According to the Institute for Economics and Peace Global Terrorism Index (GTI) of 2014, violent acts of terrorism have increased dramatically, with estimates indicating a five-fold upsurge since 2000. In total throughout the last 15 years there have been over 48,000 terrorist incidents which have claimed over 107,000 lives.
The majority of these incidents (over 60 percent) have occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria. However, since 2013 the rest of the world has also observed a 54 percent increase in terrorist incidents. This increase and the impact associated to the activities of international terror organizations have been felt significantly among some of the Greater Caspian States. For example, Russia, according to the GTI, is now the 11th most likely nation (out of 124 states) to observe the highest impact of terrorism.
Out of the five littoral Caspian states this ranking places them as holding the highest risk. The nation observing the next highest risk indicator is Turkey, ranked as the 17th state to observe the highest impact of terrorism. This is becoming increasingly more relevant with groups such as DAESH encroaching upon its border. Next, Iran ranks as the 28th nation to observe a high to medium risk of terrorism. This is because Iran’s threat from DAESH manifests itself as a clash between a regional Shia power and a Sunni-driven extremist group. The nations of Russia, Iran, and Turkey have not just felt this impact in its violent form but have also felt the economic misfortunes associated with the financial impact of terrorism. This is a major underlying issue, yet one still far less emphasized in contemporary political discourse. This is because not only do acts of terrorism have an impact on the global market, but they also generate instability among national financial markets and alter domestic economic policies and practices. These consequences have significantly shaped the economic policies and behaviors of the Greater Caspian states.
There are two categories associated with the economic costs of terrorism. First, primary or direct costs related to immediate destruction or property and life in the aftermath of a terrorist event. For Russia, the primary cost of the Sinai Airliner bombing was the resulting 127 civilian casualties, the loss of one airplane, and the resultant impact on the lucrative Russian tourism industry. Turkey’s primary costs have been observed through suicide bombings against Turkish activists in Kobani, Syria, as well as similar acts of terror in its capitol of Ankara and the historic city of Istanbul. Moreover, Iran observed a psychological blow after Brig. Gen. Hosseiin Hamedani, a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and more than a dozen other soldiers working as advisors to assist with Russian airstrikes were killed in Syria. And while each of these acts generates sizeable economic and psychological effects, the secondary costs are more complex with long-term cascading consequences.
For example, the aftermath of terrorist activities required each of the above-mentioned nations to increase security, generate new military expenditures, and fulfill subsequent insurance payments. Moreover, a nation on the receiving end of any act of terror will observe increased uncertainty in markets, decreased foreign investments due to this uncertainty, as well as altered trade, consumption, and savings and/or investment behaviors. The common theme with these secondary indicators is that each causes a disruption to the local economy that is quite significant. For instance, the price tag of Russian airstrikes in Syria are now costing Moscow up to $4 million USD per day; Iran’s commitment has topped $6 billion annually (out of its’ $15 billion USD military budget) to assist in propping up the Assad regime in its fight against DAESH; and Turkey has also increased its military spending 25 percent since 2014 (Up from $17 billion USD to 22.6 billion USD), while at the same time spending over $8 billion USD to host and assist in the Syrian refugee crisis. To aggravate matters even more, Turkey shot down a Russian jet after it violated its airspace, which in turn has strained international relations, increased regional tensions, and produced sanctions against them from Moscow in retaliation. These negative affects have now become collateral costs in the combined fight against Islamic extremist groups like DAESH, spilling over into the areas of tourism, trade, and energy, from which both Turkey and Russia are highly co-dependent upon each other.
Tourism, whose relationship with terrorism is strongly interconnected, has been significantly impacted not only in Russia and Turkey, but in the other Greater Caspian states as well. For example, terror attacks influence the entire tourism industry. An illustration of this phenomenon can be observed after the Russian airliner was proven to have been a target of DAESH militants and both Russia and Great Britain suspended flights to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. This decision has severely impacted Egypt’s tourist industry because Russia and Great Britain are Egypt’s biggest tourist markets and a critical source of industrial income. Estimates indicate that Egypt could lose 2.2 billion Egyptian pounds—about $280 million USD—per month due to these flight cancelations, while at the same time Russian tour operators have lost over 1.5 million Rubles—about $23 million USD—since flights were suspended.
