Terrorism And Its Implication On Global Security In The 21st Century

Project and Seminar Material for International Relations

Terrorism And Its Implication On Global Security In The 21st Century


The research presented in this work highlights a complex and rapidly changing set of dynamics in global terrorism. While on the one hand the top-line statistics highlight an improvement in the levels of global terrorism, the continued intensification of terrorism in some countries is a cause for serious concern, and highlights the fluid nature of modern terrorist activity. 2015 saw the total number of deaths decrease by ten per cent, the first decline since 2010. The number of countries recording a death from terrorism also decreased by one. This decline in terrorism deaths is mainly attributed to a weakened Boko Haram and ISIL in both Nigeria and Iraq due to the military operations against them. However, expanded activities by both of these groups in other countries is posing new threats in other parts of the world. Boko Haram has expanded into Niger, Cameroon and Chad, increasing the number of people they have killed through terrorism in these three countries by 157 per cent. This research work lays emphasis on terrorism in the 21st century.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Terrorism is violence or threat of violence calculated to create an atmosphere of fear or alarm and thereby bring about some social and political changes. This definition is in line with the explanation offered by a South American Jurist more than 30 years ago, according to him “Terrorism consists of acts that are in themselves may be classic-crimes, murder, arson, the use of explosives, but that differ from classic crimes in that they are excited with the deliberate intention of causing panic and terror within an arranged or organized society. It is the use of violence and most especially the fear it causes among people for political objectives.

It was also defined by the Terrorism Research Center as “the systematic use of physical violence against noncombatants but with an audience greater than the immediate victim in mind to create a general climate of fear in a large population in order to affect some kind of political and social changes”.

The United States Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimate or coerce a government, the population or any segment thereof in furtherance of political and social objectives”. In basic terms, terrorism is an act of inflicting terror upon the people in the process of achieving personal or political objectives.

Although from the above definitions, it can be rightly concluded that there is no precise or widely accepted definition of the concept of terrorism, it is generally believed that terrorism is the use of covert violent actions in order to achieve certain objectives. It is a form of covert attack directed at targets that are outside a certain range of clearly military targets. Though the terrorist attack on the world trade centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC constitute a prime case, most terrorist attack are aimed at domestic regimes or other targets within the terrorist own country.

Terrorism is not new on the world stage. Northern Ireland had been dealing with terrorists for more than forty years, Israel with Palestinian terrorists for much the same period and Spain with Basque terrorists.

Although the use of terrorism as a political tool extends far back into history, recent decades have seen a rise in the practice for several reasons. One is the overwhelming advantage in weapons that governments usually have over dissident groups. Because many governments are armed with aircraft and other high tech weapons that are unavailable to opposition forces, it has often become nearly suicidal for armed dissidents to use conventional tactics.

Second, terrorists’ targets are now more readily available than in the past: people are more concentrated in urban areas and even in large buildings; there are countless airline flights, and more and more people travel abroad. Third, the mass availability of instant visual news through television and satellite communications makes it easy for terrorists to gain an audience. This is important because terrorism is not usually directed at its victims as such; rather it is intended to frighten others. Fourth, technology has led to the creation of increasingly lethal weapons that terrorists can use to kill and injure large numbers of people. These technological “advances” include biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological weapons.

Terrorists attacks are relatively regular event. In 2000 there were 423 international terrorist attacks, many of these carried out across national borders and there were many other incidents of domestic terrorism. However, through this time, Americans worried little about terrorism for example, in a survey conducted in 1999 that asked Americans to name two or three top foreign policy concerns, only 12 percent of the respondents mentioned terrorism as a worry.

This American’s sense of security was shattered by the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks which included the destruction of the World trade Center, major damage to the pentagon, the crash of a hijacked airliner in Pennsylvania, and the deaths of over 3,000 people.

Soon thereafter President George W. Bush responded by announcing a war on terrorism9. An American led coalition of forces intervened in Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban government that had supported Al Qaeda and attacking Al Qaeda forces in the country. Later President Bush charged that Iraq, Iran and North Korea constituted an “axis of evil” that, among other things were guilty of state terrorism. In March 2003, the United States, in alliance with Great Britain and other countries known as the coalition of the Willing attacked Iraq, arguing in part that Iraq’s support of terrorism made it an international threat and an outlaw nation.

