Free The War On Terror Has Aggravated Terrorism Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Terrorism, Middle East, War, Terror, America, United States, Muslim, Islam

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2020/10/24

Terrorism, as a violent act of aggression has always served the purpose of sending a message, whether political or religious. Superpowers would often advance their economic and political interests in the land of another. These were most often political lightweights that were easy to come under the influence of a superior country, with political elites being autocratic and corrupt. However, there often emerges a group of people that will not sit apathetically watching their cultural values replaced with foreign analogues, foreign troops stationed in their native lands, and national interests subordinated to the agenda of other countries. The war on terror is a military campaign against Middle Eastern terrorists like the members of al Qaeda and other extremist groups, gender oppression, and autocratic regimes that have not disappeared, not by a fraction. In all fairness, little else could the Muslims do other than fight the intruders to have unceremoniously forayed into their lands imposing cultural assimilation, westernizing, and doing what differs little from economic looting. Now the war on terror clearly seems to have backfired on the USA, the UK, and other allies involved, as attacks on cities and civilians, the emergence of new extremist groups, and the escalation of aggression are adding to their intensity despite the preventive military campaign.

The USA War on Terror Has Unintentionally Given Birth to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

People who have a different vision or a different idea of the way their own country should develop offer fierce resistance. One of the chief landmarks of the war on terror, the Iraq War of 2003, is a good case in point. Mazzetti (2006) stated that the war in Iraq made terrorism worse in the opinion of the US intelligence agencies. According to Philosophy Doctor Jerome Roos (2014), the thing that nurtured the beast of the Islamic State was the American Empire. The US imperialism is believed to have been playing a key part in the rise of fundamentalism, as is evident in the case of the ISIS. Group terrorists are wreaking havoc on Syrian and Iraqi cities randomly beheading people they treat as heathens and putting hundreds of thousands to flight. In the West, many are still desirous of whittling down the sectarian struggle between Shias and Sunnis that seems to be assuming dangerous proportions or the clash of two civilizations, the Muslim world and everyone else. What should be borne in mind is that the Islamic fundamentalism put on display by the ISIS is far from being a barbaric vestige from an unenlightened religious past (Roos 2014).
The jihadists representing the Islamic State and its extremist precursors stepped onto the political proscenium after the American incursion and occupation of Iraq had produced a dangerous vacuum left unfilled. The overturn of Hussein in 2003 was followed by the purges of the Iraqi state machinery. The worst thing the USA did was leave frustrated fighters from the now disbanded Hussein’s army unpaid. They no more received pay than they had influence over the new political establishment dominated by Shia groups and backed by the United States. It seemed apparent to observers that the American invasion laid the foundations for a catastrophic backlash. As became known later, plenty of Hussein’s ex-soldiers went on to join insurgency groups after losing their steady income. Thus received al Qaeda a new foothold in Iraq, upon which it used to exert no influence whatsoever. What laid wires for deeper radicalization was a bloody sectarian struggle eventually unfolding in Iraq destabilized by the American administration (Roos 2014).