There is no doubt that the cost of terror is larger than the initial psychological and physical blows delivered. The financial impact of terrorism and the economic consequences cascading from international terrorist activities has undoubtedly affected the Greater Caspian States in many secondary capacities. And while the result is not zero-sum to these economic anxieties, one should hope that the economic policies of the Greater Caspian States is stronger and longer lasting than the ideology of the diehard Islamic jihadists with whom they are currently at war with.
Western strategic mistake in the Middle East
The widespread terrorist acts and catastrophic events of 2016 in Europe have revealed new approaches to extremist and radical groups to create fears among Westerners.
The investigation of the destructive actions of two past years has shown that such terrorist operations were based on networked and coordinated approaches. That is, the terrorist cells carried out their destructive actions based on a timetable group plan. In such circumstances, it is possible to observe such behaviors, given the familiarity of security guards and intelligence agencies in Europe, but it is difficult to change the approaches to monitoring such actions in the two past year. Instead of taking collective action, terrorists use the means of mass destructive actions in their new ways. In such a situation, a person kills public places instead of communicating with the supporters or members of terrorist currents such as ISIL with the aim of shedding people’s blood. Events like the French Nazi Crusade, or the accumulation of people in Germany, have been blamed for such an approach. Naturally, the use of such methods and the use of public transport vehicles, or even sticks and gadgets, has provided security and intelligence agencies with a great deal of difficulty in detecting criminal agents.
Evidence suggests that in the new approaches of the ISIL, they are seeking to use any means to achieve their goals, and it is natural that in these circumstances the concept of security in Europe has a change undergone. From another perspective, the use of such practices shows that the Isis are seeking to use any means to demonstrate their power and, along with this issue, to supporters and groups that want to recruit and join terrorist groups. They order that they do not necessarily have to endure the journey to accompany them, but that pro-active agents can arrange their subversive moves at the same location. The facts indicate that the only wolves used for ISIS terrorist groups are the instigation of this issue to Westerners, which, despite the efforts of some countries to eliminate ISIS’s fears, and fears of Europeans from recurring events the terrorists will not end.
ISILs are always trying to organize people from the corners of the world for terrorist acts; those who are known for wolves only because of the nature of isolation and psychological frustration. That is why, with many beliefs, this group is now considered to be the most dangerous terrorist organization. In the current situation, although the possibility of reversing and defeating ISIL in the region and eliminating the danger of the formation of the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Shamal seems probable, it is important to understand that different groups, including ISIS and other organized terrorist groups, are based on ideological. It seems that in such a case, the disintegration of the organization will not eliminate ISIL’s thoughts, but those who have such intellectual foundations will underground forms of state-controlled current state of affairs. Continue their terrorist operations.
While the West’s false policy on dual use of terrorism against the developments in the region, especially in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Libya, is a major contributor to terrorism, the immigration of citizens from different countries, including Europe to Syria and the return of Western terrorists to Europe. Today, more than any other country in Europe is the target of ISIS attacks in Europe, which in the developments in Syria, we saw that the country adopted the strongest positions in support of irresponsible armed groups and some terrorist groups.
We are now witnessing an unholy unity among apparently secular currents claiming liberty with radical Fascist currents and their consensus over the limitation of Islamic groups and the suppression of Muslims. In fact, now, the West is not only captured by ISIS terrorist incidents, but is also threatened by extremist rightwing people who have received a high vote in some elections because of Islamophobia. The same groups that have tackled the asylum seekers have been slogans for victorious dynasties.
On the one hand, non-Muslims who carry out acts of terrorism on the basis of personal or even religious beliefs carry out terrorist acts, the westerners regard the disciples, but at the same time, any Muslim who subjugates propaganda acts based on non-Islamic and non-religious ideas of the Islamic State is a circle Muslims consider his actions taken from Quranic teachings.
Along with this, it should be noted that the West is fully aware of Saudi Arabia’s role in current supporting terrorist. The evidence clearly shows the country’s financial and spiritual backing of the jihadist Salafi in 2001 and Takfiri Salafi since 2011, and the US Senate’s 28-page report contends. However, an attempt by Western countries to pressure Saudi Arabia or change it’s political, military, and economic relations with the country does not take place.