Terrorist make use of various means in achieving their aims, irrespective of whether it is individual group or state sponsored terrors. Some of which are briefly stated as follows:


Seizure of one or more victims are then moved to a hideout. This method is regularly abducted by the Niger Delta Terrorists Movements.

Barricade Hostage:

Seizure of a facility with whatever hostages available, these is made cotangent on meeting terrorist demand.


Major bombing is the use of any type of explosives or device for terrorist purposes, including those delivered through mail when sufficient demand or casualties occurs, the terrorists group claims responsibility. Example Commuter bombing in 2004 March that killed 191 people and wounded 1,8000. and July 7: London bombings – Bombs explode on one double-decker bus and three London Underground trains, killing 56 people and injuring over 700, occurring on the first day of the 31st G8 Conference. The attacks are the firstsuicide bombings in Western Europe.


An attempt to seize an airplane, ship or other vehicle with whatever hostage maybe in it, to force some actions or movement to another country upon an agreement by authorities involved to terrorists demand.

Armed Attack:

An attempt to seize or damage facility with no intent to hold for negotiating purposes.


An attempt whether successful or not to kill a pre selected victim usually with small arms or letter bombs, are executed form this small category, in many cases, there is a specific intended victim.


This is willful destruction of properties by any means including bombing.

Exotic Pollution:

The use of exotic substances such as atomic, chemical or biological to contaminate materials of the targeted state. For example, the introduction of mercury into orange shipped form Israel.

Threat for hoax:

The stated intent by a terrorist group to carry out an attack or a false alert of authorities about the coming of terrorists attack by a named group.

Most of these means terrorists adopt in carrying out their activities are becoming obsolete because of the fact that most governments that are more implicationive in combating terrorist elements.

Few governments are as inclined as they were some years ago to release captured terrorists simply to avoid further terrorists attacks. Most government have adopted non concessions, non-negotiations politics in dealing with hostage cases or situation.

Physical security around likely target has increased for example, it has become more difficult now, although it is still possible to smuggle weapons abroad through airlines. Embassies are becoming virtual fortress (especially after the terrorists attack on the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998).

Diplomatic and top executives often travel in armored limousines with armed body guards (for example, the coming of former United States President Bill Clinton into Nigeria and Ghana with armored limousines and several CIA and FBI agents). But despite these undeniable achievements, the total volume of terrorist’s activities in the world has increased. At the same time terrorism has become bloodier and the terrorist seem to be less reluctant to inflict casualties. The latest fear exercise after the September 11th incident is the fear of terrorist making use of instruments of mass destruction in achieving their aims.

One aspects of the problem of definition of the term terrorism is the difficulty in distinguishing between terrorism and a freedom fighter for example, the man who attacks a plane and proceeds to kill some or all the passengers.
The man who wrap bomb around his waist and drives into a shopping mall causing maximum damages of government may well be a freedom fighter to his kith and kin.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Terrorist has been a big problem faced globally. Terrorism has been going on around the world for a millennium now, though the federal government of countries, the United Nations and other world agencies have put in much effort to eradicate terrorism from their boarder and within their country, the major problem is that the united states of America has lebelled Africa among the place for terrorist recruitment; though some of the countries in Africa has put a stop to terrorism in their boarder.

1.3 Research Objectives

The objectives of the study were:

  1. To identify the factors influencing terrorist activities between the period of 2000 to 2010,
  2. To establish why terrorism is inevitable despite the collective state efforts (UN),
  3. To examine how terrorism has affected education systems,
  4. To examine the implications of terrorist activities on international peace and security from 2000 to 2010, and
  5. To provide recommendations on how to combat the implications of terrorism in the international system.

The thrust of the research was to provide an analysis of the implications of terrorism between 2000 and 2010 in maintaining international peace and security.

1.4 Research Questions

The study was anchored on the ensuing research questions.

  1. Who is a terrorist?
  2. What are the types of terrorism and the methods they are using to implication terror?
  3. What are the factors that influence terrorist activities?
  4. What are the threats brought by terrorists in the international system?
  5. What is the future of terrorism and what needs to be done to reduce or eradicate terrorism?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Terrorism negatively affects collective effort towards the maintenance of international peace and security.

