This introductory chapter identifies the rationale for a comparative study of the counterterrorism responses of non-Western states. It argues that much of the counterterrorism literature is biased towards Western perspectives, particularly those of the United States, United Kingdom and Israel, and tends to ignore the distinct counterterrorism approaches of non-Western states. This chapter defines what is meant by ‘non-Western’ in this volume, and identifies the drivers – historical, social, political, cultural and religious – that determine non-Western countries’ counterterrorism responses.
Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism strategy of the first decade on the twenty-first century has been widely acclaimed as highly successful and presented as an example for other Muslim countries. The strategy was developed after the bomb attacks of al Qaida on the Arabian peninsula in 2003. The program is, however, deeply religious and is based on the reconversion of terrorists from a jihadi Salafism to a quietist and law-abiding version of Salafism. The chapter goes into the religious terminology of the Saudi counterterrorism programme, which labels terrorism as religious ‘deviation’, and radicals as people who have been led by their ‘passions’, are no longer rational and have diverted form the ‘middle way’. The chapter also shows how prominent religious scholars have become deeply involved in the state counterterrorism programme of ‘intellectual security’.
This edited collection surveys how non-Western states have responded to the threats of domestic and international terrorism in ways consistent with and reflective of their broad historical, political, cultural and religious traditions. It presents a series of eighteen case studies of counterterrorism theory and practice in the non-Western world, including countries such as China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Egypt and Brazil. These case studies, written by country experts and drawing on original-language sources, demonstrate the diversity of counterterrorism theory and practice and illustrate that how the world ‘sees’ and responds to terrorism is different from the way that the United States, the United Kingdom and many European governments do. This volume – the first ever comprehensive account of counterterrorism in the non-Western world – will be of interest to students, scholars and policymakers responsible for developing counterterrorism policy.
Contrary to the rhetoric of the ‘War on Terror’, Indonesia’s counterterrorism policies are neither specific responses to transnational terror networks, nor simply a byproduct of the post-9/11 era. Rather, counterterrorism policies in Indonesia are entangled with historical state reactions to internal security challenges – ranging from social violence to terrorism and secessionism – since the country’s independence in 1945. While these different conflicts varied in nature, they are united as disputes over the basic institutions and boundaries of the state. While the state, in seeking to maintain its territorial integrity and defend its institutions, has responded in a variety of ways to these conflicts, the coercion and repression used under President Suharto contributed to the rise of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and its splinter groups and left a legacy of mixed responses to terror. Terrorism and counterterrorism in Indonesia are rooted within this context of the disputed postcolonial state. While states like the US and UK have committed their militaries abroad in an effort to exterminate foreign militants, Indonesia has crafted responses to various sources of domestic violence – including different secessionist movements and JI – on an ad hoc basis and has utilized different security institutions, from the military to the police.
The chapter explores how, despite earlier counterterrorism failures and two bitter wars in Chechnya, terrorism in Russia has declined in the 2010s. The Islamist–separatist terrorism problem that used to dominate national politics has been degraded to a relatively peripheral issue that hovers at a level of low-scale and increasingly fragmented violence, primarily confined to the North Caucasus. The strategy that has worked in Russia has not been ‘war’, but a combination of a policy of Chechenization, shifts in federal security strategy towards smarter suppression and prevention, and massive reconstruction and development assistance. This solution was made possible by an internal split within the insurgency catalysed by its increasing jihadization. While this is no substitute for addressing the underlying structural causes of violent extremism and has involved enormous costs for the nation, these are much lower than the cost of war. This is the key lesson to be gleaned from Russia’s response to terrorism. It also explains why Russia has a interest in ensuring that this degree of stabilization and decline in North Caucasian terrorism is not reversed by destabilizing transnational influences and connections, especially those related to ‘Islamic State’ in the Middle East.
