May 27, 2018 in Research

Terror Attacks

Introduction

Evidently, terror attacks and terrorism-related crimes are some of the most contentious issues in the world today. Terror attacks are used by extremists to scare the public into meeting their demands. Terrorists believe that if they cause panic and trepidation and force people into fearing them, they have power over them. Terror attacks are usually violent and fierce. According to Miller (2008), terrorists can do whatever they can to instill fear among people.

Purpose of Research Paper

The rapid increase in research literature on terror attacks reflects the increasing interest in this issue. For most of the history, research studies on terror attacks have been conducted in the cracks and crevices aimed at establishing causes or sources and impacts of terror attacks in the society. Few researchers have devoted their scholarly activities to issues relating to how to prevent, control, and manage terror attacks effectively. This is because most researchers have focused on traditional interests concerning terror attacks, which revolve around causes and impacts of terror attacks in the society. Most research studies have neglected prevention and control of terror attacks. The few research studies that have attempted to focus on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks have done so in a substandard and shoddy manner. Whereas huge volumes of literature are available on causes and impacts of terror attacks, there is no adequate literature on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks. For this reason, this research paper will focus mainly on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks. This research aims to provide reliable literature how terror attacks can be prevented, controlled, and managed effectively. As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”; thus, preventing and controlling terror attacks is more important than dealing with them.

Relation of this Research with Previous Research Studies

This research study will also use available literature on terror attacks and terrorism-related issues to provide realistic techniques for preventing, controlling, and managing terror attacks.

Literature Review

According to Cronin (2012), terror attacks have a very long history that can be comfortably and easily traced back thousands of years. However, it would be difficult to appreciate this based on the literature published in books and major academic journals on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks. Laqueur (2001) also affirms that many research studies on terror attacks have not focused on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks and terrorism-related crimes.

Research studies on terrorist attacks and terrorism-related issues have increased rapidly and dramatically over the past years in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks at World Trade Centre. The United States of America as well as the rest of the world witnessed one of the most destructive terror attacks in the world on the 11th of September 2001 at the World Trade Centre. Since then, terror attacks and terrorism-related crimes have become major international issues across the globe. This has led to increased research of terror attacks. According to Hewitt (2003), seventy percent of the literature on terror attacks has been written since the late 1960s. However, if the current trend of research of terror attacks continues, within the next two years it will certainly be possible to assert that more than ninety percent of the entire literature on terror attacks will have been written since the September 11 terror attacks. This does not imply that literature before the September 11 terror attacks was sparse, but rather emphasizes the unbelievable and astonishing volume of literature material that is now being produced in relation to terror attacks and other terrorism-related issues. According to Faludi (2007), the September 11 terror attacks have seen approximately ten new books on terror attacks and terrorism-related issues being published each month. Similarly, the number of articles on terror attacks in academic journals has also increased enormously. For example, the journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, which used to bring out four issues every year prior to the September 11 terror attacks, is now published on a monthly basis. Nardo (2010) also affirms that the dramatic events of the September 111 terror attacks have caused flooding of books and articles on terror attacks and terrorism-related issues.

The relatively low amount of research attention, which has been given to prevention, control, and management of terror attacks, can be considered to be the major cause of failure of anti-terror tactics used by law enforcement officers. It can also be blamed for the increasing success of major terror attacks across the globe. Inability to conduct more research studies on effective prevention and control of terror attacks is the next biggest blunder.

According to Bergen (2011), one of the most serious problems facing research of terror attacks has been the long running shortage of experienced researchers of terrorism. As a highly sophisticated and complex field, research studies on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks have struggled to attract new researchers. A review of research studies conducted between the late 1980s and early 1990s clearly shows that, compared to other academic research fields such as criminology and justice, research of prevention, control, and management of terror attacks has been depending largely on the works of a few researchers (Bergen, 2011). Moreover, a review of literature on prevention and control of terror attacks has indicated that there has been minimal collaboration among researchers of terror prevention and management techniques. It would be natural and reasonable that in the coming years after the most destructive terror attacks in recorded history, many research studies should focus on how terror attacks can be prevented, controlled, and managed. Such a strong focus on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks would help in gaining understanding of the broader context of terror attacks. It would also help ensure that potential terror attacks are not accomplished and those that have been actually executed leave minimal negative impacts in the society. Haugen and Musser (2008) also agree that previous research studies on terrorist activities have never been especially good at exploring the best ways of preventing, controlling, and managing terror attacks. Research studies on terrorism have never focused on the need to provide long-term solutions to terror attacks. Efforts to establish more contextualized and stable prevention and control techniques have been almost entirely side-lined. This is a serious cause for concern because terror attacks seem to be on the increase since the September 11 attacks.