Arango and Schmitt (2014) cites an example of the causative-consecutive relationship between the American occupation and the development of fundamentalism. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the now self-appointed caliph of the ISIS and a Muslim religious figure had his rise to prominence shaped by the US intervention in Iraq sparking his fight and subsequent climbing up the extremist hierarchical ladder. Upon his detainment by the American army in early 2004, he was described as being a street cutthroat. Iraqi scholar, Hisham al-Hasimini opined that Baghdadi went radical during his five-year spell in the US detention facility. He honed and refined on his extremist ideology while put on the trial of the US occupation. He went from being a peripheral figure in the Arab world to being the architect of the IS brutal campaign and the person re-carving the map of the Middle East. In the years following his release, Abu Bakr shaped his entourage from among the ex-members of Hussein’s Baathist party. Though not being radical Islamists at their core, they were instrumental in establishing al Qaeda in Iraq, which is believed by many to precede the IS (Arango and Schmitt 2014).
The USA has produced the Islamic State, which is a para-state with its own extortion-based taxation system, oil wells seized from Iraq and Syria, a public service system, and a jihadist army (Roos 2014). In other words, the Islamic State is a breakaway rogue state with no international recognition, albeit tremendous financial resources and the attributes of a real country, not just an extremist group. The para-state that has the potential of expanding is the ever-present threat produced by the war of terror spearheaded by the USA. It cannot help but remind of the quasi-state formations in Eastern Ukraine with the difference that the ISIS knew better than to destroy the economic infrastructure of the region now building their economy upon it. Roos (2014) suggested that all the USA is doing now 11 years after starting the war on terror is bombing its own armored personal vehicles, artillery, and tanks.
Provided to the army of Iraq at some point during the occupation period, now military equipment and armament changed hands after seizure by the Islamic State that pillaged deserted military bases throughout the western part of Iraq. The imperial misadventures of America brought the ISIS to power. America as well as its allies has engendered a monster that has broken loose, and it is they who will engage in a war against it (Roos, 2014). The Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait also created Frankenstein by financing the IS, as did Russia funding and reinforcing rogue elements it sent to Eastern Ukraine, over which it is rapidly losing control. It cannot but resemble the Saudi scenario, with control over the Islamic State lost by the parent state. Frankly speaking, it is only a matter of luck whether the Islamic State decides on fighting the donor states, their principal supporters.
Glaister (2006) stated that a US intelligence report combining the opinions of 16 governmental agencies summarizing that the Iraqi campaign enhanced the terrorist danger. One of reports links the invasion in Iraq to the instigation of attacks and terrorist cells. The American presence has facilitated the proliferation of radical Islam creating favorable conditions for anti-Americanism. Although the war on terror has succeeded in destroying al Qaeda leadership and thwarting its operation-planning capacity, extremist cells have relocated to a frightening 5000 websites that allows organizing and spreading a word of radicalism. CIA chief General and the deputy director of national intelligence, Michael Hayden did not share the optimism of the residential administration back in 2006 claiming that the western presence could provoke the emergence of new jihadist cells and networks, which increases danger to the USA both abroad and at home (Glaister 2006).

