Since the 9/11 incident, it has statistically been shown that the number of terrorist attacks has quadrupled with each year. Unfortunately, the number of fatalities has continuously been falling by 25 percent, especially since 2007 (Evans, 2012, p.1). In 2002, the Global Terrorist Index indicated that there were only 982 separate terrorist attacks. It was lower than the 4, 564 figure, showed in 2011 (Evans, 2012, p.1). Though there has been a decline in the number of fatalities related to terrorist attacks, the fact remains that terrorism has continuously risen over the period since the 9/11 tragedy. In a report published by the Rand Corporation, How Terrorist Groups End-Lessons for Countering al-Qaida, it is noted that both President Bush’s, as well as other presidents’ administrations have failed in countering terrorism. The conclusion of the study was that the war against terrorism was a failure. It recommended that any effort to eradicate or reduce terrorism-related activities should never be conceptualized as a “war” (Kovalik, 2008, p.1). The statement concurs with the earlier studies that have indicated a rise in terrorist attacks. It is based on this approach, and this paper discusses why responding through the intelligence and police would be the more effective in fighting terror. The essay also discusses the different ways and examples on the use of intelligence and police in this case.
The term “terrorism” has been defined by various states, but that which will be more applicable to this paper, is the definition provided by the British Government that has ever been fighting terrorism in Northern Ireland since the late 1960s. According to the British Government, terrorism “is the use of violence for political ends. It includes the use of violence for the purpose of putting the public in fear” (CRF, 2012, p.1). It implies that terrorist groups normally reject any means of democracy, such as elections. The members of such groups do believe that only violence can bring out the political goals they are scheming to achieve. From this view, it means that the war on terror should be based on understanding the ideology of terrorists that makes them continuously engage in terror activities. It can effectively be achieved through the intelligence and police, who work closely with the locals, and therefore, understand any form of political ideology that stem from terrorist groups that can excite their activities.
The fact that terrorism has become more localized, implies that most of attacks that take place in remote locations, could be part of the global effort with a local operational component, which can only be captured by local law enforcement agencies, the police. In this regard, the police through the intelligence networks are better placed to exploit the advanced local operators or extremists that use violence in advancing their political agenda. Since many local police have critical information about individuals living in their communities, they can gather intelligence that can help in preventing terrorism. In addition, police are uniquely qualified in assessing community concerns and fears that are essential to the effective intelligence gathering. However, all this can be achieved if the police forces are interactively devoted and enhanced in fighting terror within stipulated rules. It can even be easier if the international co-operation can improve their effectiveness. Coupled with good intelligence, rather than many intelligence agencies that find it difficult to adapt to the challenge of terrorism, the war on terror can be achieved.
Consequently, the police, especially those deployed in the local areas, are able to act rapidly in responding to terror alerts. Notwithstanding, the police have considerable resources and experience that can be useful in tracing and investigating any elements of terrorism. All these strengths make the police supremely capable of being valuable contributors in countering terror. If all these efforts are coupled with intelligence on radicalization among the young Muslims that makes them suicide bombers, the war on terror can be achieved.
The reason as to why the war on terror can more effectively be achieved through intelligence and police can be well illustrated by looking at how countries such as West Germany, Italy, Northern Ireland, and Israel have successfully eliminated or at least greatly reduced terrorism. When the most dangerous group, the Red Army Faction (RAF) caused a number of deaths, injuries and even took many as hostages in 1970s and 80s, the West German government increased the powers enjoyed by their police. It assisted the police through court orders, to reach and search apartment buildings for suspected terrorists (CRF, 2009, p.1). It was the same approach Italy employed in fighting the Red Brigades. The same was also true in Northern Ireland, which used the police in fighting the acts of terrorism that had resulted in the fight between Protestants and Catholics. It is important to point out that all these countries have successfully eliminated or at least reduced terror attacks, mainly because of good intelligence and police work.
In addition, the above-mentioned countries gave their police departments more authority. The police were able to successfully carryout such measures as establishing checkpoints on roadways in stopping traffic, inspecting the identification of travelers, and detaining suspected terrorists. The similar practice has been applied to the Red Brigade movement, which collapsed in Italy, after over 800 of the members of the terror group were arrested by the police during 1982 (CRF, 2009, p.1). As a result, Italy was able to eliminate or at least reduce terrorism through the use of the police.
On the other hand, intelligence can effectively be used in managing and countering terrorism. The major element of incorporating intelligence is to understand the reason behind terrorism and how this can be eliminated. In a study done at Quilliam Foundation, it was found out that most Muslim youths engage in a suicide bombing because of radicalization emanating from various views, taken by Wahhabites. The group encourages the takfir fellow Muslim to use violence to expand their political agenda because they hold the idea of jihad (Quilliam Foundation, 2007, p.3). The religion itself would be able to rehabilitate such young Muslims, thereby, putting an end to their engaging in terrorism. It can be achieved through the intelligence based on good practice in Muslim countries, and setting up of well-resourced de-radicalization centers at every corner of various states, which are staffed with Muslim scholars that counter Islamic ideology with traditional pluralistic (Quilliam Foundation, 2007). In addition, intelligence can be used in identifying potential terrorists through the support of their family members, and through exposing them to genuine religiosity. Thus, such people will be made to understand their misconception of Muslim scripture that they use in promoting their terror activities.
To sum up, the war on terror can be effectively achieved through intelligence. It can help in finding ways of de-radicalizing the young Muslims, who misunderstand the Muslim ideology and use Muslim scriptures in promoting their terror activities. It should be coupled with the enhancement of a good police network and effort, which has been integral in fighting the war on terror. It is only through good intelligence and empowered police that the fight against terror can be more successful.
Terrorism is one of the worst things that can happen. This topic is discussed both among the masses and at the level of political discourse. For example, american government research topics are trying from all sides to highlight the reasons, motives, and so on, which lead to massive terrorist attacks.