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Title Page
Table of Content
Table of Illustration
1.1 Background of Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objectives of Study
1.4 Significance of Study
1.5 Scope and Limitations
1.6 Literature Review
1.7 Theoretical Framework
1.8 Hypotheses
1.9 Methodology
1.10 Definition of Key Concepts
2.1 Afghanistan and Terrorist Activities
2.2 The Fall of the Taliban Regime
3.1 Fighting Terrorists Finance
4.1 America’s War on Terrorism, impact on Global security
4.2 The United Nations and The War Against Terrorism
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendation
Fig. 1: Showing some major terrorist incidents in Afghanistan
between September 2001- June 2010.
Fig. 2: Terrorist attacks in Afghanistan between September 2001 –
June 2010.
Fig. 3: Death casualties in some major terrorist incidents in
Afghanistan between September 2001 – June 2010.
This study intends to critically carry out an assessment among other
things, role the United States is playing in the fight against terrorism;
whether the United States actions conform with international laws and
conventions. In order to research on the problem, the following
hypotheses were formulated to guide the study; the war on terrorism has
affected terrorists financing; the war on terrorism has had significant
impact on global security. The Power Theory was found viable as an
analytical tool because it is most suitable for the study. The theory posits
that wealth and military strength cannot make a state super power, but
that states also need a high level of influence as in the case with the
United States. That is why the United States is referred to as super power,
because it possesses military strength, wealth and influence over most
nations. In order for us to achieve the objectives of this study, information
were derived through content analysis of articles, documents, journals,
internet sources, magazines, monographs and books related to the study.
The study found out that the United States did not declare war against
terrorism because it was interested in the security situation in Afghanistan
in particular and the world in general, but because the Taliban and their
allies finally engaged in activities that directly harmed the United States.
Terrorism is a phenomenon that governments around the world
have come to fear. According to Jenkins (1975:1), terrorism is referred to
as, a strategy whereby violence is used to produce certain effects in a
group of people so as to attain some political end or ends, and one of the
effects of such a strategy is often fear, although there are also other
effects. Thornton (1964:73), in his contribution sees terrorism as the use
of terror as a symbolic act designed to influence political behaviour by
extra normal means, entailing the use of a threat of violence. Terrorism
therefore may achieve political ends by either mobilizing forces
sympathetic to the cause of the terrorists or by immobilizing the forces of
the incumbent authorities.
Terrorism is a phenomenon that governments around the world
have come to fear. According to O’Connor (1987:149);
The problem of how to deal with the threat of terrorism has
been grappled with by political leaders of virtually every
democratic nation (O’ Connor, 1987:149).
Since the Second World War, there have been hundreds of terrorists
groups operating world wide, each pursuing its own political agenda that
ranges from aircraft hijackings, hostage taking and embassy and
department store bombings, to the assassination of political leaders and
diplomats. According to Bush (1988:131);
Combating this continuing stream of terrorist events has
proved a troublesome political issue for democratic
governments, especially when trying to protect their citizens
and property overseas (Bush, 1988:131).
Governments can usually enact legislation to guard against terrorism at
home and develop their domestic, law enforcement agencies to detect and
deter potential local events. It can also exercise a large measure of control
when resolving events such as hostage situations that have already
unfolded domestically, but when faced with events overseas, far from
their geographic sovereignty, governments are especially vulnerable and
terrorists know this. It is a notable fact that some states have regarded
terrorism as one means of conducting foreign relations. In this view
therefore, Davis (1990:10) posited that, Libya under Murmah Ghadaffi,
established a large network of training camps which at times gave support
to specific attacks. He went further to state that during the 1980s, Libya
trained as many as seven to eight thousand terrorists and guerillas per
year, spent approximately one hundred million US dollars on arms and
financial disbursement to Palestinian terrorists, shared intelligence with
terrorists groups, provided transport aboard Libyan airlines, supplied false
passports and save-housed terrorists operating in Europe (Davis,
Suffice it to say therefore that, the activities of terrorists escalated
and came to limelight in contemporary times, as a result of the terrorists’
attacks on World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on the 11th of
September, 2001, popularly referred to as “9/11”.
According to Andreani (2004:31), September 11th was for all to
see, an act of war. The sheer magnitude of the attacks, their merciless
violence, plus the world wide impact of the damages, immediately
imposed the word “WAR” as the only one commensurate with the event
and the outrage it had provoked. Less than 30 days after the attacks,
President George W. Bush of the United States, declared ‘WAR ON
TERRORISM’ with a global reach and announced that the war would end
“only with the eradication of this evil”. In the fall of 2001, the swift
punishment of the perpetrators of these attacks, and the defeat of their
Taliban accomplices following a lightening military campaign in
Afghanistan, translated the US president’s promise into deeds.
The question one may wish to ask at this point is, “can the war on
terrorism end with a declaration of final victory?” The impact of the
September 11 attack on US has thus been contradictory. There is no
doubt that it did deliver a salvage blow to America’s prestige, its
economy and its international dignity. It has also helped justify a massive
military build-up which has placed the United States in an even more
dominant position than it was already. However, the knowledge or belief
that terrorism is, directly or indirectly, the hostile act of another state
provides the target state with a visible foe and creates the circumstances
for the exercise of diplomatic or military responses, which includes, the
imposition of military, economic or political sanctions and retaliation
with the aim of deterring future terrorists attacks as evident in the case of
It is imperative to state that the war on global terrorism may not
end with a declaration of final victory, the use of the word, ‘war’ in
reference to such evils, and to terrorism itself, rather than against a
designated enemy, is essentially metaphorical. Based on the above, it is
important to carry out a research on the United States war on terrorism
and the impacts it has on global security, with a case study of
Afghanistan, so as to ascertain the role the United States is playing,
whether it is of selfish or of collective global interest.
