Boko Haram – The Quiet but Deadly Terrorist Organization


Created in the early 2000s, Boko Haram quickly rose to fame as a formidable terrorist organization that did not play around when it comes to the prices they are willing to pay in order to squelch the “evil influences” of the western civilization. Boko Haram seems to have faded in the background in recent years however, overshadowed by certain significant organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Does this unusual silence from Boko Haram mean they have lost their prominence and power?

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If Boko Haram was truly a threat, wouldn’t the media be reporting every exploit and every time they wreaked havoc on both surrounding countries population and economies? On the contrary, silence does not equal stifled in this case. Just because Boko Haram does not seem to be in the spotlight in 2021 should not at all give anyone the impression that they have lost their authority in the least. If anything, this blind eye the world has turned toward Boko Haram has embolden them to become more ruthless and deadlier than ever before in history.

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The Quiet but Deadly Terrorist Organization

The nature and concept of insurgency normally initiate the spirit of rebellion, evil, and terror against an instituted authority by those who want to subvert the incumbent regime’s effort. Actually, in its usual meaning, they are terrorists. The Nigeria Boko Haram situation is a genuine instance where an organized terrorist group has unleashed chaos that has shocked the security, economic, and political foundation of the country. Boko Haram is a sect of Islamic fundamentalists that has been affirmed as a terrorist organization at around 2011, during the country’s general election, when the group was highly active (White, 2017). The Nigerian-based terrorist group is said to have connections with other international terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. There are charges and insinuations that the crafty Boko Haram terrorist group was established by the political opposition in the northern part of Nigeria, with stout support from the Islamic terrorist elements in the Middle East to destabilize the peace, national security, and the government of Nigeria (Okoroafor & Monday, 2015). The deadly group has unleashed a terror reign that resulted in cruel destruction of lives both small and great especially in the northern region, comprising of people of different religious divides. Also, the group has not spare foreigners who come to invest in the country. Boko Haram has destroyed properties worth millions of dollars, with the Nigerian government failing in most of its attempts to stop the group.  

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Boko Haram was highly active in the 2000s where it wreaked havoc in the country, especially in northern Nigeria, Chad Lake Basin, and surrounding regions. It also extended its activities to the 2010s with most of its destruction being experienced around 2011 where it was responsible for over 450 deaths in the country, bombing activities in 2012, in 2014 where it kidnapped 215 girls in a public school, and in 2015 it also executed gun attacks. The group has since kept a low profile with the main activities being filming girls or women they kidnapped in the past and releasing them in phases. Although their actions are currently lightly published, the group continues causing terror, especially among the kidnapped women and children, with some released girls reporting back with young children, which is a clear indication of sexual harassment and rape among those in captivity. This paper discusses Boko Haram, giving more information that helps the reader to understand what it is, its origin and history, its contribution to the destruction of people’s life in Nigeria and surrounding areas, its impact on the economy, and its probable future.  

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History of Boko Haram

Boko Haram refers to an insurgent Islamic sector established in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf. The organization is based in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital at the end of the northeastern part of Nigeria. The group adopted the name Boko Haram which means “Western education is evil, a sin, or sacrilege” in Hausa Parlance. It strongly stands against man-made laws. Therefore it fights to abolish the secular government system and create a Sharia system in Nigeria. The group initially came into the limelight after the religious violence in 2009, in Nigeria. The group lacks a clear-cut organizational structure or an obvious chain of command. By 2013, it was not clear whether the group had any link with any international terrorist group, though it was found to use different tactics that mimicked the Arabs terrorist groups while they have continuously been at logger’s head with the Nigeria Federal Government. Boko Haram has adopted the name of people committed to the propagation of jihad and teachings of the prophet, though Maiduguri residents where the group was formed nicknamed it as Boko Haram. Boko in Hausa stands for ‘western education’ and haram is an Arabic word that figuratively implies forbidden, literally or sin. Therefore, the name is loosely translated as “western education is forbidden”. The group earned the nickname following its strong opposition to westernization that it claims to corrupt Muslims  (Olusegun, 2013).

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Boko Haram is a native Salafist group that only converted to the Salafist Jihadist group in 2009. It publicized that not just interaction with the western nation is banned by also against the Nigerian government and the Muslim establishment. The group exalts its ideology publicly even though Muhammad Yusuf, his former leader, and founder was a highly educated man who drove a Mercedes Benz and lived a luxurious life. The group members do not interrelate with the local Muslim population and have in past assassinated those who critique it including Muslim kadhis. The sect started with Mohammed Yusufu, a charismatic Muslim Cleric establishment of a religious complex that comprised of an Islamic School and a mosque. The school enrolled a huge number of children from poor Muslim families across the country and the bordering nations (Hentz & Solomon, 2017).

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However, the sect was not just interested in education. On the contrary, it had an Islamic objective which was to develop an Islamic state. Therefore, the school turned into a jihadists’ recruiting ground. Based on its founding belief, the jihadists were to battle the state. This mission started in 2009 when Boko Haram conducted a series of attacks on police stations among other state facilities in Maiduguri. This resulted in shoot-outs on the streets of Maiduguri where hundreds of Boko Haram members were killed, as residents flee the city in thousands. Boko Haram continued launching more attacks after the 2009 incident (Thurston, 2017). After this incident, Boka Haram continued launching more attacks some in police stations, and prisons trying to free its people, churches, and entertainment joins. The sect also started practicing kidnapping, with the most recent incident involving over 200 school girls. The sect activities have currently seemed to subside with major activity being kidnapping and negotiating for the release of some of its followers in exchange for citizens in its captive. The group has demonstrated a change in how it conducts its operations with fear of indulging in sex trafficking among other silent crimes.

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The Acts of Boko Haram

Boko Haram turned into a highly lethal and destructive group, after the violent 2009 crackdown by the government, displacing millions and killing thousands in Northeast Nigeria. The sect used brutal tactics that included bomb explosions, suicide bombings, kidnapping, assassinations, car hijacking, and roadside shooting to wage war against “enemy targets”. Also, the group wreaked havoc at government properties, public institutions, police forces, and civilians.  They were also known to assault and abduct students and teachers, burn and bomb villages, and kill several citizens, in their attacks (Adelaja, Labo & Penar, 2018).

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The group has also subject a huge number of women to sexual violence sometimes resulting in the birth of children. Women are experiencing sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse at the hand of Boko Haram. This is causing the development of serious psychological health issues, with those who manage to escape from their captive being unable to cope with their new life as parents to children born out of rape (Roberts, 2019). The majority who directly experience Boko Haram terrorist acts or who were directly affected by their actions were exposed to a traumatic event that may have a long-term effect on their psychological health. The group has also instilled a high level of fear, especially among the school-going kids, specifically girls, and their parents. Boko Haram which is mostly against western education has developed a habit of raiding schools and kidnapping girls, some of who are held captive years before they are released, while others die on their hands (Ezeh, 2018). This has instilled fear of attending schools among girls in the northern parts of Nigeria and other surrounding regions. Although the group seems a bit silent based on its initial level of operation, it still seems highly powerful as the government has failed to keep up with its activities. In most cases, girls kidnapped in schools escape on their own or remain in their custody for years, which a reflection of how powerless the government is compared to Boko Haram.

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Their Effect on Economy

Boko Haram has highly distracted normal life in the country. Based on the global terrorist database, Nigeria experienced a total of 2592 terrorist attacks from 2009 to 2015, of which 64% were caused by Boko Haram (Ekhato- Mobayode & Asfaw, 2018). These terrorist activities disrupted the country’s economic activities resulting in long-term human and economic development in the country. The attacks destroyed government structures, schools, and other public institutions. This eventually costs the government to rebuild. Most foreign investors especially in the northern region got scared and withdrew their investment. This resulted in great economic loss in terms of foreign direct investment. Boko Haram activities have also been associated with a decline in child health in the country. According to Ekhator-

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Mobayode and Asfaw (2018), disruption of economic engagements resulted in a decline in household wealth and income, and hence consumption. Displacement or loss of family members lowered investment in time-intensive inputs in child health care. Boko Haram also interfered with public health services delivery, obstructing access to vital curative and preventive services. This has generally increased the cost of public health, as most children and the general population miss opportunities to employ preventive health measures.  This results in to increase in unhealthy people in the country, reducing their participation in economic activities and personal economic development. The interference with life of young people who include young men recruited in the sect and young schools girls kidnapped interfere with their social-economic growth in life, especially by interfering or stopping their education. This reduces their future ability to have a sustainable source of income, increasing the level of household poverty in the country. The sect is also believed to be interfering with the oil economy, which is the main source of income in Nigeria and hence negatively impacting the economic development of the country (Alozieuwa, 2016). Boko Haram activities in the country have therefore highly impacted the socio-economic activities, increasing fear of raising the household poverty level in the country.

