Terrorism And Homeland Security Essay Example For College

            The region around the Persian Gulf has been the focus of world attention during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and the 1991 gulf war when Iraq invaded Kuwait but was expelled by American forces.  The Persian Gulf region has huge oil and natural gas reserves and as a result, the countries located there have high revenues and income per capital levels.  The Persian Gulf states are Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.  The region has been in the eye of the storm in as far as the war on terror is concerned.  After the 9/11 attacks, the United States invaded Iraq overthrew Saddam Hussein and are currently still occupying the country.  Iran features prominently in the axis of evil list for its support of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.  Other nations in the region though not as extensively involved are engaged in the war.

            United States intelligence officials allege that wealthy individuals in the Persian Gulf countries are funding terrorists (CNN, 1996).  Contribution to terrorist organizations is often disguised as legitimate charity. For others secret means are used to knowingly direct funds to radical groups. The most notable of all is former Saudi national Osama Bin Laden who was stripped of his nationality in 1994.  Osama and his Al Qaeda group have been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks against western targets as well as funding and training other terrorist organizations.  Militant Islamism poses a threat to the nations of the Gulf especially in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran.  The fire is fanned partly by the failure to undertake reforms of political and institutional nature.  After the gulf war, individuals and organizations that opposed US hegemony made US a primary target.  They target the values that America represents such as democracy, individual liberty and capitalism.  The goal of the terrorist groups in the gulf region is to force the withdrawal of American military and economic presence in the region because they claim it has a pervasive influence on the people of the gulf. Insurgency in Iraq for instance has been legitimized by a strong emotional resentment of the US occupation in Iraq. The insurgency in Iraq currently is dominated by foreign fighters principally from Saudi Arabia. The Gulf countries have in the past produced many terrorists who have engaged in struggle elsewhere such as involvement of Saudi nationals in Afghanistan.

Danger Posed by Iran

            Iran has for a long time been a present name in the US list nations that sponsor terrorism.  President George Bush included Iran in the axis of evil nations alongside North Korea and Cuba.  As a result of large reserves of oil and natural gas, Iran is an influential regional power and is an important player in global energy issues and would economy.  It’s location in the Persian Gulf gives the country geo-strategic significance as it is centrally located in the Eurasia region.  Iran therefore is a country with significant leverage and power and is thus a major player in the Middle Eastern region.

            Following the Iranian revolution of 1979, the country adopted radical Islamic position.  The foreign policy of Iran is influenced primarily by antagonism against the western world more so the United States.  During the Iran-Iraq war with the US supporting Iraq and Soviets supporting Iran, the relationship drastically plummeted to a point where Iran views the US as a mortal enemy.

            After the Islamic revolution in Iran, the Islamic revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was formed to protect and advance the ideals of the revolution.  The IRGC have not only done that internally, they have also exported the revolution elsewhere.  Evidence exists linking the organization to Hezbollah (Amy, 2008).  The IRGC is also believed to be responsible for inciting and funding the Shiite uprising in Iraq.  Direct engagement through delivery of arms and gathering of intelligence is undertaken by Iran.

            The most well known proxy terrorist organization affiliated to Iran is Hezbollah which means party of God. Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist organization that is based in Lebanon.  The organization was founded in 1982 after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to expel PLO.  The IRGC members were sent by Iran into Lebanon to assist in resisting the Israeli invasion.  More recently in the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, it is alleged that Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ soldiers aided Hezbollah through supplying intelligence and firing rockets.

            Iran has also been accused of co-operation with Hamas.  The win by Hamas of the 2006 parliamentary elections saw Iran pledging to fund the party.  Hamas relies on terrorist tactics such as suicide bombings to fight against Israeli occupation.  It is believed that the Iran-Hamas relationship began in the 1990s. Palestinian Islamic Jihad is yet another group that has support of Iran since the 1980s.  The group operates from Lebanon.

            The constant pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by Iran is also a major worry to other global players.  Though WMDs on its own does not constitute state terrorism, Iran’s confessed aim of wiping out the state of Israel makes it a major factor.  With so many ties to terrorist organizations, nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran could lead to proliferation of the weapons to terrorist groups.

Land reforms in Zimbabwe

            The most bitterly contested and most important issue that has had devastating impact in Zimbabwe’s political landscape is no doubt the land reforms carried out by President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party.  The seizures of white owned farms in Zimbabwe have led to serious negative economic effects notably hyper inflation.  Zimbabwe currently has the highest inflation rate in the world.  Food shortage continues to bite as the country’s economy shrinks even further.   The current economic crisis is considered to be the worst humanitarian situation in the country’s history.

            The crisis has resulted in acute shortage of basic commodities and imported oil. Observers identify the causes as economic mismanagement by the government, prohibition on relief activities carried out by foreign NGOs, drought, HIV/AIDS pandemic and the bungled land reforms.  President Mugabe’s administration though blames UK, USA and the European Union’s measures such as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic act of 2001 passed by the US congress.  The act prohibits the US from aiding efforts by multilateral lending institutions to provide loans, credit or debt cancellation to the government of Zimbabwe.

            Since the advent of black majority rule in Zimbabwe in 1979, land reform has been an issue in Zimbabwean politics.  In fact there was a general consensus among most western officials and donors that land in Zimbabwe needs to be redistributed (Swarns, 2002).  The redistribution of land mostly affected the white farmers who occupied the best lands. Blacks, who were pushed out to rocky farms by British colonial settlers, were to be integrated better into the Zimbabwean agricultural system. (Swarns, 2002).  In the year 2000, the government of President Robert Mugabe attempted to introduce a new constitution that would empower it to seize white owned farms without compensation.  The constitution was rejected in a referendum.  A short while later war veterans association with tacit government approval organized an invasion into white owned farms. In 2000, there were about 4000 white farmers in Zimbabwe.  The number had dropped to 200 in 2003.  About 60 farms that remain have been singled out for invasion and so far 20 have been taken over.

            In the 2002 and 2008 general election, the incumbent has run on a platform of land reforms. Observers see land reforms as a means through which the increasingly unpopular government of President Robert Mugabe is attempting to win the support of the population especially in the rural areas.  Most interested parties agree on is that land reform was necessary in Zimbabwe but what is not acceptable is the manner in which it was carried out based on cronyism and nepotism.

Apartheid and the Legacy of Nelson Mandela

            Apartheid refers to a system of institutionalized racism that was practiced in South Africa between 1948 and 1990.  Apartheid was founded on the colonialism of southern Africa which resulted in domination by minority white settlers.  During the apartheid period, racism was ingrained in the law and any opposition in to the law was brutally suppressed.  Racism was made legal.  The law in minute details set up the definitions of the various races where each race was supposed to live, work and die.  The system was blatant disregard of the United Nations Charter and the Universal declaration of Human Rights for it allowed the dominant white minority to exploit, segregate and terrorize the majority black people.

            After the general election of 1948, the Afrikaner led government introduced the policies of apartheid.  The government embarked on classification of citizens and visitors according to race.  Black South Africans were stripped of their citizenship instead being awarded citizenship of the tribal homelands or Bantustans which were self governing (Chokshi, 1995) Apartheid imposed restrictions on labor and migration and strengthened state security control.

            Apartheid was dismantled in 1990 after a series of negotiations that came about because the ruling elite realization that the system was no longer sustainable. Nelson Mandela played a key role in the negotiations eventually emerging as South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994.  Prior to 1990, Mandela was a prisoner at the infamous Robben Island.  He had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 accused of engaging in anti-government activities.  He was among the senior members of ANC and was the leader of the militant wing called Umkhonto we sizwe which advocated for the use of violent means in resisting apartheid.  For the years that he spent in prison and his contribution to ANC, Mandela became an iconic figure in the liberation struggle.  After his release from prison, Mandela took over the leadership of ANC and led the negotiations to end apartheid.  For his efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Price with President Fredrick de Klerk in 1993.

