Terrorism: Still The Biggest International Peace Limiter

Posted on October 24, 2011 in GlobeScope

By Kartikaye Gilra:

A major threat to global security today is terrorism, the unlawful use or threat of violence to cause fear and to advance political, religious, or ideological goals. Terrorists often intentionally target unarmed and unsuspecting citizens during their attacks. Examples of certain areas being affected by terrorism in some form can be traced in Latin America due to illegal drug trade, England by Irish Republican Army and Sri Lanka by Tamil Tigers.


The Middle East has become a focus of efforts against terrorist groups, parts of focus because of ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. The region has a history of Western colonial domination leading to resentment of West among some Arabs. It is home to radical Muslim organizations claiming Islam justifies terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. In fact terrorist actions contrary to Islamic law, condemned by most Muslims are taking place. In 1980s, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda used terrorist tactics against Israel and Western nations. Hamas seeks to destroy Israel, and create Palestinian state. Hezbollah supported by Iran, has a primary goal of destruction of Israel.

In addition to terrorist attacks, there are other threats to global security. Many countries possess weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), including Biological weapons, Chemical weapons, Nuclear weapons. These can cause enormous amounts of destruction and terrorist groups, governments seek to use for own purposes. Biological weapons are made with organisms, toxins found in nature, they are easy and inexpensive to develop. They have caused diseases, poisons like anthrax, plague, smallpox. In 1972, more than 70 nations signed treaty prohibiting production and possession. Thus, officials worry about biological attacks from terrorist groups. Chemical weapons like mustard gas, nerve gas use chemical toxins to kill or injure. They have been used in both world wars; used in Iran-Iraq war against Iraqi Kurds, 1980s; nerve gas in Tokyo subway system, 1995.

Nuclear war is the biggest threat to world in twenty-first century. During Cold War, U.S., Soviet Union, 60 other nations signed Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. It is meant to stop spread of nuclear weapons. States like Iran and North Korea pose a major threat as they are not part of the treaty. However, Mr. Obama believes that a major nuclear threat is posed by terrorists.

The Defense Department’s 2006 assessment of China’s military power (PDF) cited long-term trends in China’s modernization of its strategic forces–including its nuclear capacity, land- and sea-based access denial capabilities, and precision-strike weapons. Beijing’s official estimate of its military spending is currently between $30 billion and $35 billion dollars, which most experts say is lower than the actual figure. Many independent analysts put the real figure at $50 billion to $65 billion, including research and development. The Pentagon’s estimates, however, range from $70 billion to a high of $105 billion per year.Japan is watching China’s developments with concern and building its military accordingly. Its military spending is estimated at about $40 billion to $50 billion annually, ranking it second globally behind the United States if China’s official figures are used. China, Russia, and several Central Asian countries formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to carry out joint military exercises and address security issues in the region. The group has drawn attention and concern from Washington, particularly after SCO member Uzbekistan evicted the United States from Karshi-Khanabad air base after a SCO meeting in 2005.

The fact is undeniable that major threats are there to global security in coming time. It would be difficult to predict that whether a threat would rise from a country or terrorist group but their existence, growth and their inter-relation is definately worrisome.