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Boko Haram and the Future

Since its establishment, Boko Haram has negatively impacted the lives of Nigerian people especially those living in the northern parts and around Chad Lake Basin. The worse is that it focused on capturing the mind of young people, who are mostly the future of society. Today, the sect is deep-rooted with advanced activities including international connection with other powerful terrorists in the world (White, 2017). Its low-key damaging activities are quite worrying as the sect continues damaging life of young people in the country, not just by recruiting young men into the sect, but also by kidnapping young girls and subjecting them to sexual violence. This creates a dysfunctional society, with psychologically impaired members whose fate lies in mere luck of survival without direct contact with Boko Haram members. The future is not bright for children and youths in northern parts of Nigeria (Ezeh, 2018). More may need to be done to give hope to young people in the region to citizens in the region.  In Matthew 21: 12-13, Jesus decided to use physical force to drive sellers who defiled his holy place to restore sanity (King James Bible, 1769/2017). This a good example that the government that is responsible for protecting its citizens should not bury its head in the soil. Negotiating with criminals gives them a higher bargaining power since they got very little to lose. Moreover, jihadists have already chosen chaos (Olusegun, 2013). The government has the sole responsibility of restoring sanity in Nigeria. It should restore hope for young people in northern Nigeria by addressing Boko Haram amicably. Thinking the sect is losing its power could be an illusion intentionally created to distract the government. The underground economic operations including human trafficking may be a strategy to build financial resources that will empower the sect to have a higher competitive advantage in the war field with the government in the future. Moreover, the sect’s primary goal has never been met. This means it may still be figuring out how to achieve it. Rather than ignoring and negotiating, the government should consider fighting and destroying Boko Haram for the future of the country.

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Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and United States Containment Policy


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is as well popularly christened the IS or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is presently an international Sunni Islamist terrorist, as well as insurgent, group. Presently, it is in firm control of considerably large Syrian and Iraqi territories. As well, it has considerably pockets of adherents spread across other nation-states (Prados, 2015). It remains rather keen on disrupting global, as well as regional, security and peace with violent, terrorist acts. The terrorist acts associated with the ISIS in recent times especially in Iraq, as well as Syria, have demonstrated its continued capability for jeopardizing and threatening the security of human populations in the US, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). The US is threatened by the ISIS regardless of its capable and sophisticated security forces along with intelligence agencies. The US has put forth various policy proposals regarding how to eliminate the threat posed by the ISIS. In recent times, it appears that the US has adopted a containment policy, or strategy, to decimate the threat. Principally, this paper explores various facets of the ISIS and the effectiveness of the policy in dealing with the threat.

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s Ideology

The ISIL’s ideology is an exceptionally hard-hitting version of violent jihadist Islamism, Salafism. Its adherents are enthusiastic about employing violence in establishing with they conceptualize as a model, or ideal, Islamic community worldwide. Their understanding of Islam is hinged on a particular appreciation of Prophet Mohammed’s life, the life led by the prophet’s followers as well as particular historically significant Islamic events (Glint, 2014). Consequently, the ISIL beliefs are especially activist, violent, and uncompromising of wider ideological persuasions that have promoted the conflict and extremism that have by and large typified the world of Sunni Islam in recent times. Although supporters of the ISIL may express some peaceful Salafist Sunni views, the adherents of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are distinct from them on two principal aspects: their preferred approach and their views on the attributes of the model Islamic faith. Leading ISIL figures characterize the organization as a direct successor of the approach adopted by the prophet. Notably, many Sunni Muslims disagree with that characterization (Prados, 2015).


The religious minorities, Shiite Muslims, Christians, and Jews, inhabiting areas predominated by Sunni Muslims are frequently expelled from the areas by the ISIL. The ISIL not only expels them but also seizes or destroys their possessions to force them to adopt the violent ISIL ideology. At times, ISIL adherents kidnap, assault, and murder religious minorities or force them into sexual slavery. The ISIL as well targets various ethnic populations. It systematically and deliberately suppresses the populations with an aim of expelling, cleansing or destroying them.

By and large, the religious, as well as ethnic, populations targeted by the ISIL are viewed by its adherents as being in breach of indeterminate accords with the model Muslim, which would necessitate the defense that they call for in respected Islamic texts such as the Quran. As well, the ISIL threatens the US and her allies, most of who are seen as representing Christendom (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). The ISIL has made various partners of the US in Europe, as well as the Middle East, as unfriendly, or hostile, targets. The partners, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, are projected as agents that partake in a conspiracy led by the US against the interests of Sunni Muslims.


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s principal tactic and strategy are transnational terrorism. It has executed many terrorist attacks, which have occasioned thousands of deaths, in many nation-states, including Iraq along with Syria. ISIL leaders have since 2012 threatened the US with such attacks. The leaders common typify the US and its allies that are predominated by non-Muslim populations as crusaders (Glint, 2014). The leaders encourage ISIL adherents to execute the attacks against specific interests, facilities, and persons within the US or areas superintended by the US or any of the Notably, the organization characterizes such an engagement as a forerunner of the apocalyptic wars predicated by specific Islamic literature. The ISIL frequently issues goading statements that come off as meant to provoke such an engagement (Bailey & Immerman, 2015).

It appears that the terrorist attacks blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant may be a significant tactic, or strategy, in a wide-ranging calculated effort aimed at drawing adversaries into a direct and extensive military conflict. That view is particularly bolstered by the actuality that the organization has in recent times developed and continually strengthened a peripheral operations agenda, which it implements with lethal consequences (Spark, 2014). It appears that organization is motivated to continue employ transnational terrorism as its lead strategy by its keenness on signaling persistent momentum regardless of the battlefield losses and limited progress it continues to suffer especially in Iraq as well as Syria.


(Glint, 2014). Clearly, the organization is principally dependent on the weapons it captured from the deposed Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein. As well, it captured stockpiles of weapons from the forces that engaged in the Syrian Civil War. The weapons include military aircraft, surface to air missiles, guns as well as armor.

(Prados, 2015).

Overall Goals

For close to a decade, the principal goal of the ISIL has been to establish a caliphate, or state, ran on Sunni Islamic ideals. Particularly, the organization seeks to have the caliphate ruled by Sunni Islamic religious leaders under a caliph, al-Baghdadi, who is to be taken as the prophet’s successor from his lineage (Prados, 2015; United States, 2015). Al-Baghdadi demands the loyalty of every committed Muslim globally in line with Islamic law or jurisprudence (Spark, 2014).

The organization projects itself as keen on ensuring that the world is full of Islamic justice and truth and ending the tyranny and falsehood that it associates with ignorance. ISIL fighters are keen on conquering the world by eliminating every religion that supports democratic ideals. The fighters are indoctrinated to think of other religions as have marked enthusiasm to kills persons in masses. By and large, the organization seeks to establish military, political, as well as religious, authority or control over every Muslim.

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Analysis of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Attacks

The attacks launched by the ISIL are aimed at terrorizing, polarizing, and mobilizing targeted populations and compel enemy governments to take actions that they would otherwise restrain themselves from taking promptly (Glint, 2014). The attacks are meant to mobilize the organization’s supporters by being spectacularly deadly. They are aimed at driving a growing wedge between Muslims and their civilian leaders, or governments, making the ISIL caliphate more and more appealing to the Muslims (Bailey & Immerman, 2015).

The ISIL has been keen on diversifying and widening its terrorist attacks against what it considers Zionist enemies and crusader enemies internationally to ensure that the enemies do not form credible alliances against it, thus draining the enemies to the greatest degree possible. Especially, the organization has been keen on attacking soft targets on its enemies’ soils to weaken them.

Commonly, the ISIL publicizes the mass civilian killings and executions it does to instill in own adherents worldviews that are sublime and sacred and to scare its enemies and those doubtful about joining it. The publicizing is as well aimed at breaking its subjects and captives psychologically to guarantee their unquestioning allegiance via intimidation and fear.

Statements and Propaganda

The ISIL views Islam, Islamic traditions, and Islamic texts as authentic if they are ahistorical. The propaganda materials and statements that it issues project its views and actions as being in line with traditional Islamic practices founded in Islamic literature along with jurisprudence. Frequently, the organization’s leaders refer to varied forceful Sunni views on the intricate past of Islamic practice and faith. The views especially include those expressed by Taqi Addin Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah, a renowned 14th-century polemicist and scholar, and Mohammed ibn Abd al Wahhab. Al Wahhab was a Salafist revivalist and leader in the 18th century (Prados, 2015).

The organization’s propaganda projects all its adherents and fighters as deeply dedicated to the ideology of the group. Even then, it is clear that it is not possibly to have all its adherents and fighters as deeply subscribe to the same ideology given that it is a combination of local and overseas forces in its ranks. Some supporters habiting the areas under the organization’s control pledge fealty to the organization merely to survive or settle neighborhood rows with those averse to the rise of the organization. The organization projects the US, her allies in the Middle East, and her allies elsewhere as the greatest enemies of the model Islamic community (Glint, 2014).

The US Containment Policy Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Introduction and Explanation of the Containment Policy

The US has in recent times led an alliance, or coalition, of nations keen on degrading and ultimately destroying the ISAL via the gradual decimation of its political and geographic space, fighters, and resource bases (Spark, 2014). The US has several strategies and policies that are relevant to the question of decimating the space. The strategies include partnering with specific Arab and European nation-states, containing the ISIL militarily, supporting the ground forces of Syria along with Iraq, gathering along with sharing relevant intelligence, constraining the flow of foreigners to join ISIL fighter ranks, and disruption the organization’s flow of finances (Glint, 2014). This paper focuses on the containment strategy, or policy, of the US, which is aimed at decimating the space.

Notably, containment, which is a military approach, or strategy, is geared towards stopping enemies’ expansion or growth (Spark, 2014). The US and own allies used the approach widely during the Cold War era to forestall the extension of communism overseas. During the era, the US and the allies employed the approach and the related policy in responding to the Soviet Union’s successive moves aimed at expanding communism into Vietnam, Africa, Korea, China, and much of Europe (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). A containment policy represents a compromise between rollback and détente. Parties or states that adopt the policy let their enemies elect the time and venue of confrontations between them (Prados, 2015).

