WAR ON TERROR 14
The term war on terror was coined up by George Bush after theSeptember 11 attacks of the US in 2001. is a term thatis used to describe the measures especially military interventionsthat the US and other likeminded countries take in order to fight theterrorist groups (Ruschmann & Marzilli, 2015). After theSeptember 11 attacks in US, the American government started attackingIraq and Afghanistan immediately. It is evident that the war onterror is a reactionary measure to the attacks that the US hasexperienced. The war on terror can be described as the various stepsthat the Bush administration took after the 9/11 attacks. The stepsincluded military interventions and attacks, new securitylegislations, the stoppage of funding to the terrorist groups and thedestruction of various terrorist groups. These steps were mainlytaken by the US, Britain and other countries in the western world(Chossudovsky, 2005). The war on terror is a continuous campaignwhich security analysts say it might take the next few decades. TheHomeland security was formed as a result of the attacks on worldtrade center and the pentagon and it was the security unit that wastasked with the responsibility of leading the war on terror (Drezner,2011). It is essential to note that the war on terror is also calledthe war on terrorism. The war takes an international approach sincethe terrorists are said to be spread across the whole world.
The war on terror has, however, been critiqued by variousinternational relations theorists. The United States, supported byBritain and other countries, attacked Iraq and Afghanistan as areactionary measure or step after the 9/11 attacks. The militaryattacks and interventions were viewed as the wrong approach. It wasessential for the US and other allied countries to take theintelligence approach and find out what the cause of the attacks was(Ruschmann & Marzilli, 2015). The US just attacked Iraq andAfghanistan without due intelligence on the causes of the attacks andthe way to deal with the attacks. I hold the opinion that the war onterror is not legitimate considering that it has been over 14 yearswith trillions of dollars having been used but still having groupssuch as ISIS coming up and numerous terrorist activities beingwitnessed.
Historical background of the 9/11 attacks
The attack of the US by al Qaeda in 2001 did not just happenwithout previous incentives. There are historical events andactivities by the US government that led to the 9/11 attacks from theMuslim extremists such as al Qaeda. It is essential to note thatthere were other attempted attacks in 1993 by al Qaeda on thePentagon house (Drezner, 2011). There was a feeling amongst theMuslims that the United States was fighting the Muslims and thismotivated the Muslim extremists to attack the US which theyconsidered as having been involved in the attacks and oppressionagainst the Muslims.
To start with, the presence of the American troops in Saudi Arabiaafter the gulf war was one of the historical events that triggeredand led to the attack. It is essential to note that Saudi Arabia isthe country where Mecca is located. Mecca is considered as one of theholiest places in the Islam religion and therefore the Muslimextremists such as Osama Bin Laden viewed the presence of over 5000troops in Saudi Arabia as a threat to the existence of Islam religionacross the world (Zarembka, 2012). It is essential also to state thatBin Laden had warned the US to withdraw the troops from Saudi Arabia.The presence of the American troops in Saudi Arabia was viewed as away of plundering the countries oil resources and oppressing thepeople (Ruschmann & Marzilli, 2015). Muslims felt that thepresence of military personnel in the country inhibited the freedomof the Saudi people. The presence of the US troops in Saudi Arabiahad lasted for over 8 years and the Muslims, led by Osama Bin Ladenwere feeling that the US was interfering with the freedom and therights of the Muslims. Therefore, the attack by the al Qaeda on USsoil in 2001 was a reactionary measure by the extremists. The troopsin Saudi Arabia were organizing and carrying out attacks againstIraq. This was viewed by the Muslims as a strategy by the US toattack and exploit the Muslims. The Muslims viewed Americans ascriminals and hypocrites who sought to exploit and oppress Muslims inthe name of restoring and installing democracy (Zarembka, 2012).There insurgence of the Muslim extremist groups such as the al Qaedawere motivated by the foreign policy of the United States whereAmerican troops carried out atrocities against innocent Muslims. Manyanalysts have argued that the attack of 2011 was a sign to the US bythe terrorists that they were tired of the activities of the Americantroops in their Muslim territories. It is essential to note that 15out of the 19 attackers during the 2001 attack were from SaudiArabia. This is a strong indication that the presence of Americantroops in Saudi Arabia was wrong and the locals were totally againstit.
