How to counter terrorism in post-IS era?

China Military Online
Zhang Tao

BEIJING, Sept. 13 (ChinaMil) -- September 11 this year marked the 16th anniversary of the 9•11 attack in the US and the beginning of the anti-terrorism war. From Afghanistan to Iraq and to Europe, terrorism has played havoc far and wide, but the eradication of its source seems far beyond reach.

In the past 16 years, terrorist threats have been changing all the time. Al-Qaeda waged frequent attacks in the west, extremist organization IS occupied a lot of cities in the Middle East, then its members returned to the west after encountering substantial damages. The anti-terrorism efforts faced different challenges in those three stages, then how shall we fight against terrorism in the post-IS era?

IS emerged in 2014 and grew rapidly since then. After it lost Mosul in Iraq this year, it also suffered constant defeats in Syria and has come to the end of the rope.

The Syrian government troops made great headway in Deir al-Zor, the last occupied area of IS, on September 9, braking IS' long-term besiegement of the military airport there.

The Syrian Democratic Force led by Kurd militants retrieved half of Raqqa, the "capital city" claimed by IS, with the support of American troops.

On July 10, the Iraqi government comprehensively liberated Mosul, the base camp of IS in Iraq, which marked the general collapse of this extremist organization in this country.

The defeat of IS in Syria and Iraq is inevitable, but the loss of occupied areas doesn't mean this organization is any less threatening to the world because many of its members have fled or "returned" to Europe. This obvious "overflow effect" of terrorism may plunge the global anti-terrorism efforts into the post-IS era.

From the serial terrorist attacks in Paris, France in November 2015 to the truck event in Barcelona, Spain in August this year, Europe has experienced one terrorist attack after another these years. The quickly worsening security situation in Europe is of course closely related with its own economic and social problems, but it's also undeniably related to the faster penetration of IS into Europe.

And Europe isn't the only victim. Suspected terrorists connected with IS have recently been arrested in Indonesia and Malaysia. After the battles in Mosul and Raqqa, some IS members may flee to other countries and create new bases.

Meanwhile, the delusion and instigation of young people in certain countries that IS conducted online won't abate with its defeat on the battlefield. On the contrary, IS is paying more attention to fostering "loner" terrorists through online approaches, which is much harder to prevent.

Europe, the originally peaceful and safe land, has seen frequent terrorist attacks in recent years. This has something to do with the fact that some western countries are keen on interfering in other countries' internal affairs and forcing "liberty and democracy" on others, which has caused turmoil in some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The excessive reliance on military approaches to cope with terrorism and the lack of efforts to address social conflicts in Europe, such as the marginalization of ethnic groups, have contributed to the emergence and spread of terrorism.

No country in the world can deal with the current terrorist threats alone. All countries should bear in mind the whole picture, deal with the root causes and find appropriate countermeasures.

Those western countries should reflect on and adjust their foreign policy, the imbalanced regional development around the world should be taken seriously, and the international community should be more aware of a common human community and work more closely together to fight terrorism.


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