The containment policy of the US regarding the ISIL is especially geared towards walling the organization into a more and more limited geographical space or territory and then leaving it to fail independently; owing to internal discord, economic challenges, and mismanagement as opposed to external forces. The overall thinking that has informed the policy is that the organization benefits from the vast resources that it finds in the territories its gains control over and thus should be held back from any new conquests to starve it of the resources it requires.

Originally, the ISIL executed atrocious murders of hostages from the West to provoke American and own allies to react in ways that may trigger an apocalyptic military conflict or war. Even then, the organization has been struggling to force such an outcome owing to containment. The organization is devoid of hostages from the West, whom it would have helped it in exploiting the West, including the US (United States, 2015). There is a common argument that so far, the containment approach has been effective since it has helped shift the focus of the organization to war-zone attacks. As well, the containment approach has been effective owing to the continuing fear-mongering regarding refugees from Syria along with all Muslims by the media and some Republic Party figures in the US (Spark, 2014; United States, 2015).

The strategy has helped the US avoid the losses that it would have suffered possibly if it has a ground force fighting the ISIL. The aversion to going for an all-out military assault against the ISIL is informed by the actuality that it would lead to freeing up, or disengagement, of thousands of ISIL fighters who police the model Islamic nation-state and run its checkpoints. The fighters would become rather available to partake in terrorism attacks (Prados, 2015).

The US’ military actions against the ISIL should be appreciated in the light of the containment policy. In recent times, the US-led alliance, or coalition, has struck ISIL’s Syrian along with Iraqi targets using armed unmanned-aerial vehicles, and combat aircraft along with sea-launched cruise missiles. The targets have been hit to forestall the advancing of ISAL fighters and decimate the related threats to the alliance’s personnel as well as Iraqi religious minorities (Prados, 2015). In recent times, the alliance has struck the targets in support of the Kurdish and Iraqi forces’ offensive, as well as defensive, military acts to compromise the organization’s capability of supporting own operations from own Syrian strongholds.

As well, in recent times, the alliance has been striking ISIL personnel directly outside Iraqi along with Syria. By and large, the alliance’s military engagements against the organization come off as aimed at maintaining, as well as expanding, territorial superintendence lines within Syria along with Iraq (Glint, 2014). The engagements are a reflection of the US’ containment, as well as the fractional reversal, of the organization’s advances in specific areas or territories.

Analysis of the Strength of the Information Gathered on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

As noted earlier, the overall thinking that has informed the policy is that the ISIL benefits from the vast resources that it finds in the territories its gains control over and thus should be held back from any new conquests to starve it of the resources it requires. Clearly, the organization cannot be held back from new territories indefinitely. It is expected that the continued holding back of the organization will end when it gets to a tipping point, where it is expected to collapse promptly (Spark, 2014). Unfortunately, the US and other nations fighting the organization are devoid of information, or intelligence, on how long it may take before the containment occasions the organization’s collapse.

The information that the US intelligence teams gather on the ISIL is seen as erroneous at times (Glint, 2014). (Bailey & Immerman, 2015). Even then, it is clear that the organization continues to execute extensive attacks even outside Syria as well as Iraq. Presently, the organization cannot be appreciated as contained but rather as rampant.

The intelligence that informs the overall American approach to the ISIL question is seen as rather insufficient to deal with the question promptly. For instance, at one point, on the strength of the information, the US send only 50 special troops to support rebel groups fighting the organization in Syria (United States, 2015). The troops were too few to offer adequate support to the rebel groups. The troops were too few to make a significant impact on the question. There have been suggestions that the US should invest in gathering intelligence on how to contain the organization rapidly by stabilizing Libya, Sinai, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan (Prados, 2015).

Despite these failings, the intelligence, and information available to the US has been effective in helping the alliance cut off most of the ISIL’s revenue streams. The alliance has considerably succeeded in disrupting the streams. The alliance has significantly constrained the organization’s access to official fiscal systems. It has imposed rather effective sanctions on those who facilitate the group financially.

Is the Containment Policy Sufficient?

By and large, the US containment policy for dealing with the ISIL has proved effective, or sufficient. Even then, the defeating of the organization (Bailey & Immerman, 2015).

Any other approach apart from the containment strategy would most likely breed resistance among local populations, offering a fertile ground for the emergence of terrorist groups in the mold of ISIL and al Qaeda, or the strengthening of the extant terrorist groups. Presently, there are indications the containment approach continues to bear fruit. The organization has had marked difficulties in gaining additional territories and its grip on the territories it seats on has been weakening over time. Its ability to exploit resources in the territories has been compromised severely as at now (United States, 2015).

Specific Recommendations for Policy Changes

  • The containment approach should be strengthened by gathering intelligence on how long it may take before the containment occasions the organization’s collapse. As noted earlier, the organization cannot be held back from new territories indefinitely.
  • The containment approach should be strengthened by ensuring that the accuracy of the intelligence which informs the approach is established before being used.
  • The US should invest in gathering intelligence on how to contain the organization rapidly by stabilizing Libya, Sinai, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is as well popularly christened the IS or ISIS, is presently an international Sunni Islamist terrorist, as well as insurgent, group. The ISIL’s ideology is an exceptionally hard-hitting version of violent jihadist Islamism, Salafism. The ISIL’s principal tactic and strategy is transnational terrorism. By and large, the US containment policy for dealing with the ISIL has proved effective, or sufficient. The containment policy of the US regarding the ISIL is especially geared towards walling the organization into a more and more limited geographical space or territory and then leaving it to fail independently; owing to internal discord, economic challenges, and mismanagement as opposed to external forces. There are indications that the continued conflict between the ISIL and the US and other nations may be challenging, violent, expensive, and protracted. The organization’s violent fanatics and transnational appeal are likely to persist in compelling American policymakers to deal with intricate issues regarding the containment approach, utilization of military resources, civil and privacy liberties, identity, national strategic priorities, diplomatic negotiations, religious liberties, immigration, and intelligence sharing.

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Captain Phillips Movie Analysis and How Terrorism is Portrayed


Directed by Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips is a portrayal of a real-life hijacking that occurred in 2009 when four armed Somali terrorists took control of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama. At the time of its hijacking, the cargo ship was being manned by a crew of just 20 sailors that were in the process of hauling tons of cargo including food from the United Nations World Food Program that was designated for a number of African countries. In the movie, the critically acclaimed American Actor Tom Hanks gives the performance of a lifetime in his role as the eponymous Phillips who is a hard-working sea captain that pilots ships through treacherous waters off the Somali coast. This paper will provide an analysis of the movie Captain Phillip as well as the portrayal of terrorism within the movie.

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The movie opens with what is a postcard-perfect shot of a white house in Vermont inside of which Captain Phillips is shown to be packing and checking up on his route. Philips and his wife, Andrea are soon other way to the airport and talk about their kids, the future and the challenges that their children will face in a fast-changing world. The scene portrays intimacy and has the effect of humanizing Phillips. In directing the movie, Paul Greengrass is observed to employ the use of quick camera work as is depicted by the fact that while in one minute Phillips is shown hugging his wife at the airport, in the next he is walking down the decks of his ship the Maersk Alabama, testing its various unlocked security gates and directing his crew to run through an anti-piracy security safety drill. Almost immediately after the crew finish up on their safety drill, they are confronted by a real-world threat in the form of two rapidly approaching skiffs full of Somali terrorists. Phillips and his crew manage to dodge and evade the skiffs by increasing their speed and shifting courses so as to churn up a series of destabilizing waves that damage the engine on one of the terrorist’s skiffs while the second skiff withdraws after Phillips makes a false call to a U.S. Navy ship. The next day, one of the terrorist ships returns with four heavily armed terrorists that are able to board the Maersk Alabama and start a distressing siege. The crew of the cargo ship go into hiding when the ship is boarded and the terrorists only manage to capture three hostages.

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The leader of the Somali terrorists Muse (Barkhad Abdi) delivers an outstanding performance in the movie despite the fact that he had no previous acting experience and his skinny bravado is quite memorable. In one of the movies most memorable scenes, Captain Phillips offers the terrorists $30,000 from the ship’s safe but Muse refuses the money and rhetorically asks the captain “30,000 dollars, am I a beggar?” This is soon followed by a cat and mouse game between the ship’s crew members and the four terrorists that end with the crew forcing the terrorists off the ship and the terrorists making off with Captain Phillips and taking him hostage abroad a covered lifeboat.

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The thunderous naval firepower and swirling helicopters that characterize the movie’s final act cause it to be broadly characterized as an action movie. Replete with night vision navy seal deployments, nerve wrecking claustrophobic lifeboat scenes and cross-hair-tension where big boats become giant, captivating characters, the movie is able to successfully cause its audience to suspend its disbelief. In the movie’s final scene, Tom Hanks, who has been delivering a tremendous performance throughout delivers a new career performance when the captain develops post-traumatic stress. The life-like portrayal of Phillip’s post-traumatic stress has the effect of raising the standards on what an action thriller based on a true-story can do. In this movie, Greengrass is able to successfully demonstrate that it is actually possible for mainstream cinema to not only be intelligent and visceral, but also successfully captivate its audience’s attention.