Effects of the Kashmir and Punjab Crisis on Security in India

            One of the most disputed territories in the world that has even prompted a nuclear arms race is the Kashmir region.  Wars have been fought between India and Pakistan in 1947, 1965 and 1999. Violence perpetrated by non-state actors directed towards India and Pakistan has been numerous as well.  India has borne the brunt of the Kashmir conflict.  The conflict has its roots in the partition of the Indian sub-continent by the British in 1947.  The partition created two nations India and Pakistan.  The Kashmir region immediately became a hot point with both countries claiming ownership.  Finally Kashmir was partitioned with India administering Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan taking over Azad Kashmir.  China claims and controls Aksai Chin in Kashmir.

            The state of Punjab in India neighboring Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan is considered as India’s breadbasket.  For more than a decade, the Punjab region has been the center of a bloody conflict.  The crisis was bred by a power struggle between the Indian government and Sikh political elite.  The Punjab region is dominated by followers of the Sikh religion who form 60% of the population (Jones, 2002).  The key cause of violence was the desire by the Punjab Sikhs for independence from India and the Indian government’s refusal to accede to those demands.

            In the duration of the conflict, the Indian army engaged in violation of human rights in Punjab.  Arbitrary arrests, torture, detention without trial, execution of suspected Sikh militant and general disappearances of members of the public was widespread.  Sikh militants responded especially in the period between 1981 and 1992. Sikh groups engaged in a campaign of random and targeted violence.  Attacks on unarmed civilians of Hindu religions affiliations and Sikhs suspected of collaboration were undertaken.  Militants often fired at crowds in markets, streets residential areas public buses and trains.  The Sikh radical groups also assassinated political and religions leaders and extorted money from businesses.

Falun Gong’s Threat to the Chinese Government

            Falun Gong also known as Falun Daga is a spiritual practice founded by Li Hongzhi in 1992 in China.  Falun Gong is an ancient Chinese meditation exercise also called gigong.  The aim is to nurture the mental and the physical through a combination of Buddhist beliefs, slow movement and exercises similar to those of martial arts.  Emphasis is placed on fundamental principles of truth, benevolence and fore bearing.

            After the introduction of Falun Gong in China in 1992, Falun Gong was catapulted into international prominence with millions of followers in more than forty countries (Chlopak, 2001).  The rise to fame of the movement was viewed with suspicion by the Chinese government which was apprehensive on the effect that such a movement would have on the Chinese society. The Chinese government therefore designated Falun Gong as an evil cult and has launched a campaign to wipe out the movement from china.

            In April 25, 1999, the first major clash between the organization and the Chinese government occurred.  Over 10,000 followers silently protested at the Chinese communist party headquarters in protest to the harassment that they had received (Chlopak, 2001).  The protest was non-violent in nature and it was resolved diplomatically after talks between Falun Gong followers and government officials.  Threatened by the magnitude of the protest, the Chinese government began a massive crackdown on Falun Gong two months down the line.  The crackdown was preceded by an official ban and widespread propaganda campaign against the group through state controlled media.  Reports of torture, illegal imprisonment, forced labor, beatings and other abuses against Falun Gong have escalated since 1999.

            Falun Gong – a structure less organization has been transformed into a global movement thanks to the repressive response of the Chinese government.  The movement has now attracted major support from international human rights movements.

Terrorism in Chiapas Mexico

            Chiapas region in Mexico is a scene of terrorist actions perpetrated against innocent civilians by paramilitary groups with the complicity of the federal government out of the radar of internationals observers.  It is virtually an unknown conflict outside Mexico.  Members of the Zapatista communities are up in arms against a paramilitary organization called the organization for the defense of indigenous and peasant rights (Opddic).

            The main cause of these acts of violence is access to land.  The Oppdic movement began operations in 1998 but has gained more strength recently.  This is a reflection of the state policy of evicting indigenous people from their land and leasing or selling it to multinational companies that seek to profit from the immense natural wealth contained in the region. Opddic has carried out land invasions, destruction of crops, beatings, harassment and kidnappings aimed against indigenous families in Chiapas.  The group has completely terrorized the indigenous peoples of Chiapas.  The paramilitary group has also issued threats against the indigenous people ordering them to vacate their land or else face dire consequences.

            The Chiapas state is the poorest and the most economically unequal state in Mexico (Reyes, 2007).  Indigenous Indians had for a very long time been rendered landless by Oppdic.  In 1994 the Zapatista uprising saw the native Indians acquire their long lost land.  Indian communities such as Tzotzil, Tselatal, Tojolabal and chol rebuilt their institutions such as the education system, health systems and governance structures.  The aim of the Oppdic group is to force indigenous communities to rescind their ownership of land by declaring it as a communal land or ejido that can then be sold to multinational companies.  What is more tragic is the complicity by the government which supplies guns and grenades to Oppdic and engages in terror against its own citizens (Reyes, 2007).

Combating Terror in Britain and Israel

            War on terror is the current catch phrase in international relations discourse.  Many states have committed themselves to a goal of eradicating terror.  Most notably is the United States has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in the recent past.  Unlike the US however, Britain and Israel have had to battle terrorist groups for long time internally.  In Britain the incidences of Northern Ireland related terror has considerably diminished.  In Israel, through there is only a slight reduction in incidences of terror. Palestinian terrorist organizations still pose a big threat.  The methods used by security forces in both countries have been similar to some extent.  Due to the different dynamics involved, there have been differences as well.

            With the rapid escalation of violence in Northern Ireland in the beginning of 1970s, the British army was deployed to restore order in Northern Ireland.  This led to a bloody confrontation with the provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) which was the militant wing of Sinn Fein and which advocated for use of violence by Catholic republicans in pursuing their objectives.  The British government responded with a massive suppression campaign deploying 12,000 troops to crush the militant group in March 1972 (Ripley, Chappell 1993).  The strategy was successful in stopping open violent conflict.  The nature of the war then changed with PIRA adopting bombing campaign, assassination of off duty policemen and extortion of protection fees.  The British government consequently adopted a strategy of gathering intelligence and placing the war in the hands of the police.  The regular units of the British army were significantly withdrawn and are engaged only in specialized operations.

            Israel’s security forces exploits in anti-terrorism activities are legendary.  Israel has learned that terrorism is stubborn and unconventional warfare that requires dynamism in combating it. (Tucker, 2003).  Israel’s strategy of fighting terrorism is based on disrupting the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and West Bank by gathering intelligence, destroying safe houses, bomb factories and arresting leaders.  The main aim is to prevent Palestinian terrorists from accessing Israel.  The Israeli security forces prefer to conduct pre-emptive strikes.  Operations of this nature are normally conducted by specialized commando units of the Israeli Defense Forces.  Controversial measures adopted by Israel in countering terrorism include targeted assassinations of suspected leaders and the construction of a security wall to partition Israel from Palestinian territories.

The U.S-Canada Border and Terrorist Threat to Canada

            The US-Canadian border officially known as the international border is at times referred to as the longest undefended border in the world.  This is because the border is patrolled by law enforcement agencies and not the military.  The contrast is quite clear when compared to the southern US-Mexico border which is heavily patrolled despite it being only a third of the northern border.  It is the longest border in the word totaling at about 5,525 miles long. Large sections of the international border are covered in forested mountainous terrain.  The border has sections that pass through rural open farmlands and maritime surfaces as well.