At the beginning of the formation of ISIS, the West had the hope that with the issuance of radical Islamists to Syria and Iraq and the emergence of conflicts among Islamic countries, the Takfiris’ duty would be completely determined, and the countries of the region would be involved in tribal conflicts. The formation of such a subjectivity in the West, of course, was due to the fact that the insecurity of the region would provide a platform for Islamism and their more active presence in the Middle East and West Asia, but we saw that prostitutes of the chickens return to the nest in Europe, and that the boomerang ISIS sat back in the heart of Europe.
Of course, not all terrorist attacks in Europe can be attributed to the organization of ISIS, and it seems that the basic premise of terrorists is based mainly on the basis of their thinking and reasons, such as family and mental problems, on subversive acts. ISIS, however, uses all its media capabilities to take advantage of these actions, and it has tried to magnify its operational capability by assigning individuals who have sometimes died as a result of terrorist acts and suicide attacks.
On the other hand, terrorism should be viewed as a global issue, and at the same time it should be emphasized that foreign policy of some countries and their interference in the affairs of other countries is one of the factors of the emergence and spread of terrorism. These countries must rethink their policies in order to provide a ground for the elimination of terrorism.
UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres launched a new Organization-wide framework on Thursday to coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors.
Termed the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, the framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 Organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organization, to better serve the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.
Speaking at the first meeting of the Compact’s Coordination Committee, at the UN Headquarters, in New York, Mr. Guterres highlighted the need to ensure full respect for international human rights standards and rule of law in countering terrorism.
“Policies that limit human rights only end up alienating the very communities they aim to protect and which normally have every interest in fighting extremism,” he said, adding that as a result “such policies can effectively drive people into the hands of terrorists and undermine our efforts on prevention.”
He also urged greater vigilance against the misuse of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, drones and 3D (three-dimensional) printing, as well as against the use of hate-speech and distortion of religious beliefs by extremist and terrorist groups.
According to the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Coordination Committee will oversee the implementation of the Compact and monitor its implementation. It is chaired by UN Under-Secretary-General for counter-terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov.
At its meeting, the Coordination Committee also discussed strategic priorities for the next two years, based on the sixth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant Security Council resolutions and UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) assessments as well as Member States requests for technical help.
It also looked into the organization of work and ways to improve the delivery of an “All-of-UN” capacity-building support to Member States.
The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Task Force will replace the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which was established in 2005 to strengthen UN system-wide coordination and coherence of counter-terrorism efforts.
ISIL’s ‘legacy of terror’ in Iraq: UN verifies over 200 mass graves
Investigators have uncovered more than 200 mass graves containing thousands of bodies in areas of Iraq formerly controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), according to a United Nations human rights report out on Tuesday.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said the 202 mass grave sites were found in governorates of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Anbar in the north and western parts of the country – but there may be many more.
In the joint report, Unearthing Atrocities, the UN entities said the evidence gathered from the sites “will be central to ensuring credible investigations, prosecutions and convictions” in accordance with international due process standards.
Ján Kubiš, the top UN official in Iraq and the head of UNAMI, said that the mass grave sites “are a testament to harrowing human loss, profound suffering and shocking cruelty.”
“Determining the circumstances surrounding the significant loss of life will be an important step in the mourning process for families and their journey to secure their rights to truth and justice,” he added.
Between June 2014 and December 2017, ISIL seized large areas of Iraq, leading a campaign of widespread and systematic violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, “acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possible genocide,” the report states.
Traumatized families have the ‘right to know’
The UNAMI-OHCHR report also documents the “significant challenges” families of the missing face in trying to find the fate of their loved ones.
At present, they must report to more than five separate authorities, a process that is both time-consuming and frustrating for traumatized families.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, underscored that the families “have the right to know.”
“ISIL’s horrific crimes in Iraq have left the headlines but the trauma of the victims’ families endures, with thousands of women, men and children still unaccounted for,” she said.
“Their families have the right to know what happened to their loved ones. Truth, justice and reparations are critical to ensuring a full reckoning for the atrocities committed by ISIL.”
Victim-centred approach needed
Among its recommendations, the report calls for a victim-centred approach and a transitional justice process that is established in consultation with, and accepted by, Iraqis, particularly those from affected communities.
It also urges a multidisciplinary approach to the recovery operations, with the participation of experienced specialists, including weapons contamination and explosives experts and crime scene investigators.
Alongside, it also calls on the international community to provide resources and technical support to efforts related to the exhumation, collection, transportation, storage and return of human remains to families, as well as their identification, particularly by helping strengthen the national Mass Graves Directorate.
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