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The depiction of terrorism in Captain Phillips draw the audience to the reality that there is a form of 21-century piracy that has nothing to do with football, illegal downloads or the character of Captain Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp swashbuckling through the scenes of a Disney franchise movie. The existential realities of modern-day Somali piracy are an interesting, but unexpected theme in the movie. In a conversation between the Pirate-terrorist Captain Muse and Captain Phillips, Muse reveals that one of the reasons that drove him and his colleagues into piracy is the illegal fishing that has been going on off the Somali coast that has had the effect of reducing the volume of fish the local Somali fishermen are able to catch, and the revenues that they are able to generate from this activity. Ever since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991, the warring clans, warlords and different factions have been unable to reunite the country (Meredith, 2011). This has resulted in the development of a situation where the country’s maritime regions have been left exposed to the ravages of illegal fishing as there is no government force to help in patrolling and protecting this region (Hansen, 2011).

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At first, exasperated Somali fishermen took to attacking foreign trawler to extract heavy fines from fishermen at knifepoint. This eventually developed into the full-blown terrorism practice of hostage-taking and extortion. Not to be left behind, the local terrorist organizations eventually entered into the piracy business and began to target ships that were not connected to the initial grievances of the fishermen in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden (Menkhaus, 2009). This caused the piracy that had been rampant along the Somali coast to evolve into terrorism.

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The maritime terrorism in the Captain Phillips movie is a duplication of the basic strategy of Somali terrorist attacks over the years although the weapons and equipment that are used by these terrorists have been progressively upgraded and the tactics have been developed that allow for these terrorists to strike even those vessels that are far away from the Somali coast (Mineau, 2010). In a similar manner to the movie, Somali terrorists operating in the Gulf of Aden tend to attack ships from small, open and highly powered fishing boats that are known as skiffs. While one or two skiffs provide fire cover, the attacking skiff races across the ocean and catches up with the target ship. The terrorists on the attack skiff then enter the ship using ladders (Pham, 2010). Once the terrorists are onboard, they quickly subdue the crew, hold the crew members hostage and command them to steer the ship towards the Somali coast (Percy and Shortland, 2013). In the movie, Muse and his fellow terrorists were unable to fully execute this tactic as the crew members were able to hid themselves in the engine room from where they were able to disable the ship and prevent the terrorists from steering it to the Somali coast.

A variant of this this strategy takes place when fishing vessels are hijacked for the purpose of being used as a mother ship. This is seen to be the case in the movie where the U.S. Navy identifies the mother ship as a fishing boat that had previously been captured by the Somali terrorists. In the movie, the mother ship tows the skiffs until they are able to identify a suitable target. The Skiffs only deploy once they identify a suitable target which is in this case the Maersk Alabama. In real-world situations, terrorists often hijack fishing vessels and use them to move around the shipping lanes without their being recognized as terrorists by naval forces. In addition to this, these fishing vessels are used to cover long journeys across the Indian Ocean. The motherships are usually abandoned once they are no longer required or the naval forces start becoming suspicious of their operations.

In the movie, the terrorists remove the captain from the ship with the objective of holding him hostage so as to extort a ransom from the ship’s owners and discourage any potential attack on the terrorists as they escape to the Somali mainland. The terrorists in the movie appear to operate with a strict code of conduct that compels them to try and keep their hostages alive and in a reasonable condition. This is shown by Muse’s efforts to try and protect Captain Phillips from being abuse by his fellow terrorists.

Muse and his fellow terrorists are shown to be merely the footmen of the warlord Garaad who is ultimately the person in charge of the region where Maersk Alabama was captured as it sailed across. The terrorists operating along the Somali operate in zones that are controlled by different warlords. These warlords are ultimately responsible for all of the terrorist activities that take place in their regions and pocket the lion’s share of any ransom that is received for the return of captured ships. This aspect is illustrated in the movie in a conversation that takes place between Captain Phillips and Muse where Muse boasts of having captured a Greek ship in the previous year that was able to net the terrorists 6 million dollars in ransom money. However, when Captain Phillips asks Muse why he was still engaging in pirate-terrorism despite his having netted such as huge amount of money within the previous year, Muse appears to get annoyed at the Captain and orders him to keep quiet. The central role that is played by the warlords in the terrorist activities is also illustrated by the fact that it is these warlords that order Muse and the other terrorists to get on board their skiffs and go and earn them some money by capturing ships.

The conversation between Muse and Captain Phillips provides a brief snapshot of the extent and the impact of the terrorist activities that are conducted off the Somali coast. While these activities have experienced a considerable decline in recent years, they were at their height responsible for considerable costs not only in increased operating expenses for the global shipping industry, but also in the number of lives that were lost (Bellish, 2012). The potential economic impact of the terrorism conducted by terrorists such as Muse is illustrated by taking into consideration the fact that well over 90% of the goods traded across the world are transported by sea and that about 40% of these good are transported through the Gulf of Aden (Dutton, 2015). It is estimated that in 2011 alone, the terrorism activities conducted by Somali terrorists were responsible for costing the global economy between 6.6 and 6.9 billion US dollars (Bane, 2013). Over 80% of this cost was borne by the global shipping industry that was forced to spend about 2.7 billion dollars in that year alone to reroute ships or cause these ships to increase their speed so as to avoid terrorist attacks. Forcing ships to increase their speeds in a bid to avoid terrorist attacks not only leads to increased fuel consumption by these ships, but also has the effect of causing a considerable degree of wear and tear to the ship engines that are expensive to repair. In a bid to minimize the losses that they incurred as a direct result of the terrorism activities that took place along the Somali coastline in 2011, the shipping industry is observed to have paid about $635 million in special insurance premiums. These special insurance premiums allowed for ships to obtain special kidnapping, war and ransom insurance policies that helped to indemnify them from any potential losses that they might face as a result of terrorist hijacking. The record number of ship hijackings that took place in 2011 resulted in the shipping industry transferring $160 million in ransom payments that was delivered to terrorists to release ships that had been captured in successful hijackings. The money that was paid in ransom to terrorists operating as terrorists was re-routed into Somalia’s pirate economy and helped to provide additional resources that were used to fund additional piracy operations (Bowden and Basnet, 2012).

While it is the human cost of the pirate-terrorism phenomenon that tends to capture media attention, of great concern is that not all pirate-terrorism incidents are eventually resolved in a successful manner. While the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 ended in a successful hostage rescue that was undertaken by US Navy Seals, there are however other incidents such s the hijacking of the civilian yacht, Quest in 2011 that are not as successful and left four American hostages dead as a result of a failed rescue attempt. In addition to this, most piracy incidents tend to go completely unnoticed such as the 35 hostages that were killed in 2011 during the course of the various pirate-terrorism-related incidents that took place during that year (Hurlburt, 2013).

Another observation that can be made pertaining to the terrorists in Captain Phillips is that although they had a form of the hierarchical power structure, this structure was rudimentary and ineffective at best as is demonstrated by the friction that exists between Muse and Asad who is the Captain of the second skiff. Asad keeps on referring to Muse as skinny and when Muse commands one of the terrorists to work on an engine in one of the skiffs, some tension develops when Asad countermands Muse’s orders and assigns the terrorist another task. The conflict between the two terrorists eventually escalates when after the unsuccessful capture of the ship on the first day and their return to the mothership, Muse mocks Asad by referring to him as a coward. Asad pulls out a gun and holds it to Muse’s head while threatening to kill Muse but Muse discreetly picks up a wrench and knocks Asad on the head and kills him instantly. He then proceeds to take the engine from Asad’s skiff and adds to his own skiff. The combined power of having two engines in one skiff allows for Muse to be able to successfully capture the Maersk Alabama when he chases it down the following day. Further conflict and friction in the terrorist’s hierarchy are demonstrated by the friction that exists between Muse and Elmi. Throughout the movie, Muse is shown to experience considerable difficulties in trying to tame down Elmi and get him to obey his commands. Elmi is often openly defiant of Muse and questions all of the decisions that Muse makes. In one of the final scenes in the movie, Elmi physically assaults Captain Phillips despite Muse’s command that nobody should harm the captain.

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Reflective Evaluation of Counterintelligence Support to Counterterrorism Operations with Reference To the 2001 Pentagon Attack


The September 2001 attacks on the US showed the threats posed on the country by terrorists graphically. The attacks, and other previous ones, led to the loss of the lives of persons working for the US Department of Defense (DoD). The terrorist attacks against the Beirut-located Marine Barracks, the Saudi Arabian-located Khobar Towers, and the Yemen-located USS Cole demonstrate the terrorism-related risks that DoD employees face worldwide. The capability to gather, as well as process, intelligence related to force protection is essential to the DoD’s capability to keep civilian staff, military staff, and own families safe.

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The DoD has made considerable efforts to enhance its capabilities related to force protection. Even then, threats from terrorists persist in posing considerable dangers. Certainly, the DoD can further bolster own antiterrorism plans by enhancing counterintelligence (CI) hold up, or support, towards force protection. This paper is a reflective appraisal of the CI support related to counterterrorism operations, with a focus on the 2011 Pentagon attack case history. As well, the paper demonstrates the support’s role using various CI activities, operations, and functions from both threat and friendly viewpoints of the attack.