According to a diplomat, as quoted by Ikenberry (2001:29),
“One knows where a war begins, but one never knows where it ends”.
After the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush, declared “war
on terrorism” and announced that the war would end only with the
eradication of this evil. Declaring a war against terrorism is warranted to
the extent that there is a normative element in any war, so that success
should confirm that certain types of behaviours are unacceptable and that
the perpetrators can expect to see their efforts thwarted and eventually
punished. The problem with this designation is that, it takes the war
beyond the immediate cause and raises questions of what is to be
included and excluded.
Many acts can be described as terrorism and they might be
undertaken in the name of many causes. The use of the word, “war” in
reference to terrorism itself, rather than against a designated enemy is
essentially metaphorical. According to Freedman (2001:63); Al-Qaeda
(which claimed to be behind the September 11 attacks on U.S) does not
claim to be fighting a war for terrorism, but one that pits true Islam
against Christianity and Judaism. Suffice it to say therefore that,
according to the above statement, this is a war about the future of Islam
and therefore about the grievance of all states with Muslim populations,
and all conflicts in which Muslim groups are directly involved.
This statement which is credited to Osama Bin Laden has done
more harm than good to the Muslim extremists in particular and global
security in general, which is evident in the nearly everyday suicide
bombings taking place all over the world. These extremists see this war,
not against Christians alone, but the US which they have tagged “infidel”.
The world is now faced with the mighty task of living with not just
terrorism and its spate of violence, but its impacts on global security if
not managed.
Suffice it to say here that, if careful efforts are not taken
diplomatically, the “war against terrorism”, that is being championed by
the United States of America, may lead to an adverse impact on global
security that can even lead to a Third World War. Not also forgetting the
number of lives and properties, including U.S tax payers’ monies that
have being lost to this cause. Yet, the U.S is finding it difficult to
completely curb terrorism, because these terrorist groups have continued
to metamorphose in style and sophistication and not every country is
cooperative with the U.S in its war against terrorism and means by which
terrorism thrives, especially through terrorist financing.
To this effect, we raise the following research questions which
form the basis of this study.
1. Has terrorist financing affected the war on terrorism?
2. Has the war on terrorism had any impact on global security?
The primary aim of this study is, amongst others, geared towards;
1. Analyzing the impacts of terrorist activities on global security.
2. Appraising the role the United States is playing in the war
against terrorism, so as to ascertain whether it conforms with
the stipulations of international law.
3. Assessing the undertones in U.S unilateral declaration of war on
global terrorism.
4. Finding out the implications of the dual strategy employed by
the United States in Afghanistan, in the war against terrorism.
Studies in this subject have exhaustively pin pointed the negative
impact of terrorism on global security, which no doubt has so far affected
the peace and stability of the international community.
This study will form a basis for further research and a reference
point in the study of war against terrorism. It will help to profer ways by
which the fight against terrorism can be carried out diplomatically, so as
to avoid any actions that may lead to a Third World War. The study will
also throw more light on the nature of terrorism as well as a guide to
students, institutions and countries that are involved and concerned about
the war against terrorism and especially in Afghanistan.
As a result of time constraint, this study shall cover the war against
terrorism after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United
States of America, to June, 2010, so as to appraise its effects and impacts
on global security, using the experience of Afghanistan. The study
encountered many obstacles in the process of carrying out this research
work, which includes financial constraint which is the reason for my
inability to visit Afghanistan for first hand information.
For easy understanding, due to the complex nature of this study,
the literature review shall be carried out in three categories, namely;
1. The nature of terrorism
2. U.S and war on terrorism
3. Implications on global security
Terrorism has long exercised a great fascination especially at a safe
distance, but it is not an easy topic for discussion and explanation.
According to Laqueur (1997:2);
The fascination it exerts and the difficulty of interpreting it
have the same roots: it is unexpected, shocking and
outrageous in character (Laqueur, 1997:2).
Where as civil war is predictable in many ways, it occurs in the light of
day and there is no mystery about the identity of the participants; the
distinguishing features of terrorism are anonymity and violation of
established norms. Terrorism has always engendered violent emotions
and greatly divergent opinions and images.
In order to appreciate the nature of terrorism, it is necessary to look
at the definition of terrorism. According to Evans (1979:3), in as much as
studies of the phenomenon of terrorism have been consistently plagued
by vague and political definitions, the first step is to define the subject
matter. He defined terrorism as a strategy whereby violence is used to
produce certain effects in a group of people so as to attain some political
end or ends. Jenkins (1975:2) posited further that, one of the effects of
such a strategy is often fear, however, there can be, and usually are other
effects. Thornton (1964:73) asserted that terrorism is the use of terror as a
symbolic act designed to influence political behaviour by extra normal
means, entailing the use of threat of violence.
