Ridiculous explanations, complex solutions
By Dr Babu Suseelan
Islamic terrorism is being waged in different parts of the world. The policy of hit-and-run and selective identification and counter-measures are ineffective. We need a coordinated, well-planned and effective global war on Islamic terrorism.
Communists, Nazis and Fascists resorted to terrorism. But they differed from Islamic terrorism?they were motivated by political agenda.
The fall of the Berlin Wall signalled the end of the Cold War and a sign of relief. But today, terrorist groups with the ideology of hate exist in different countries with different hue and colour. They are engaged in murder, looting, kidnapping, beheading, hijacking, suicide bombing and other criminal acts for personal, political and religious gains. India lost over 73,000 lives due to jehadi terrorism over the last decade. Israel, the only democratic country in the Middle East, lost several hundreds of innocent children, women and men due to terrorism perpetuated by Islamic Hizbollah, Hamas, Al-Jehad and Al-Qaeda terrorists. Islamic terrorist groups have slaughtered thousands of innocent people in Algeria (Armed Islamic Group), India (Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed), Uzbekistan (Imu-Islamic Group), the Philippines (Abu Sayyaf Group), Yemen (Islamic Army of Aden), Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood) and Afghanistan (Taliban).
Several Islamic terrorist groups are actively engaged in kidnapping, beheading, murder and bombing in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Chechnya, Sudan and Nigeria. Since 1990, several Islamic terrorist incidents have been reported from Aden (1992 and 2000), New York City (1993), Mogadishu (1993), Manila (1995), Paris (1994 and 2005), Riyadh (1995 and 1996), Dar-ea-Salaam and Nairobi (1998), Port Angeles and Washington (1999), Amman, (1999 and 2005), London (2005), Strasbourg (2000), New York City, Washington, D.C and Pennsylvania (2001), Paris and Brussels (2001), Madrid (2002), Kabul and Bali (2002), Godhra (2002), Ayodhya and New Delhi (2005).
In India, Israel and Iraq, kidnapping beheading, suicide murder and bombing by Muslim terrorists are a daily occurrence. Islamic terrorists? attacks are not limited merely to military targets. They use violence against innocent children, women and men. Jehadi terrorism can now be seen all over the world. These violent extremists subvert democracy, civil government, secularism and social progress and tear apart economic stability. In each case of terrorism, the fundamentalists with hard-core, rigid, dogmatic Islamic ideology were involved. Their origins, ideology, development, tactics and agenda are religiously legitimised based on Islamic worldview. These Islamic terrorists? devilish acts of unimaginable hatred are designed to send tremors of alarm and fear and a warning throughout the civilised world.
World-wide terrorism-related casualties increased to 805 in 2005 from 233 in 1999. The terrorist groups often differ in their motivations, objectives, ideologies and level of criminal activities. Several narco-terrorists and politically-motivated terrorist groups exist in different parts of the world. Western nations were successful in eradicating several terrorist groups like Black Panther, Symphonies Liberation Army, FLNA in the US, Shining Path Maoist Guerrilla Group in Peru, Marxist Guerrillas in Columbia, Tapa Marus in Argentina, Bader-Meinhof in Germany and Red Brigade in Italy with brute police and military action.
The destruction of the World Trade Center by Al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001, signalled the start of a new response to global terrorism. Western nations have taken significant civil and judicial steps including intelligence gathering, prosecution of terrorists, disruption of fund flow for terrorists and several counter-terrorism activities. But the bureaucratic counter-terrorism measures are complicated; responsibilities are poorly defined and targets are ambiguously selected. Most of these actions are disconnected and have no impact in deterring Islamic terrorism, which is being waged in different parts of the world. We need more. The policy of hit-and-run and selective identification and counter-measures are ineffective. We need a coordinated, well-planned and effective global war on Islamic terrorism.