            After the September 11 2001 bombing, there was an increase in surveillance and patrols along the border.  There is cooperation between US and Canada in border patrol tasks. Persons living adjacent to the border are required to report any border crossing they build.  In remote areas motion sensors have been installed to monitor illegal entry. All people who wish to cross the border are required to pass through a customs post.

            United States congressional investigators consider the northern border to be porous and incapable of stopping any terrorist who wishes to cross it (Bohn 2007).  The number of United States border patrol on the northern border is 972 compared to 12000 on the southern border.  Though Canada has not traditionally been a terrorist target, there is increasing risk of a terrorist attack.  Al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden has classified Canada as a target because of Canadian involvement in war against terror in Afghanistan. (CSIS, 2008).  Furthermore Individuals who have graduated from terrorist camps in Afghanistan seek residence in Canada and pose a security threat.  Reconnaissance and pre operational planning of attacks have also been done in Canada with the aid of some Canadians.  Lesser threats come from environmental activists and white supremacist groups.

UN Security Council Resolution 1337

            In the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United states, the United Nations security council adopted a resolution 1373 on September 28, 2001. The resolution was aimed at countering terrorism in the world. The resolution was adopted unanimously and is therefore binding to all members of the United Nations.  The United Nations Security Council imposed the resolution on all members in a clear shift from previous practice in international law.

            The resolution’s objectives are to put in place measures against movement, organization and financial support of terrorist groups and activities.  The resolution calls for sharing of intelligence information among member states so as to aid in stopping international terrorism.  Member’s states are required to ratify all international conventions on terrorism by making appropriate adjustments to their national laws.  All member states are also required to criminalize any acts of terrorism.  Immigration and asylum laws are to be tightened not to allow any individual who engages in terror to be sheltered.  The resolution in addition urges members to comply with necessary extradition requests.

            In the history of terrorism, there seems in the recent past to be a shift in trend from terrorism aimed at ideological objectives or secular terrorism to terrorism motivated by religious agenda of Holy terror (Morehead 2008).  Religiously motivated terror groups view their acts as divine duty to a deity.  Religions terrorists act for themselves and take credit for their acts.  Secular terrorists on the other hand are driven by a motive to influence a certain constituency of people or government.  They seek to achieve control over policymaking decisions of a state or organization.  Religious terrorists are more lethal because of their affiliation to causes that are in their eyes beyond human.  Many radical Islamist terrorist groups indoctrinate their followers with Jihadist teachings.  The United States is threatened more by such groups like Al Qaeda because their followers are willing to die for their cause.


CNN (1996) Source: Persian Gulf Wealth Backing Terrorists

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Amy, Z. (2008) Iran and Terrorism – State Sponsored Terrorism in Iran

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Swarns, R. L. (2002) Zimbabwe Starts Arresting White Farmers Defying       Eviction

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http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9906E1DA153DF934A2575BC0           A9649C8B63

 Chokshi, M. Carter C. Gupta D. Martin T. Allen R. (1995) The History of Apartheid in South Africa

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Jones, A. (2002). Case Study: Kashmir / Punjab / the Delhi Massacre (1984)

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Chlopak, E. (2001) China’s Crackdown on Falun Gong

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Reyes, A. (2007) Low Intensity War in Chiapas: State and Paramilitary         Terrorism

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http://www.colectivocasa.org/en/story/news/low-intensity-war-chiapas-state-and-            paramilitary-terrorism

Tucker, J. B. (2003) Strategies for Countering Terrorism: Lessons from the Israeli    Experience

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Ripley, T.  Chappell, M. (1993) Security Forces in Northern Ireland 1969-92 Osprey Publishing,

Bohn, K. (2007) Security on U.S.-Canada Border Fails Terror Test

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Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) (2008) Examples of the Terrorist Threat          to Canada

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Morehead, J. W. (2001) Religious Terrorism Apocalypse Now: Armageddon Enters the New Age of Terrorism

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Terrorism In Somalia

Executive Summary

Somalia has been experiencing a lot of terrorism acts in the recent past. It has been declared a major threat to the security of most countries in the world especially its neighboring countries. The terrorist groups that are found there include the al-Qaeda, the al-Shabaab and other small jihad groups. The Al-Shabaab is the most dominant in the country and they have taken over the country’s capital city, Mogadishu. They are terrorizing the citizens of the country and making it difficult for the transitional government to form a more stable government in the country. The Al-Shabaab is trying to take control of the country as they want make the country an Islam religious country. They have formulated their own laws that are based on their own understanding of the Islamic laws. They are forcing these laws on the areas they have control over.

The Al Shabaab has also been trying to recruit more western youth of Somali origin to join their group. There has been intensive training that has been going on in Somali that is focusing on both military training and ideological training of the Islamic law. The Somali government has sought help from other countries like Ethiopia after the country was declared a failed state. The African Union has sent troops to help the Somali government maintain a stable government until the country is able to form a stable and powerful government that will be able to curb the terrorism problem that is being witnessed in the country.

The future of terrorism it has been noted is being established by the al-Shabaab and not much is being done to fight them. The US has been carrying out surveillance in the country as they try to check on the activities of the militia groups and mark the location of their leaders. So far it has been able to kill the leader of the group and other influential leaders. Other countries are also trying to support the Somali and the AU troops by providing training, support and providing guns and ammunition as they try to come up with a solution to the terrorism problem.

1.0              Introduction

In recent years, Somalia has been involved in various acts that are being classified as terrorism and there have been such incidents of terrorism that have originated from Somalia. Somalia is a country that was ruled by the British and gained independence in 1960[1]. It was then ruled by a democratic government for nine years until a military coup took place that was led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre who then took over. He led until 1991 when the opposition took over and overthrew him. After he was overthrown, several clans from the northern side of the country declared independence and made the country a republic. There was peace and stability which still remains unrecognized in the north. In the south, violence began to emerge as rival war loads were fighting to get power and dominance in the southern region. This led to the United Nations Security Council to sponsor an intervention that was led by the U.S. The mission however ended shortly after there was more violence in the streets of Mogadishu and the US made unexpected losses[2].

There have been several attempts since then to form a government in the country but they have all failed. The fourteenth effort led to the formation of a transitional government in October 2004[3]. The transitional government led to the inclusion of the warlords in parliament. The Warlords are said to hinder the formation of a government as this would lead to them loosing control and power that they are seeking. However after 15 years of recurrent violence in the country, it has been defined as a failed state as it is not able to come up with a controlling and powerful government to protect its citizens[4] . There is a power vacuum in the country which has led to the terrorism that is now being experienced in the country.

Warlords in the country have formed an alliance called the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter – Terrorism that is opposing the militia in the country. There were clashes between the militia and the alliance in May 2006 that led to the worst violence that the country had ever seen in decades and in June 5 of the same year the Militia conquered and seized Mogadishu completely[5]. This take over of Mogadishu by the militia has made the country become attractive to terrorists. Members of Al –Qaeda have sought refuge here since then and the lack of a functioning government has made the Somalia borders accessible. The borders can be crossed without visas and once inside the country the lack of a real law enforcer makes the place a good haven for the terrorists. This paper discusses terrorism in Somalia after 2008 and makes judgments about the prospects of terrorism in Somalia and in the neighboring countries.