The war on Terror Stimulates the Recruitment Efforts Made by Terrorist Groups in the Middle East. Reasons for Terrorism Popularity

According to Rozeff (2014), the war on terror is increasing the number of fighters in terrorist cells. The expert places the number of terrorists at 1.000 to 5.000 at a time when the war on terror began. These either received training in al Qaeda camps or remained from the 1980s. Presently, the number of extremists ranges from 15.000 to 100.000. As per CIA sources, there are an estimated 20.000 to 31.500 terrorists in ISIS. If Iraqi sources are to be believed, the IS has 100.000 fighters in round figures. If anything, the number of terrorist has increased since the early 2000s. American attacks on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen have boosted the recruitment of terrorists, so have attacks in Syria. The increase bears relation to the appeal of the Islamic State, its promise of creating a new caliphate, an open, unoccupied territory, power vacuum, and a religious and tribal schism, all of which provided the group with the a home base (Rozeff 2014). The group ideologist must be playing well on the sentiments of the extremist neophytes. As mentioned above, they lost a steady source of income after discharge from the disbanded army. In the past, the Muslims ruled wide caliphates stretching from India in the east to Spain in the west. Whether in search for big paychecks, war spoils, or promised portions of lands, money-hungry fighters are replenishing the ranks of the US-engendered terrorist group.
The war on terror is a military campaign. Though intended against extremists, drone attacks reported to be surgical strikes still leave plenty of civilians dead or seriously wounded. One should not expect Muslim men to let these attacks go unnoticed, which means they cannot choose but join terrorist ranks if only to seek revenge for the loss of family members. Since the West is unlikely to wave the flag of truce continuing its aerial bombing, the number of fighters is certain to rise exponentially. The greater death toll Western airstrikes produce, the more fighters will join extremists. Rozeff (2014) stated that the rejection of the US attacks motivate recruits who had drone missiles land in proximity to or on their homelands, with thousands of civilians killed in the process. Fighting and bombing the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria will lead the number of fighting radicals to increase for as much as some of terrorists perish as martyrs. The USA cannot exert control on Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Sudan through bombing. Neither does it have human resources to control the wide territory. America is fighting a losing war (Rozeff 2014).
As ideological tenets have it, ISIS fighters combat the intruding despots trying to bomb Muslims out of existence. Inflicting damage that is more serious will have the same effect on terrorist groups as chopping a tail off does on a lizard. The ISIS, al Qaeda, and other groups will regenerate even sustaining damage no matter how serious so as to fight the scared jihad war against infidels. There is even no need to manipulate Quran articles of faith to justify the war against Westerners. All Muslims need is to fight to repel intruders, as European should do if Muslims should breach their sovereignty. At this point in time, waging the war, killing, and mutilating civilians stimulates the recruitment of jihadists and boosts their further radicalization. Jihadists will certainly master the new ways of combating the western forces and bring battle to western states, and attack whatever countries they want to control (Rozeff 2014).
CEO and editor of the FP Group, David Rohtkopf cites a study conducted by the Rand Corporation, in 2007, about 28 Salafi-jihadist groups, such as al Qaeda, were operating in the region while, in 2013, the figure jumped to 49. Rohtkopf (2014) stated that between 18.000 and 42.000 extremists were active as of 2007. Based on the most conservative estimates, in 2013, the number stood at 44.000 while 7 years thereafter the rate reached an unprecedented high of 105.000 fighters. Since 2010, jihadists rose in number by 58%, that is to say, their quantity increased twofold (Rohtkopf 2014). The figures speak volumes for the intensification of terrorist activity in the post-2001 period. Whether it be due to military presence, the annihilation of civilians, the destruction of nonmilitary infrastructure, or any other reason, anomalously huge figures related to the number of active fighters are suggestive of the counterproductive and provocative nature of counterterrorist efforts in the Middle East.

The War on Terror Has Increased the Number of Lethal Attacks and Overall Death Toll

