Counter Terrorism Policies Made by Western Countries

A terrorist is a person who uses violent measures and methods that are harming in order to coerce a certain government or society. His main aim is to terrorize with whichever methods he wishes. It could be by instigating plane crashes, use of bombs or other methods. The September 11 attacks against the US government instilled a lot of fear amongst many countries especially those that were affected. It was meant to scare those who have some relations with the US and also the US itself. The US and other western countries, since then has embarked on methods meant to pronounce war on the supposed terrorists. In this paper, we shall look at the measures the Western countries have embarked on, in order to fight terrorism. (Oxford Dictionary; Readers Digest.1998).

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This day’s events were more of an act of awareness to the western nations than it was a blow to the United States of America. As much as the terrorists had already struck the country and caused a lot of havoc, there definitely was need for something to be done to avoid such a similar thing next time.

In one of her speeches regarding National Security towards keeping Australia safe, the secretary who opened the Queensland Regional Heads forum had a lot to say regarding Australia’s safety. The theme of the forum was “making it happen” (17th May 2007) Her aim in the forum, was to tell the people the various ways the Australian government had implemented in order to keep the country safe. As she narrates, the director of the Protective Security Coordination Centre called her in the middle of the night and at half past one he had already gathered the counter terrorism committee that consisted of 13 agencies, to implement ways of protecting the country. They raised a special counter terrorism security and particularly placed more security at the US, Israeli and Jewish areas of interests. Some roads were a no go zone. Security at the airports was increased; however the aircraft was not stopped. By 7.00 o’clock they went to parliament to tell the acting prime minister of the happenings who later called the prime minister and told him. By 9.00 o’clock all levels of security had been raised with nothing much left to do. It was as fast as that!

Later on, they put forward other recommendations that would further the protection of the country against terrorists attack. They aimed at increasing the resources to the existing areas where the terrorists would aim at attacking. They also were to improve security in areas like the airport and the borders. New laws that would deal with that particular terrorism were to be introduced in order to effectively deal with the menace.

In addition to all these, the Australian government imposed new laws that would meet the challenges that were posed by terrorists. The laws stated that it was a crime to commit any terrorism action or to prepare to commit a terrorism act or even be part and parcel of any organization linked to terrorism.

Control orders were also raised, they were meant to protect the public from terrorists by tracing a person’s movements or activities. Preventative detention was also allowed for a period of 14 days for not adhering to the laws safeguarding against terrorists.

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Apart from the care and directives taken by the Australian Government, another strategy taken was the formation of the Islamism, Jihadism and Counter-Terrorism that was formed five years after September eleven. The European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre (ESISC) came up with a collective report that was based on combating terrorism. It was founded in May 2002 and its work was to observe and analyze the international terrorism. (Hamburg review of social sciences: August 2007; view as HTML).

The war on terrorism that was began by President Bush after September 11th was aimed to eradicate the Islamic threat holistically, that is, internationally. This has although, proved to be albeit difficult because of the political Islam victory. In addition, Al- Qaeda has made great improvement in its war machine in the Middle East. The American government and Europe has since associated all Islamic movements and all the Muslim brothers with terrorism. This has led to great hatred between them and all the Muslims especially the Islamic countries.

Great efforts have since been embarked on the war on terror, since it was started by the United States on 12 September 2001; it has been going on up to now. This war on terror, however, seems not to be doing very well. America seems to be the one which has fallen in the trap of the terrorists than any other country. Being the world’s only superpower, America has placed laws that are meant to establish the war on terror. Any country seen as a sympathizer of their enemies is declared war also for to them this is a Just war. The best thing is to be America’s friend for you to be at peace.

Another thing that happened on 21st September 2001 was that the European Council decided that it was necessary to have a clear definition of terrorism. The definition was then accepted by the European Council on 13th June, 2002. After this definition the European states agreed on working together in the spirit of solidarity since they were the main areas of terrorists’ attacks.

Upon the accomplishment of one year after the war on terror was launched, the president claimed that they had been able, together with other 90 nations to, track terrorism activities, to freeze their finances, to shut down the camps where they live, to interrogate some of them and even to kill some.

In addition, to this, their policies stated that they were to make no negotiations with the terrorists, that they were to make sure that justice prevailed and to ask for assistance for other country supporters of the US on the war on terror.

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One problem that faced the US was the fact that some of the policies were not accepted by all for example the USA Patriot Act which was further debated and even disagreed upon.

In May 2002, FBI officials were able to obtain wiretap warrants in non-criminal investigations. They would also be able to monitor Internet communications and Library information and also go to political groups and religious gatherings and do investigations. A DNA database was also created for all those suspected to be terrorists. This was however seen negatively by the public who viewed it as intrusion of their private lives and their rights.

As a result of the September 11th attack in US, the Justice Department, made some reforms insecurity matters and also reorganized the FBI and its domestic anti-terrorism infrastructure.