The use of terror according to Wardlaw (1964:10) may be placed in
the upper levels of a continuum of political agitation, above political
violence such as riots. It is in the extra normal nature of the use of terror
that distinguishes it from other forms of political violence. Cronin
(2002:121) posited that, the term terrorism has evolved in centuries since
terrorist tactics were first used. Terrorism, thus, at a minimum as posited
by Freg and Morris (1991:3), contains three important elements; the
creation of fear, the seemingly random use of violence, and attacks on the
innocent. Terrorism may achieve political ends by either immobilizing
the forces of the incumbent authorities. This is because the authorities
have a certain initial advantage of the inertia which characterizes the
normal political relationship between authority and citizenry.
Terrorism no doubt is a strategy whereby violence is used to
produce certain effects upon a group of people. This strategy according to
Evans (1979:4), is one of four ideal type strategies, whereby a group out
of power can effect violent social change, the other three being coup
d’état, insurrection, and guerilla warfare. Terrorism is not, according to
Laqueur (1997:5) in his contribution, as frequently believed, a subspecies
of guerilla or revolutionary warfare and its political function today is also
altogether different. The nature of terrorism has changed greatly, this
goes not only for its methods, but also for the aims of the struggle and the
character of the people that were and are involved in it. It is further
characterized by high symbolic content which contributes significantly to
its relatively high efficacy. According to Thornton (1964:77);
If a terrorist comprehends that he is seeking a demonstration
effect, he will attack targets with maximum symbolic value
(Thornton, 1964:77).
According to Rapoport (1984:658-659), apparently cyclic in nature,
terrorism seems to guise in relation to major international political watersheds, giving would-be terrorists a sense of opportunity as well as an
increased vulnerability of societies to their methods and messages.
Terrorism is not merely a technique; those practicing it have certain basic
beliefs in common. According to Laqueur (1997:6), they may belong to
the left or the right, they may be nationalists or, less frequently,
internationalists, but in some essential respects their mental make-ups are
similar. Those practicing terrorism are often closer to themselves or
others. Terrorism is one of the most important and dangerous problem
facing mankind today. It is not an ideology, but rather an insurrectional
strategy that can be used by people of very different political convictions.
While there is a clear historical lineage which may be traced between
contemporary terrorism and its forebears in the French Revolution and
the political movement of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth
century, there are now evident significant departures from the nature and
According to Laqueur (1997:2), the popular image of terrorists
some eight years ago was that of bomb throwing, alien anarchist, and
fanatic, immoral, sinister and ridiculous at the same time. Social and
technological changes have wrought their own direct effect on terrorist
operations and their potential utility of effectiveness corresponding to
these changes in the nature of terrorism; have been significant evolutions
in terrorist philosophy and tactics. In his contribution, Walter (1969:310)
said the changing nature of terrorism have resulted in a different threat to
stability than that posed by it some centuries ago. Thus, an act of
terrorism may have many aims, the primary effect is to create fear and
alarm, but the objectives may be to give concessions, obtain maximum
publicity for a cause, provoke, breakdown social order, build morale in
the movement or enforce obedience to it.
The troubling nature of terrorism is the coupling of it with
ideological zeal and the technological means to make the tactics
potentially devastating to mass civilian population. That volatile
combination effectively severed a state’s populace from the direct or
indirect control of a state. The gradual transition of the nature of terrorism
at the end of the fifteenth century away from direct state sponsorship of
terrorism, according to Simon and Benjamin (2001:48), and towards
more amorphous groups often having access to state resource but less
likely to be under the control of the state itself, is a potentially serious
development. Obviously, states are far from helpless, but in increasingly
globalized international environment, the traditional state centric means
of responding to such a threat will not work and may even be counter
In the age of terrorism according to Guelke (1995:47), this threat
will be as much psychological as physical, requiring both resolve and
subtle responses that modern democracies have found difficult to master
or sustain. In this age, the nature of terrorism will be a struggle over
ideas, and the out come will determine whether U.S leadership in the
global system will continue. If the United States and its allies are to
prevail, we must according to Cronin (2002:120), adjust our
understanding of the predominant paradigm of international security,
including the nature of terrorism, the most promising response to it and
the likely counter attacks by terrorists that may occur in this new conflict
and also revise our assumptions about the making of a successful strategy
in response.
Terrorism is a phenomenon that governments around the world
have come to fear. O’Connor (1987:143) posited that the problem of how
to deal with the threat of terrorism has been grappled with the political
leaders of virtually every democratic nation. According to Andreani
(2004:34), less than ten days after the attacks on the World Trade Centre
and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush declared war on terrorism
with a global reach and announced that the war would end only with the
eradication of this evil. Therefore, in the fall of 2001, the swift
punishment of the perpetrators of these attacks, and the defeat of Taliban
accomplices following a lightening military campaign in Afghanistan,
translated the U.S President’s promise into deeds. One may view the use
of the word “war” to refer to the fight against terrorism as a natural
consequence of the enormity of the September 11 attacks and of the
hatred for America that they expressed.
