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Terrorism is a security problem that has plagued the world for centuries, states like USA just
took a different softer approach towards it till it took a gruesome turn in the 20th century.
Although attention to terrorism has increased sharply in recent years, it is by no means a new
phenomenon. For decades terrorists have carried out attacks against non-combatant targets
causing massive destruction by means of vicious assaults.
The war on terror was the United States response to the events that is popularly referred to as
the 9/11 attack which made terrorism a top priority for the US government. The 9/11 events
ushered in a new type of military action for US. The global war on terror is one of the main
combatants of the US new strategy by the government to ensure America’s right to self
defence and world’s obligation to the defence of freedom.
On September 11th, 2001, the strategic landscape of the world was altered instantly. The
radical Islamic group, Al-Qaeda, challenged the global hegemon, the United States of
America, by striking targets in New York City and Washington D.C., symbolizing the
hegemon‘s economic and military power. The shock and impact of that day on the U.S.
foreign policy and strategy are often compared to those caused by the Pearl Harbour attacks
of 1941. The difference is that the terrorist attacks struck at the heartland of the United States,
and was broadcasted live across the entire world through the television and internet channels.
It also caused the deaths of almost three thousand people, mostly civilians and billions of
dollars of damage. However, the most unprecedented aspect of the challenge was that it
stemmed not from another state, but from a non-state actor. The scale and ambition of the
U.S. response are equally formidable. President George W. Bush declared a war which came
to be known as the “global war on terrorism”: the enemy was identified, the allies were
mobilised, hesitant parties were warned, ideological parameters were established, police, and
surveillance functions of the state were strengthened, the defence budget was substantially
increased and military action was launched.
Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda’s leader, had proved that it is sufficient to mix a dose of religious
extremism and zeal, good planning, imagination, a few hundred thousand dollars with the
right political, social and strategic context in order to provoke a new global conflict. Almost
everyone is in agreement that, this new conflict is different from the previous ones, just as the
Cold War was different from the two world wars. Discussions regarding its nature still
The official report of the 9/11 Commission describes the attacks of 11 September 2001,
resulting in the death of nearly 3,000 civilians as ‗a day of unprecedented shock and suffering
in the history of the United States. On 12 September 2001, President Bush met with senior
officials, as he said, ‗to assign tasks for the first wave of the war against terrorism. It starts
today. A week later he explained, ‗Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end
there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and
defeated. The 9/11 Commission considered the fatwa issued by the so-called ‗World Islamic
Front‘ at the request of Osama Bin Ladin and Ayman al Zawahiri, calling for every Muslim
who can to murder any American anywhere, to be a ‗declaration of war. The concept of a
‗war on terrorism‘ or ‗war on terror‘ has thus been taken literally rather than metaphorically
in the sense of opposition to an idea, such as the war against fascism or the war on drugs.
Two weeks after the attacks of 9/11, the Security Council unanimously adopted anti-terrorism
resolution 1373 (2001) on 28 September 2001, which reaffirmed the Council‘s unequivocal
condemnation of the terrorist acts of 11 September and obligated all Member States to
criminalize the wilful provision or collection of funds for terrorist acts and to freeze any
financial assets and economic resources of those who commit or attempt to commit terrorist
acts or participate in or facilitate the commission of terrorist acts and of persons and entities
acting on behalf of terrorists. Moreover, all States must refrain from providing any form of
support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts and prevent terrorism by denying safe
haven to those who finance, plan, support, commit terrorist acts and provide safe havens as
well. They must prosecute anyone who has participated in the financing, planning,
preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts and should also
ensure that terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic law and
seriously punished. They also must intensify and accelerate the exchange of information
regarding terrorist actions or movements, forged or falsified documents, traffic in arms and
sensitive material, use of communications and technologies by terrorist groups, and the threat
posed by the possession of weapons of mass destruction. Before granting refugee status, all
States should take appropriate measures to ensure that the asylum seekers have not planned,
facilitated or participated in terrorist acts. The Security Council also established a 15-member
Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) to monitor the resolution‘s implementation, revitalized
in 2004 to provide expert advice on all areas covered by resolution 1373, to facilitate
technical assistance, and to promote closer cooperation and coordination with regional and
intergovernmental bodies. Terrorism in the twentieth century tended to accompany political
conflicts centred on nation-states, in struggles for national independence or liberation from
oppression or occupation. In recent years international terrorism has taken new directions
through the linkage between struggles in different places and the rise of groups motivated by
transnational religious ideologies. As the Bishops‘ Working Group pointed out (Countering
Terrorism, p. 5), Al-Qa‘eda has both highly specific aims (US withdrawal from Saudi Arabia
and the destruction of Israel) and more generalised ones (the removal of Western influence in
Islamic lands and the establishment of an international Muslim caliphate). This requires the
maintenance of a state of enmity between authentic Islam, as understood in Osama bin