1.6 significance of the Study

The UN (2002: V) Preface by the former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan states that, “terrorism strikes at the heart of everything the UN stands for. It presents a global threat to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and stability.” Since its inception in 1945, the UN has been less successful in eliminating terrorism in all its manifestations. Governments on the other hand find it very difficult to uproot terrorists in their territorial boundaries. Terrorism disrupts livelihoods, increases violence and fear, affects production in all sectors of economy, destroys infrastructure and has resulted in bloodshed. In all cases of terrorist attacks, it has disrupted normal education life, stalled production in the economy and international effort to provide peace and security. This justifies the importance of providing an analysis on the implications of terrorism in maintaining international peace and security from 2000 to 2010. The research findings will be of great significance to the world and regional organisations concerned with world peace, educationists, security and state institutions, concerned with tackling terrorism. It is against this background that Open Distance Learning (ODL) plays a pivotal role in providing education under these circumstances.

1.7 Research Limitations

For the purposes of this research, limitations are impediments that prevent the researchers from achieving objectives of the study. Analysing the implications of terrorism is a political research and it involves embassies, foreign affairs ministry, senior government officials and political non-governmental organisations which deal with human rights. These sources did not release accurate information easily depending on the complexity and nature of information being solicited. Failure to access some of the information has affected the outcome of the research.

Besides, a state, foreign missions, international organisations, local political practitioners and other sources provided partisan information depending on their political orientation and ideologies. Withholding information and provision of partial, partisan and subjective information are limitations that have largely affect this research.

To overcome the said limitations, the researcher used qualitative methodology in form of interviews which provides for questions probing during data gathering and analysis. The researcher provided several sources to increase information base. Secondary data was of much help as both sides of opinions were extracted. The researcher used the internet and renowned authors as sources of information.

1.8 Delimitation

The study analysed the implications of terrorism on international peace and security from the year 2000 to 2010. The research traced the origins of terrorism and its prominent resurgence in the twenty-first century, particularly the period between 2000 and 2010. Of importance is how terrorism affects efforts to maintain international peace and security as well as scrutinising the various methods they use to implication terror and proffer recommendations on how to combat terrorism. The names of terrorist groups that undermine peace and security from the year 2000 to 2010 were listed as well as their approaches to undermine the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The research study concludes that terrorism has negatively affected collective state effort in maintaining international peace and security especially the period between 2000 and 2010. The decade in the millennium witnessed the major attack of a superpower where almost 3000 people dead of over 50 nationalities. Of the dead, they left orphans and widows who are not able to pay the school fees for their kids because the bread winners were killed. This is a challenge not only in America but in Africa as a whole.

The concept of collective security has been discussed in detail but it has remained very difficult for states to collectively co-exist. This is because of the ideological and geographical differences between and among member states of the UN. The collective security agenda is overridden by state interest. This is accompanied by refusal by some member states to be bound by the rules of the UN. This concept is based on the pacifist settlement of disputes but on the other hand diverge from the real practise of politics and peace. The concept is usually favoured during large conferences whose idea is to stimulate research while on the ground states act together with friends than enemies. As noted earlier, the concept of collective security is outweighed by the theory of Realism which is clear on the reasons why states are reluctant to fight terrorism collectively. It states that politics is ridden by selfishness and egoism of states and individuals who are always in pursuit of power. Politics is thus the struggle for power and peace. The theory of realism explains the real practise and contact of states and the exercise of hard power in a political world. The research study used the concept of collective security and theory of realism because they are relevant in the contemporary times when there is need to eradicate terrorism or reduce its implications.

The research provides that terrorism has negatively affected collective state effort in maintaining international peace and security especially from 2000 to 2010. The implications of terrorism has been categorised into three (2) major areas: The Implications of Terrorism on Global Security and The Implications of Terrorism on Individual Security.

