To counter terrorism a lot attempts have been made at international level. United Nations and America is more than willing to combat terrorism. For this purpose, many counter-terrorism task forces and committees created at UN and other international forums -which are working on their noble mission night and day-. More perceptibly America even has started a global war on terrorism and spends more than $170 billions annually on this war. However, a very meek question arises that how come it could be possible to counter terrorism when no one knows that what actually terrorism is? Yes that’s a reality that after being fighting against terrorism for more than a decade now, the international community is yet failed to build a common consensus over a precise, concrete and entirely explanatory definition of terrorism. Which is clear in every sense and does not provides a vague statement. Commonly it is assumed that terrorism is “a deliberate action of violence or threat of violence in pursuit of achieving political aims or acquisition of power. It is ambiguous hitherto that who will determine which one is guilty party the one who is fighting for political aims or the one who is acquiring political power and uses it for oppression.
There is a possibility that a politically motivated action is unlawful and terrorism for one party but it can be a battle for basic human rights and freedom for the other one.
The political movement in Kashmir and Palestine is terrorism in the eyes of India and Israel but it is a freedom movement and fight for basic human rights for Kashmiri and Palestinians. If Kashmiri people protests against the Indian forces’ repression supported by their State it is terrorism. Because Kashmiri freedom fighters (their main fault is that they are Muslims) do not have any established government and so far they are Non-State Actors. So any action taken by them can easily be considered as terrorism. But if Indian forces are killing innocent Kashmiri citizens, looting their properties, raping their respected women, spoiling their futures and lives, these actions are justifiable. Because it is supported by Indian Government, -a state actor- so no harm in this exploitation. The same phenomenon which is being used by the Israeli forces in Palestine, and American forces are using in Pakistan (in the form of unauthorized drone attacks). The alleged terrorists who are working in or from Pakistan, Palestine and Kashmir are all non state actors. But in response to them in the name of combating terrorism the State actors (the governments of America, India and Israel) are killing innocent people in a hope that causalities might include any terrorist. God knows well what actually their intentions are!
While studying about different terrorist activities and FBI’s annual reports on terrorist incidents from 2002 to 2010, the one thought which promptly comes into mind is that, FBI and America deliberately or unintentionally maintained discriminatory criteria of determining domestic or international terrorism. Also while investigating the reason behind the terrorist action of a person; very bigoted measures have been used to examine the intentions. Following few examples may evidently elaborate the point: on July 4th 2002, a man naming Hashem Mohammad Ali Hedayat kills two Israelis at Los Angles International Airport; the investigations determined that Hedayat’s political and religious beliefs were the main motive behind the attack, and the case was officially designated as International Terrorism.
Whereas, in the same year in August, FBI caught few non-Muslim terrorists whom were having numerous weapons and explosives and they were planning to attack Islamic Facilities. FBI investigation revealed that they were taking revenge of 9/11 terrorist attack from Muslims and further revealed that it was an action of retaliation for Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel. This incident was designated as an action of domestic terrorism.
Since 9/11 more than 140,000 murders reported in United States of America by the end of 2010 and Islamic terrorists were accounted for only fewer than three dozen murders. Yet Muslims are presumed to be monopolists in terrorism and all actions against terrorism are Muslim centric. This kind of confusing and dual standards of investigations creates sense of hatred and distrust against America and American policies in Muslim world.
If anyone had a chance to study about the designation of International terrorist organizations he/she might noticed United Nations have no standard list of terrorist organizations precisely. It mainly believes that Al Qaida and organizations and persons whom are supporting Al Qaida in any matter are the biggest threat and to combat this organization it established a resolution 1267 in 1999 which is further modified and strengthened by many subsequent resolutions. While America has produced a list of terrorist organizations -which are involved in terrorist activities in more than one country- and they are willing to add more names of organizations if they find any as a threat to American security. In American list almost 50 terrorist organization’s names are given and most of them are Islamic organizations. This gives an image which proves that “Muslims have monopoly in terrorism”. Actually this is not the case. According to American definition of international terrorism “an organization which is engaged in terrorist activities and it must threat the security of United States” many names which are given in the list provided by State department are irrelevant as they do not have any terrorist business in US nor they directly threatens the American security. Amongst them are many organizations which are considered as freedom movements in there respective State just as Palestinian Liberation Front, although it do not have anything to do with America or Americans they fight against Israeli oppression but it is enlisted as a terrorist organization. On the other hand many Non-Muslim organizations which are involved in spreading threat, vandalism, and even in killing people but there names are missing from the ITO list. Such as Earth liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front. Both of them fulfills the American State department’s criteria of terrorist organization as they work in more than 17 States including United States and they are engaged in terrorist organizations. If we follow the criteria -other than State departments defined criteria according to which ITO must threat US security but many organizations which do not operates in US nor they threat its security but still there names are enlisted in ITO- than another list of roughly 20 to 30 organizations can be amalgamate in the existing one. The activities of these organizations are reported in FBI annual reports on terrorist incidents. It is interestingly pertinent to mention here that even with in America, State Department, CIA and FBI have different guiding definitions of terrorism.
After the terrible 9/11 incidence, a serious threat for the long term security of America and to some extent for the rest of the world has been perceived. USA took this threat very seriously and started War on Terror to combat this evil. Knowing that there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism is available. Many actions have been taken in this regard by United States of America and its allies keeping in view their own definitions of terrorism and terrorists. Obviously it creates turbulence amongst others but no doubt that basically their main targets are Islamic so-called extremists as there is a common perception regarding terrorism is that “Muslims have monopoly in terrorist activities all around the world”. Interestingly, in this fight to eliminate terrorism America and its allies have taken many steps which are defined as acts of terrorism by their own definitions. For instance, constant drone strikes in Pakistan which results in hundreds of casualties of civilians but to satisfy international community and perhaps themselves too, over this inhuman behavior and their deliberate action of violence against non-combatants to achieve their political goals a term “Collateral Damage” is produced and lose of every innocent life is added in to this account.
Therefore, without knowing properly that against whom you are fighting and what terrorism actually is along with many bigoted actions in fight against terrorism, it is very difficult to eliminate or combat terrorism. How come a normal human being having a little common sense will acknowledge this drama that no we don’t know what is terrorism we do not have any concise and mutually agreed definition, we don’t know whereabouts of these terrorists are, but even than we are fighting against them!
Rather it will expose their agenda in this war on terror.