What are the long term solutions to counter terrorism?

Ans: Current counter terrorism policy has emphasized military action, imprisonment, cutting off terrorists’ sources of finance and denying them safe territory. These have had limited effectiveness and recent trends indicate that they are only short-term solutions.

The global counter-terrorism strategy adopted by the United Nations in the form of a resolution and an annexed plan of action contains for pillars 1. Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism 2. Measures to prevent and combat terrorism 3. Measures to build States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in this regard and 4. Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.

Only long term solution is to reduce Muslims’ motivation to radicalize.

Trends in terrorism

The war on terror has not reduced terror. Over 22,000 people were killed worldwide in terrorist attacks in 2007 nearly a tenth more than in 2006. The threat of Islamist terror has changed.  The threat of Islamist terror has undergone a paradigm shift. It used to come from mainly al Qaeda. But now it comes from freelance cells whom the group inspires. Al Qaeda increasingly sees its mission today as fuelling radicalization worldwide. It seeks to inspire as much as to organise. Terrorism is globalizing.

Hence, over the long term, governments must change their definition of success against terrorism. Military objectives achieved or plots foiled are insufficient. The direction of Muslim opinion around the globe is crucial.  All these trends point to a long-term need to make minimizing the motivation to radicalize a higher priority.

Combating terrorism and violent extremism successfully and in the long run requires a comprehensive approach that also takes measures for tackling the political, social and economic causes into account. A further aim is to strengthen rule of law structures. Respect for human rights is a key issue.

As a global challenge, terrorism requires a globally coordinated response from the international community.

Today, many countries have special units designated to handle terrorist threats. Besides various security agencies there are elite tactical units, also known as special mission units, whose role is to directly engage terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks. Such units perform both in preventive actions, hostage rescue and responding to on-going attacks. Countries of all sizes can have highly trained counter-terrorist teams. Tactics, techniques and procedures for man hunting are under constant development.