2.0              Literature review

Several studies have been carried out on the terrorism challenge that is facing the government of Somalia. One of the studies by Daveed Gartenstein –Ross captures the strategic challenge that the country is facing that has been brought about by the rise of the al-Shabaab and the influence of the al-Qaeda on the country[6]. The study compares Somalia with Pakistan in the fact that the country is now similar to Pakistan as it is providing a safe haven for the breeding of terrorists. The study also highlights the fact that there has been a relatively large number of Americans who are travelling to Somalia to receive military training. This makes the individuals that are linked to the al-Shabaab a major threat to the US domestic security.

Another study that has been carried out is one that centered on the terrorism that is being experienced in Somalia and its prospects by Michael and Hallundbaek[7]. It centered on the history of the Al Shabaab and the nature of the Jihad in Somalia. It also concerns itself on the recruitment of other foreign fighters in the al Shabaab and other militia groups. It states that the history of such recruitments shows that they are not a new development, but they are traceable way back in the 1990’s but they are now changing and the influx of foreign fighters has been changing tremendously with time. It also identifies a correlation between the local conflicts being carried out in Somalia and the Muslim countries in foreign countries such as Europe.

3.0              Nature of terrorism and its activities in Somalia

Terrorism acts in the country continue to increase and the transitional government is unable to handle and curb the spread the increase of the terrorism groups. Over the years the numbers of terrorism acts continue to increase and they are even targeting members of the government. Not much is being done to reduce the terrorism levels in the country and the situation is becoming difficult to handle for the transitional government. The president of Somalia has openly stated that the government of Somalia is challenged by the existence of terrorism in the country[8] . He has been seeking help and support from the Somalia citizens that are living in the Diaspora in order to make the war-torn country peaceful. He said that the fighting that was taking place in the country was not that of clans but it was a foreign idea that was taking hold of Somalia. He also mentioned that the country is in need of a strong and functioning government that can be able to take responsibility for its people’s security.

3.1  Terrorist Groups in Somalia

There are two known active terrorist groups that exist in Somalia; one of them is the Osama bin Laden terrorist group, the al-Qaeda. It is believed to have been responsible for the bombing that took place in 2008 on the US Embassy in Kenya[9]. The group was also involved in the bombing of a Mombasa resort hotel in Kenya and the failed missile attack on a jet in 2002 that belonged to Israel[10]. The International Crisis Group (ICG) has reported that there is also another group of terrorists that exists in Somalia. The second group is composed of local Jihads and it emerged in 2003. It has in the past carried out several massacres and assassinations that included the murder of an Italian nun[11]. The group is led by Aden Hashi Ayro who received in Afghanistan and is referred to as the Al-Shabaab[12]. The group is decentralized all over Somalia and it has no ideological agenda. The group is said to be the most dominant group in Somalia that is causing a lot of terror and destruction through merciless killings and suicide bombings.

a)      Al Shabaab Militia group

The Al Shabaab militia group was formed out of the Union of Islamic Courts and rages war on the Ethiopian troops and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Al Shabaab which is the Arabic meaning of youth is an inspired militant group that has taken control of the Southern and Central Somalia[13] . It is a violent and an extremist group that has affiliations with the al-Qaeda. It uses intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government and continues to threaten the civil and society activists who are working to bring peace and reconciliation in the country. In 2008, they warned the participants of the reconciliation conference that was to take place in Mogadishu[14]. They scattered leaflets in the town which said that they would kill everyone that attended the conference and bomb the conference venue. They did not carry out the threats they had made but they were able to threaten the lives of the people and instill fear among the activists.

The Al-Shabaab has been known to carry out attacks that target the government and troops that belong to the AU. The UN called on the African Union member countries to assist Somali by sending them peacekeeping troops that will help them maintain peace and stability as the country tries to form a government that is powerful[15] . The Al-Shabaab has since then be targeting these troops mostly from Ethiopia and some of the government officials in a bid to discourage the peacekeeping efforts and the formation of a government. They are seeking to establish a government that is state owned that they shall govern through their own conception of the Islamic law and remove infidels who may be Ethiopians or from the United States. Their leader, Aden Hashi Ayrow, had declared war on the African Union (AU) troops that were based in Mogadishu [16]. They also attack any civilians who are Somali’s and are considered to be betraying Islamic morals and religion.

They carried out two bombings on the Somali port of Bossaso on 6th February 2008 and killed over twenty people and injured more that 100 people who were seeking treatment after that[17]. The port is normally an entry point of Ethiopian nationals who use it as a transit point as they try to reach Yemen. The attack was deemed as one of the worst attacks in the country and they were caused by two grenades that went off in a span of two minutes and were targeting a place that was highly populated. The Al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the two attacks through the internet and said that the reason for carrying out the bombing was targeting some Ethiopian and Putland soldiers who fought in Mogadishu. The soldiers had also brought their wives and they were therefore punishing them for their sinful acts of going for entertainment and their harmful culture that was against the Islamic morals and their religion.

They have also carried out several attacks that were targeting government officials. One of the incidences that have occurred has illustrated the existence of the Al-Shabaab in Somalia and proven their terrorism actions. In October 29 2008, a string of suicide bombings were reported to have targeted government buildings and the United Nations compound and they left at least twenty five people dead[18]. The attack was said to have links to the al-Qaeda terror network that was in Somalia. Later it was confirmed that the attack had been carried out by the Al Shabaab. Among those that were reported dead were several U.N employees after the three suicide car bombers attacked the offices of the U.N and the Ethiopian consulate where several people were lined up to get visas. A Presidential palace was also bombed in Hargesia the capital of Somali land[19]. At the exact same time other suicide bombers were striking anti terror police and killed about 6 people among them 4 police officers. These attacks were said to have been carried out by the al-Qaeda terrorists more specifically by the Al-Shabaab militant group who are said to have links to the al Qaeda and were trying to gain control of the Somali country and push the Ethiopian troops who were loyal to the transitional government out of the country. They killed several people but they were not able to push the troops out of the country.

The U.S has been trying to end the terrorism acts in Somalia by assisting the African Union troops through training and giving them advice that can help them to handle the militia groups. They have also helped to provide guns and ammunition that is helping the troops fight the militia especially the al-Shabaab. They have used special surveillance equipment to be able to locate the position of the militia groups and their leaders [20]. This has helped in targeting and killing the leaders and some of the members of the groups before they carried out an attack. They have been searching for the leaders of the groups of terrorism in Somalia in order to reduce the influence the leaders have on the group. This would help reduce the spread of the group and also make them discouraged in their efforts.

            The leader of the group, Aden Hashi Farah Ayro was killed by the U.S air strike in May 2008[21]. They used their special surveillance equipment to spot him and got his exact location. They then flew to the exact location and killed him together with some of his followers. The Al-Shabaab leader was considered to be an instrumental leader of the al-Shabaab and was also involved with the Al Qaeda in Somalia. He was a member of the Ayr sub clan in Somalia and had also joined the Islamic court.  He was trained in explosives and insurgency tactics in Afghanistan and was also assisting in the Islamic courts Union after he returned to Somalia[22]. He was therefore very well conversant with the Islamic laws and guidelines. Through his relationship and involvement in the Islamic courts and his training and experience in the use of explosives and insurgency tactics he was able to form the Al Shabaab militia. He became their leader and came up with the aim of the group. The aim was to create an Islamic state in Somalia that was to be ruled by the Islamic Sharia law. The Al shabaab group has been linked to causing death and destruction in its wake and is thought to have sent hundreds of troops to Lebanon to fight against Israel.