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The term terrorism refers to all acts aimed at occasioning terror. In spite of the name terrorism, some actions deemed terrible or terrifying are not characterized as terrorist acts. Still, there has not emerged a universally accepted characterization, or definition, of terrorism. Even then, it is by and large appreciated as featuring political aims. The pursuit for the aims may be fueled by differences in social class, ideological, religious, ethnic or nationalist politics or persuasions. The definition adopted for terrorism throughout the paper is that it refers to violent acts or the related threats, which are geared towards creating terror, or fear, owing to particular nationalistic, socioeconomic or religious interests.

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Generally, counterterrorism refers to the responses that state actors formulate and actualize against terrorist acts or planned terrorist acts. Given that that the acts are indications of struggles with nationalistic, socioeconomic or religious motivations, the responses against them are as commonly shaped by class, beliefs or ethnicity. Besides, given that attitudes to societal statuses, religion, and nationalism tend to change over time, terrorist acts and terrorists are commonly criminalized or legitimized based on the extant political interests or perspectives.

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CI is the information collected, as well as the activities executed, to safeguard particular interests or installations against sabotage, espionage, or other intelligence engagements executed for foreign entities or global terrorist acts. Collective CI is the gathering of information regarding the intelligence gathering potential of enemy parties. Defensive CI refers to the efforts aimed at thwarting the efforts made by enemy intelligence services to go through a given intelligence service. Offensive CI refers to the manipulation of enemy intelligence services’ efforts by affording them sham information that they convey back home or taking up their agents for duplicitous roles.

Numerous nation-states organize CI agencies distinct, as well as separate, from own intelligence gathering services for dedicated purposes. In many nation-states, CI missions are shared among several agencies. Even then, one agency commonly predominate the others. In contemporary practice, multiple missions are linked to CI from diverse levels. The missions include Defensive Analysis, CFSO (Counterintelligence Force Protection Source Operations), and Offensive Counterespionage.

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CFSO refers to the human source-level operations executed in foreign lands to bridge existing gaps in the domestic-level coverage of given forces or field stations from espionage as well as terrorism. In the US, CI is essentially an element of the country’s ICS (Intelligence Cycle Security), which, sequentially, is an element of the country’s ICM (Intelligence Cycle Management). Various security-related disciplines as well fall under complement CI and ICM. They include operations security, security classification as well as communications security. Others include physical security, information system security as well as personnel security.

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In the US, the OICI (Office of Investigations and Counterintelligence) is charged with conducting robust CI programs. The programs are aimed at deterring, detecting, as well as neutralizing foreign intelligence agencies’ efforts aimed at the Department of State’s diplomatic missions globally, facilities, and personnel. Notably, the OICI has a dedicated CI division, which executes aggressive CI inquiries, as well as counterespionage investigations, jointly with other federal government agencies. As well, the division trains government personnel on security and CI awareness, especially the personnel accessing sensitive information and facilities under the Department of State. The training helps build the personnel’s appreciation of espionage and foreign intelligence risks and the related countermeasures. The personnel gain an increased understanding of alien, or foreign, intelligence environments.

The OICI is populated with security engineers who help it in deterring, detecting, as well as neutralizing, foreign intelligence agencies’ efforts aimed at penetrating domestic residences and office buildings technically. Each of the engineers has specific CI roles. For instance some of the engineers may be assigned the role of making out listening devices fixed on walls. Others may be assigned to counter intricate digital eavesdropping systems or devices.

September 2011 Pentagon Attack and Counterintelligence

The 9/11 terrorist attacks comprised of four, highly-coordinated attacks on the several US’ landmarks by al-Qaeda. Nineteen al-Qaeda operatives hijacked passenger airliners after leaving various airports along the country’s eastern coast. The airliners were headed to California. The 19 terrorists flew the airliners into USA’s landmark buildings. Two of the airliners were flown into the then complex referred to as the World Trade Center. Another airliner crashed in Pennsylvania while probably being flown into a landmark building within Washington. Another airliner was flown into the Virginia-located Pentagon, a landmark DoD facility.

Immediately following the attacks, the al-Qaeda was highly suspected of executing the attacks. The US reacted to the attacks through efforts aimed at deposing the Afghanistan-based Taliban, which was then thought to be harboring al-Qaeda. As well, the country launched a wide-ranging WAT (War against Terror) program. The airliner flown into the Pentagon building approached it from the west and hit part of its first floor façade, exploding on impact. The part of the building hit comprised of largely unoccupied but newly renovated offices. Owing to the attack on the building, 125 Pentagon-based DoD employees lost their lives.

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Following the 9/11 attacks, including the Pentagon attack, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) Inspector General facilitated an in-house appraisal of the CIA’s performance just prior to the attacks. He markedly blamed senior CIA officers of not acting satisfactorily to address terrorism. He particularly condemned their inability to stop two of the terrorists who executed the attacks from entering the US. As well, he condemned their failure to give the FBI the information that they held regarding the terrorists in a timely way. Overall, the US Senate judged the CIA and the FBI as having showed marked ineptitude as regards stopping the attacks before they happened.

The CI agencies in the US had considerable information regarding the attacks well before they happened. For instance, in the first quarter of 2001, the US ONCE (Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive) sent out warnings regarding persons presenting themselves as art students from Israel trying to circumvent set security checks. The persons were attempting to enter various federal facilities along with senior federal officer residences’ illegally.

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From the end of 2000 to mid-2011, the ONCE had intelligence that there were terrorists of Arab origin who had set up terror cells particularly in Miami, Hollywood, and Phoenix. The Arab cells had been set up near Israeli espionage cells according to ONCE reports. As well, the office was aware that Mossad spies were gathering intelligence regarding two leaders of the teams that executed the 9/11 attacks; Marwan al-Shehi along with Mohammed Atta.

In mid-2002, a number of officials dismissed information about the existence of a spy ring that made CI efforts ineffective in stopping the attacks. In the wake of the attacks, the FBI took up a counterterrorism role, which is markedly comparable to CI and espionage in addition to its policing roles. Over the years, the FBI has had challenges in transforming itself to effectively discharge CI-related roles since own counterterrorism roles have expanded under the recently formulated homeland security laws. Notably, counterterrorism and CI share numerous operational aspects, a marked frustration factor, and a feeling of urgency. Such challenges are likely to persuade un-procedural practices.

Probable Reasons Why Counterintelligence Did Not Stop the Pentagon Attack


In 2001, the FBI’s CI capabilities were too low to be of help in stopping attacks of the scale of the 9/11 attacks. That is because it got CI from limited foreign spy agency decrypts, which were deemed ultra-secrets. Even when it was able to arrest enemy spies, it did not since it required to cover up own sources. Notably, much of the FBI’s predicament was not related to the compromising of sources deemed sensitive but the disclosure of incriminating data, or information, which could not keep going cases in court owing to its illegal acquisition.

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As well, FBI is poor in CI work owing to its political manipulation to serve particular domestic interests rather than focusing on CI and espionage in general. That means that it does not adequately concentrate on foreigners spying for their mother countries. Most enemy spies uncovered by the FBI long after ceasing their covert work, making their arrests acts of vanity. The FBI can have its CI effectiveness bolstered significantly to stem the recurrence of events comparable to those of 9/11 by shielding its operations from political or sectarian interests.

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Pentagon Field Commanders’ Control of Counterintelligence

Possibly, the Pentagon attack and the other 9/11 attacks came about owing to the actuality that the Pentagon’s field commanders did not exercise control of CI. Had they had the control prior to the attacks, they could have considerably helped the DoD in coping with the persistent efforts by al-Qaeda operatives to access the sensitive information, which helped them execute the attacks. It is only after the attack that the commanders were allowed the control.

That has allowed the DoD more force protection capacity since, now, groups like Special Operations Command along with Central Command can opt to execute their CI work within own organizations. Presently, the DoD has better CI capabilities for protecting facilities like the Pentagon since different combat commands are allowed to either depend on the DoD or formulate organic CI abilities. The commands are no longer obligated, or legally compelled, to rely on MDCIOs (Military Defense Counterintelligence Organizations) for own CI work.

Overseeing DoD Counterintelligence Enterprise

Possibly, the Pentagon attack and the other 9/11 attacks came about because then, the DoD did not have an agency charged with effectively, as well as efficiently, managing along with overseeing the DoD’s CI enterprise. There was no agency mandated to synchronize CI across the DoD, jointly with other federal intelligence units. As well, there was no specific agency charged with managing priority CI projects and plans to satisfy combatant commander, departmental or national requirements. Consequently, the enterprise was run poorly, there was no synchronization of CI across the DoD, and CI projects and plans were not managed satisfactorily to satisfy combatant commander, departmental or national requirements.

To forestall the happening of events like those of 9/11, the Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) was created in 2002. It could contribute greatly to the force protection CI programs of the DoD. Specifically, the CIFA was charged with efficiently, managing along with overseeing the DoD’s CI enterprise, synchronizing CI across the DoD, and managing priority CI projects and plans to satisfy combatant commander, departmental or national requirements. When the CIFA was shut down in 2008, all its mandates were conferred on the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). To ensure that the agencies charged with effectively, as well as efficiently, managing along with overseeing the DoD’s CI enterprise are effective in their mandates,  they should be allowed to choose, as well as develop, specific CI operational support strengths and increasing their accessibility to the larger intelligence community. As well, they should be allowed to make out, develop, as well as deploy advanced CI field technologies.