Research Findings

Prevention, Control, and Management of Terror Attacks

Fighting terrorism is one of the most difficult tasks. According to Bedell (2010), combating terrorism cannot be done within a single night. Prevention, control, and management of terrorist attacks are a long struggle that could also be quite dangerous at times. As earlier stated, the purpose of this research paper is to establish the most appropriate ways of preventing, controlling, and managing terror attacks. This would also help in determining how security in the country can be enhanced and improved. As Alexander (2010) asserts, prevention and control of terror attacks and related crimes is the first step in protecting members of a society or community. The main vision of security agencies should be to create a secure and resilient nation where the freedom of people is preserved and guaranteed. This can only be achieved if terrorism and related crimes in the society are prevented, controlled, and managed appropriately.

The first thing to do in terms of prevention, control, and management of terrorist attacks is to find out all the methods and tactics used by terrorists and to understand their strategies and motives. For example, finding the most successful tactics used by terrorists would help in establishing appropriate counter-attack strategies to prevent and control possible attacks in future.

Secondly, building effective information-sharing partnerships between law enforcement authorities, security agencies, and members of the society, as well as with other organizations is also a major technique of preventing and controlling terrorist attacks. Building information-sharing partnerships would involve conducting campaigns to create public awareness of indicators of terror attacks and other terrorism-related crimes. Moreover, it would involve emphasizing the importance of reporting suspicious activities in the society to the relevant law enforcement authorities and security agencies. Members of the society or community should be encouraged to report suspicious behaviors that reasonably indicate criminal activities related to terror attacks. Security agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) should work cooperatively with state, local, and other territorial law enforcement authorities and security agencies to ensure that potential terror attacks are prevented, controlled, and managed effectively. Cronin (2012) also agrees that one of the greatest tools that can be used to prevent and control terror attacks is to simply get citizens involved in the terrorism mitigation processes and to make them understand how important it is to report suspicious behaviors within their neighborhoods. Involvement of citizens in prevention, control, and management of terror attacks can be highly efficient because it gives law enforcement authorities and security agencies millions of eyes to watch for suspicious activities in societies or communities.

Thirdly, terror attacks can be prevented, controlled, and managed through gathering information relating to terrorists and their affiliate organizations. Information on membership, culture, beliefs, values, and operations of terrorist organizations forms a great foundation for the prevention, control, and management of terror attacks. According to Lutz and Lutz (2007), one of the most notable findings in the previous reviews of the research literature was just how little research has been focused on terrorist organizations such as the Al-Qaeda in the decade prior to September 11 terror attacks. Terrorist organizations such as the Al-Qaeda have been active and rapidly growing over the past two decades. They are responsible for several high profile terror attacks in various parts of the world, including the United States of America. For instance, the Al-Qaeda was responsible for highly destructive bombings of the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 1998 (Bergen, 2011), as well as the terror attacks against the USS Cole in 2000 (Alexander, 2010). Despite these highly destructive bombings, terrorist organizations have attracted minimal research attention. As Faludi (2007) asserts, terrorist organizations have attracted only one percent of research literature. This failure to notice the growing importance of terrorist organizations has also been noticed by Lutz and Lutz (2007) who reveal that lack of adequate attention to terrorist organizations has resulted in inadequate terrorism prevention, control, and management techniques. Thus, increased research of terror attacks is arguably both overdue and useful.

However, increased research is also being focused on other aspects of terror attacks, which are less obviously of growing importance. For example, there has been concern about a growing amount of research investigating the potential use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, usually referred to collectively as weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) during terror attacks. Although terror attacks can be executed using the WMDs, their use is highly limited and minimal.

Fourthly, proper prevention, control, and management of terror attacks require adequate funding from both federal and state governments. According to Alexander (2010), the funding available for law enforcement authorities and security agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) prior to the September 11 terror attacks was extremely limited and inadequate. Moreover, there were inadequate funds that would facilitate additional research of prevention, control, and management of terror attacks. This led to unavailability of literature that would be used by law enforcement authorities as well as other stakeholders to fight terror attacks. Initial research studies also prove that most researchers of terrorism were more interested in causes or sources of terror attacks and their impacts on the humanity. Therefore, increased funding of efforts against terror attacks will ultimately improve the fight against terror attacks. I would recommend increased funding to facilitate development and execution of new prevention, control, and management techniques that would be used to minimize terror attacks. Moreover, additional attention should be drawn to prevention rather than impacts of terror attacks.

Fifthly, formulation and enactment of appropriate anti-terrorism bills that would help in fighting terrorism would be helpful in preventing, controlling, and managing terror attacks. For instance, a new act known as the USA PATRIOT Act, which stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism that was enacted on October 26, 2001, has greatly helped in preventing and controlling terror attacks in the United States, hence saving millions of lives.