The history of the war between Israel and Palestine regarding theGaza plaza has an inclination towards the attacks that occurred on9/11. Research has indicated that the US is an ardent supporter ofIsrael and this angered the Muslims who believed that the US wasfueling the war between the two countries. The US has alwayssupported Israel in terms of finances and military equipment(Drezner, 2011). The US does not support Palestine with any form ofsupport be it military equipment or finance. This approach by the USangered numerous Muslims who viewed the US as one sided and as thecountry that was fueling the conflict between the two countries(Zarembka, 2012). Although the US seems to make efforts to end thewar, it is clear that its aim is to continue to support Israel due tothe various benefits it gets such as being supported in the UNcouncil by Israel. Muslims believe that Israel should not exist andtherefore the support by the US is seen as a war against the Muslims.The US supports a country that causes deaths to innocent Palestinepeople. Bin Laden warned the US against supporting Israel in its bidto expand its territory. Muslims consider the expansion of Israelinto Gaza as the greatest crime and therefore the Muslim extremistsretaliate against the Americans.
In august 1990, the United Nations Security Council imposedsanctions against Iraq due to its invasion of Kuwait. The economicsanctions were coupled with the a full trade embargo, cutting medicaland food supply, as well as other humanitarian aid that the countrywas receiving. These sanctions led to immense suffering and deaths ofover one million people. Whereas all the Iraqis believed that thesanctions would be removed after they withdrew from Kuwait, it wassurprising that the sanctions were now linked to the removal and ordestruction of weapons of mass destruction that the country wasaccused of possessing by the UN Security Council (Zarembka, 2012).The United States was viewed as the main crusader in the impositionof the sanctions. Additionally, it is essential to note that theUnited States was the main aid giver to Iraq and therefore theirwithdrawal from giving the aid was seen as the direct cause of thedevastation and suffering that the Iraqis went through. In 1998,Osama warned the US with regard to the Iraq sanctions and this was asign of the attacks that followed in 2001. It is abundantly clearthat the attacks that occurred in the United States were as a resultof numerous years of dissatisfaction of the Muslim community acrossthe Middle East (Lustick, 2014). The American foreign policy was seenas oppressive against the Muslim community and the attacks a form ofretaliation.
Another historical background to the attacks was the war between theUS as a capitalist country and the USSR which was largely dominatedby communism. The US realized that the spread of communist countriesunder the Soviet Union was posing as a threat to its dominance. TheAmerican role in fighting communism over decades was seen as a way ofits desire to dominate and control other countries. Whereas Americaargued that it was the epitome of democracy, numerous people thoughtthat it would allow other countries to practice whatever form ofgovernment they thought was fit as long as it was not violating humanrights. The continuous cold war against the Soviet Union led to itsdissemination in 1991 (Lawson, 2015). The falling apart of the SovietUnion was seen as a direct result of the American involvement inforeign affairs of other sovereign countries. There wasdissatisfaction amongst various Muslim countries regarding thefalling apart of the Soviet Union and this led to the development ofextremist groups such as the al Qaeda which later attacked the US in2011.
One thing that is common amongst all the historical reasons that ledto the 2011 attack is the suffering that Muslims went through as aresult of the American activities in foreign countries. Poverty, lackof employment and desperation amongst the various Muslims inPalestine, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as Afghanistan were some ofthe reasons why the extremist groups were formed and vowed toretaliate against the United States (Lawson, 2015). American has beeninvolved in almost every war in the Middle East and therefore thevictims believe America is responsible for their suffering. Thehistorical involvement of the United States in the Middle Eastaffairs and leadership style must be blamed for the 2011 attacks.
Theoretical constructs of the 9/11 attack in the US
Since the attack occurred over 14 years ago, numerous scholars havecome forward to give their theoretical constructs of how the attackswere organized and carried out. Whereas the American governmentaccused the al Qaeda terrorist group in Afghanistan of the attacks,numerous theoretical constructs give varying versions of theorganization and the carrying out of the attacks. There is atheoretical construct which argues that the attacks were indeedorganized and conducted by the Bush administration. This is a theorywhich argues that the American government was looking for reasonsthat it would use as justification for attacking Afghanistan and Iraq(Drezner, 2011). Proponents of this construct assert that theAmerican government had other interests in Afghanistan besides theirargument of comprehending the said terrorists. American wasinterested in the oil deposits in Afghanistan and Iraq and thereforethey conducted the attacks in order to find a reason of engaging inmilitary invasion. America wanted to construct an oil pipelinethrough Afghanistan and it was not possible without engaging thecountry in war (Jackson & Sørensen, 2012). These were some ofthe reasons that were given by proponents of this theoreticalconstruct. It is argued that the attacks were carried out byIsraelis. It is essential to state that there were two Israelintelligence personnel who were arrested near the twin towers takingphotos and videos of the attack.