Counterintelligence Doctrine

Possibly, a review of the DoD’s CI doctrine would have stemmed the happening of the 9/11 events. Notably, ensuring that field commanders exercise control of CI can heighten the utility of the CI by allowing them control over it. The DoD’s CI doctrine should be made increasingly comprehensive to increasingly help it in coping with the persistent efforts by al-Qaeda operatives to access the sensitive information, getting precise, opportune, and applicable knowledge concerning the adversary (or potential adversary) and the neighboring environment. The commanders should be supported to protect friendly forces via CI active, as well as passive measures.

The DoD’s CI doctrine should be reformulated to make certain that CI affords field commanders decisive intelligence aid in executing their force protection programs. The CI should help the commanders make possible threat potentials and threats along with considered intentions to operations considered friendly. Concurrently, CI should assist the commanders deceive adversaries regarding friendly intentions, vulnerabilities, and capabilities.

Pentagon Police

Had the PFPA (Pentagon Force Protection Agency) had CI mandates before the attacks, possibly it would have prevented the occurrence of the Pentagon attack. Indeed, the agency was only formed in mid-2002. It is essentially charged with securing and enforcing elementary law on behalf of the Pentagon. Presently, its mandates include handling administrative and information technology issues, antiterrorism, consequence management, building surveillance, operations security, protection of DoD personnel and facilities, crisis prevention, handling explosives and CI.


The Pentagon attack showed the threats posed on the US by terrorists graphically. The attack led to the death of 125 persons working for the DoD. Since then, the DoD has made considerable efforts to enhance its capabilities related to force protection, including reforming its CI regime. Notably, CI is the information collected, as well as the activities executed, to safeguard particular interests or installations against sabotage, espionage, or other intelligence engagements executed for foreign entities or global terrorist acts. The CI agencies in the US had considerable information regarding the attack well before it happened. Even then, they were unable to stop it owing to various probable reasons.  

First, possibly, the FBI’s CI capabilities were too low to be of help in stopping attacks of the scale of the 9/11 attacks. Secondly, possibly, the attack came about since the Pentagon’s field commanders did not exercise control of CI. Third, possibly, the Pentagon attack and the other 9/11 attacks came about because then, the DoD did not have an agency charged with effectively, as well as efficiently, managing along with overseeing the DoD’s CI enterprise. Fourth, the attack happened possibly the PFPA was not in existence. Lastly, possibly, a review of the DoD’s CI doctrine would have stemmed the happening of the 9/11 events.

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Intelligence Gathering And Informational Sharing Within Al Qaeda

Intelligence Gathering

Al-Qaeda, a global terrorist network, was founded by Osama bin Laden more than ten years ago. This terrorist network remains a major threat across the United States, Middle East, and Africa. Al-Qaeda’s leaders understand that they are being targeted by the United States government. For this reason, they often use every means possible to share information and gather intelligence in order to make necessary preparations on how to fight their enemies whenever they strike (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). Traditionally, Al-Qaeda largely relied on the local population to gather intelligence. In addition, the terrorist network used basic communication strategies such as face-to-face communication to share information (Global Security, 2015).

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However, with technological advancements in the contemporary world, Al-Qaeda now uses technology to share information and to gather intelligence. Moreover, Al-Qaeda currently implements various technological concepts similar to those employed by the United States such as, communication networks, fusion centers, information sharing environment (ISE), detection tools, and surveillance capabilities. Al-Qaeda is unconcerned about ethics and it unethically employs technology in its attempt to attack the United States and its allies. The United States has powers to employ technology in similar ways as a strategy towards defeating Al-Qaeda (Global Security, 2015).

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The five main technological tools used by Al-Qaeda with regard to information sharing and intelligence gathering include mobile phones, Skype, emails, various websites on the Internet, and different forms of media such as television, radio, and newspapers. According to Theohary and Rollins (2011), Al-Qaeda largely uses mobile phones, emails, Skype, and the media to spread terrorism-related information and to gather intelligence from their sympathizers distributed in different countries globally. In addition, various websites on the internet provide very good platforms where Al-Qaeda delivers threats that are meant to instill fear among the United States citizens and their allies.

Al-Qeada also uses videotapes to disseminate horrific images of their actions and attacks to members of the public to render them helpless. Moreover, Al-Qaeda leaders spend their time examining national websites in order to gather intelligence that can assist them to stay safe from attacks planned by the United States. Since counterterrorism plans are sometimes documented in various forms of media, Al-Qaeda currently find the radio, newspapers, and television to be very good sources of intelligence gathering (Theohary and Rollins, 2011).

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In order to Al-Qaeda to be successful in implementing their attack plans on America, they have to maintain a status quo which is only possible through rigorous recruiting, resource acquisition, training, surveillance, targeting, communication, attack, and spread of propaganda (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). The most important component on the list is communication. As the United States used network technologies to facilitate effective communication in order to counter terrorism, Al-Qaeda employs the same strategy including mass media and the internet to spread messages of attack. The group has a strong multi-national network that involves Islamic militant in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Germany, Somalia, and Algeria, just to mention but a few (Global Security, 2015).

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The United States Department of Homeland security has established fusion centers where information sharing about terrorism occurs, as an important step towards identification of defense strategies. Al-Qaeda’s version of fusion centers are the mosques and Islamist centers located in different countries globally. When identifying the best places to use as information sharing centers, Al-Qaeda takes advantage of those nations or regions where Muslims form a larger percentage of the population (Global Security, 2015).  Information Security Environment, (ISE), is a platform where analysts, operators, and investigators find relevant information on how they can synthesize terrorism, destruct weapons used by terrorists, and general security information that can be used to enhance national security and keep citizens safe. Al-Qaeda’s version of Information Sharing environment comprises of terrorist sponsors, their sympathizers, and terrorists themselves. These people provide Al-Qaeda with relevant information that they need to synthesize the United States security system, as well as to protect their weapon from destruction. Their main role is to assist Al-Qaeda to obtain its objective of attacking huge populations as a way of purification (Global Security, 2015).

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The United States currently used portable devices to detect explosives and other bioterrorism agents that have been planted by terrorist to cause harm to the target population. Similarly, terrorists have developed portable devices that they use to detect the presence of security officers and weapons within their immediate environments. The United State military system uses advanced surveillance capabilities to trace terrorists even in very remote places. For instance, the country makes use of aerial surveillance which provides full-motion video of terrorisms. Surprisingly, Al-Qaeda also uses highly advanced surveillance capabilities to locate security officers who might be trying to follow them (Olson, 2012).

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Al-Qaeda is unconcerned with ethics and this explains why it uses very cruel strategies to attempt to attack people and to defeat the United States and its allies. Ethics concerns the rightfulness or wrongfulness of an action, and an act is automatically immoral if it violates human rights (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). The three unethical ways that Al-Qaeda uses technology to attempt to defeat the United States and its allies include bombing, suicide attacks, and cyber terrorism. Technological advancements have given Al-Qaeda an opportunity to prepare bombs, agents for suicide attacks, and to execute cyber terrorism. According to Utilitarianism ethical theory, an action is considered ethical if it generates maximum happiness to the largest group of people. Unfortunately, the technology applied by Al-Qaeda to defeat the United States and its allies make people sad rather than happy, and are therefore considered immoral (Global Security, 2015).

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Al-Qaeada’s sponsors use technology in a very unethical manner to harm their nation’s own population (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). The three unethical ways through which Al-Qaeda’s sponsors use technology to harm their own population include, assisting Al-Qaeda to obtain modern weapons for killing people, ensuring the Al-Qaeda gets access to the most effective biological agents to harm the health of the population, and by assisting Al-Qaeda to use modern technology to destruct property in the United States. The main motives of Al-Qaeda and their sponsors are often to purify the ranks of Islam from depravity, and to attain martyrdom in the cause of God. If Al-Qaeda continues to attack the United States and its allies through cruel means, the United States is justified to employ similar methods to attack this terrorism network, because killing them is the best way through which they can be eliminated (Global Security, 2015).

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Genealogy of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Efforts within the United Kingdom

Today, modern-day terrorism is principally looked at as a serious global threat that warrants immediate attention. Its extensive scope, dynamic nature, and the number of nation-states impacted negatively by associated aftermaths has now forced many to resort to formulating elaborate counter-terrorism strategies to remain one step ahead of their adversaries. The United Kingdom is among a growing list of countries that have grappled with terrorism as a contemporary reality. Under UK law, terrorism is defined as using threats and intimidation with the main aim of influencing government. This is primarily done to advance a particular religious or political ideology (Great Britain. Home Office 2009).. Although the UK had previously been subjected to a number of terrorist attacks linked to the political unrest in Northern Ireland, it was only during the turn of the 21st century that the inaugural Terrorism Act of 2000 was formally implemented.

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Major Events that shaped the Creation of the Terrorism Act 2000

            The Terrorism Act of 2000 is officially recognized as the chief legislation dealing with terrorism-related matters in the UK. Its implementation was an attempt to implement legislation that focused generally on terrorism, as opposed to focusing exclusively on the situation in Northern Ireland.  The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a major factor that prompted the implementation of this particular Act. The 7/7 bombings, as they are commonly referred to, were a series of synchronized attacks targeting London’s underground railway commuter system. This marked a turning point in the UK’S approach to terrorism, especially since the attack resulted in the deaths of close to 60 individuals and hundreds more were injured (Tembo 2015). Additional coordinated attacks were also slated for the days following the bombings, but were largely ineffective due poor organization. The four suicide bombers were later identified as British nationals Mohammed Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay, Shehzad Tanweer, and Hasib Hussain linked to jihadist terrorist cells (Staniforth & Fraser Sampson 2014).

