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US 10 years counter-terrorism: Success or failure? (2)

By Li Xuejiang (People's Daily Online)

07:47, September 09, 2011

Li Xuejiang:How would you foresee the future trend of global terrorist activities and their new features?

Dr. Littlewood: Terrorism takes many forms – left wing, right wing, religious, ethno-nationalist, and single issue. All will occur in the future; at this time religious terrorism remains the predominant threat to Western democracies such as the US. These distinctions are not mutually exclusive to each other: groups can be both ethno-nationalist and religious, religious and right wing for example.

Terrorists, and terrorist groups remain innovative in the application of attacks: we can see this with the evolution of attempts against airlines, e.g. liquid bomb plots; binary devices; and the use of cargo and freight aircraft (i.e. the computer printer devices). We can also see this in the increasing interest in unconventional weapons.

Terrorism is very likely to remain a constant, lower-level threat to the US, its allies, and other states in the next decade or so.

Li Xuejiang:How do you comment the impact of killing of Osama bin Laden on the global terrorist activities?

Dr. Littlewood:This is a significant achievement, demonstrating that the US is willing to expend significant resources and time pursuing individuals. It is also a major blow to Al Qaeda in strategic and organizational terms, though it likely will not result in a rapid collapse to Al Qaeda. Bin Laden was an important figurehead and his killing is a major blow to Al Qaeda.

Li Xuejiang: What would be your proposals on the future global counter-terrorism?

Dr.Littlewood: Terrorism is a constant security threat to the US and its allies, as well as other states. Indeed, it was a constant threat before 9/11. The attacks of Sept. 11 were a ‘spectacular’ and while there is no guarantee that an attack on that scale will not occur in the future, it has been lessened to a significant degree. Future attacks are more likely to result in casualties and deaths in the tens and possibly hundreds, rather than thousands.

Counter-terrorism efforts need to accommodate changes in the security environment over the last decade: radicalization of communities remains a threat, but as the Arab revolutions demonstrate, populations are driven to pursue freedom and democracy; freedom of speech, and the desire for political freedom are more appealing catalysts for change than the ideology of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda never had an attractive alternative vision that was appealing to the majority of Muslims in other states in the long term. Thus, the contest of ideas, political ideas, remains as valid in countering terrorism as it did in the Cold War and will, no doubt, be in the future between democracies and non-democracies.

Democratic states should remain within the rule of law and consider the propaganda and competition of ideas aspects of counter-terrorism. There will always be a need for a kinetic or forceful response at times. Thus, counter-terrorism is a holistic effort, requiring the use of military means in certain circumstances, the law enforcement community, and diplomacy, as much as ideas.

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oon at 2011-09-09120.166.72.*
Until now, it still remains a mystery, whether accidentally or not, and what exactly is the ultimate goal behind all of the incidents such these. (the high-rise buildings could collapse to the bottom) so easily?

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