Sixthly, terror attacks can be prevented and controlled through increased communal involvement. Although it is the responsibility of law enforcement authorities and security agencies to prevent, control, and manage terror attacks and terrorism-related crimes in the society, the strategies used in the prevention and control of terror attacks should encompass all members of the society. This can be achieved through community policing approaches by which members of the society are encouraged and empowered to collaborate and work closely with law enforcement authorities to ensure that the country is safe and secure. Indeed, all members of the society have the duty to take all measures possible to ensure that terror attacks are prevented and controlled properly (Bedell, 2010). By developing and implementing appropriate prevention and control techniques, law enforcement authorities, with support from members of the society, will be able to prevent and control terror attacks and manage terrorism more effectively and efficiently. Effective collaboration between law enforcement authorities and members of the society will reduce pitfalls in terror attacks prevention and control techniques that are caused by a lack of exchange of adequate security information and ideas. Law enforcement authorities should also provide advice to members of the society on various issues that are likely to arise during the fight against terror attacks. They should create a collaborative environment, which permits exchange of knowledge on terror attacks and sharing of information about security threats identified by members of the society. Cronin (2012) also affirms that a comprehensive co-operative and indivisible approach to preventing and controlling terror attacks should be anchored in the interest of community members, which is basically founded on the need for peace and freedom within the society or community. Furthermore, proper prevention and control of terror attacks require looking at evitable causes, which are likely to occur in the future. It starts with first looking at security challenges that a society or community faces.

Last but not the least, law enforcement authorities and security agencies should cooperate with key international and regional actors in the fight against terrorism. Proper cooperation and coordination are the only ways to advance prevention and control of terror attacks both locally and internationally. Relevant security agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Action against Terrorism Unit (ATU), and the Strategic Police Matters Unit (SPMU) should work together in the fight against terror attacks.

Call for Additional Research Studies in the Future

It is certain that increased research studies on prevention, control, and management of terror attacks would add volumes of literature to the already available knowledge, hence facilitating management of terror attacks. Increased attention to causes and impacts of terror attacks with neglect to prevention and management techniques is unjustified and disturbing. The relatively heavy focus on sources and impacts of terror attacks is misplaced if adequate focus cannot be directed to prevention, control, and management techniques. Conducting additional researches of prevention, control, and management techniques would improve the knowledge base and understanding of terror attacks and related terrorism activities. Researches of terror attacks should not continue having a legacy of missing important interests.

Conclusions

Tactics of attacks used by terrorists continue to evolve; therefore, it is important for law enforcement authorities and security agencies to keep pace with the advancement of terrorism. From time to time, terrorists invent highly sophisticated and complex means of executing their attacks. This also involves the use of weapons of mass destruction such as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and other explosive weapons. Some terrorists also use the Internet to commit cyber attacks. Threats of terror attacks come from both local or internal and foreign or external sources. Therefore, it is important for security agencies to formulate and implement new strategies of combating terror attacks.

Although it would be unrealistic to claim that increased availability of information and knowledge on prevention, control, and management of terrorism would completely wipe out terror attacks in the society, it is arguable that such information can be used effectively to control terror attacks in the society, hence leading to a crime-free society. It is also worth recognizing that increased research of prevention, control, and management of terror attacks would result in fewer attacks executed in the coming years.

Prevention and control of terror attacks should not be left in the hands of law enforcement authorities such as the police and military and security agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigations alone, but rather it should be a societal or national concern. All members of the society should be integrated in the fight against terror attacks. Security does not imply mere absence of conflicts or wars, and prevention and control of terror attacks in a country are not solely a responsibility of the law enforcement authorities. Efforts to counter terror attacks and related security threats should be undertaken by every member of the society. Terror attacks are a major challenge to social well-being, safety, security, and national stability. Moreover, all countries should understand that national security goes beyond political and social differences. Therefore, it is important for both federal and state governments to ensure that potential terror attacks are prevented and controlled effectively.

References

  1. Alexander, Y. (2010). Terrorists in our midst: Combating foreign-affinity terrorism in America. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.
  2. Bedell, J. M. (2010). Combating terrorism. Mankato, Minn.: Compass Point Books.
  3. Bergen, P. L. (2011). The longest war: The enduring conflict between America and al-Qaeda. New York: Free Press.
  4. Cronin, I. (Ed.). (2012). Confronting fear: A history of terrorism. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press.
  5. Faludi, S. (2007). The terror dream: Fear and fantasy in post-9/11 America. New York: Metropolitan Books.
  6. Haugen, D. M., & Musser, S. (2008). Terrorism. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
  7. Hewitt, C. (2003). Understanding terrorism in America: From the Klan to al Qaeda. London: Routledge.
  8. Laqueur, W. (2001). A history of terrorism. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
  9. Lutz, B. J., & Lutz, J. M. (2007). Terrorism in America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  10. Miller, D. A. (2008). Terrorism. Detroit: Lucent Books/Gale Cengage Learning.
  11. Nardo, D. (2010). The history of terrorism. Mankato, Minn.: Compass Point Books.

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