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Proscribed Terrorist Groups under Terrorism Act 2000

            One of the most significant aims of the Terrorism Act of 2000 was a succinct classification of terrorist groups under the new legislation. The Act currently identifies Islamic extremism, far-right ultra-nationalist movements, and radical anarchist groups in Northern Ireland as major areas of focus when seeking to address immediate concerns related to terrorism. Individuals who identify as members of such organizations, those who don associated regalia, and those suspected to support them may be charged with a terrorist offence. This act also extend prosecution to persons who knowing or unknowingly join groups with links to local and international terrorist groups.

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Definition of Terrorism Prior to the adoption of the Terrorism Act 2000

            Before the 7/7 bombings and the subsequent enactment of the Terrorism Act of 2000, terrorism was synonymous with the activities of the Irish Revolutionary Army (IRA).  This had previously resulted in the implementation of the Northern Ireland Emergency Act of 1996 to aid in stemming the threat posed by the IRA (Richards 2012).  It offered a clear definition of terrorism while emboldening the police with new investigatory powers to effectively confronted suspected cases.

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Counter-terrorism Efforts in the United Kingdom

            The primary objective of implementing counter-terrorism strategies in the UK is to develop the most suitable response to imminent terrorist threats. These efforts have mainly focused on the implementation of specified measures to prevent individuals from joining or supporting terrorist organizations (Great Britain. Home Office 2009). Additionally, they also aim to thwart terrorist attacks by gathering sufficient and some of the most reliable intelligence. Counter-terrorism strategies in the UK also intend to utilize appropriate infrastructure to protect citizens against potential terrorist attacks. It also guarantees a high level of preparedness to mitigate negative consequences often associated with terrorist attacks. Target groups include Islamic extremism, far-right ultra-nationalist movements, and radical anarchist groups in Northern Ireland.

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Counter-terrorism strategies in the UK now include provisions that allow members of law enforcement agencies to arrest suspects even without a warrant. This provision affords them a great deal of latitude in arresting and detaining individuals with suspected links to proscribed terrorist organizations. It has been hailed by security experts as a positive development and a shift from ordinary criminal law that hindered extensive investigation of suspects. Stop and search provisions have also become a part of counter-terrorism efforts in the UK in the wake of threats posed by terrorist attacks. Under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2002, stop and search devoid of any reasonable suspicion to aid in seizing material intended for terrorist-related activities (Chatterjee 2012). Police officers were also allowed to make specific authorizations in the event they suspected of participating in acts of terrorism. Furthermore, the UK currently implements stringent measures which criminalize the collection of information to be used to plot terrorist attacks. Under section 58, suspects will be liable for to serve nearly a decade in prison for this particular offence. Bilal Zaher Ahmad was among the first individuals to be charged as a direct consequence of this counter-terrorism strategy for collecting extremist material distributed by al-Qaeda (Elshimi 2018).           

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Perhaps the most controversial counter-terrorism strategy employed in the UK is the stop and search provision under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000. This is mainly due to the fact that it can be applied by the police even without any reasonable suspicion. Law enforcement officers can now choose to arbitrarily implement this particular provision; searching individuals and cars, even though the suspects might be innocent. One of the main criticisms of this approach surrounds the low numbers of individuals incarcerated for terrorist offences after routine stop and search events. The European Court of Human Rights has even gone as far as publicly criticizing the stop-and-search provisions granted and also asserted that it was in direct contravention of Article 8 of its Convention on Human Rights (Elshimi 2018). This has resulted in repeated calls to have this section repealed to protect the individual dignity of UK nationals. The most immediate impact of these efforts has been a sudden drive towards the prevention of terrorist attacks and an unintended consequence in the rise in islamophobia. Nevertheless, counter-terrorism strategies have largely remained static, which is worrying given the changing face of terrorism.

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Impact of Terrorism on Children

As expected, the onus is customarily on Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) to act responsively and apply empathy during the evaluation of sensitive issues that threaten children and adolescents.  Acts of terrorism have recently emerged as the archetypal representation of a special issue and with the potential to impart long-lasting trauma on children.  According to Browne (2019), exposure to trauma, both directly or indirectly, may vary in its impact on individual juveniles but still considered a major risk factor in the development of various forms of psychopathology in children and adolescents (p. 190). An evaluation of possible psychological issues, assessment measures applied within this section of society, treatment options for children and an analysis of cultural influences on treatment are, therefore, warranted when aspiring to gain an in-depth comprehension of the impact of acts of terrorism on children.

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Psychological Issues Among Children Caused By Terrorism

 Acts of terror cause a great deal of psychological stress among children. This is habitually the result of direct or indirect exposure to trauma or knowledge of someone close to them having been involved is such fateful incidences. Children below the age of 19 years, are normally still in the developmental stages in risk assessment, psychological coping mechanism, and cognitive abilities and are likely to be affected significantly by trauma (De Young & Scheeringa, 2018). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the main geneses of psychological issues witnessed among children and adolescents.

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 The 5th edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classifies PTSD for children and adolescents under Trauma-and-Stress-Related Disorders. This diagnostic criterion relies upon exposure to a psychologically stressful event, prominent dissociative symptoms, and distorted sense of reality as major signs of PTSD in children above the age of six (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).  PTSD among children causes psychological issues with sweeping outcomes. PTSD is associated with the emergence of neurodevelopmental disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive related disorders, and bipolar disorder as major psychological issues (Rothbaum & Rauch, 2020). Furthermore, PTSD among children may also present with frequent suicidal ideations, frequent anxiety, emotional numbness, and sleep disturbances. PMHNPs are among an integral class of professionals providing crucial mental health services to children and adolescents as part of health promotion.

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Assessment Measures

Identifying cases of PTSD among children is one of the most challenging practices today. DSM-5 is a leading assessment measure used in categorizing childhood PTSD in individuals above 6 years of age. The diagnostic criteria subsequently identifies direct or indirect exposure to a traumatic event, witnessing a traumatic event, and learning of its impacted on a close family member are major factors to consider during the initial assessment (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Furthermore, recurrent flashbacks can be intrusive, and accompanied by an overall repression of memories associated with the event, the presence of frequent nightmares, a high level of psychological distress, and avoiding stimuli associated with the event.

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The preliminary assessment of juvenile patients in alleged cases of PTSD normally evaluates subjects for any overt evidence of changes in cognition and mood, devoid of an organic basis (Loeb et al., 2018). Children and adolescents living in war zones such as Syria or in low-income inner-city environments in the U.S. with a relatively high per-capita homicide rate such as neighborhood zones and housing project blocks in Chicago, Illinois are highly likely to be exposed to trauma-and-stress related trauma (Rothbaum & Rauch, 2020). Children and adolescents exposed to a considerable degree of trauma feel secluded, have noticeable memory issues, and experience excessive self-blame, especially after surviving a terrorist onslaught (Garro, 2016). An additional assessment measure involves identifying signs of hyperarousal, hypervigilance, frequent sleep disturbances, irritability, and concentration problems. Symptoms should have persisted for at least a month and directly linked to a traumatic event (Kerig et al., 2018, p. 165). The condition should also interfere considerably with normal functioning and not as a consequence if illness or substance abuse.

 Treatment Options

Although numerous treatments for PTSD have arisen in recent years, a suitable intervention would be to essentially to combine pharmacological options and psychotherapeutic practices. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to approve any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant to treat PTSD among minors (Espinel & Shaw, 2018). A viable alternative option relies on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma-focused therapy and exposure to stimuli as a viable treatment options in successful managing PTSD in minors. Furthermore, such efforts are further buttressed by prescribing Alpha-1 adrenergic antagonist to manage sleep disturbances, nightly awakenings, and sleep disturbances (Haag et al., 2019).

Cultural Influences on Treatment

            Cultural competence is vital when treating various psychiatric conditions due to variations in perception about mental health issues amongst different cultures. These differences are also present in notions regarding the most appropriate intervention to implement in the management of a psychiatric disorder (Rothbaum & Rauch, 2020). For instance, mental health disorders are shrouded in superstition within the Puerto Rican folk belief system where a psychiatric patient is routinely thought to have gone “loco” (crazy), signifying their exposure to evil spirits (Carlos, 2017, p. 297). Other cultures may assume the child is bewitched and propose mystical interventions by inviting a spiritual medium or exorcist. However, ethical practice dictates that PMHNPs should participate in health promotion initiatives by guiding parents or legal guardians through some of the most suitable treatment options and, demystifying myths surrounding mental health conditions.

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Acts of terrorism present a constant threat to children and their overall wellbeing. Exposure to trauma may cause PTSD and the emergence of associated psychological issues such as neurodevelopmental disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive related disorders, and bipolar disorder.  Assessment measures rely on major gauges identified in DSM-5s diagnostic criterion for PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma-focused therapy, and exposure therapy are the only treatment options currently recommended for children with PTSD. PMHNPs must, therefore, implement learnt cultural competence skills during initial assessments; dispelling cultural misconceptions and guiding the parent or guardian in choosing the most feasible treatment option available.

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The Greatest Motivator of Terrorism

The terrorists are the main enemies in the war against terrorism. Terrorism has seen a recent growth and much attention towards the subject, which has led to many researches done on the major causes of the now global threat to security. According to (Miller, 2007), terrorism has been defined as system of battle, where typical casualties become the targets of violence. The behaviors and nature of terrorists shows a range of set of data. Ideology and motivation has been found to have an influence on the objectives of terrorist activities, especially the rates of casualties.