Far from reducing the threat posed by the Muslim world, the war on terror has made things significantly worse increasing not only the number of radical fighters, but also the incidence of attacks. That the number of terrorist attacks has increased since 2001 shows that the threat if far from liquidated. CBN News Senior Reporter Dale Hurd (2014) summarized that an estimated 125.000 people perished and triple the amount of those killed sustained injuries in the course of 22.000 attacks in the period between 2001 and 2014. The ones that took place in Europe are arguably the most resounding and exemplary attacks. Friesen (2007, 10) claimed that Islamist terrorism became a genuine danger following the 2004 Madrid Bombing and the 2005 London Subway Bombings conducted against countries actively involved in the war on terror. Zuckerman, Bucci, and Carafano (2013) stated that there were 50 publicly known instances of futile terrorist plots in the USA since 2001.
Speaking on the increased terror threat in the Middle East, Rohtkopf (2014) noted that nefarious attacks in Iraqi Mosul and Pakistani Karachi were both demonstrative of momentum terrorist are gathering. To quote other examples, Glaister (2006) noted that a suicide bombing in Sadr City in 2006 claimed the lives of 38 people. Upwards of 100 people lost their lives in a car bomb explosion in Baghdad in 2007 (Evans 2012). In the year 2007, there were an aggregate of 100 attacks, as against 950 acts of terror carried out in 2013. Since 2010, attacks by the affiliates of al Qaeda rose threefold. Syrian, Yemen, Pakistani, and Afghanistan extremists are believed to pose the biggest threat (Rohtkopf 2014).
Evans (2012) suggested that the combined number of attacks as of 2012 was four times as big as it was prior to 2001. Out of 158 countries scrutinized, as few as 31 states, Croatia, Poland, Brazil, Jamaica, and Ghana included, have not sustained the destructive impact of terrorist attacks since 9/11 while Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, India, and Afghanistan became the theatre of the dastard, heinous acts of terror. Middle East, Russia, Pakistan, and India suffered most from attacks in 2011. People from Western Europe are 19 times as likely to perish in the act of terror as people from North America are, based on statistical evidence on the decade following 2001. North America became the least targeted area. Based on the Global Terrorist Index, there were a total of 982 attacks in 2002 while, by 2011, the figure had reached the mark of 4.564 individuals, which proves the military intervention has only made matters worse.
The ratio of attack-related mortality has fallen by 25%. The rate soared in 2007 when the war was at the escalation phase, which cost 10.009 people their lives. The level reached a low of 7.473 in 2011. MacAskill (2014) suggested that the number of people killed by Boko Haram, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban is estimated at 18.000 people in 2013. According to Evans (2012), the executive chairperson and founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace, Steve Killelea opined that the incidence of terrorist acts rolled back to the pre-2000s rate in the wake of the 9/11; still, it surged in the immediate aftermath of the invasion in Iraq. The percentage of lethal outcomes rose by 195%, those of injuries and incidents by 224% and 460% respectively.
Interestingly, when military campaigns conducted by the Pakistani government and NATO and supported by the USA had entered an intense phase, attacks increased. Where terrorism showed the signs of the biggest deterioration was in Syria and Yemen. Activity attributed to al Qaeda was on the increase in Yemen, whereas rebels in Syria in opposition Assad took to committing bombings and suicide attacks (Evans 2012). There is no better way to prove the American contribution to the intensification of terrorism than by citing people directly involved. Roos (2014) stated that Republican John McCain has been aggressively pushing for allies to support those in opposition to the regime of al Assad. If that is the way it is, the USA condones terrorism by supporting rebels using extremist instruments of fight. America wants Russia-backed Syrian regime dismantled, which allows taking out a strong competitor on the oil market and the ally of nuclear states, such as Iran and Russia, thus getting a tougher grip on the Levant region for the sake of national security and bring a puppet government to power.

The Ideological Dimension of the War on Terror and the Deplorable Outcomes. The Ideological Instrument of the Campaign Boosts Radicalism

The war on terror also has an ideological dimension in the form of cartoons that are often derogatory, sarcastic images published to address social ills and put regimes in a bad light, exposing their sins and crimes. In Europe, the members of political and even religious institutions are fine with being pictured by cartoonists; however, Muslim world displaying a fanatical religious mentality will not have its religious figures mocked in any fashion. Hence, the attack of Islamists on the headquarters of satirical weekly magazine Charli Hebdo earlier this year demonstrated the ideological dimension of the war against terrorists led to deplorable results. According to Bacon (2015), Pope Francis spoke out in defense of the freedom of speech, yet he admitted that one should not make a laughing stock out of religion of other people since there are natural limits. Hallowell (2015) cited the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, who claimed that the satirical magazine provoked the lethal attack by taunting the Prophet Muhammad. Of course, he condemned terrorists, stating that response in similar vein should not find support in a civilized world. Still, magazine employees do have a long and repulsive record of doing more than just libeling public and religious figures.
Somaiya (2015) stated that Stephane Charbonnier, the editorial director of Charlie Hebdo killed in the attack, disregarded the recommendation of the French government by daring publish the caricatures of the prophet depicted in sexual poses and naked. Sharia taboos even the reverent portrayal of Muhammad (Somaiya 2015). While the ideological instrument of the war against terrorism may have played one of key roles in the attack, there is the possibility of it having been conducted for a purpose other than retaliatory. US Academic Professor Juan Cole (2015) suggested that al Qaeda is failing at mentally colonizing French Muslims. Still, what is can do is get non-Muslim French to take a serious dislike to the ethnic minority on the ground that they are Muslims, which will enable extremists to build a common political identity around complaints about discrimination (Cole 2015). Even if not the ideological tool of the war on terror caused the act, the expansion of Islamism and radicalism fueled by the post-9/11 war assumed alarming forms of an imminent collision between Muslims and others. Before the beginning of the campaign, Islamists had no such interest in Europe, as became obvious in the case of Charlie Hebdo.

