Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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International models of the relationship between terrorism and political conflicts

Wednesday 17/May/2023 - 07:46 PM
The Reference
Nahla Abdel Moneim


The struggle for power remains one of the most important reasons that fragment the systems of states and open the way for terrorist groups to settle in exhausted regions, which activates the goals of the ravenous to employ extremism within plans to deplete the capabilities of peoples and throw them into civil wars.

Looking at the conditions of the countries in which terrorism is spread, we find that most of them have a history of struggle for power and internal conflicts, which in turn leads to the exhaustion of the security and military regimes, the distraction of their roles, and their preoccupation with protecting the borders and resources of the homelands.


Statistical figures

The Global Terrorism Index for the year 2023 by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace, through which the activities of extremists and their results are monitored, stated that the countries that suffered the largest number of victims of terrorist operations were the countries affected by political conflicts.

These countries came as follows, in order from the most affected to the least: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Mali, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Niger. Hence, the common feature among them is the political conflicts that paved the way for terrorist polarization.

The study said that the Taliban's takeover of power in Afghanistan in August 2021 has turned the attacks carried out by the movement into political terrorism, with defining characteristics that differ systematically from its previous history of violent attacks outside power, but in the end, those operations leave many victims who pay the price of conflicts.

The institute previously referred to the role of the struggle for power in Afghanistan in the security unrest and the occurrence of many victims, which prompted the movement to defend itself through an official statement in which it attacked the Global Terrorism Index and those responsible for it, accusing them of misleading, and saying that it is not an extremist movement but is only defending the homeland against the foreign occupier, represented by the US administration and its allies in NATO.


How do Western writers see the relationship between political conflicts and terrorism?

This leads us to a broader conflict with which terrorist movements with an international dimension began to take shape historically. With the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the last decades of the 20th century, some global entities found an entry point to settle terrorists in the region under ideological backgrounds that portrayed the war not as political, but rather as a religious war liquidating the Muslims of the region. Then came the emergence of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, which established a new era in the history of international terrorism.

In his book “Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know”, Daniel Byman, an American politician analyst and researcher at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, refers to the role of the Soviets in the emergence of terrorist movements in Afghanistan and the country’s transformation into a hotbed of violence, pointing out that the emergence of al-Qaeda created an opportunity for the spread of extremist ideologies derived from al-Qaeda theorists, most notably Abdullah Azzam.

For his part, Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid mentions in his book “Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia” that there are major international entities that fuel the struggle for power between the active currents within the Taliban movement, which exacerbates the situation and threatens a civil war.

Meanwhile, in his book “The Making of Terrorism in Pakistan”, Eamon Murphy, professor of history and international relations at Curtin University in Western Australia, raises the issue of the conflict between India and Pakistan in attracting terrorism to Kashmir as one of the aspects of the relationship between the two variables.

For his part, Christopher Daniels, professor of political science at Florida A&M University, says in his book “Somali Piracy and Terrorism in the Horn of Africa” that the political conflicts that Somalia experienced paved the way for terrorism amid international ambitions for the country’s capabilities, and therefore the scramble for power without fair standards for the transfer of power exposes countries to crises of violence and extremism.