According to Rubin (2002:73);
For years, certain American actions such as the country’s
support for Israel and for unpopular, oppressive Arab
regimes had supposedly produced profound governance
throughout the Middle East. Those governances came to boil
overtime and finally spilled over on September 11, the result
was more than three thousand American deaths (Rubin,
The war moreover, has only made matters worse. Cox (2002:274) posited
that it is partly because of the way in which it was conducted by the
United States and increasingly because of the American urge to carry it
forward against other countries. One may view the use of the word “war”
to refer to the fight against terrorism as a natural consequence of the
enormity of the September 11 attacks and of the hatred for America that
they expressed. Andreani further asserted that, to call the fight against
terrorism, a war entails some major drawbacks which are now even more
apparent than they were in the aftermath of the September attacks. The
use of the term “war” according to Howard (2002:143) is not only a
matter of semantic. There has been, and will be, actual role for the
military operations in fighting terrorist organizations. However, from the
outset, the United States’ focus has been on terrorism, with a global reach
which would seem to include not only internal terrorist movements, but
also international movements focused on a given territorial cause. The
main enemy is clearly loosely knit global Islamic networks of the AlQaeda type.
In his contribution, Freedman (2001:62) posited that declaring a
war against terrorism by the U.S is warranted to the extent that there is a
normative element in any war so that success should confirm that certain
types of behaviours are unacceptable and that perpetrators can expect to
see their efforts thwarted and eventually punished. Many acts can be
described as terrorism and they might be undertaken in the name of many
causes. According to Paul Rogers, as quoted by Cox (2002:274), the U.S
war on terrorism is simply a euphemism for extending U.S control in the
world. Whether it is by projecting force through its carriers or building
new military bases in central Asia, it is becoming increasingly clear,
though how clear remains open to speculation that, United States is not
now engaged in war against terrorism at all. Instead, regimes the U.S
dislikes. Buttressing this view, Krauthammer (2001: 12) posited thus;
The elementary truth that seems to elude the experts again
and again is that power is its own reward. Victory changes
everything; psychology above all. The psychology in the
region is now one of fear and its deep, its time to deter,
defeat or destroy other regions in the area that are host to
radical Islamic terrorism (Krauthammer, 2001:12).
Success in the war against Afghanistan is thus encouraging the United
States to think creatively about how to deal with other states and
organizations it does not like. It is also generating a series of perhaps
equally important tensions between itself and its European allies.
Greenwood (2002:301), posited that the consensus about the illegality of
the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon did not
lead to a similar consensus about the illegal questions raised by the U.S
reaction. The legality of the United States’ resent to force against AlQaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan; of the conduct of the
hostilities which followed; of the status and treatment of prisoners held
by the United States at the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay have all been
matters of criticism. Greenwood further stated that much of the
controversy has its roots in the fact that the events of September 11, 2001
did not fit easily within any of the obvious categories of international law.
Likewise, United States has been worrying policy makers for years, but in
the context of U.S foreign and defense policy priorities. According to
Pillar (2001:29), terrorism was seen as one of several important
competing priorities. The U.S war on terrorism, according to Andreani
(2004:31) cannot end with a declaration of final victory, any more than
can the war on crime or the war on drugs. The use of the word “war’ in
reference to terrorism itself, rather than against a designated enemy, is
essentially metaphorical. Yet in the case of September 11, the use of the
word “war” has gone far beyond a metaphor to acquire a strategic reality.
According to Rubin (2002:78) since the United States’ declaration of war
on terrorism, American leaders have taken pains to remind the world and
the American public that Islam and Arabs are not U.S enemies. Rather, its
war on terrorism is focused to be behind the September 11 attacks
regimes that support terrorism. Freedman stated further that Al-Qaeda
does not claim to be fighting a war for terrorism but one that pits true
Islam against Christianity and Judaism in terms of Echoes Huntington’s
clash of civilizations. According to Huntington (1993:25), the conflicts of
the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating civilizations.
These includes Western, Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu, Slavic,
Orthodox, Latin American and possibly, African civilization. President
Bush along with the then British Prime Minster, Tony Blair, denied this
claim, correctly asserting that Osama Bin Laden does not speak for Islam.
However, speaking for Islam is Bin Laden’s objective. Therefore, this is a
war about the future of Islam and therefore about the governance of states
with Muslim populations and all conflicts in which Muslim groups are
directly involved. The United States has became a target because it is an
over weeping, hegemonic and profoundly decadent power and this
position, according to Freedman, has acted internationally on behalf of
the enemies of Islam or apostates. In the words of Cox (2002:274);
The impact of September 11 has been contradictory. There is
no doubting that it did deliver a savage blow to America’s
prestige, its economy and its international amour, proper.
However, such has been the strength of the American
response that the longer term result has been to enhance US
credibility to create a sense of the international purpose
where before, there was none to unite the nation around
some fairly powerful themes and to leave the United States
in an extraordinary powerful position in Central Asia (Cox,
This no doubt is America’s motive, aside fighting terrorism, for
embarking on the war on terrorism. The war on terrorism has helped to
justify a massive military build-up, which will place the United States in
an even more dominant position than it was already. The U.S war on
terrorism also provides a set of economic answers to the problems by the
According to Cronin (2002:130), in the twentieth century American
strategic thinking was primarily shaped by the growth of first; airpower
and then nuclear power. And by the end of the twentieth century, the
United States became accustomed to facing the prospect of major
interstate wars, especially after the Vietnam War. The ultimate purpose
was to raise the enemy’s costs and risks and lower those of the U.S; either
by deterring the use of force to begin with or massively responding with
overwhelming force when aggression did occur. In his contribution,
Gordon (2001:17) posited that the U.S is now facing an entirely different
type of threat, one that cannot be approached with familiar American
strategic thinking. It is no doubt extremely difficult to raise the costs of
terrorism significantly, since terrorists only need a free success on the
margins to make a political point. In the case of Al Qaeda network for
example, the symbolic benefit of the massive attack on the World Trade
Centre and the Pentagon outweighed any individual rational man calculus
of costs, as was seen in the willingness of the hijackers to die with their
victims. Ultimately therefore, terrorists are spoilers. Nobody can be safe
everywhere, all the time. The U.S war on terrorism has so far suggested
that the future of the international system is at stake. Attacking and
destroying the regime in Afghanistan was a relatively easy task.