Laden‘s purist strand of Wahhabism, and the United States and its allies throughout the
Terrorism is not a new challenge to international order, although the influence of the United
States has resulted in significant rethinking of the international law and politics of terrorism
since the attacks on the US of 11 September 2001, which has had ramifications in all regions,
including the Asia Pacific. The ―Global War on Terror‖ came to dominate US foreign policy
in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The effort served as a guiding light for how the United States
interacted with friends, allies, and adversaries and deeply influenced US priorities around the
globe, in general, and in the wider Middle East, in particular. While it will likely never be
announced as concluded, the Global War on Terror is effectively over, due to four separate
but related reasons: the killing of Osama bin Laden, the perceived failure of
counterinsurgency as an effective policy instrument, the significant costs of the effort, and the
Arab Awakening, this does not mean, however, that the United States will no longer pursue
counter terrorists. Drones and Special Forces have emerged as the key tools in US
counterterrorism, and the United States is likely to continue pursuing terrorist cells and highvalue targets aggressively across the globe for decades to come using these means. However,
this practice should be viewed as one of many defence efforts that the United States carries
out on a regular basis in order to guard the full range of US interests. Elements of the
emerging US counterterrorism effort remain problematic, but the end of the Global War on
Terror nevertheless presents Washington with a window of opportunity to reorder its relations
with the nations and peoples of the Middle East and North Africa and frees up resources for
the United States to tackle other emerging strategic priorities, such as the shift of global
power to the Pacific, the revival of the US economy, and security challenges such as energy
security and cyber defence.
Terrorism has formed a large part of history and the United States has had its share. Due to
the effects of the 9/11 attack, terrorism and establishing counter terrorism attacks are now a
major priority of the United States. The United States has since experienced series of terrorist
attacks that has threatened the security in this region.
The report of the UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change said in 2004 that
terrorism ‗attacks the values that lie at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations: respect
for human rights; the rule of law; rules of war that protect civilians; tolerance among peoples
and nations; and the peaceful resolution of conflict. It also alluded to the fact that ‗terrorism
flourishes in environments of despair, humiliation, poverty, political oppression, extremism
and human rights abuse; it also flourishes in contexts of regional conflict and foreign
occupation; and it profits from weak State capacity to maintain law and order. Terrorism is
normally understood to refer to ‗…criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of
terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes …‘
It is the object of 13 multilateral and 7 regional treaties, which define and provide for
criminalization of specific acts relating to such behaviour as hijacking, bombing, financing of
terrorism and nuclear terrorism. Terrorism has been said to have been caused by so many
reasons ranging from religious causes to just selfish need of individual non-state actors but
none of the world’s responses to terror has been as effective as the war on terror.
Terrorism has proven to be hard to eradicate as long as these non state actors have the
resources, even cutting of the head has no effect since they just grow another. However, these
attacks can be minimized and managed to a certain level. This study seeks to examine the role
United States play in if not eradicating completely the terrorists but minimizing their
damages, and also try to establish and investigate the following problems:
I. What are the causes and impacts of the terror acts that are scarring the world?
II. Is there a significant influence of United States towards this terror crisis?
III. What are the achievements and contributions of the United States in the war against
global terror?
IV. What is the outcome of the United States and UN intervention in eradicating global
The main objective of this research project is to analyze the reasons behind America’s
creation of the War on Terror.
The following listed objectives are to be achieved from this study;
I. To examine the causes and impacts of the terror acts that are scarring the world
II. To identify the influence of the United States towards the terror crisis
III. To identify the achievements and contributions of the United States in the war against
global terror
IV. To identify and analyze the outcome of the United States and UN intervention in
eradicating global terrorism
From the above objectives the following are the relevant research questions to be used for
this study:
I. What are the causes and effects of Terrorism?
II. What are the strategies employed by United States towards Global Terror?
III. Did the Global War on Terror have any achievements?
IV. Has the Global War on Terror succeeded in completely eradicating Terrorism?
HO1: Religion was a major cause of terrorism.
HO2: Religion was not a major cause of terrorism.
HO1: War on terror has been a success.
HO2: War on terror has not been a success.
HO1: Hegemonic power was a major influence for the creation of GWOT.
HO2: Hegemonic power was not a major influence to creation of GWOT.
This research study shall be based on the following assumptions:
I. Terrorism has taken a global turn and has become an international problem thus
making it an important part of international relations. It is basically another concept
that develops interdependency and inter relations in the international system
II. Although there have been other attempts to fight terrorism besides the Global War
on Terror, it is the most popular pre-emptive strategy against terrorism,
III. The hegemonic power of the USA played an important role in the establishment of
the Global War on Terror.
IV. GWOT might have been creative for positive achievements but in the course of its
action it was also met with some criticism.