Phoney root-cause theories
Islamic terrorism is a complex subject. The terrorism field is loaded with international and national experts, each claiming special knowledge of the subject, which has engendered so much controversy while continuing to be misunderstood by so many. There are phoney liberals, marketing mindless root-causes of Islamic terrorism including Western and Israeli interference in the Middle East, rapid social changes, poverty, economic deprivation, low self-esteem, need for affiliation, dysfunctional family, lack of education and so forth. Of course, these are psychological excuses. The misguided leftists and armchair speculators miss the point. Where do they fit in? These phoney, liberal root-cause theorists are like an old farmer who for the first time in his life sees a big blue whale on the seashore and says: ?I see it, but I don?t believe it.? The pseudo-liberal social scientists are being imbued with ethereal, pre-fabricated, utopian ideas, which are too far divorced from reality. While the excuse industry promotes faulty root-cause theories, jehadi terrorists are engaged in kidnapping, beheading, looting, killing, bombing, hijacking and gruesome murder of innocent infidels all over the world. These pseudo-liberals, communists and Islamists have no clue on the true nature of jehadi terrorism. The butchery of jehadi terrorism is attributed to social causes and ?understandable? Islamic grievances. It fails to distinguish between the legitimate use of social protests and are terrorism. It seems phoney liberals have a buoyant love affair with irrational Islamist defence mechanisms. They usually shed crocodile tears for the innocent victims. It is clear that what jehadi terrorists are doing in the name of Islam is destructive and counter-productive. So, why aren?t leftists, liberals and Islamists able to realise the dangers of jehadi terrorism?
In a civilised world, we cannot function if we believe in phoney explanations for jehadi terrorism. Wide-spread irrationalism and uncritical acceptance of unjustified root-cause theories peddled by communists and liberals will have serious consequences for everyone. Such flimsy explanations and mental misdirection would paralyse us. Civilised, peace-loving people would be wise to check out jehadi mindset and criminal behaviour in proper perspective.
Jehadi terrorism is not over the policies of US, Israel and India, or due to globalisation, social changes, poverty, economic deprivation or lack of self-esteem, but it is the ideology, the cognitive-behaviour processes of jehadi Muslims, which are responsible for it.
Criminal thinking of jehadi terrorists
Jehadis often seek to identify infidels as targets because of their ideological beliefs. They justify terrorism by rationalisation and show no remorse, fear, guilt or shame on murdering infidels. For jehadi terrorists all infidels are legitimate target for terrorist attacks. Jehadi terrorists have unique needs and the emotional pressure to gratify these needs can greatly affect the way they think and feel.
Breaking through the Islamic closed system
Communist societies used control mechanisms to maintain closed systems. But it collapsed under tremendous covert and overt pressure from democratic nations. They were forced to accept social evolution, democracy and individual freedom and the closed communist system lost its equilibrium. But Islamic fundamentalists are a hard nut to crack.
Nations affected by jehadi terrorism have different agendas for countering terrorism. There is no coordinated programme for information collection, sharing of intelligence and understanding of programme options and their application. If counter-strategy is to maximise its effect, there is a need to understand terrorist mindset, their ideology and their cognitive-behaviour processes.
Although most of the information from intelligence sources suggests that there are varieties of judicial and military approaches working to apprehend and contain terrorists, there is a fair amount of debate on the effectiveness of these counter-terrorism strategies. The challenge, it seems, is to look for the mindset and ideology that motivate, control and direct jehadi terrorists.
Civilised world would pay a heavy price for not breaking through the defensive wall of denial, resistance and defences created by Islamic fundamentalists to maintain their closed system. We need to penetrate Islamic groups and utilise all means available including psychological warfare to introduce paradigm filters to open the closed system. Paradigm filters can be introduced through corporations, schools, universities, labour unions and non-profit organisations. We need to introduce programmes for thinking for a change and to split terrorist gangs and cliques. Devise psychological techniques and emotional programmes to induce fear, guilt, remorse and shame among Muslim fundamentalists. Coercive or negative reinforcement techniques and effective paradigm-breaking programming shall have positive effect on modifying cognitive and behaviour processes.
The cognitive programming, which disrupts criminal thinking, thinking errors and dogmatic systems, must by steadily reinforced through education, media and propaganda. The goal is to send a liberating message and mind-altering ideas, not through appeasement, negotiation or discussion, but through overt and covert dialogue to strongly pursue an agenda to break through the closed, dogmatic mindset of jehadi Muslims.
Long-term strategies shall include restructuring or destroying the closed ideology of fundamentalist Islam, anti-social attitudes, values and beliefs. We need an integrated approach to break pro-terrorist associations. Jehadi Muslims shall be changed and re-socialised with a forceful, balanced approach utilising psychological warfare, social learning techniques and propaganda. The value of psycho, social, cognitive strategies extend well beyond the military methods and it can be applied successfully in several settings.
Effective counter-terrorism strategies based on reliable information are not an impossible dream, but will take strong leadership, commitment, courage and hard work. The civilised world community and democratic nations should avoid supporting programmes or activities of organisations that pose a direct threat to civilised nations.
The challenge before us is to translate all available means, legal, military, economic, political, social and psychological strategies to eliminate terrorism once and for all.