Attempting to take the war against terrorism forward against other
countries which have no intention of attacking the United States and have
far greater capabilities, would be not only far more difficult but positively
dangerous. The war on terrorism is being perceived in some quarters,
particularly the Al Qaeda network, as a war against Islam by Christian
and Jewish faithfuls. According to Freedman (2001:63), Al-Qaeda does
not claim to be fighting a war for terrorism but one that depicts true Islam
against Christianity and Judaism. This statement has serious negative
implications on global security, due to the fact that majority of the attacks
by terrorist groups are targeted against innocent Christians. A notable
case is the Osama Bin Laden’s “Fatwa” published through a Londonbased Arabic newspaper in 1998, urging Muslims to kill Americans and
their allies, Christians especially so as to liberate the Al-Aqusa mosque in
Jerusalem and the holy mosque in Mecca from their grip. Laden stated
further that, the driving away Jihad against the U.S does not stop with its
withdrawal from the Arabian peninsular but rather it must desist from
aggressive intervention against Muslims in the whole world. With this
development, particularly in this era of technological advancement and
nuclear arms enrichment, the globe will be more unsafe if these
sophisticated arms get to the hands of terrorists. In another development,
the war on terrorism has pitched the United States and its allies against
enormous set of problems, including direct responsibility for a new postTaliban Afghanistan government faced with myriad challenges, not the
least of which is pervasive food insecurity. According to Cronin
(2002:130), whatever has been achieved militarily, if U.S and its allies do
not apply dramatic measures to remedy the humanitarian situation,
including massive economic assistance unseen since the years
immediately following the second world war, they will loose the
campaign against terrorism on political and cultural grounds and the
results will be no less devastating to western security in particular and the
world in general.
The U.S war on terrorism has turned Afghanistan into a breeding
ground for terrorism, as well as the fact that the violence in Afghanistan
is committed by insurgents and terrorists and cannot be ascribed to
terrorists alone. According to Andreani (2004:46), the respective weights
of the insurgency and global Al-Qaeda type movements in Afghanistan
today is difficult to assess. Afghanistan is at best a costly distraction from
the fight against terrorists, and has probably made matters worse by
providing them a new cause. An American led occupation in the heart of
the Arab world; a shelter provided by growing disorder in Afghanistan,
appears to have perversely prompted Al Qaeda and its affiliates to adopt a
more aggressive strategic direction, moving from scattered targets of
opportunity to harder and move iconic targets in the broader Middle East
and Europe.
Since the current war on terrorism began, there has been increased
public fear of threat of biological warfare. The confirmed cases of another
that was diagnosed in the United States have added to this alarm. These
dangers that governments put under pressure by such alarm, may initiate
uncoordinated, badly targeted or even counter-productive polices, based
upon inadequate risk and threat assessments, and may therefore constitute
threat to international security. The danger of terrorism according to
Subsrahmaniyam (1993:49) involves more response than defense
programs. The U.S in its war on terrorism must assign a higher priority
and devote more funding to intelligence and law enforcement programs
that could help the authorities penetrate those terrorists groups planning
attacks, as well as the intelligence efforts that illuminate the nature of the
proliferation threat more generally.
One of the greatest impacts of the current war on terrorism on
global security is that, it has recorded increased security consciousness
among international organizations and states of notable instance. In
response to the current war against terrorists on October 2nd 2001, the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) involved Article 51 for the
very first time in over fifty years of its history, which states that “an
armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America
shall be considered an attack against them all; and consequently, they
agreed that if such an armed attack occurs, each one of them in exercise
of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article
51 of the charter of the United Nations, will assist the party or parties so
attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other
parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed
force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area”.
In the words of Freedman (2001:81);
The US war on terrorism has yet to run its course and there
is no reason to suppose that future stages will be easier than
the first. A drive of this sort cannot but shake up local and
global political structures, often in quite surprising and
unintended ways (Freedman, 2001:81).
Countries are revising their relations with others, pondering the
opportunities for realignment. This U.S war on terrorism has brought
about new alliances being fashioned. According to the former British
Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in his speech on November 21, 2001, at the
Mayor’s Bouquet, Guidhall, as quoted by Freedman, “the war on
terrorism has led to the formulation of new world views and it is all
happening fast”. There is a short cut through diplomacy, therefore, we
should grasp the moment and move and not let out world slip back into
rigidity. It is therefore imperative to state here that whether or not
international politics will be so transformed at the end of this war on
terrorism that it can be described as the Third World War remains to be
seen. A key test will exactly show how the United States emerges from
this war as an international actor.