            Even after the death of their leader, the militia group has continued to cause death and destruction all over Somalia. On 3rd December 2009, there was a suicide bombing that took place in the country and there were over 25 people who were killed in the deadly attack[23]. The bombing took place at a hotel by the name Shamo where hundreds had gathered to celebrate the graduation of medical students of Benadit University. The bombing was carried out by a suicide bomber who was dressed up like a woman complete with female shoes and a veil. Those who were killed included the Health Minister at the time, Qamar Aden Ali, Education Minister Ahmed Abdulahi Waayee and Higher Education Minister Ibrahim Hassan Addow [24]. Although there were claims that the government was involved in the bombing as some of the government officials had been spotted walking out of the building just before the incident, the President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed described the incident as a national disaster and refuted these claims. The group had previously carried out several suicide bombings on government buildings targeting the government officials and had immediately claimed responsibility for them. Three journalists were also killed but most of the people who were killed were mainly students. Over 60 people were injured in the incident[25].

b)      Other Jihadist terrorist groups

There are other groups of terrorists that exist in Somali and they are mostly involved with suicide bombing. They have been known to carry out this kind of attacks that are targeted on civilians, African union troops and the government officials. These groups are local and they do not have a destined role or purpose that they use as they are targeting and killing. This is in contrast to the Al-Shabaab group who has a purpose of forming their own government based on their Islamic laws that they have developed from their own understanding. These groups view the suicide attempts as part of their religious custom and in line with their belief of suicide being a deeply religious act that shows one strong belief and is deeply praised.

 A top leader in Islam who is very radical called for more suicide attacks on the African Union peacekeepers in the country on September 2009 after several other deadly attacks that were also suicidal took place. He spoke during a public prayer at Elshabiyaha. About 21 other people had been killed in the same month in Mogadishu after a twin bomb attack that was performed by a member of the group[26]. The jihadists were pushing for the African union peace keepers to leave the country threatening that there shall be no peace until they leave the country.

            According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Somali jihadist pirates are also involved in the attacks that are being carried out on the US Navy ships. The pirates attack the ships and they threaten the lives of other humans and they end up disrupting international commerce. Some of them have been arrested and charged with piracy related offences involving the Navy Ships. In April 10 2010, 11 men Somali origin that are believed to be part of the terrorist group were charged with piracy which has a mandatory penalty of life in prison[27]. They were also charged with other charges that were connected to the piracy.

3.2  Human Rights Violations

Reports that have been made on the conditions and the situations existing in Somali have shown that the existence of the terrorist groups has led to an increase in human rights violation and other rights and crime rates have increased. This situation has led to the increased urgency in the need to stop the terrorists. The al-shabaab has been controlling the south and central parts of Somali. They are known to have the largest controlling power more than the TFG who are found at Mogadishu and have limited power outside the city[28]. The al-Shabaab has therefore taken upon them to dictate all the details of the civilians in how they should live. From the way they dress, pray and have also been observing the cell phone ring tones of the citizens to ensure that they are not against the morals and the Islamic laws in the tune and language used[29].  Most of these restrictions fall on the women and they have taken to place harsh punishments on the women. Some of the punishments that are imposed on the wrong doers include head shavings, amputations and in some circumstances they kill the wrong doer through stoning. They have also been known to whip women and beat and slap men for the mistakes of their women whether they are their wives, daughters or mothers. Those who violate the verdicts made by the Al –Shabaab have been killed at the spot.

According to a report made by the Human Rights Watch Organization, there have been gross violations of human rights in the country that are carried out by mostly the al Shabaab. Through the laws they are inflicting on the people they have violated most of the human rights and they continue to fight with the AU troops and the TFG to have control of the whole country so that they are able force these laws on all the citizens of the country. One of the far reaching rules that they have come up with is the amputation of hands and the executions of wrong doers that are being carried out in broad daylight in front of a crowd as a lesson to any other wrong doer. These executions and amputation are carried out on the Islamic believers and any other person despite their religion and the punishments are based on their version of the Islamic law[30].

An 18 year old man was interviewed by the Human Rights Watch Organization and described one amputation that he had witnessed before he fled from the country. The amputation was carried out in public for all to see during the day. According to the laws of the Al-Shabaab if a thief is caught stealing or is reported stealing, his hand is chopped off and if he repeats the act of stealing the other hand is chopped off[31]. The chopping of hands is normally rare but when it is to occur it is announced with loudspeakers for the people to come and see how the thieves are punished. The Al –shabaab converge every Friday after prayers near the hospital where they would try and woo the youth to join them. That day of the amputation, they had announced earlier during the day before the prayers that they will be punishing a person but they did not say how. During the Friday prayers they announced that they will be punishing a thief but they did not say how or give any more details. They invited everyone who was in the mosque to come and witness. After the prayers they gathered the people to form a crowd to witness the amputation of the thief’s hand. They said that the man was a bandit and that they would show him full justice. They never mentioned what the man had stolen. The men who carried out the amputation were wearing masks. They stretched the man’s hand until they pulled the joint apart and they then cut the hand off with a sword[32].

This is just one of the examples of situations that the Al-Shabaab and the other terrorist groups have carried out that grossly violate human rights in the country and instill fear and threat to the citizens. They have come up with their own laws that they want to enforce in the country and make Somali an Islam country with these laws that are based on their own understanding of the Quran. These laws are greatly violating the human rights of the people. According to Human Rights Watch, religious customs or laws should not affect or lead to the violation of the human rights of people and should not be forced down on people to follow them. This is what is happening in Somali[33].

4.0              Fighting Terrorism in Somali

There has been a fight that has been going on to stop the spread of terrorism and its effect in Somali. The formation of the Transitional government has helped to control power and provide some administration into the country, though it’s being targeted by the terrorist groups and most of the government officials are being killed. From the war that went on in Afghanistan between the U.S military troops and the terrorists to try and bring peace in Afghanistan, a valuable lesson was learnt from the devastating effects of that war. This was through the many lives that were lost by the Army, the terrorists and the citizens who were victims of the war more especially the women and children. The U.S government resolved the best way to fight terrorism does not include more violence.

This realization has led to the formation of a counter terrorism strategy to help stop the spread of terrorism in Somalia without the use of war or violence. The U.S is committed to deny the al Qaeda, the Al-Shabaab and other terrorists a safe haven in Somalia. It is currently providing the Somali military including the AU peacekeepers with training and support. It is providing training to the Somali intelligent officers and providing fuel to the military maneuvers in the country[34] . Surveillance information of the insurgent whereabouts and the funding of arms are also being provided by the U.S to be able to track and provide information of the planned attacks before they take place and stop them. Majority of the training has gone to the African Union peacekeepers to help the Somali government and military to be able to cope with the militia and the terrorists. The U.S had also provided further support by carrying out air strikes on the leaders who have been spotted and tracked using the special surveillance equipment and killed them. This was the strategy that was used to kill the al Shabaab leader. The U.S has avoided being involved on the ground by sending troops to terrorize the militia; instead it is using the hit-and-take off strategy of elimination influential leaders of the militia groups.

Somalia lacks a legitimate and viable government; the transitional federation government’s span of authority is within the city blocks and has limits that do not reach the scarred part of the nation[35]. International organizations like the U.N called on African Union peacekeepers to go to Somali and help form a stable environment in which a government can flourish. However Somali leaders were quick to add that peacekeepers from Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia were not welcome as they would be too eager to meddle in the affairs of the country. Peacekeepers from Sudan and Uganda were welcome. The country with the help of the African Union is in the process of getting ways to form another government that is more legitimate and strong. The current government is not recognized by most countries including the U.S and the Somali people have little faith on the government. It is regarded as a weak institution and it has yet to prove the capability of defending its citizens.