The world has had series of terror crisis for a long time. These crises have been studied
extensively by social scientists, political analysts and other scholars. In many of these studies,
the analysts have focused mostly on the intervening roles of groups and organizations, such
as the UN. What this study found missing, however, is an in-depth analysis of the role/s of
individual member states, such as the United States. The researcher hopes to portray the
dynamics of terrorism and the extent of the United States roles.
Also, the study seeks to capture the extent to which the United States has restored security
and economic development to these terror battered states and to the entire region. It will also
help to explore the mechanism established to strengthen war against terror and the challenges
encountered in their operations. The study is also expected to add to existing body of
knowledge on the subject of terrorism as it relates to the United States and hopefully
contribute to answer some critical questions as relates to the subject matter.
This research study is to cover USA’s approach to fighting terrorism. the time frame of the
study would therefore focus on the period right before the creation of the GWOT for better
understanding of the reason behind its creation. other areas to be covered include other
international participation. The study would focus mainly on the United States of America’s
involvement with GWOT and not every aspect of terrorism.
This study will be divided into five chapters for easy clarification. Chapter one is the
introduction and background of the study which covers the statement of problem, objective of
the study, significance of the study, amongst others.
Chapter two covers literature review and theoretical framework. Attempts would be made to
review scholarly literatures on the nature of activities of the United States towards global
terrorism. Emphasis would also be made on the Nature of America‘s policy and the
establishment of the war on terror. The study would also make use of a theory suitable to this
study to further buttress this work.
Chapter three would focus on the methodology used for data collection. For the purpose of
this study, the researcher would employ secondary data as its research methodology.
Secondary data would include publications, books, articles, magazines and internet sources.
The researcher visited the Afe-Babalola university library and online libraries in order to
source and gather available data.
Chapter four would be devoted to the role, contribution and achievements of the United
States towards the terror acts that broke out in the world and then outcome of the intervention
as an analysis of the study.
Chapter five concludes the study by summarizing the entire work and making some
recommendations based on the findings of the study.
It is necessary to attempt a definition of some of the key concepts of this study. These
concepts are defined as follows;
UN Security Council Resolution 1566 (2004) gives a definition: criminal acts, including
against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking
of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of
persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an
international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act. A UN panel, on March 17,
2005, described terrorism as any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to
civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a
government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.‖
European Union
The European Union defines terrorism for legal/official purposes in Article1 of the
Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism (2002). This provides that terrorist offences
are certain criminal offences set out in a list comprised largely of serious offences against
persons and property which: given their nature or context, may seriously damage a country or
an international organization where committed with the aim of: seriously intimidating a
population; or unduly compelling a Government or international organization to perform or
abstain from performing any act; or seriously destabilizing or destroying the fundamental
political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international
Security according to Buzan (1989:236) ―is taken to be about the pursuit of freedom from
threat and the ability of states and societies to maintain their independent identity and their
functional integrity against forces of change which they see as hostile‖. The security of states
is therefore threatened by any change that might threaten that monopoly of violence–whether
through external invasion or internal rebellion.
Conflict is a disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs,
interests or concerns. Uhuegbu and Aja (2001:24) see conflict as an opposition of vested
interest between states or other actors. The conflict may be in the area of trade, politics,
finance, culture or military. They went further to note that conflict may take the form of
threat, war, sanction, terrorism, border dispute or severance of diplomatic ties, etc.
National Security
Oche [2001] described national security as a nation’s ability to protect and develop itself,
promote its cherished values and legitimate interest, and enhance the well-being of its people;
it is thus the freedom from those tendencies which can undermine internal cohesion and the
nation’s ability to maintain its vital institutions for the promotion of its core value. According
to Otto and Ukpere [2012], national security must be related to the presence of peace, safety,
happiness and protection of human and physical resources or the absence of crisis, threats to
human injury among others. It is the function of every responsible government to ensure that
the security of the country, its citizens and their property is maintained.
National Development
According to Lawal & Oluwatoyin [2011], national development can be described as the
overall development or collective socio-economic, political as well as religious advancements
of country or nation, which is best achieved through development planning, which can be
described as the country’s collection of strategy mapped out by the government
Peacekeeping as a collective term covers a diverse range of interventions: from traditional
peacekeeping, to peace enforcement, peacemaking, peacebuilding, conflict prevention,
humanitarian operations, etc. Peacekeeping is defined by the United Nations as ―a unique and
dynamic instrument developed by the Organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict
to create the conditions for lasting peace‖ (UN, 2004).
Peacekeeping is simply defined as the preservation of peace, especially as a military mission
in which troops attempt to keep formerly warring factions, including the armed forces of any
country, from further fight or escalating already tensed situation.
The most common definition of Counter-Terrorism on the internet is the practices, tactics,
techniques and strategies that government, militaries, police departments and corporations
adopt in response to terrorist threats and/or acts both real and imputed


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