Another theoretical construct regarding the attacks asserted thatthe American top government officials knew the attacks were to occuror had sufficient intelligence to prevent the attacks. It is arguedthat the failure by the various intelligence and security officers toshare intelligence information led to the attacks. It is argued thatall the black boxes from the attacks were not found and the FBI isaccused of concealing vital information from one of the black boxes.This theory was compounded by the argument that the Bin Laden videowhere he claimed responsibility was fabricated. His became moreconvincing when Bin Laden denied having carried out the attacks in2011 (Drezner, 2011). Additionally, whereas the US linked the Talibanwith the attacks, Bin Laden stated categorically that the Taliban hadno knowledge of the attacks.
There is yet another theoretical construct to the attacks whichasserts that there were missiles planted inside the twin towers.According to some theorists, the damage that was inflicted on thetwin towers could not have been as a result of the airplanes.Engineers argue that the force was not sufficient to bring down thetwo buildings and therefore it is suggested that there were missileswhich were planted inside the buildings. With regard to the pentagon,some theorists argue that the hole which was left was too small tojustify that a whole Boeing plane fitted there (Drezner, 2011).Therefore, there is a theoretical construct that the building was hitby a missile. Therefore, there are constructs which argue that thebuildings collapsed as a result of controlled demolition and not as aresult of terrorist attacks.
There are other numerous theoretical constructs regarding the 2001attacks with the theory by the government and its allies being widelyaccepted. However, recent studies by WorldOpinionPoll.org indicatethat there is a divided belief about who indeed conducted theattacks. Some researcher such as the PEW research have found out thatit is a very small percentage of Muslims who believe that the attackswere carried out by the Muslims or the Arabs. Whereas some peoplebelieve that the American government conspired to conduct theattacks, others believe that the al Qaeda were responsible whileother believe the Israel intelligence officers were responsible.Therefore, it is evident that the opinion is divided regarding the2011 attacks and people are divided between the American governmentarguments versus other theoretical constructs.
International relations scholars perspective on the 9/11 attacks
The 9/11 attacks have an international relations perspective.The international relations perspective focuses mainly on therelationship that the United States has with other nations especiallythe countries in the Middle East. The American foreign policy alsoplays a critical role in shaping the international relations thatAmerica has with other nations. It is clear that the United Stateshas had allies since time immemorial such as Israel which guaranteesthe US support in times of war. International relations scholarsargue that the attacks of 2001 in the US were associated with theactivities that the US had been involved in foreign countries such asIraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Israel. Additionally, the wars that theUS had been involved in contributed to the aggressiveness from theMuslim quarters hence leading to the attacks from Muslim extremists.
One of the issues that international relations scholars associatewith the attacks is the cold war with the Soviet Union up to the1990s when the union collapsed. The US had been involved in decadesof cold war with the Soviet Union members especially Russia since itconsidered the expansion of communism in the Soviet Union as a threatto its dominance in the world (Risen, 2014).Many scholars have viewed the move by the US to interfere with thesovereignty of Soviet Union countries as wrong. The falling apart ofthe union triggered dissatisfaction from Muslim quarters who viewedthe collapse as a result of the intervention and interference fromthe US (Lawson, 2015). The relation between the US and the SovietUnion countries was that of need or purpose and they were alliesduring World War II and mistrust developed immediately after theWorld War II.