This chapter discusses the role of 'terror' and 'terrorism' as an aspect of state policy in Iran during the twentieth century, looking at its historical context both within Qajar Iran and during the French Revolution. It critically assesses the Iranian state’s relationship with the term, as both a perceived victim and a perpetrator, and focuses on the application of political violence against both dissidents and political opponents, where the term 'terror' is used in Persian as a synonym for assassination. The chapter looks at the various justifications for the use of terror and political violence, the legacy of the Rushdie affair and the impact of the US-led ‘Global War on Terror’ on perceptions within Iran.
Japan is unfortunately no stranger to terrorism. Indeed, since the mid-nineteenth century and the Meiji Restoration, the country has experienced political assassinations, kidnappings of innocent citizens and strikes by apocalyptic millenarian sects. Japanese citizens too have been involved in conducting terrorist attacks, notably in affiliation with Middle Eastern groups. Yet, terrorism and counterterrorism barely feature on academic syllabi within leading Japanese universities. Nor was the term ‘terrorism’ understood as a generic concept in Japan until recently. This chapter seeks to identify historical precedents that have shaped the Japanese perception of terrorism; responses to historical terrorist groups such as the Red Army and Aum Shinrikyo; the way the Japanese authorities identify the terrorist threat today, including that emanating from North Korea; the role of the police and the Japan Self-Defense Force in responding to terrorism; and Japan’s response to the ‘global war on terrorism’.
This chapter explores why the South African Government’s responses to terrorism are confused and ineffective. A significant contributing factor is that the African National Congress (ANC), which has governed the country since the end of apartheid in 1994, is a former liberation movement that was itself labelled ‘terrorist’ by Ronald Reagan’s United States and Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. While in exile, the ANC had forged close ties with other similarly labelled groups and these strong bonds have endured. This historical legacy negatively impacts the formulation and implementation of current counterterrorism policies. What the ANC Government needs to understand is that the nature of the terrorist threat has radically morphed in the past few decades, from terrorist movements pursuing limited political goals to religious terrorist movements with global pretensions and absolutely no possibility of compromise.
The growth of terrorism and counterterrorism in Nigeria, 1999–2016
Jennifer Giroux and Michael Nwankpa
Violence in Nigeria has many forms – from crimes like kidnapping and robbery to political violence, including terrorism and insurgency, to police and military brutality. It's necessary to appreciate how each form relates to specific contextual conditions and to other forms of violence, which are often overlapping. Since Nigeria regained civilian rule in 1999, the term ‘terrorism’ is increasingly part of national discourse. The government refers to countering terrorism within the framework of its national security agenda, and insurgent movements have increasingly used terrorism within their violent campaigns. While terrorism in Nigeria has been growing, analysis tends to consider the phenomenon in isolation and ignore its connections to other forms of violence, and how state responses drive violent non-state groups to adopt new tactics and escalate conflict. To fill this gap, this chapter looks at how terrorism is understood and experienced in Nigeria, and how its conceptualization shapes the practice of counterterrorism. It traces how the conceptualization of terrorism and practice of counterterrorism have changed over time by analysing international and domestic factors – including the impact of 9/11 – and the societal impact of Nigeria's transformation from military to democratic rule, plus the recent insurgencies in the Niger Delta and the northeast.
Brazilian approaches to terrorism and counterterrorism in the post-9/11 era
Jorge M. Lasmar
This chapter examines how international terrorism has impacted Brazil in the post-9/11 era and transformed its counterterrorism policy. It begins by noting that Brazilian politicians have long suggested that terrorism is someone else’s problem and that the political and cultural choices that the government has made have somehow immunized it to the terrorist threat. This perception has been durable, despite the actual evidence of terrorist group operation inside the country. In the post-9/11 era, external pressure from the United States has forced counterterrorism onto the agenda of the Brazilian state, but political deadlock has meant that relatively little legislation criminalizing terrorist activity has been passed. The state also still lacks effective counterterrorism policies due a dearth of expertise on the subject, the lack of a consolidated strategy to guide institutional actions and the inexistence of a systemic legal framework to structure counterterrorism policies. As a result, in terms of international cooperation, Brazil may be seen as an ‘involuntary defector’ from the international coalition against terrorist actors.