Understanding the Relationship Between Globalization and Terrorism

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We keep on hearing that a powerful connection is growing up, and the results will be enormous in the future, and that is the relationship between the spread of globalization and terrorism, where spotlighting this interconnection is one of today’s and tomorrow’s greatest challenges.

War was the last resort and the tragic continuation of relations between nations, contemporary terrorism poses, on the contrary and by definition the violent act as the first and necessary condition of the political balance of power. What matters to the supporters of excessive violence is to shock through cruelty in order to be publicized but also, and paradoxically, to be repressed and condemned in order to acquire, according to them, the legitimacy of the martyrs. While the rise in terrorist attacks is primarily due to the end of the Cold War, this event does not answer fundamental questions and cultural analysis of the global system, as, why this violence and terrorism still exist?

Terrorism would then be a reaction to the political, economic, structural and identity violence resulting from the globalization of modernity. The type of analysis proposed in many research has explanatory power, but it in no way legitimizes the actions of terrorists, who remain responsible for their actions. However, that is where the problem lies for those looking for an alternative to globalization, is how to resist a culture that seems omnipotent and omnipresent when as actors, our means are very limited, and the discursive regime is not offering any alternatives. This ideology arises as much for non-Westerners who disagree with many methods as it does for anti-globalization movements in the West, how can they fight what they see as a ruthless machine? While anti-Western or anti-globalization violence is more of a reaction than a response and if it is not effective “in making a difference”.

In like manner, the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the breakdown of the international channels of terrorist financing, the main projects to be opened concern the internal dysfunctions of our own societies. In this categorical imperative to go back to the causes, insisting on the fact that we do not bombard an ideology, in the face of a radical ideology we must oppose counter-narratives and other great structuring narratives. Without going into de-radicalization programs, it is necessary to understand why so many young French, Belgian, German and British enlist in the fight with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The origin of this deadly migration can be blamed on the dysfunctions of our own societies in lawless neighborhoods where even firefighters do not set foot. Like for an example, how the ‘’Kouachi brothers’’, the perpetrators of the January Paris 2015 attack, can meet ‘’Djamel Beghal’’ who is the highest Franco-Algerian in the old structure of al-Qaeda. How can such criminals who have not set foot in the Middle East, who are pure products of extremism, become radicalized before even acting.

Since decades now, globalization equipped with its finest arm, and that is the Internet. This tools have proven to be a highly dynamic means of communication, reaching an ever-growing audience worldwide. The benefits of Internet technology are various, starting with its unique suitability for sharing information and ideas, which is recognized as a fundamental human right. However, that the same technology that facilitates such communication can also be exploited for the purposes of terrorism. With no doubt internet has helped extremist to develop and grow through the years, the promotion of extremist rhetoric encouraging violent acts is also a common trend across the growing range of Internet-based platforms that host user-generated content. Likewise, global recruitment and transnational radicalization to terrorism may be viewed as points along a spectrum. In recent years, terrorist organizations have increasingly turned to the Internet as an alternative training ground for terrorists.

Many strategies have been adopted to tackle this issue, like the one mentioned by the United Nations System Focal Point on PCVE. The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) provides capacity-building support to Member States and regional organizations on a broad range of PCVE issues, including:

  • Developing national and regional PCVE action plans.
  • Prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons and rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremist offenders.
  • Strategic communications to promote alternative and counter terrorist narratives.
  • Education and skills development for PCVE.
  • Strengthening the role of parliamentarians in PCVE.

To discern, September 11, 2001 is traditionally seen as the advent of “global terrorism”. Indeed, one of the strengths of terrorism lies in its ability to play off borders and states in order to strike unexpectedly and recurrent, in the name of distant causes. This globalization of violence has deeper roots and requires scrutiny from various methods and disciplines.

It is not only the press but also the neighborhoods, the school, the prisons, which are so many sites to try to modernize and reactivate the basic social contract which allows people of different cultural origins to live in a same country, fulfilling the same duties and observing the same rules. Ultimately, the considerable and continuous increase in terrorist activity is leading countries around the world to coordinate their efforts to combat the phenomenon. Terrorism, constantly evolving, threatens international peace and security. On the same matter, it destroys societies and destabilizes the whole world. Likewise, with the process of intensification of international exchanges facilitated by globalization and new information and communication technologies (NICT), we are witnessing an upsurge in the terrorist phenomenon and its media coverage. Even the most localized of the attacks was immediately known to all the countries of the world by the profusion of information media and their propensity to make attacks a favorite subject. So many African countries for example, has not been spared from terrorism. They have been facing security challenges for several years, of which terrorism is one of the most salient aspects. Therefore, solutions must be sought at all levels and these must be in conformity with the provisions taken in this area by the international community.

So, do we have to get used to terrorism, which has become an integral part of our daily lives? Or intelligently analyze its causes in order to counter it? Above all, and to emphasize, international cooperation is needed more than anytime in our human history to counter terrorism effectively and on a global scale.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.