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The major objective of terrorism as outlined in (Greaves, 1981) is target immobilization while keeping the end goal in delivery of confusion. To achieve these goals, the perpetrators of terrorism are often motivated by certain aspects, which become their main driving force. The observations of the nature of humans and the group dynamics under anxiety, stress and extremist values, provides insightful causes of the particular observed behaviors. In general, terrorism has many motivating factors, which depends on the interests of cells or individuals. For example, terrorist groups with secular and non-religious ideologies will employ highly selective and discriminative forms of violence to achieve their political goals. Accordingly, (Miller, 2007) has identified the main motivators behind terrorism as political, religious, social, cultural and economic goals.

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            The global terrorism index (GTI) ranks religious extremism as the greatest motivator of terrorism over the past decade (Statista, 2017). According to their 2014 report, the author points that about 70% of the terrorist attacks in the world are instigated by religion. Ranked according to their perpetrator category, Islamic extremists had the highest number of fatalities more than secular/political anarchist, neo-Nazi/fascist/white supremacist and others, combined. Religious motivations play a role in terrorism by providing the terror group’s identity and through provision of self-justifications of the terror actions. The famous religious terror groups with huge influence include the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS and Al-Qaida.

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            The religious form of extremist is the most dangerous and common form of terrorism owing to the belief in martyrdom (shahadah) and self-sacrifice that motivates the perpetrators. The doctrine informs the perpetrators that although suicide is illegal under the Islam law, the element of self-sacrifice is justified if done in the will of God. Moreover, the widespread use and effectiveness of religious beliefs demonstrate the power of religion as a motivator of terrorism. This form of terrorism is not selective but is motivated by the will to spill blood and sacrifice to achieve their goals. According to (Fink, Marvasti, & Haroun, 2005) the millenarian and religiously oriented groups attempt to inflict as many casualties as they can. They believe that the best way to inflict fear and achieve influence is through mass fatalities.

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The apocalyptic frame of reference that is common with religious form of terrorism makes the loss of life irrelevant and the more casualties they achieve the better their goals achievement (Fink, Marvasti, & Haroun, 2005).  The fatalities suffered by their co-religionists are of little concern because they consider them as the beneficiaries of afterlife. Likewise when the targeted non-believers suffer casualties, whether intended or as collateral damage, are considered as deserving as it is deemed a moral duty to be killed. These beliefs make religious terrorism not only the most dangerous form of terrorism, but provide the greatest source of motivation behind their attacks.

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            The religious terror groups have also adopted the suicide bombing as a strategic attack too owing to its effectiveness. The use of human beings makes it hard to detect and counter; besides providing maximum impact and damage compared to other secular groups. For example, the Nairobi attack on the U.S embassy led to deaths of many U.S citizens and injuries to over 5000 Kenyan civilians, yet the bombers who died were incomparable to the fatalities among the targets. The use of human suicide bombers has been shown to create the greatest fear among the targets since it is often hard to know the bombers. The religious form of terrorism under the motivation of their apocalyptic frame of references has since become the most effective strategic tools for advancement of extremist ideologies.      

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            Religion as the greatest motivator of terrorism is further reinforced with the fact that the beliefs by religious terror groups are intertwined with the teachings in the Bible. These relationships between the religious terror group’s beliefs have created a huge loophole which facilitates innocent and naïve individuals into joining these religious extremist groups. The achievement of terrorist intent cannot be fulfilled if there is no essential environment to operate (Amir, 2006). However, religion provides an effective motivator for the creation of good cultural conditions for terrorist activities.

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According to (Amir, 2006) the use of religion as a motivator in creation of essential cultural conditions for terrorist attacks are best demonstrated by Yasser Arafat. According to the author, Arafat, during his reign as the leader of Palestine was not a religious leader. However, he reiterated the importance of creation of appropriate cultural conditions in which the Palestinians would use to further their struggle for their rights. He used religious rhetoric and terminology in his public speeches made in Arabic to reiterate that the dead Palestinian children (whom he referred to as “shahids”) were a testimony to the world.

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According to (Rausch, 2015) most of the religious extremists have been caused by political and cultural intrusions into their territories. Most of the organized groups such as the Taliban fight to safeguard and advance their influence which is perceived to be under threat from the incumbent political and external occupations. Therefore it is recommended that giving such groups a political and religious freedom is critical to their suppression. The use of military action can only serve to exasperate such groups and offer less viable solutions. In contrast, they need to be accommodated and allowed to have equal political and religious autonomy.

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However, the greatest impediment to this course of action remains the political unwillingness to adopt diplomacy as the strategy to fight religious extremism. Most incumbent political office holders hold the religious groups in bad views. Such groups are deemed as terrorists whose main goal is to kill. Those in power fail to recognize the legitimate intentions of such groups in fighting for their rights (Rausch, 2015). This has resulted in continued use of military in retaliation to such group which further reinforces their fight for their course. Religious groups will continue to fight to attain autonomy over the cultural intrusions and legitimate control of their economic wellbeing. Unless these major causes of the extremist violence are understood these groups will never relent and their influence will expand. Allowing such groups their cultural and political freedom remains key in combating religious extremism in the foreseeable future.

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The Correlation between the Concept of Globalization and International Terrorism

The end of twentieth and throughout the 21st century has witnessed an increase in terrorism over the world. The phenomenon of terrorism has now spread across many countries including the Middle East and North African (Lutz & Lutz, 2015).  The increase in international terrorism has coincided with globalization, suggesting a correlation between terrorism and globalization.

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            Globalization has been blamed to a number of difficulties that are being experienced in many countries. According to (Lutz & Lutz, 2015), globalization is defined as the process through which international connectedness deepens, widens and speeds up. The phenomenon goes beyond the increase in economic interactions to include social, political and cultural interactions among the different nations of the world. According to the author, modern globalization has been linked to global terrorism.            

The movement of ideas and materials, a result of globalization, is likely to bring socially dissimilar groups closer to one another leading to conflict (Lutz & Lutz, 2015). Increased economic interactions with the outside world create anxiety about the cultural and social changes that result from economic adaptations.  Moreover, globalization has been associated with some form of inequality in the societies, thus creating and increasing tensions. The author cites the case of foreign direct investment, which has caused inequalities in the affected societies. The culturally and economically disadvantaged groups oppose the groups or political systems that associated with such changes. When satisfaction cannot be attained through peaceful means the groups resort to violent forms, which often leads to a vicious cycle of violence.

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The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act Written Analysis

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) was considered as the most dramatic and fundamental changes brought to U.S. intelligence community since the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947. The key objective of the IRTPA was to ensure intelligence information was shared effectively among the intelligence community something that was missing prior to 9/11 attack (Jacobson, 2004). As a result, IRTPA mandated the creation of director of national intelligence office and National Counterterrorism Center. Analysis indicated that IRTPA brought significant improvement to the Justice Department and FBI by enhancing their powers in combating international terrorism in various ways. However, IRTPA have most controversial changes which include the amendment of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). This amendment permits FBI to conduct secret searches and wiretap the conversation of individual suspected terrorist who has no tangible connection with the foreign power.

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            Some of these changes were been pushed by many members of the Congress upon realization that FBI were unable to wiretap conspirator Zacarias Mousaoui before the 9/11 attack because his lawyer argued that FISA did not provide a provision that allowed FBI to wiretap communication of the terrorist suspects that had insufficient information to link them with foreign powers. In order to convince the Congress to support the changes, FBI officials reiterated the increasing danger associated with lone actors who are sympathizers of a formal terrorist groups and are capable of carrying out an attack with no or little connection to the international terrorist groups (Civic Impluse, 2017). The critics of this amendment have argued that IRTPA violates Fourth Amendment that protect individuals from unreasonable search and seizure. This will affect Justice Department from prosecuting the case, but the defendant is likely to have hard time challenging the legality of the FISA warrant if the FBI agent relied on ‘lone wolf’ provision while conducting the searches.

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            Another major change that IRTPA brought to Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 was the inclusion of ‘material support’ statute in Title 18 Section 2339. The included provision states that it is a crime for an individual or organization to provide material resource or support to an individual, organization or groups to be used in connection with terrorist act. Section 2339B went further to prohibit ‘knowingly’ providing material support or resources to organizations designated as ‘foreign terrorist organizations’ (Hastedt, 2006). The statute defined materials resources to include physical assets, safe houses, communication equipment, training, financial assets and other facilities. The USA PATRIOT Act changed the statute to include ‘expert advice and assistance’.

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            IRTPA make it explicitly clear that it is criminal offense to ‘knowingly receive’ military-type training from the designated terrorist organization. It was not possible to prosecute someone in the past if he/she confessed to have knowingly attended an al-Qaeda training camp since it was not an illegal act (Hastedt, 2006). Considering that U.S. intelligence have approximated 10,000 – 20,000 individuals to have undergone training at al-Qaeda camp between 1996 and 2001 in Afghanistan.            

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In conclusion, IRTPA has enhance counterterrorism by clearly defining the terms that were considered as questionable in courts such as ‘training’, ‘knowingly provided’ and ‘expert advice or assistance’. These gaps had been identified by FBI official but it required the support from the Senate and Congress in order to become a law.

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