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Fight Against Terrorism Needs Support from Small Sovereign States

Dec 04 , 2015
  • Wu Zurong

    Research Fellow, China Foundation for Int'l Studies

The whole world was shocked by the terrorist attacks in Paris launched by the Islamic State (IS) on Nov 13, resulting in the loss of life of more than 200 innocent people. Then, news report came that it was confirmed that the crash of the Russian civilian flight from Egypt to Russia on October 31 was caused by a device of explosives installed by the IS and 217 passengers and 7 crew members were killed. Following the two tragedies, a Chinese and a Norwegian civilian were reported killed by IS terrorists recently, and more than 20 civilians were killed when 170 people were held hostage by terrorists in Mali on Nov 20.

Responding to the current serious terrorist threat, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution, calling on all members to take necessary measures to combat the IS and other terrorist organizations. With Russia and France stepping up their airstrikes on IS strongholds in Syria, the international community is working hard on forming an international united front, major powers in particular,  as well as an effective strategy and tactics for an international anti-terrorism war. Military actions such as accurate airstrikes and fighting by ground troops are vitally important in destroying the armed forces of the IS and other terrorist groups. But it is also clear that military actions alone cannot eradicate this threat. To make military actions more effective, and also to destroy the IS and other terrorist groups wholly and completely in the long run, it is indispensable that such small and medium-sized sovereign states as Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia play a more active role.

It should be pointed out that in the last 14 years or so since the Sept 11 terrorist attack, the United States and some of its allies put military actions first in combating terrorism, as is witnessed by the invasions into Afghanistan and Iraq, and airstrikes in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and so on. While carrying out the war of anti-terrorism, the US also tried to reap economic and geo-political interests by exporting US-style democracy to small and medium-sized countries in the Middle East. As a result, quite a few countries in the region have been destabilized, governments were changed and new governments remain unable to function normally. As those countries cannot effectively exercise national defense, or enforce law and order by cracking down on crimes of violence, large pieces of land have become hotbeds or breeding grounds for terror groups. Therefore, in order to eradicate the IS and other groups, it is essential to help those countries resume fully all the normal functions of a sovereign state. The international community should take more steps to ensure that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every sovereign state is guaranteed.

It is also highly necessary to provide more economic, financial and humanitarian assistance in a well-planned manner so that each state can defend its territory, enforce law and order, develop economy and improve people’s livelihood. When this goal is realized, the hotbeds of terrorists in those countries would be eradicated and prevented from staging a comeback later. Though it is a long-term and arduous task, it should be an essential part of the international anti-terrorism strategy.

As those small and medium-sized sovereign states in the Middle East are all UN members, that body is in a good position to coordinate efforts to invigorate all those poor and destabilized countries. Not only the Security Council, but also the UN General Assembly and related organizations and agencies should all devote more resources to help those small and weak countries so that they can manage to contribute more to the success of the international anti-terrorism war.

To win the war of international anti-terrorism, it is very important to understand that anti-terrorism is not a conflict among different civilizations in the world. The help and support of the broad masses of Muslim who believe in the Islam are very precious, and also indispensable, in combating the IS and other terrorist groups. The international community should respect the Islam and Islam culture by more concrete actions. It is advisable to make as many Muslim friends as possible in the world and to encourage Muslim countries to play a more active role in the international anti-terrorism war.

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