The TFG is also heavily involved with corruption and criminal activity. This is accordance to the UN, despite the foreign training that the military is receiving and the assistance it still remains corrupt and ineffective and also disorganized. A part of the military is loyal to only some of the government officials and military officials who are profiting from the business of wars and the resistance to integrate the country and for m a government with one source of command[36].

5.0              The future prospects of Terrorism

The Al –Shabaab have been recruiting more youth into their group for them to be in a position to have a fighting force in the country and implement their law[37]. It has established training camps and many Muslims from western countries are being recruited and being trained in these camps and become part of the group. This is making the group to be a fearful threat in the country and the other foreign countries where the Muslim are coming from. There are concerns that since the terrorism groups in Somalia are linked to the al-Qaeda especially the al-Shabaab there is a chance that the threat of terrorism is far from over. The operations of Al-Shabaab that include terrorist training camps and the Islamic courts union camps are furthering the ideas, rules and the law of the al-Shabaab and making the threat of Somali terrorism even more real.

There has been a mass exodus of young men of Somali origin from other countries such as United States, Canada, and Europe, Australia and Saudi Arabia who are joining these training camps to receive military training by the al-Shabaab and the al-Qaeda and other small militia groups that are present in the country. One of the camps that are being used is the Ras Kamboni camp that has been reopened as a training facility to train the young men. This is an example that proves that the terrorism in Somalia is far from over. These young men are trained and then they get back to the foreign countries. The training they are receiving in the training camps is both ideological and military in nature. They are taught the Islamic law that the al-Shabaab is advocating for and the military tactics that they can use in times of battle. The al-Shabaab is preparing itself to be battle ready and be a strong force that can be able to overcome the AU troops and any other troops that may come to Somali to fight them and their ideologies.

6.0              Conclusion

The Al-Shabaab is a major threat to the security of Somalia and many other foreign countries[38]. It has led to the increased terrorism that is being experienced in the countries that are neighboring Somalia and other countries that have citizens of Somalia origin. It has also led to the fear and terror that is being experienced in the country by its citizens. Terrorism has been given a new phase by the al-Shabaab grouping in Somalia and its counterparts the al-Qaeda. The country is proving to be a safe haven to the terrorist groups due to the lack of a single controlling power and the instability that is being felt in the country. With its increasing numbers it is making the possibility of terrorism being a problem that is going to be felt from time to time and for a long time to come [39].

It is up to the other countries to help and assist the country to reduce the effects of terrorism in the country by helping in the formation of a stable government and providing the country with military support and any other support that the country may need in order to be able to fight the terrorist groups. The terrorism threat being felt in the country should not be left to Somali government alone to handle as the effects of the terrorism acts will spread and affect countries all over the world in one way or the other.


Aljazeera.net. Who are al-Shabab. 4 August 2009. 9 May 2010 <http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2009/08/20098432032479714.html>.

Bajoria, Jayshree and Greg Bruno. al-Qaeda (a.k.a. al-Qaida, al-Qa’ida) . 30 Decemeber 2009. Retrieved 2010 May 09 from <http://www.cfr.org/publication/9126/>.

BBC News. Italian nun shot dead in Somalia . 18 September 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5353850.stm>.

Somalia al-Shabab Islamists deny causing deadly bomb . 4 December 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8394528.stm>.

Blog heritage. Don’t Let Somalia Become a Black Hole for U.S. Counter-Terrorism Funding. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://blog.heritage.org/2010/03/26/dont-let-somalia-become-a-black-hole-for-u-s-counter-terrorism-funding>.

Brutuon, Bronwyn E. Somalia: Council on Foreign Relations report urges USA to accept Islamist authority . March 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=23148>.

CNN. Kenya Missile attack sparks new urgency. 4 December 2002. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/12/03/missile.defense/index.html.>.

Emerson, Steve. How Designated Terror Organization al-Shabaab Targets Western Youth. 30 January 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.5394/pub_detail.asp>.

Federal Research Division. Somalia a Country Study. Rome: Kessinger Publishing, 2004.

Fortili, Amy. Somalia’s President Says Terrorism Growing There. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://abcnews.go.com/US/wirestory?id=8742872&page=1>.

Garowe. 3 Killed in Somaliland, Puntland Suicide Bomb Attacks. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 09 May 2010 from <http://allafrica.com/stories/200810300023.html>.

Harnisch, Chris. The Terror Threat From Somalia: The Internationalization of al Shabaab. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 09 May 2010 from <http://www.criticalthreats.org/somalia/terror-threat-somalia-internationalization-al-shabaab-feb-12-2010>.

Hassig, Susan M. and Abdul Zawiah Latif. Volume 13 of cultures of the World Cultures of the World -Group 13. London: Marshall Cavendish, 2007.

Human Rights Watch. Harsh War, Harsh Peace. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2010.

Kaplan, Eben. Somalia’s Terrorist Infestation. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.cfr.org/publication/10781/>.

Kellerhals, David Merle Jr. U.S. Charges 11 Somalis with Maritime Piracy. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2010/April/20100428135453dmslahrellek8.427066e-02.html>.

Nazret. Somalia – US Adds Al-Shabaab to terror list. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://nazret.com/blog/index.php?title=somalia_us_adds_al_shabaab_to_terror_lis&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1>.

Roggio, Bill. Five suicide bombers strike in northern Somalia. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/10/five_suicide_bombers.php>.

Ross, Daveed Gartenstein. “The Strategic Challenge of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab.” Middle East Quarterly 2009: 25-36.

Shay, Shaul. Somalia between jihad and restoration. NewJersey: Transaction Publishers, 2008.

Somaliland. International community condemns the Terrorist attack in Somaliland. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.somalilandnet.com/news/headline_news/2008/20083936.shtml>.

Taarnby, Michael and Lars Hallundbaek. “Al-Shabaab.” Al shabaab: The Internationalization of Millitant Islamism in Somalia and the Implications for Radicalisation Processes in Europe . Ministry of Justice , 26 February 2010.

Worsnip, Patrick. Africa peacekeeping problems abound for UN envoys. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN15537599>.

[1] Federal Research Division. Somalia a Country Study. Rome: Kessinger Publishing, 2004. Pp 38

[2] Hassig, Susan M. and Abdul Zawiah Latif. Volume 13 of cultures of the World Cultures of the World -Group 13. London: Marshall Cavendish, 2007. Pp 29

[3] Kaplan, Eben. Somalia’s Terrorist Infestation. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.cfr.org/publication/10781/>. Para 3

[4] Shaul Shay,  Somalia between jihad and restoration. NewJersey: Transaction Publishers, 2008. Pp 148

[5] Eben Kaplan, Somalia’s Terrorist Infestation, (2006, June 6). Retrieved on 9 May 2010 from: <http://www.cfr.org/publication/10781/>, para 4-8

[6] Daveed Gartenstein Ross, “The Strategic Challenge of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab.” Middle East Quarterly 2009: pp 25-36.