The theoretical frame work under which this study was examined
is within the perspectives of the power theory. The power theory is one of
the most frequently used in the study of political science, especially in
international relations. The absence, according to James and Robert
(1981:87), of adequate institutions and procedures at the international
level for resolving conflict comparable to those in most domestic political
systems makes the so called power element more obvious than at the
domestic level. Schuman (1969:27) in his contribution posited that an
international system lacking a common government, each unit necessarily
seeks safety by relying on its own power and viewing with alarm the
power of its neighbours. This is exemplified in the United States’ war on
terrorism and the denial of, especially the Arab nations, the right to
develop nuclear weapons. According to Sponeck and Halliday (2001:34);
All civilized life rests in the last instance on power; power is
the ability to move men in some desired fashion, through
persuasion, purchase, barters and coercion (Sponeck and
Halliday, 2001:34).
According to the power theory, power is conceptualized both as a means
and an end. In other words, power is man’s control over the minds and
actions of other men. The power of a state therefore is said to consist of
capabilities, some of which are economic in nature, such as levels of
industrialization and productivity, gross national product, national income
on a per capita basis. This no why explains why the United States can
attack any sovereign state perceived to be in possession of nuclear
weapons, or at the worst, it will claim that the sovereign state or
legitimate government is supporting terrorists’ activities, as was the case
of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Burton (1942:46) in his contribution to the power theory, posited
There is probably no greater common factor in all thinking
on international relations than the assumption that states
depend for their existence upon power and achieve their
objectives by power, thus making the management of power
the main problem to be solved (Burton, 1942:26).
Power therefore may be used coercively or non-coercively. When power
is used coercively, an actor is influenced if he adapts his behaviour in
compliance with, or in anticipation of another actor’s demands, wishes or
proposal. According to Holsti, as quoted by James and Robert (1981:89);
Power has often been viewed as an influence relationship,
that is, the ability of one actor to induce another to act in
some desired fashion or to refrain from undesired behaviour
(James and Robert, 1981:89).
Suffice it to say therefore that, wealth and military strength are not
necessarily sufficient to gain for a nation, the status of super power.
Although, the development of military capabilities may provide a
convenient and relatively inexpensive way towards influence, especially
for poor states in a relatively short period of time. It is therefore pertinent
to state here that, in accordance with the power theory exponents, wealth
and military strength cannot make a state super power. States also need a
high level of influence as in the case with the United States. That is why
the U.S is refereed to as a superpower because it possesses both military
strength, wealth and influence over most nations, particularly
Afghanistan. According to Klaus (1966:123);
In international politics, power has appeared primarily as
the power to do harm, to interdict the use of force, by the
threat of force, to oppose force with force, to annex territory
by force, to influence the polices of other states by the threat
or application of force. Such use of force has always been
present at least as possibilities in the relations of states. The
threat to use military force and their occasional commitment
to battle have helped the regulation of states and the
preponderance of power in the hands of the major states has
set them apart from others (Klaus, 1966:123).
Wolfers (1970:103) posited that power should be distinguished from
influence. According to him, power is the ability to move others by the
threat or infliction of deprivations, while influence on the other hand,
means the ability to do so through promise or grant benefits. This
assertion of Wolfers is not realistic because it may be difficult to
distinguish between power and influence, bearing in mind that influence
is a product of power.
The attributes of influence according to James and Robert
(1981:90), consists of;
i. Human resources
ii. Economic strength or wealth
iii. Technology
iv. Trade and
v. Military strength
The use of power to exert influence over another, it has been
suggested, is the employment of power most effectively. In such a
conception, it is not the actual use of power, as in a military campaign,
but rather the political shadow alleged to be cast by its perceived
possession. Therefore, power has become the cutting edge of diplomacy;
it can intoxicate and also be an illusion. Power is therefore, as the theory
posits strength capable of being used efficiently, which is, strength plus
the capacity to use it effectively. In contemporary times, Russia is not an
enemy of the United States; therefore one can conveniently say the
enemy of U.S presently is terrorism. In the case of Afghanistan can one
say Afghan was an aggressor and as such a threat to the U.S? Does the
event of 9/11 justify U.S invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent
declaration of war against terrorism? Does it conform to the principle of
the power theory? Is there a limit to what power can do?
Against this background, how does America’s war capture the fight on
global terrorism in relationship to Afghan conflict? Based on current
realities, power theory as reviewed here provides a very good explanatory
tool in view of the fact that America is a superpower and has used their
enormous military and financial strength to wage war on terrorism in
Afghanistan. This has not been easy for U.S particularly in terms of
human and financial cost. In this regard, power theory forms a very
important theoretical basis from which we can capture the superior
military might which U.S has exercised through-out its war on terrorism,
not just on Afghanistan but in Iran, etc.
For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses are going to
be examined and tested;
1. The war on terrorism has significantly reduced the funds
available to terrorists for their activities.
2. The war on terrorism has had serious negative impact on global
security. For example, it has created room for rival alliance
camps and has also led to arms proliferation.