Concluding Remarks

The campaign in its early phase did some damage to terrorists. That said, they were quick to relocate to 5000 websites operating in the internet. Iraqi evidence suggest there may be up to 100.000 fighters presently in the ISIS alone, which is at least 70.000 fighters up on what CIA calculations suggested. The appeal of the Islamic State, its promise of creating a new caliphate, an open territory, power vacuum, and a religious and tribal schism all keep motivating the rapidly radicalizing Islamic manhood. Some witness their homes and family members destroyed and killed during aerial attacks like drone strikes; hence, the war on terror seems to be stimulating people to join the ranks of extremists. The number of groups formed in the post-9/11 period indicates the counter-productiveness of the campaign against terrorism. The most resounding attacks like in London, Madrid, and Middle Eastern cities claiming thousands of human lives all intensified after the beginning of the war against terrorism. Taking place as recently as this past month, the attack at Charlie Hebdo headquarters shows that the ideological dimension of the campaign has angered Muslims and led to deplorable outcomes. Even if not retaliatory, the attack shows the intention of colonizing Muslims living in France. The desire of winning over coreligionists in a Western country possibly co-waging the war on terror indicates the intensification of radicalism that now wants to wage the war of ideologies or sympathies. Therefore, the war on terror that was meant to have eradicate terrorism has stimulated the radicalization of the Muslim manhood, which overshadowed the progress made by Western states engaged in the campaign.


Arango, Tim, and Eric Schmitt. “US Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel.” The New York Times, 10 August 2014.
Bacon, Jason. “Pope on Paris: ‘You Cannot Insult the Faith of Others.’” USA Today, 15 January 2015.
Cole, Juan. “Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda Attacked Satirists in Paris.” Informed, 7 January 2015.
Evans, Becky. “Has the War on Terror Failed? Number of Terrorist Attacks Quadruple in Decade after 9/11.” Daily Mail, 4 December 2012.
Friesen, Katie. “The Effects of the Madrid and London Subway Bombings on Europe’s View of Terrorism.” Review Digest: Human Rights & the War on Terror. (2007): 10-17.
Glaister, Dan. “Campaign in Iraq Has Increased Terrorism Threat, Says American Intelligence Report.” The Guardian, 25 September 2006.
Hallowell, Billy. “‘Muslims Are Right to Be Angry’: Prominent Catholic Leader Accuses Charlie Hebdo of Provoking Deadly Terror Attack.” The Blaze, 7 January 2015.
Hurd, Dale. Hurd on the Web. Grim Tally: Muslim Terrorists Kill 125.000 since 9/11 (blog). CBN News. 2014.
MacAskill, Ewen. “Fivefold Increase in Terrorism Fatalities since 9/11, Says Report.” The Guardian, 18 November 2014.
Mazzetti, Mark. “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat.” The New York Times. Middle East, 24 September 2006.
Rohtkopf, David. “We Are Losing the War on Terror. Foreign Policy.” Foreign Policy, 10 June 2014.
Roos, Jerome. “The Islamic State: A Monster US Empire Created.” ROAR Magazine. 2014.
Rozeff, Michael, S. “War on terror Increases Number of Terrorists.”, 3 November 2014.
Somaiya, Ravi. “Charlie Hebdo Editor Made Provocation His Mission. The New York Times.” The New York Times, 7 January 2015.
Zuckerman, Jessica, Bucci, Steven P., and James, Jay Carafano. “60 Terrorist Plots since 9/11: Continued Lessons in Domestic Counterterrorism.” The Heritage Foundation, 22 July 2013.

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