[7] Michael Taarnby, and Hallundbaek Lars. “Al-Shabaab.” Al shabaab: The Internationalization of Millitant Islamism in Somalia and the Implications for Radicalisation Processes in Europe . Ministry of Justice , 26 February 2010. pp 1

[8] Fortili, Amy. Somalia’s President Says Terrorism Growing There. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://abcnews.go.com/US/wirestory?id=8742872&page=1>. Para 1

[9] Jayshree Bajoria, and Greg Bruno. al-Qaeda (a.k.a. al-Qaida, al-Qa’ida) . 30 Decemeber 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.cfr.org/publication/9126/>. Para 4

[10] CNN. Kenya Missile attack sparks new urgency. 4 December 2002. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/12/03/missile.defense/index.html.>. para 1

[11] BBC News. Italian nun shot dead in Somalia . 18 September 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5353850.stm>. para 1

[12] Aljazeera.net. Who are al-Shabab. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2009/08/20098432032479714.html>. para 2

[13] Hassig, Susan M. and Abdul Zawiah Latif. Volume 13 of cultures of the World Cultures of the World -Group 13. London: Marshall Cavendish, 2007. Para 2

[14] Nazret. Somalia – US Adds Al-Shabaab to terror list. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://nazret.com/blog/index.php?title=somalia_us_adds_al_shabaab_to_terror_lis&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1>. Para 5

[15] Patrick Worsnip,. Africa peacekeeping problems abound for UN envoys. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN15537599>. Para 1

[16] Nazret. Somalia – US Adds Al-Shabaab to terror list. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://nazret.com/blog/index.php?title=somalia_us_adds_al_shabaab_to_terror_lis&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1>. Para 4

[17] Garowe. 3 Killed in Somaliland, Puntland Suicide Bomb Attacks. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://allafrica.com/stories/200810300023.html>. para 1

[18] Bill.Roggio, Five suicide bombers strike in northern Somalia. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/10/five_suicide_bombers.php>. para 4

[19] Somaliland. International community condemns the Terrorist attack in Somaliland. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.somalilandnet.com/news/headline_news/2008/20083936.shtml>. para 2

[20] Brutuon, Bronwyn E. Somalia: Council on Foreign Relations report urges USA to accept Islamist authority . March 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=23148>. Para 42

[21]  ibid

[22] ibid

[23] BBC News. Italian nun shot dead in Somalia . 18 September 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5353850.stm>. para 1

[24] Ibid para 9

[25] BBC News. Italian nun shot dead in Somalia . 18 September 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5353850.stm>. para 11

[26] Roggio, Bill. Five suicide bombers strike in northern Somalia. 29 October 2008 Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/10/five_suicide_bombers.php>. para 10

[27] Kellerhals, David Merle Jr. U.S. Charges 11 Somalis with Maritime Piracy. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2010/April/20100428135453dmslahrellek8.427066e-02.html>. para 3

[28] Kaplan, Eben. Somalia’s Terrorist Infestation. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.cfr.org/publication/10781/>. Para 6

[29] Human Rights Watch. Harsh War, Harsh Peace. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2010.pp 28

[30] Human Rights Watch. Harsh War, Harsh Peace. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2010.pp 2

[31] Ibid pp 32

[32] Human Rights Watch. Harsh War, Harsh Peace. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2010.pp 32

[33] Ibid pp 2

[34] Aljazeera.net. Who are al-Shabab. 4 August 2009. 9 May 2010 <http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2009/08/20098432032479714.html>. para 6

[35] Kaplan, Eben. Somalia’s Terrorist Infestation. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.cfr.org/publication/10781/>. Para 8

[36] Blog heritage. Don’t Let Somalia Become a Black Hole for U.S. Counter-Terrorism Funding. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://blog.heritage.org/2010/03/26/dont-let-somalia-become-a-black-hole-for-u-s-counter-terrorism-funding>. Para 2

[37] Emerson, Steve. How Designated Terror Organization al-Shabaab Targets Western Youth. 30 January 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.5394/pub_detail.asp>. para 1

[38] Emerson, Steve. How Designated Terror Organization al-Shabaab Targets Western Youth. 30 January 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010 from <http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.5394/pub_detail.asp>.

[39]  ibid

Terrorism In The Middle East


Terrorism is likened to a pandemic disease that threatens the lives and economic resources of the global population. Every government from developed and undeveloped countries condemns terrorism at the literal meaning of hatred and defiance. Terrorism is critically viewed as the ultimate ill of society where a few barbaric men attempts to create chaos and always attempts to destroy the institutionalization of democracies as well the socio-economic-political well-being of a country.

Many scholars are challenged by the deepening quest in investigating the root causes, manifestations, issues and growth of terrorism in the Middle East, aside from the religious-political turmoil in the Arab world. At hindsight, what has happened in the 9/11 US tragedy was a clear manifestation on the magnitude and scope of terrorism that crosses international boundaries. The underlying situation indicates escalation and expansion of terrorism at the global sphere.

            Time and again, the government enforcers continue its search to breaking the root cause of terrorism, discovering the relevance of social developments as partly a preemptive measure to counter act terrorism. On the other hand, experts believe that counteracting terrorism with substantial use of force relinquishes counter productivity due potential human errors affecting human rights.

This term paper will discuss and examine several empirical findings relating the root causes, manifestations, current issues and growth of terrorism in the Middle East. The review of literatures and use of other statistical data will be the method of the overall topical discussions.

Literature Review

Perceived root causes of terrorism

            This section will review and examine relevant perceptions on the root causes of terrorism.  The Director of Policy Studies and Senior Fellow Akiko Fukushima (2002) of the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) in Japan has discussed various factors as root causes of terrorism, in which Fukushima described and wrote the following:

In a sense of injustice and inequality in a certain country can trace the usual suggestive correlation as root causes of terrorism, from which the issues of poverty, governance, globalization, conflict of political interests are main factors of violence, pertaining to the desperate yet exploitative use of terrorist leaders in recruiting the less educated and impoverished citizenry, and inculcation of fanatical and extremist religious beliefs that is also attributed by what the people observed from the characters of superpower countries in the global scope. (p. 60)

Fukushima (2002) explained that the “portrayed dominant character” of superpower countries depicts indifference with poor and developing nations, wherein paving the way for some individuals to emerge themselves as leaders that influences and agitates the inkling of individuals or groups. For example, it can be analyzed that what has happened in Afghanistan was central to the leadership of Osama Bin Laden who capably emerged in the socio-religious-culture of Afghans where Al-Qaeda was organized.

            With the experiential thought of Fukushima (2002) on the underlying root causes of terrorism, it may be perceived that what she described as the “portrayed dominant character” of superpower countries is referring to the globalization of economies, in which the developing countries are unable to participate and therefore becoming poorer or impoverished, like many countries in the Middle East.

 It can be analyzed that poverty causes ignorance due underprivileged to social developments, like educational welfare. From this point of view, those individuals who have the educational and social experience in foreign countries, like the United States and Europe, and have fully integrated in the Western cultures can “capitalize” the ability or take advantage of the underprivileged people, specifically those who are less educated or much more for being illiterate. Fukushima (2002) has configured the perceived root causes of terrorism, as illustrated below:

Source: Fukushima, A. (2002)

As shown in the illustration above, the hypothesis of Fukushima (2002) addresses the situation that the terrorist groups in the Middle East, specifically the Al-Qaeda can expand its “clout” in influencing the global Muslim communities. In sum, the perceptions of Fukushima (2002) outline the substantial understanding on the root causes of terrorism.

            Historical manifestations

            In 2005, retired Cabinet Secretary of the Government of India and currently the Director of the Institute for Topical Studies Bahukutumbi Raman theorized that poverty is just a “pretext and alibi” of terrorist organizations, wherein Raman (2005) described and wrote the following historical findings:

The organizing of terrorist organization in the Middle East has originated in Egypt where the “Muslim Brotherhood” was organized in 1928; Egyptian social and political reformer Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949), who was inspired by the teachings of his father as an Imam (prayer leader), founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 as a religious-political organization with the guiding principles of Qur’an (Islamic teachings of Mohammed) and Hadith (Islamic traditions), sought to uphold Islamism that rejects colonialism and social inequality adherent to the Marxist doctrines, nationalization of an Arab state and international recognition of Islamic world. (p. 1)

            Accordingly, the war against Palestine during the period 1930s-1940s was supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which the assassination of al-Banna in 1949 was attributed.  Raman (2005) implied that it was not merely on the poverty issue from which the Muslim Brotherhood supported the toppling of Palestinian monarchy, but the “radicalization” of the movement adherent to the establishment of an Islamic state, out of the so-called nationalization of the Arab countries.