The law enforcement authorities had began to conduct interviews with many Arab and Muslim immigrants in order to get sufficient information against possible terrorists attack. In 2001 many Arab and Muslim immigrants were requested to go through voluntary interviews.

By January 2003, many Arab or Muslim immigrants had been detained and others deported for being associated with terrorism or suspected to be associated with terrorism.

One of the major ways to combat terrorism by many countries including the US was to restrict immigration. This was a way that convinced the governments that they would be able to do away with terrorists. Immigration measures were put into place; this was because immigration had now become a national security concern. The Arabs and Muslims that were arrested were not allowed to communicate with anyone or access any lawyers or even their relatives. (A Review of U.S. Counter terrorism Policy: American Muslim Critique and Recommendation: View as HTML)

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The US increased personnel on all its borders, increased measures to all those applying for entry visas to their country. The most affected were mostly the students and those under the US refugee program.

Apart from this, the US congress passed new measures that discriminated the non-citizens; those were some of the measures that were found in the USA PATRIOT Act.

Another measure taken was to reinforce an intelligence capability which was done by the formation of the NATO declaration on Terrorism of 2nd April 2004. This was then implemented by formation of a “Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit.”

The other sector that was to undergo some changes was the Transport one to enhance transport safety. This was enhanced by the use of an Action Plan which brought the raising of aircraft safety standards and improvement of the airport control procedures.

The security of documents was also reinforced. To guarantee adequate protection against cases of forgery of passports and other travel documents, biometric data was instilled in such documents. Others ways are being applied to ensure authenticity in the documents.

Recommendations towards the financing of terrorism were put in place; this was to ensure that countries who had said they will support US in the fight, they do so by confirming according to the recommendations.

In Italy, in order to establish a partnership between Europe and the Islam, a meeting was held in Rome in October 2004 with the theme “Islam and Peace” This meeting was aimed at encouraging dialogue between them and the Islam and fight against violence.

Regional cooperation against the fight was emphasized in all areas. They believed that a united house was efficient in putting terror to its place rather than one nation doing it in particular.

After the September 11th terrorism attack, China has brought out the difference between terrorism and the independence of the ethnic Uighur community in the Xinjiang – Uighur region. Before the attacks they had never made any distinctions and the Uighur community was considered separately in all areas.

The Information office of China, in January 21, 2002 stated that terrorist forces from Xinjiang brought trouble to the peace that had been sustained in China. This statement was followed by previous activities by the Uighur which included, bomb explosions, murders, attacks on the police, poison and arson attacks both inside China and outside.

The police in China had gained success on arresting the terrorists, those that were Chinese Muslim Uighurs that had been identified by authorities.

In December 2001, the Chinese Communist Party Committee proposed a strike hard law on all terrorists and separatists. Those arrested underwent severe sentences and death penalty.

By March 2002, the Ministry of Public Security had ensured that there were ways that were used in dealing with the crimes of the terrorists.

Steps taken against those found in terror affairs were so strict. On February 10, 2003, a U.S Permanent resident was imprisoned for life for having organized a leading terrorism group. This group had planned to blow up the Chinese Embassy located in Thailand.

Since 1958 and 1981 when the President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was assassinated, the government has used strict laws to put into place those found under any terrorism allegations. On February 23, 2003, the government the laws were extended for another three year period. Since the terrorists’ attacks in September 2001, Egypt has made arrests on several people who have always being against the government. Others who were involved in the Muslim brotherhood a banned group were also arrested. Most of those people arrested were referred to military courts and security courts. In May 2001, another group belonging to an unknown Islamist group was also arrested for being associated to the September 11 attacks. They were charged for plotting to assassinate government officials and others.

In January and February 2003, the security arrested any person who was involved in peaceful demonstrations against military involvement in Iraq and also for the uproar against Israeli by the Palestinian. It’s true to say that since the September 11 attacks the Egyptian government has rose upfront in combating terrorism not only in the country but also outside the country.

In Georgia, there has also been a real fight against terror. The US and Russia had claimed that one of the town in Georgia which had been home to several refugees who had fled from conflict in 1999 was a big home for terrorists. The US brought forth a program that would train and equip the military in Georgia so as to strengthen the counter-terrorism fight. On March 22, 2002, the National security detainee two people amongst the refugees for having been linked with al- Qaeda operations. In the midst of successive detentions, mysterious disappearances have also been reported, for example. On April 28, 2002, three men who were Arabs disappeared after being detained from their car. Also on September 25, 2002, Chechen refugee Hussein Yussupov disappeared in the hands of the security operations.

In India the case was the same on terrorism attacks. The war on terror largely intensified in December 2001 when the national parliament was attacked. Prevention of Terrorism Act was also enacted on March 26, 2002. POTA aimed at clearly defining the act of terrorism. POTA however acquired a lot of acquisitions by various groups in the country. In February 2003, over three hundred people had been arrested through the use of the POTA act.