  • The Implications of Terrorism on Global Security includes the reduction of FDI, reduced capital inflows, stalls stock markets, shifts investment both capital and labour. It ushers in higher uncertainty thus reducing confidence among potential investors. The state shifts its priority from projects designed for growth to higher demand for security and once security is given higher priority, transport sector suffers especially dealing with cross border. Besides industry will act below capacity or forced to close due to the lack of labour.
  • The Implications of Terrorism on Individual Security. The research study explained security not only to mean insulated from physical harm but also from environmental security, food security, community security, global security and even health security among other securities. The continuous advancement in technology has led to the emergence of cyber-terrorism, Narco-terrorism, biological terrorism and even nuclear terrorism. These are designed to inflict pain and insecurity upon the citizens of a government which will then fail to protect its citizens. The Mumbai attacks, Black September, 9/11, bombing of the WTC in 1993, hostage taking and kidnapping have all caused human insecurity

These problems are very difficult to mitigate given that the states are driven by their individual interests rather than collective efforts. The UN has tried to curb terrorism through pacifist tract of dispute settlements but this has been very implicationive in world forums. These forums are not binding to terrorist organisations, so whatever recommendations, policies or actions, the concerned organisations are absent hence they escape any legal binding status. On the other hand the UN has no leverage, financial resources and motivation to deter terrorism. It is ironic that the UN which is supposed to maintain peace and security has no permanent police force to safeguard what it stands for. Instead, the “boys and girls” who are selected to represent this body are mostly egoistic and enjoy themselves at the expense of providing peace and security. It can be summarised that the period between 2000 and 2010 has witnessed fragrant gross violation of human rights either by the state itself against its civilians or the civilians against the state or state versus another state. It can be dubbed a prime period for terrorism which took advantage of the world chaos especially after 9/11 terrorist attacks.

If the economy is deteriorating, then many people especially in Africa fail to send children to Primary School, High School and Universities. People will be migrating; some will lose their infrastructure and slowly poverty is witnessed. Somalia is a true case. Individual security allows children to find better educational facility. But terrorism seeks to break all that. In turn, the nation as a whole will not function properly.

5.2 Recommendations

It is commendable in this research study that the UNSC should be reformed, rebranded or abolished and submits all veto to the General Assembly in order to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The P5 status was made by the victorious powers of the WW2. But this is an era that has since passed. Today there are some states which are more advanced than France for example Japan and South Africa who can take over from France. The Asian Tigers have a success story of global boom while the USA, EU and Africa are facing financial crisis. Thus there is a need to re-look at the criteria which warrant veto status.

The GWOT needs to be based on a clearly defined concept of terrorism and has to be conducted in such a way that it does not itself resort to terrorism. Instead, it has to be integrated into a balanced international global order, one that will make the incidences of terrorist thwarted and finally erode the social support for terrorism. Thus, it is commendable that the UN find a common definition of terrorism which is more accommodative than the current case where “terrorist” defend themselves through definitions which are not universally bound. If there is no definition of terrorism which is agreed then there is no basis for such a war because it is baseless. The waging of the GWOT should be waged through collective security framework as defined in Chapter VII of the UNC. This will avoid anarchy and it restores the lost international peace and security as such kind of war is contacted multilaterally and not unilaterally.

It will be of great value if the fighting and detonation of bombs is stopped to allow for global growth. If fighting continues, investors will find it risk to invest in any area. It is imperative that the fighting, destruction of property in order to make a political statement be minimised paving way for investments, good distribution channels and providing of capital injection into manufacturing. This allows for maximum exploitation of resources and free sanctions trading zone in a globalised village. If terror activities are minimised this allows growth in every sector of the economy.

The study recommends that there is need to observe human rights and all protocols relating to the protection of civilians. Without observance of human rights then the humans will continue to suffer. The methods applied to the contact of war should be observed without fail and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and African Charter for People‟s Human Rights. Besides it is suggested that all states begin to create structures that will cater for all human security needs from security, food, health, environment, and community security. To that end, this will provide a new world political dispensation which tolerate the existence of all securities.

There is also need to provide stiffer measures to terrorists who target civilians once they are multilaterally caught and tried. This also extends to the abolition of Guantanamo Bay and Ghraib terrorist holding centres. There is also need to remove control of counter-terrorism (GWOT) from the USA to the UN for the purposes of trial and execution of terrorists. This minimises the frequency of terrorist attacks because terrorism would have been dealt with in a multi-lateral approach as opposed to uni-lateralism.

The research study recommends that Open Distance Learning (ODL) should be used a panacea to better educational systems during the time of crisis and beyond. As students drop out of school due to the reasons related to terrorism, ODL will provide a gap between lessons missed or time lost. This will be a powerful weapon to insulate a nation against the implications of terrorism on educational system.

Terrorism And Its Implication On Global Security In The 21st Century

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