In order for us to achieve the stated objectives of this study,
information for the study were derived from secondary data, through
content analysis of documents, articles, international journals, magazines,
monographs and books related to the study. This was largely due to the
fact that data were obtained from libraries, archival sources and the
TERRORISM: “Terror” comes from a Latin word “terrerre” meaning
“to frighten”. The terror cimbricus was a panic and state of emergency in
Rome in response to the approach of warriors of the cumbri Tribe in
The definitions of terrorism have proved controversial. Various
legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of
terrorism in their national legislation. Moreover, the international
community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed, legally
binding definition of this crime. These difficulties arise from the fact that
the term, “terrorism” is politically and emotionally charged. In this
regard, the international community has never succeeded in developing
an accepted comprehensive definition of terrorism. During the 1970s and
1980s, the United Nations attempts to define the term foundered mainly
due to differences of opinion between various members about the use of
violence in the context of conflicts over national liberation and self
determination. These divergences have made it impossible for the United
Nations to conclude a comprehensive convention on international
terrorism that incorporates a single, all encompassing, legally binding,
criminal law definition of terrorism. Moreover, since 1994, the United
Nations General Assembly has repeatedly condemned terrorist acts using
the following political description of terrorism; “criminal acts intended or
calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public by a group of
persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any
circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political,
philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that
may be invoked to justify them.
Nevertheless, by distinguishing terrorists from other types of
criminals and terrorism from other forms of crimes, we come to
appreciate that terrorism is;
– Ineluctably political in aims and motives
– Violent – or, equally important, threatens violence
– Designed to have far reaching psychological repercussions
beyond the immediate victim or target
– Conducted by an organization with an identifiable chain of
command or conspiratorial cell structure (whose members wear
no uniforms or identifying insigma) and perpetrated by a sub
national group or non-state entity.
Terrorism thus is defined as political violence in an asymmetrical conflict
that is designed to induce terror and psychic fear (sometimes
indiscriminate) through the violent victimization and destruction of noncombatant targets (sometimes iconic symbols). Such acts are meant to
send a message from an illicit clandestine organization.
Terrorist attacks are usually carried out in such a way as to maximize the
severity and length of the psychological impact. Each act of terrorism is a
performance devised to have an impact on many large audiences.
Terrorists also attack national symbols to show power and to attempt to
shake the foundation of the country or society they are opposed to. This
may negatively affect a government, while increasing the prestige of the
given terrorist organization and/or ideology behind a terrorist act.
Terrorism is a political tactics; like letter writing or protesting which is
used by activists when they believe that no other means will affect the
kind of change they desire. This change is desired so badly that failure to
achieve change is seen as a worse outcome than the deaths of civilians.
The terms “terrorism” and “terrorists” (someone who engages in
terrorism) carry strong negative connotations. These terms are often used
as political; labels to condemn violence or the threat of violence by
certain actors as immoral, indiscriminate, unjustifiable or to condemn an
entire segment of a population. Those labelled “terrorists” by their
opponents rarely identify themselves as such, and typically use other
terms or terms specific to their situation, such as separatist, freedom
fighter, liberator, revolutionary, vigilante, militant, paramilitary, guerilla,
rebels, patriots or any other similar meaning word in other languages and
cultures, like Jihad, Mujaheddin and Fedayeen are similar Arabic words
which have entered the English lexicon. The pejorative connotations of
the word can be summed up in the aphorism, “one man’s terrorist is
another man’s freedom fighter”. This is exemplified when a group using
irregular military methods is an ally of a state against a mutual enemy,
but later falls out with the state and starts to use those methods against its
former ally. More recently, Ronald Reagan and others in American
administration frequently called the Afghan Mujahideen, “freedom
fighters”, during their war against the Soviet Union, yet twenty years
later, when new generations of Afghan men are fighting against what they
perceived to be a regime installed by foreign powers, their attacks are
labelled “terrorism” by George W. Bush.
The most common image of terrorism is that, it is carried out by
small and secretive cells highly motivated to serve a particular cause and
many of the most deadly operations in recent times, such as the
September 11 attacks, the London underground bombing and the 2002
Bali bombing were planned and carried out by a close clique, comprised
of close friends, family members and other strong social networks. These
groups benefitted from the free flow of information and efficient
telecommunications to succeed where others have failed. To avoid
detection, a terrorist will look, dress and behave normally until executing
the assigned mission. The physical and behavioural description of a
terrorist could describe almost any normal person. However, the majority
of terrorist attacks are carried out by military age men , aged 16-40 and
they are less likely to come from an impoverished background and more
likely to have at least a high school education; only a few terrorists come
from impoverished families. Terrorist organizations usually
methodologically plan attacks in advance and may train participants,
plant undercover agents, and raise money from supporters or through
organized crime. Terrorist attacks are often targeted to maximize fear and
publicity, usually using explosives or poisons
WAR: War is a behavior pattern exhibited by many primate species
including humans. The primary feature of this behaviour pattern is a
certain state of organized violent conflict that is engaged in between two
or more separate social entities. Such a conflict is always an attempt at
altering either the psychological hierarchy or the material hierarchy of
domination or equality between two or more groups. In all cases, at least
one participant (group) in the conflict perceives the need to either
psychologically or materially dominate the other participant. Amongst
humans, the perceived need for domination often arises from the belief
that an essential ideology or resource is somehow either so incompatible
or so scarce as to threaten the fundamental existence of the one group
experiencing the need to dominate the other group. Leaders will
sometimes enter into a war, under the pretext that their actions are
primarily defensive, however when viewed objectively, their actions may
more closely resemble a form of unprovoked, unwarranted, or
disproportionate aggression. In all wars the group(s) experiencing the
need to dominate other groups is unable and unwilling to accept or permit
the possibility of a relationship of fundamental equality to exist between
the groups who have opted for group violence (war). The aspect of
domination that is a precipitating in all wars, that is, one group wishing to
dominate another, is also often a precipitating factor in individual one-onone violence outside of the context of war; that is one individual wishing
to dominate another.
