The Global Terrorism Index 2014 -Measuring And Understanding The Impact Of Terrorism", released by The Institute for Economics & Peace, has included several solutions to the terrorism problem. Under the 'EXPERT CONTRIBUTIONS' section on page 67 of the '2014 Global terrorism Index' report, two experts have offered SIX THINGS TO DO LESS OFTEN and SIX DIRECTIONS FOR CONSTRUCTIVE ALTERNATIVES in the fight against terrorism.
This sub-section of the GTI is a very worthwhile read. The paper conveys a sense of frustration at the simple-minded approach to fighting terrorism, which they suggest is encouraged by the media to the public, which in turn sways public policy of elected leaders to act swiftly and violently. These practices result in repeating the same mistakes for decades with little or no public policy debate as to if these anti-terrorism policies are actually working. And actually, the paper points out very cogently that the policies are not only not working but are encouraging and in many cases multiplying terrorist resistance. "If policy alternatives are to be brought to the fore, more thorough analysis is needed to examine why similar shortcomings are repeated from one decade to the next with diminishing public scrutiny," the experts say.
The SIX THINGS TO DO LESS OFTEN are:
- 1. THINKING SHORT TERM
- 2. REINFORCING POOR GOVERNANCE AND CORRUPTION
- 3. MISTAKING PARTNERS' MOTIVES
- 4. USING AID IN THE SERVICE OF COUNTER-TERRORISM
- 5. USING FORCE
- 6. LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ABUSES
The SIX DIRECTIONS FOR CONSTRUCTIVE ALTERNATIVES are:
- 1. A DIFFERENT CONCEPTUAL FRAMING AND APPROACH
- 2. CHANGING INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL POLICIES THAT HAVE FUELLED GRIEVANCES
- 3. SEEKING TO NEGOTIATE PEACE AND BUILDING TOWARDS INCLUSIVE AND JUST POLITICAL SETTLEMENTS
- 4. USING LEGAL-JUDICIAL RESPONSES AND TARGETED SANCTIONS
- 5. SUPPORTING TRANSFORMATIVE GOVERNANCE EFFORTS
- 6. BRINGING A PEACEBUILDING PERSPECTIVE TO THE FORE IN PUBLIC DEBATE
I highly recommend reading the original, but since very few people would do that, I've compiled a synopsis of the key relevant points. The general public, if they've heard about this report at all, probably only saw the corporate media coverage regarding the latest 'Global Terrorism Index,' which resulted in sensational headlines such as MSN's "Fivefold increase in terrorism fatalities since 8/11, says report".
Such shallow and simple-minded reporting is precisely one thing which this GTI report criticized. I will give two summaries here; first a 'kindergarten' type synopsis (a very quick read) and below that is a more thorough version with relevant excerpts of the report. The third step would be for people to read the report itself, which as I said is very worthwhile- especially for our policy makers, who purport that the war on terrorism is the supposedly most urgent priority. If fighting terrorism is the most urgent priority then why can't the appropriate response to terrorism be rationally debated and analysed in a measured and mature fashion? Now remember, this kindergarden report here is not a report on the entire 94-page GTI document itself- but rather it is a report on the specific sub-section of the 2014 GTI entitled 'ENVISAGING MORE CONSTRUCTIVE ALTERNATIVES TO THE COUNTER-TERROR PARADIGM' by Larry Attree, Head of Policy, Saferworld & David Keen, Political Economist and Professor of Complex Emergencies, London School of Economics.
Some key quotes from this report:
"Past experience shows that assumptions about the motives and behaviours of apparent 'allies' in counter-terror, stabilisation and state-building endeavours need to be interrogated more deeply. The consequences of working with allies whose motives differ from one's own have included appalling abuses against civilian populations, the diversion of money, arms and other resources into fuelling conflict, and the reinforcement of corruption, bad governance and grievances."
"Leaders, journalists and news outlets are in some ways responsible for establishing prevailing notions of enmity, while at the same time public interest and public opinion has a role in shaping and underpinning policy directions that leaders come under pressure to adopt... Demonising particular enemies too often serves as 'cover' for those claiming to confront them; but those making these claims may not only be failing to confront these enemies but even actively reinforcing them in various ways."
3 MISTAKING PARTNERS' MOTIVES
Past experience shows that assumptions about the motives and behaviours of apparent 'allies' in counter-terror, stabilisation and state-building endeavours need to be interrogated more deeply. The consequences of working with allies whose motives differ from one's own have included appalling abuses against civilian populations, the diversion of money, arms and other resources into fuelling conflict, and the reinforcement of corruption, bad governance and grievances. All of these are known drivers of conflict.
4 USING AID IN THE SERVICE OF COUNTER-TERRORISM
Too often, declaring a particular government to be an 'ally' has given it a green light for corruption and abuse. In practice, there has often been much more concern about the way aid might be misused by 'terrorists' than the way it is being misused by governments.
5 USING FORCE
International actors should be much less ready to use force to resolve conflict. In particular, more caution is needed in designating any particular actor as a 'spoiler'. The staying power of 'spoilers' needs to be assessed much more realistically, and greater awareness is needed of the potential for conflict dynamics to spin out of control as a result of intervention. In particular, military force should not be used simply to demonstrate the resolve or power to retaliate in response to violent provocation "indeed, military responses of this kind often play into the intentions of 'terrorists'.
6 LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ABUSES
Significant efforts are also needed to strengthen adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law by international actors and those they co-operate with: torture and indiscriminate use of violence are not only wrong in principle " they also deepen the grievances that can fuel violence and make sustainable peace much harder to achieve. Demonstrating full accountability for irresponsible use of force and abuses that have taken place is vital to efforts to minimise grievances.