The Challenge of the New Age
Edited by David H. McIntyre and William I. Hancock
Chapter 7: The Threat of Terrorism
7 The threat of terrorism Fred Burton Courage in danger is half the battle. (Titus Maccius Plautus, Roman Playwright, 254–184 BC) Mankind today is on the brink of a precipice, because humanity is devoid of those vital values for its healthy development and real progress. (Sayyid Qutb) INTRODUCTION In an ideal world, one could set out to write a chapter on ‘the threat of terrorism’ by defining, first, exactly what that threat consists of: the actors, the targets, the goals and the recommended countermeasures. But as we all know, the world we are living in is far from ideal. There is no single, monolithic ‘terrorist threat’, but rather a universe of actors – ranging from al Qaeda to regional insurgencies, separatist movements, grassroots criminals and ‘lone wolves’ – who may or may not represent a terrorist threat to a particular government, business or traveler of a certain nationality at any given point in time. Terrorist threats are not static; they are fluid and prone to evolutionary cycles. Grasping this principle is the first step toward effective security. However, this chapter is being written in the midst of – and in the context of – the US– jihadist war. While there is no universal terrorist threat, there is a universally recognized terrorist threat, stemming at this moment from al Qaeda. But for the psychological blow that was struck in the United States on 11 September 2001, it is highly unlikely that the book you hold in your hands would have come into being – or...
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