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Terrorism is a product of the clash of geopolitical interests of the West and the national interests of Middle Eastern and African countries seeking to follow their own path in accordance with their values to occupy a niche in the world. In the regions of the Middle East and Africa is this Islamic resistance movement—as well as in the olden days of the struggle for independence—is carried out under the banner of Islam.
Major terrorist attacks are almost unanimously condemned by the political leadership of the African states, which, at least visually, support the anti-terrorist coalition (Purpura, 2007). However, one can’t ignore the fact that many African regimes face a strong pressure from the Muslim diaspora (particularly in the countries with predominant Muslim population), their associations and influential Islamic clerics. With commencement of anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan there were mass protests of Muslim communities that adopted the theses about the “threat from the U.S. and its allies” to the security of Lebanon, Sitra, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia etc., as well as from Israel and Palestine. There have been numerous instances of conspicuous displays of sympathy for bin Laden as a defender of Islamic values. Thus, there is the presence of a sufficiently conducive environment for spreading the ideas of radical Islam in Africa. It is interesting to analyze the organization of Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI) as an example, and to show how serious is the problem of international terrorism in the region. After the events of September 11 the activity AIAI was under investigation, as it was suspected of close links with al-Qaida, which supposedly had its training camps in Somalia. It didn’t come true, but there were other suspicions, that some of the members are in fact members of al-Qaeda, which led to the view that the latter can use AIAI for a number of purposes. For example, it could serve as a link to coordinate terrorist attacks, to provide shelter to al-Qaida members who fled Afghanistan to assist in the relocation of the operational headquarters of terrorists in Somalia, or use business organization to finance al-Qaeda (Thackrah, 2004).
If we consider the activities of Islamic groups in Somalia, we should also take into account the activity of non-governmental organizations, some of which are essentially a cover for AIAI and other structures. Activity of such organizations such as AIAI is facilitated by the economic crisis, political instability, the presence of separatist movements in the region. Particularly favorable conditions for the development of such structures exist in collapsed states, for example Somalia.
Summarizing, it is possible to say that the Islamization of the region could be considered as a local problem, if it was not related to threats presented by international terrorist organizations. A number of interrelated problems of economic and political character provide tremendous opportunities for expanding the activities of international terrorist organizations. Today, the Horn of Africa is both a victim and perpetrator of the existence of the global problem of international terrorism.
The activity of some extremist groups and organizations of political Islam in the Middle East, especially the area of the Arab-Israeli conflict, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah etc. is characterized by the use of methods of violence, not only directly against the representatives of the Western countries, but also against those government agencies in their countries, which focus on cooperation with the U.S. According to a popular belief, the main target of these groups is Israel, which is seen as an instrument of the U.S. policy and an obstacle to liberation of Palestine and one of the great shrines of three religions – Jerusalem (Bahgat, 2007, p. 163).
Insurgents and international terrorists possess the most advanced weapons. However, the arsenal of Islamic extremism is not just guns and bombs. Some experts in the field of combating terrorism tend to assume that mass production of counterfeit money or large-scale operations with transportation of drugs are in their essence the same as the attacks. The methods used by terrorist organizations in the Middle East to generate profit include illegal operations in the financial sector, crime, business, charitable organizations, sponsorship, and personal financial statements of representatives of terrorist organizations. Terrorist organizations often unite in the criminal activity for financial gain.
The characteristic feature of terrorism in the above mentioned regions is justification for killing civilians, including women and children, because they are considered as part of the enemy system – they finance the army by taxation and approve it by their silence, and are also considered as potential soldiers. Islamism is introduced into practice through a revival of the Islamic concept of jihad (holy war) in its most severe forms, and terrorism is an integral feature of Islam as a way to cause maximum damage to the enemy without any long-term consequences even for Islam itself.
It should be noted that the U.S. is playing a destabilizing role in the Middle East. It plays into the hands of extremists, since it fights against terrorists by military rather than political means. The U.S. and other powerful outside players must put pressure on both sides to reach agreement on the main issue, and not show inactivity during the time when violence goes out of control.