A Prussian military general and theoretician, Carl Von Clausewitz
(1976:12) refers to war as “the continuation of political intercourse,
carried on with other means”. War is an interaction in which two or more
opposing forces have a “struggle of wills”. War has generally been
considered to be a seemingly inescapable and integral aspect of human
culture, its practice not linked to any single type of political organization
or society. Rather as discussed by John Keegan (1994:22), war is a
universal phenomenon whose form and scope is defined by the society
that wages it.
The conduct of war extends along a continuum, from the almost
universal primitive local tribal warfare that began well before recorded
human history, to advanced nuclear warfare between global alliances,
with the recently developed ultimate potential for human extinction.
A major theory relating to power in international relations is the Power
Transition Theory, which distributes the world into a hierarchy and
explains major wars as part of a cycle of hegemons being destabilized by
a great power which does not support the hegemons’ control. Military
adventurism can sometimes be used by political leaders as a means of
boosting their domestic popularity, as has been recorded in US wartime
presidential popularity surveys taken during the presidencies of several
resent US leaders.
Through out history war has been the source of serious moral
questions. Although, many ancient nations and some modern ones have
viewed war as noble. Over the sweep of history, concerns about the
morality of war have gradually increased. Today, war is seen by some as
undesirable and morally problematic. At the same time, many view war,
or at least the preparation, readiness and willingness to engage in war as
necessary for the defense of their country and therefore a just war. While
others believe that war is inherently immoral and that no war should ever
be fought. The negative view of war has not always been held as widely
as it is to day. It is estimated that 378,000 people died to war each year
between 1985 and 1994. Warfare serves only to damage the economy of
the counties involved. Meanwhile, support for war continues to this day,
especially regarding the notion of a just war (necessary wars required to
halt an aggressor or otherwise dangerous nation or group). International
law recognizes only two cases for a legitimate war. They are;
1. Wars of defense: when one nation is attacked by an aggressor,
it is considered legitimate for a nation along with its allies to
defend itself against the aggressor.
2. Wars sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council:
When the United Nations as a whole acts as a body against a
certain nation. Examples include various peace keeping
operations around the world, as well as the Korean and 1st Gulf
War has become know as one must entail, some degree of
confrontation using weapons and other military technology and
equipment by armed forces employing military tactics and operational art
within the broad military strategy, subject to military logistics
GLOBAL SECURITY: Global security consists of the measures taken
by nations and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to
ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military
actions and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions.
As cold war tension receded, it became clear that the security of citizens
was threatened by hardships arising from internal state activities as well
as external aggressors. Civil wars were increasingly common and
compounded existing poverty, disease, hunger, violence and human rights
abuses. Through neglect of its constituents, nation states have failed in
their primary objective. The state centric notion of security has been
challenged by more holistic approaches to security. Among approaches
which seek to acknowledge and address these basic threats to human
safety are paradigm which includes cooperative, comprehensive,
collective measures aimed to ensure security for the individual and, as a
result, for the state.
To enhance international security and potential threats caused by
terrorism and organized crime, increased cooperation within police forces
internationally has been applied. The international police, INTERPOL,
shares information across international borders and this cooperation has
been greatly enhanced by the arrival of the internet and the ability to
transfer documents, films and photographs world wide instantly.
Governments’ first Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs
were created in 1991 to eliminate the former Soviet Union’s nuclear,
chemical and other weapons and prevent their proliferation. The
programs have accomplished a great deal; deactivating thousands of
nuclear warheads, neutralizing chemical weapons, converting weapons
facilities for peaceful use, and redirecting the work of former weapons
scientist and engineers, among other efforts.
The search for security remains the overriding concern for many
peoples and nations. But the definition of what constitutes security and
the strategies for attaining it varies greatly. For billions of people, the
quest is to ‘secure’ basic needs: food, water, shelter and health care. In
other words, freedom form wants. For others, it is to secure other
fundamental human rights: freedom of expression, freedom from
oppression, freedom from fear. Even among states, security has different
definitions. For some, it is the achievement of economic or military parity
or superiority. For others, the projections of power and influence and for
still others, the resolution of grievances and disputes. The challenges,
regardless of which aspect of security we consider, the current global
picture is one of failure on many fronts. If we look at the quest to secure
basic needs, we are struck by the persistent inequality in the global
distribution of wealth.
Yet, which ever definition of security we use, there are a number of
commonalities. The first commonality is that security threats are all
interconnected. Poverty is frequently coupled with human rights abuses
and lack of good governance which results in a deep sense of injustice,
anger and humiliation. This in turn provides an ideal environment for
breeding violence of all types, including extremism, civil strife and interstate wars. And it is in regions of long standing conflict where countries
are most frequently driven to increase their standing or seek greater
security through the pursuit of nuclear weapons and other weapons of
mass destruction. A surge in the sophistication of extremist networksunderscores the potential for nuclear and radiological terrorism.
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