On July 11 2002, a political party leader was arrested for having been in support of a terrorism group that had been banned. On February, around 200 people were arrested under the POTA act because of supporting the Naxalites. Also on nineteenth of February 2003, around 131 Muslims were charged for having attacked Hindus by setting fire to a train that had been carrying some Hindu activists.

Indonesia as a country has also gathered itself towards the war. After the Bali bomb attack, the president intensified laws in addressing the terrorism; this was after great pressure from the US government.

Under the president’s decrees and laws, anyone suspected to be a terrorist is to be detained for up to seven days. Those being investigated, the military had been directed to check even their personal mails and parcels and even to tap any conversation that they made through the telephone.

After the Bali attack a high profile investigation unit was began to investigate what caused that attack. The US government had put a lot of pressure on the Indonesia government to make sure they make arrests to any one suspected to be a terrorist. An intelligence unit was also formed which would work in liaison with the US authorities in ensuring there is security. On December 5 2002 a certain man married to an Indonesian woman was arrested and handed over to the US authorities for further interrogations.

In Russia at Chechnya, the intense fight against terrorism rose into higher heights. The terrorism acts began as early as 1999 when aerial bombs and ground operations in Chechnya were brought forth. However, by March 2000, the Government had seriously embarked on the war against terrorists.

After the September 11 attacks, Russia now could be able to associate the Chechnya attacks to terrorists’ attacks. On September 12, 2001 the Russian president remarked that their country and the US were common since they had a common enemy who was totally against them. He identified their enemy as Bin Laden. Russian security forces had taken up into eliminating the terrorist and between December 1999 and February 2000 they had already killed 130 people who they associated with terrorism.

By the year 2000, a lot of control had been gained over the most parts of Chechnya by the security system of Russia. All the rebellious groups and those associated with terrorism were beaten and then detained.

Spain also as a country brought forth the counter- terrorism war on terror. They aimed at attacking the Basque separatists and those who supported the pro independence movement. The government also were strict on immigrants and the immigration laws, all this in the name of warring against terrorism.

Their laws allowed detention for four years for those found to be guilty of crimes on terrorism.

This treatment was however, not perceived well by the United Nations Committee against Torture who said that the treatment would facilitate further acts of torture and ill treatment to the victims. This was because the treatment denied the victims an access to any lawyer, health services or contacts with people even their families.

The security system in Spain aimed at eradicating the Basque separatists, the Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA) and the non-violent pro-independence movement. The ETA group had been associated with various assassinations and even 800 deaths since 1960s.After the September 11 attacks several suspected ETA members were detained. There also followed the banning of any other organizations that supported the ETA. Illegal migration was also fought against.

The United Kingdom had also its take concerning the war on terror, in December 2001, the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act(ATCSA) established the detention of any non- UK member who was suspected at any time to be related with terrorism activities. In February 2002, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT) disregarded the detentions that had been made by the ATCSA.

After the September attacks the UK police have arrested over 300 people who have been suspected to be terrorists.

The United States, after the attacks brought forth some laws such as the detention of non-citizens and deportations of any one suspected to be in connection with terrorism. (Country Studies: The Human Rights impact of counter – Terrorism measures in ten countries. 2003).

Threats from terrorism activities will continue to be a saddening factor amongst many western countries, despite the many precautions taken since the September 11, 2001 countries have yet much to do to be able to combat the terrorists.

It’s worth noting that even as countries establish mechanisms of dealing wit the terrorists, the terrorists too are also establishing methods and ways of attacking their targeted groups.

Effective cooperation between regional countries would really help in the war against terrorists; however, a divided house would not yield much fruits.

In conclusion, the war against terrorism has been of some success in the Western countries, however, there is still much that needs to be done to combat the terrorists. The western countries are on the look out upon any suspected terrorists and terrorism planned attacks.

References

Alexander Y, Kraft M. (2007): Evolution of U.S. Counterterrorism policy; Greenwood Publishing Group.

Christopher C. Harmon (2000): Terrorism Today; Routledge publishers.

Counter- terrorism measures in Italy. 2008; Web.

Hamburg review of social sciences: August 2007; International Terrorism and Governmental Structures. 2005.

A Review of U.S. Counterterrorism Policy: American Muslim Critique and Recommendation: Counter-terrorism: Regional Coordination and Cooperation by Sydney.

Counter – Terrorism Legislation and Practice: A survey of selected countries: Foreign and Commonwealth office. Web.

Country Studies: The Human Rights impact of counter – Terrorism measures in ten countries. 2003. Web.

Counter – Terrorism measures. 2008. Web.

Hocking J. Lewis C. (2008): Counter – Terrorism and the Post-Democratic; Edward Elgar Publishing, page 20.

Sharon Pickering., Jude, M., and David, W. (2007). Counter-Terrorism Policing. Community, Cohesion and Security. Springer. New York.

The West’s Counter – Terrorist strategy. 2008. Web.

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