            To cite, the primary obligation of an incumbent leadership is for every Muslim to resist towards the fundamental goal of converting every people to be a Muslim, so as the entire world to be Islamic, and Islam will reign in the corners of the earth (Raman, 2005).

            It is evident that the foundations of the Muslim Brotherhood was not meant for socio-economic inequality issue, but highlights the insatiable clamor for a religious secessionism at the “Islamic extremists’ beliefs”, wherein those who cannot be converted will be “resisted” , manifesting the spate of terrorists’ attacks in the Middle East as well the Western allies which the resistance took place in Middle East, prior to the so-called “Westernization of Arab economies” where domestic political turmoil engulfed the Arab world.

            Raman (2005) further described the historical developments of the Muslim Brotherhood from the 1960’s, wherein University scholar and Sheikh Abdullah Azzam led the Jihad (holy war) against the Russians in 1966. To cite, the cobweb of Jihad has inspired many Afghans, like the Mujahedeen (Muslim guerilla warriors) who have found the effective tactical resistance against the Russians, which historically, the Jihad was developed by Azzam and later improved by Osama Bin Laden in 1999.

            As emphasized by Raman (2005), the Muslims’ religious rights and obligations do not forbid them in acquiring “weapons of mass destruction” or WMD in order to preserve the religious beliefs. Likewise, under the leadership of Bin Laden, Muslim countries are obliged to support Jihad by sharing their technologies and advance weaponry, like the encouragement of Pakistan to provide techno-nuclear capabilities.

            It may be analyzed that Al-Qaeda consolidates its power by organizing Muslim alliances, and manifest the show of force to the Westerners and its allies through strategic assault. This perception acknowledges the above findings of Raman that Islamism wages the violent threat to the non-believers of Islam, in which Al-Qaeda considers themselves as the wrath of Mohammed and keepers of the sovereign demigod; in the personality of Bin Laden to the Al-Qaeda.

            Based on the historical findings of Raman (2005) it shows that terrorism in the Middle East is obviously motivated by the Islamist secessionist movement, specifically influenced or controlled by the Al-Qaeda terrorists groups who propagated the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine for “religious domination”. The manifestation of religious domination is entangled in the promotion of an Islamic world that outlines the religious-racial-cultural conflict.

            Overall, the religious-racial-cultural conflict in the Muslim and Christian world can be perceived as a systemic barrier that is being capitalized or taken for advantage by the terrorist groups in the Middle East to organize (recruit) and mobilize the Islamic fundamentalist movement.

            Current issues and growth of terrorism

The spate of terrorism in the Middle East is viewed by experts as “fuelled” by the “inter-Arab state” conflicts, like the Israeli-Palestinian war, the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), the Palestine Islamic Jihad, to name a few, which highlighted the bombings in Dharan, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in 1996 that accounted a death toll of 897 (Crook et al, 2009).  This means that the current issues and growth of terrorism in the Middle East is consistently progressing.

According to Johnston Archive (2008) the study-research conducted by ‘Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT)’ has implied that terrorism in the Middle East is still hoisted as a substantial issue.

However, the 44 numbers of terrorist organizations identified by the intelligence community are outside of Middle East, from which terrorism is becoming global and focusing to the Westerners and its allied countries (Johnston Archive, 2009).

The current development was supported by the sampling of data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) and Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) who reported that terrorists organizations from the Middle East collaborates with Al-Qaeda’s global operation. Illustrated below is the sampling of data on related casualties of terrorism in Sri Lanka:

Source: SATP and ICM (2009)

According to SATP and ICM (2009), the year 2009 statistical data on casualties of terrorist violence has accounted the total civilian casualties of 3,487 than the security force that has only 947 casualties, as documented in the first quarter of 2009.

To cite, while the total numbers of casualties of terrorists total to 2,181, it may be perceived that the loss of lives from the terrorists can triple the number of civilian casualties due suicide bombings, rating the killing of 15 persons for every single attack of 1 terrorist suicide bomber (SATP ; ICM, 2009). This wave of terror is a result of the Al-Qaeda alliance with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.

            Moreover, the Johnston Archive (2008) pointed out that terrorism in the Middle East creates “domino effect” in other countries where religious-racial-cultural sentimentalism intrudes in legitimate socio-political conflicts, like in civil wars (domestic hostility) where Muslim radical groups are waging war.

The above discussion can be exemplified by the escalation of war in Asian countries, like in the Philippines where the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Abbu Sayyaf and the Bangsa Moro Army are being infiltrated by terrorist groups from Middle East aside from Al-Qaeda.  The Johnston Archive (2008) has accounted the following statistical data on the consistent rise of international terrorism incidents from 1970 to 2005:

            Source: Johnston Archive (2008)

Data Analysis

            Based on the literature review, the study-research has pertinently supplied evidences that terrorism in the Middle East has long been entangled on the socio-cultural, religious, racial, economic and political condition of the Arab world.

The data also indicate the effects of terrorism in the Middle East throughout the world, specifically the global alliances of the Al-Qaeda with various radical groups that escalate the wave of terrorism in Western countries.

The results on the analysis of data point out the succinct effects of terrorism from the Middle East to the global sphere. These effects can be interestingly discuss and thoroughly examined through updating of information to revalidate the initial findings.

Through this term paper, the overall discussions and analysis of information or data presented herein acknowledges the fact that terrorism stemmed from Islamist extremism and has even aggravated the societal condition of the Arab and non-Arab population.

Findings and Conclusion

The overall discussions and examinations of empirical findings has found that the root causes of international terrorism traces the issues of poverty, governance, globalization, conflict of political interests as main factors of violence. However, the inculcation of fanatical and extremist religious beliefs is also an added advantage of the terrorist movement “to win the sympathy” of the people.

Moreover, the historical analogies of terrorism in the Middle East confirms that the primary obligation of every Muslim is to resist the Western culture, in which the issue of poverty and colonization “favors an alibi” to the so-called claim of terrorists of leading their people’s lives towards social development.

            On the other hand, the Muslim alliance is strategically established by Al-Qaeda in the domestic political turmoil of a country where the “Muslim brothers” are at stake, like the alliance with the radical armed group (Tamil Tigers) in Sri Lanka, as well the Muslim extremists in the Philippines. In which case, the alliance can be viewed as joining forces to overpower a domestic political situation, from which the Al-Qaeda can gain global control of terrorists’ organizations.

            In conclusion, terrorism in the Middle East is a virulent quest for religious-racial-cultural identity of a few barbaric men in the Islamic world, seeking to confederate the Muslim faith by terror of Jihad. Thus, the global population must collectively harmonize all efforts to uphold the legitimate sovereignty of every state and defend the bulwark of democracy against terrorism.


Fukushima, A. (2002). ‘Understanding and Addressing the Underlying Causes of

            International Terrorism’. National Institute for Research Advancement.

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Johnston Archive (2008). ‘Statistics on Terrorism’. Retrieved 24 June 2009 from


South Asia Terrorism Portal and Institute for Conflict Management (2009). ‘Casualties of

            Terrorist Violence’.  Retrieved 22 June 2009 from


Raman, B. (2005). ‘International Terrorism: Root Causes Pretext and Alibi’. South Asia

Analysis Group. 24 June 2009 from


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