especially in the southern United States, it has at times wielded much political influence and generated great fear among African Americans and their supporters. At one time KKK controlled the governments of Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma and Oregon, in addition to some of the southern U.S legislatures.

Twentieth century

Suffragette, Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (1914), KKK(1915),Irgun (1936–1948), World War II, Nationalism and the End of Empire,Cold War proxies,,IRA,,ETA, Aum Shinrikyo (1984–1995), Achille Lauro Hijacking (1985), Lockerbie bombing (1988), Umkhonto we Sizwe (South Africa 1961–1990), PLO (1964-c.1988), Columbian terrorist groups, Munich Massacre (1972),Matsumoto incident(1994), Sarin gas attack on Tokyo subway(1995),and Oklahoma City bombing (1995) are types of terrorism and individual terrorists and groups that operated in the twentieth century.

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