IR scholars have also looked at the America’s participation thePersian Gulf War where it attacked Iraq after it attempted to attackKuwait and take away oil fields (Pattanayak, 2014). US’sparticipation in the war was based on the assumption that Iraq wasthreatening the stability in Saudi Arabia, a country which hadenormous oil deposits. Many argue that the involvement of the US inthe war escalated the hostility between the US and Iraq (Pattanayak,2014). The relationship between the two countries became military andhostile as opposed to being diplomatic. The involvement of the US inthese wars triggered the development of extremist groups which feltoppressed by the US military presence in the Middle East.Globalization is also viewed by IR scholars as an incentive that theattackers took literary. It was easy for people to travel from onecountry to the other easily (Ruschmann & Marzilli, 2015).Communication between countries far apart was also enabled by theglobalization era. This made it easy for the terrorists to organizethe attack.
The attack of the US in 2001 and the subsequent measures that weretaken by the US leaves a lot to be desired. To start with, the USimmediately after the attacks accused the Taliban in Afghanistan andthe al Qaeda for the attacks (Lynch, MacDonald & Williams, 2010).Many view this is a strategy of the allowing the US to engage inmilitary war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The relationship between the USand the Middle East countries was already sour and the US needed atrigger to start attacks in the Middle East. Scholars have pointed tothe interest that the US has in oil as the major reason it attackedAfghanistan (Jackson & Sørensen, 2012). The strategy that the USis using is that of military intervention as opposed to diplomaticapproach. It is the same strategy that the Obama administration isusing when fighting the ISIS. America offers military and financialsupport to countries that are engaged in the war on terror.
Theories to explain the conflict
The first theory that can explain the conflict is realism byHenry Kissinger. In realism school of thought, all countries seekpolitical power and act in self interest. This can explain the USconflict with Middle East countries as it seeks power over othercountries and seeks to fulfill its self interests such as providingsecurity and seeking wealth for its people (Wenger & Wilner,2014). The second that theory that ca used to explain this conflictis the theory by Keohane called the Neoliberalismtheory. This theory asserts that countries should compromise theirinterests and reach win-win situations where all countries benefit.The theory calls for co-operation between countries which should leadto all countries benefiting (Wenger & Wilner, 2014).This theory can explain the conflict since no country wants tocompromise and US and other countries have been competing overresources such as oil.
Noam Chomsky with his school of thought of thelibertarian socialist asserts that the US foreign policy hascontributed to the war. The war on terror according to Noam is byitself terrorism as it has led to numerous deaths of innocent peoplein Middle East countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan (Risen,2014). He argues that the world’s major superpowerstrigger terrorist activities. Khan Khattak called fornationalism and justice as well as respect for other people (Wenger &Wilner, 2014). This school of thought can be applied in theexplanation of the conflicts and the war on terror. If justice was tobe followed, America could not be killing innocent citizens in MiddleEast countries. Fukuyama is another theorist who supportsNeoconservatism. This is school of thought that advocates for theexpansion of democracy, as well as the interests of the United Statesin international relations. This approach allows interventions suchas use of military force to enhance democracy and protect or advanceAmerica’s interests.
BenjaminR. Barber argues that there should bedemocracy and that the civil rights groups, as well as the citizensmust be involved in seeking the democracy. He argues that theterrorist conflicts being witnessed are as a result of the failure bypowerful states to address the problems affecting the people in poorcountries. This explains the conflicts and the war on terror aswitnessed prior to and after the 9/11 attack (Wenger & Wilner,2014). Lastly, Abusahlia calls for respect for human rights,addressing the root cause of violence related to terrorism and theend of segregation and oppression of the Pakistan people. Thisexplains the conflict which has taken decades. It is clear that thereis no desire to identify the root cause of the conflict and addressit.
It is clear from the research and the information gatheredthat the war on terror is not legitimate. America is involved inmilitary interventions and attacks instead of addressing the rootcause of the terrorist activities. It is evident that since the waron terror was started over 14 years ago, terrorist activities haveincreased and expanded to the entire world. Nowadays, there areattacks in Africa, France, US and even in India. Numerous terroristgroup and extremist groups have come up over the years (Jackson &Sørensen, 2012). This is a clear indication that the war on terroris being lost. The problem is the strategy that nations across theworld are taking towards fighting terrorists. It is essential for theUS and other countries to change the strategy and find out whatmotivates the terrorists. There is dissatisfaction amongst somesections of the society who feel oppressed and neglected by thepolitical leaderships (Mullard & Cole, 2007). America and indeedthe rest of the world must address the issues affecting some sectionsof the society, as well as address the issue of radicalizationamongst the youth.
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