WAR ON TERROR

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TOPICS

1) RELIGIOUS TERRORISM

2) 9/11 AND INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN

3) WIDENING 'WAR ON TERROR' AND IRAQ

4) MEANWHILE IN AFGHANISTAN

Terrorism:

"Use of violence or the threat of violence with the primary purpose of generating a psychological impact beyond the immediate victims or object of attack for a political motive"

(Richards 2014)

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RELIGIOUS TERRORISM

Events contributing to the 4th wave of International terrorism:

1) Iranian Revolution 1979

2) Start of the new Islamic Century 1979

3) USSR invasion of Afghanistan 1979-89

(Rapoport 2004)

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RELIGIOUS TERRORISM

Afghanistan and the end of the Cold War:

  • USSR invaded 1979
  • Mujahideen resisted (Afghans and 'Afghan Arabs')
  • USSR withdrew 1989 and collapsed 1991
  • Myth: Mujahideen defeated/ destroyed a superpower
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RELIGIOUS TERRORISM

Al Qaeda: 'The Base'

  • Afghanistan conflict = meeting point for Jihadists
  • Base created in Pakistan 1988 by Osama Bin Laden (+ 'Afghan Arabs')
  • Set up as a Jihadist Vangaurd movement
  • Initially focussed on 'near' enemy but then 'far' enemy after First Gulf War

Goals:

  • Terrorist group
  • Organise, train, logistics for Jihadists
  • Unify, lead, reorient Jihadist movement
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RELIGIOUS TERRORISM

Al Qaeda:

  • Not on radar for the West until mid 1990s
  • Based in Sudan until 1996 then back to Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan = training ground, relationship with Taliban, source of weapons
  • Bin Laden's Fatwas 1996/98
  • Attacks (early 90s) linked to Jihadist movement (not Al Qaeda)
  • Concern after East Africa Embassy bombings 1998 and attack on USS Cole 2000
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RELIGIOUS TERRORISM

Osama Bin Laden's Fatwa 1998:

  • Strict Shari'a religious law rule
  • Expel US and 'infidels' from Middle East/ Muslim lands
  • Topple Muslim regimes betraying 'true' Islam and collaborating with US and allies
  • Pan-Islamist Caliphate (super-state) uniting all Muslims
  • Al Qaeda declared Holy War/ Jihad against the West
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9/11 AND INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN

9/11:

  • Largest terrorist attack (3,000 killed)

US Foreign Policy:

  • Uni polar moment for US post Cold War
  • Terrorism moved up the agenda (Clinton 1993-2001)
  • Bush (2001-9) elected to wind down global involvement
  • 9/11 changed course of Foreign Policy
  • 9/11 hijacked by neo-conservatives (members of Bush's administration)
  • Attack criticised by many known Jihadists and majority of Muslims
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9/11 AND INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN

Invasion of Afghanistan 2001:

  • Al Qaeda base
  • Taliban refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden

October: US (with support of other states) bombed, deployed special forces and backed anti-Taliban Northern Alliance

December: Taliban collapses but not destroyed, leaders fled to Pakistan, creation of an interim government

  • Afghanistan neglected
  • US expanded 'War on Terror'
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WIDENING 'WAR ON TERROR' AND IRAQ

Widening 'War on Terror':

2002: Bush expanded 'war' beyond Afghanistan to 'axis of evil' (Iraq, Iran, North Korea and later Syria, Cuba, Libya)

Concerned allies who'd previously backed US in Afghanistan

US on course to invade Iraq (had WMD and cooperated with Al Qaeda)

Led to fall out between US (+UK) and European states (Germany, France)

Bush Doctrine (NSS 2002): maintaining American supremacy, pre-emptive use of force, unilateral use of force

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WIDENING 'WAR ON TERROR' AND IRAQ

US invasion of Iraq:

US ('coalition of the willing') invaded

20th March - 1st May 2003

Initially seemed to be an overwhelming success

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WIDENING 'WAR ON TERROR' AND IRAQ

IR and the invasion of Iraq:

Realism:

  • Invasion sometimes seen as validating Mearsheimer but very questionable
  • Most Realists opposed the War as it was not in US interests

Liberalism:

  • Belief that spreading democracy will bring peace to Middle East (starting with Iraq)
  • Division between some Liberal scholars as some supportive and some against

Constructivism:

  • International system: multilaterialm and reluctance to use force
  • US broke both with Iraq, making its actions illegitimate
  • Importance of norms

Marxism:

  • Marxists disagreed over whether the invasion was about oil
  • Some believed oil was important for current mode of production and others saw it as a product of neo-conservative cabal
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WIDENING 'WAR ON TERROR' AND IRAQ

Problems in Iraq:

  • Saddam Hussein led Iraq 1979-2003
  • Part of Sunni group (minority) though Baathist (secular)
  • Oppressed Kurds and Shia majority
  • Tables turned on Sunnis who were then marginalised by Shias as the majority
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WIDENING 'WAR ON TERROR' AND IRAQ

Invasion to insurgency:

  • For many, Afghanistan was acceptable, but Iraq seemed like an attempt to control the Middle East
  • Resistance to US melted away (little planning for post war by US)
  • Insurgency quickly started after intial invasion
  • US troops saw themselves as liberators but Iraqis saw Americans as occupiers
  • Casualties spiralled in mid-2000s
  • Mahdi Army (Shia) led by Mugtada al-Sadr
  • Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) under Abu Musab al-Zarrqawi
  • Later became Daesh (Islamic State) under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
  • US troop surge, change of tactics, brutality of Sunni groups (declining support) - temporarily put down Sunni insurgents
  • US pulled out 2011
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WIDENING 'WAR ON TERROR' AND IRAQ

Iraq gave way to...

  • Syria acted as transit point for foreign fighters during Iraq War
  • AQI took advantage of protests against Assad in Syria during Arab Awakening (2011)
  • Conflict over ownership of al-Nusra Front led to split between Al Qaeda and AQI (which became Islamic State/ Daesh)
  • Conflict between Al Qaeda and Daesh for leadership of Jidhadist movement
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MEANWHILE IN AFGHANISTAN

  • Afghanistan neglected while focus was on Iraq (mistake)
  • Few NATO troops stationed there, giving Taliban chance to regroup and gain foothold in parts of the country (big role of Pakistan)
  • Taliban heavily funded by opiates (country responsible for producing 90% of world's heroine)
  • US and allies pulled out in 2014 but some US troops remain
  • Gave way to continuing conflict between Afghan forces and the Taliban
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SUMMARY

  • US 'War on Terror' = good idea but wrong method
  • US could've done between with support after 9/11 but instead agenda was hijacked by neoconservatives
  • Invasion of Iraq damaged the US cause (torture, surveillance)
  • US brough more instability to that part of the world
  • Future of Jihadist movement? Daesh as Al Qaeda hardly mentioned

(Nordenmann 2013: War on Terror ended in 2012 with death of Osama Bin Laden, failure of counter-insurgency and Arab Awakening)

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