After the fateful attack of 9/11, the US has maintained a strict stance on terrorism in the world. However, as it seems, their glass in only tainted with radical Islamist forms of terrorism. The heightening instances of domestic terrorism are making headlines every day, with the administration paying inadequate attention to the same.
Counter-terrorism to counter-insurgency
Its been around 17 years since the US has been at war in Afghanistan. Along with this, Iraq has been another battlefield for more than 15 years. Not only these, but the US has also taken up operations to tackle terrorism in South Aisa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South East Aisa. Gradually blurring the line between counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, the US has extended permanent military presence in most of these areas. Comprehensive logistics and distribution operations have also helped the US in achieving this.
Studies by renowned academic institutions like the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism have indicated the incapability of the US to put an end to the anti-terrorism “wars.” It says that the strategy to terminate the war in a way so that the state can survive peacefully without having required intervention by the US is invisible. This reflects the understanding and approach of the US towards terrorism.
Trump’s understanding of terrorism
The new counter-terrorism strategy released by Trump’s government identifies Pakistan-based terrorist groups like LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan), as the primary sources of threat to the country.
The National Strategy for counter-terrorism stated that there are several terrorist groups along with ISIS and al-Qaeda, that are advancing towards more regional form of terrorism and insurgent campaigns, however, posing a threat to the US all the while. On the other hand, stating a lack of resources, the administration also went on to argue that these groups will probably prefer regional goals over attacks on the US.
It is also derived that these outfits identify weak regional governments and leverage on the conflicts, grievances, and instability between them and the US to completely wipe out the influence of the US from the country. This is indicated as a strategy to reestablish radical and extremists Islamic societies in the world.
The new counter-terrorism strategy
Allegedly, the evolved and modern methods of the radical Islamist terrorist groups have challenged the US counter-terrorism efforts. These methods include a range of things from using high-quality social media or establishing governing institutions within their areas, to installing highly advanced explosives to counter aviation security tactics. Therefore, these terrorist outfits are drawing their strength from science and technology to become more powerful and immune. This suggests that the administration also needs to adapt to the new strategies and the ever-advancing technology to be able to defeat them.
Interestingly, the terrorist groups use the feeling of solidarity to generate loyalties and create a sense of purpose among the recruits. It indoctrinates its ideology to justify the use of violence to reach its sole purpose. This approach enhances group cohesion and ensures conformity to the cause. Thus, breaking away, this sense of belonging needs to be a crucial part of the counter-terrorism strategy.
Domestic terrorism refers to the violence instigated, most often, by the citizens of the country. Such attacks are aimed at the nation-state or the population, mostly in response to a faulty, regressive, or oppressive national policy or operations.
Evidently, in 2018, the US only saw one death because of jihadi-linked terrorism. The country today is more endangered by domestic terrorism than Islamic terrorism. The right-wing groups like Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, and neo-nazis are increasingly becoming a massive threat to the state machinery. Almost 15 Americans’ lives were prey to this form of violence in 2018.
By virtue of holding a strong position in world politics, the US is highly capable of launching a robust counter-terrorism strike. However, a few think otherwise. There has been a feeling about the deliberate efforts of the government to downplay the threat posed by non-jihadist terrorists. Even during the Obama years, there was a clear apprehension towards acknowledging domestic terrorism as it will fuel the idea of white supremacist conspiracy theories. However, with the present Trump government, as reported by his ministers, these issues hold no ground!