The use of the concept of terrorism in Colombia, especially regarding who is a terrorist, has changed over the years according to the discourse, making it difficult to gain a singular concrete understanding of the phenomenon. Understanding terrorism, and the responses that the Colombian state has created to address it, requires identifying how specific agents have been categorized as terrorists according to the context. This chapter argues that instead of being an objective and continuous reality through the history of Colombia’s conflicts, terrorism has appeared as a result of the construction of discourses that have positioned specific agents as terror organizations. This categorization is not a simple matter of semantics; it has various policy implications related to the forms in which the state has responded to violent actors.
Duality of détente in the 1970s and neo-Cold War in the 1980s
James W. Peterson
During the late Cold War there was a serious effort by leaders in both capitals to defuse the tension and conflict that characterized their relationship during the 1950s and 60s. Commitments by both sides to the details of soft power approaches such as negotiating arms agreements such as SALT and the Helsinki Accords eased the climate of hostility somewhat, while the rise to power of Mikhail Gorbachev, with his emphasis on perestroika and other aspects of reform, resulted in considerable retraction of the Soviet military both in size and from various points of involvement such as Afghanistan. However, there was usually either continuing underlying neo-Cold War tension between the two or vacillation between steps forward and backward. The initial Soviet move into Afghanistan combined with emergence of Marxist forces in locations such as Nicaragua kept American leaders in a state of military readiness. Provocative moves such as the build-up of the American nuclear arsenal under President Reagan in the 1980s were combatitive in tone with regard to Soviet leaders. Thus, positive and negative features combined in an uneasy mix at the end of the Cold War.
This conclusion draws out the chief findings from a comparative analysis of the preceding chapters. It also offers policy implications, specifically highlighting how policymakers in Western countries can be culturally sensitive to the different conceptualizations of terrorism present elsewhere and tailor their requests for cooperation accordingly.
Theoretical approaches and a path from the Crimea to stability
James W. Peterson
In terms of the ten theoretical approaches presented in Chapter One, the balance of power model carried the most explanatory force in tracing the evolution of the Russian-American relationship. The multipolar model also was strong in depicting the impact on Russian-American relations by other interested states, and it also is useful in studying the impact of that relationship on other nations and their leaders. Further, realism is the best theoretical tool in characterizing motives behind many policy initiatives of the two states. As a result, there were many points at which erosion in the relationship occurred. Their very different reactions to the Syrian civil war was one major example, but so also were continuing military provocations. Russians carried out numerous military exercises in very sensitive border regions, while the West was able to use NATO capabilittes to set up deterrents to Russian ambitions. However, convergence between the two did occur in some ways. Russian-American diplomatic tactics were minimal but meaningful, while President Putin also reached out in unexpected ways to nations such as Iran and Greece. American contacts were those of reassurance to Ukraine and the anxious states in the Baltic region as well as Poland.
Bombings, armed action and other militant phenomena have been a recurrent feature of Lebanese politics. The divided political landscape across sects and party formations, in the absence of a strong executive institutional mechanism, in the aftermath of a protracted ‘civil’ war and a hashed-up cessation of hostilities in a turbulent regional environment, has contributed to a climate where violent acts are a way to conduct politics. As a result, the struggle over meaning and naming significantly shapes political struggles and the possibility for compromise in the Lebanon. There have been conflicting claims as to which acts are labelled terrorism, and this war over words is integral to the different political struggles plaguing the country, involving other regional state and non-state actors. This chapter will look at two important battles at managing claims of terrorism, one regarding the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and the establishment of an international tribunal, and the other involving a Islamist targeted campaign waged by Hizbullah against takfiri groups such as al Qaeda and IS (the Islamic State).
Pakistan has achieved significant success in countering terrorism without, however, defeating it. The violence thus persists. Not only have the countervailing policies lacked a coherent vision underpinned by a balanced blend of soft and hard approaches, the ongoing, mainly military-led effort has also been subverted by important actors in the state, politics and society of Pakistan. Apart from an idiosyncratic national security landscape characterized by a complex set of geopolitical dynamics and foreign interventions, the conundrum resides in a multitude of conflicting viewpoints, policy attitudes and reactions against terrorism. Ironically, the extant terrorism and conflict literature has not systematically sought to understand the causes germinating this peculiar security setting of an important South Asian country, which not only deprives research of critical input about non-Western responses to terrorism but also hinders the development of an objective understanding of the socio-political conditions and constraints impacting such responses, at times leading to uninformed perceptions. This chapter helps to fill that void.
An ad hoc response to an enduring and variable threat
The unprecedented overlap between terrorism and insurgency in India represents a key challenge to formulating an understanding of terrorism and counterterrorism (CT) in this region. This chapter discusses the emergence and evolution of key terrorist threats in the country to illustrate how terrorism in the subcontinent falls into two distinct categories: ‘pure terrorism’ as practised by what are best described as ‘incorrigible terrorist groups’, and ‘hybrid threats’ that are a complex amalgamation of insurgency and terrorism utilized by what are essentially ‘corrigible’ groups. The chapter then discusses how India’s inability to distinguish between these two very different threats results in what tends towards a lethal, kinetic response characteristic of CT, even as its language remains within a population-centric ‘hearts and minds’ framework more obviously associated with traditional counterinsurgency (COIN). This tendency to ‘act CT but speak COIN’ is a key reason why both India’s CT and COIN strategies remain short-sighted, muddled and underdeveloped. However, newly emergent threats make it imperative that India urgently recalibrate and reconsider these responses.
Since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, the Kenyan Government’s response to terrorism has been multifaceted. Efforts have primarily relied on civil authorities and the military, privileging the use of force over subtler means. The police have employed measures such as profiling, detention and prosecution. The military has conducted operations in Kenya and Somalia. These strategies have contributed to the apprehension of some terrorist suspects and checked Shabaab’s capacity in Somalia. Yet, Kenya’s counterterrorism efforts have been hampered by limited coordination among agencies, use of heavy-handed tactics and insufficient engagement with civil society organizations. Two defining features of Kenyan counterterrorism have emerged. First, it has clear socio-cultural dimensions. Security forces have responded to the threat of terrorism by focusing on Kenya’s alienated Muslim communities, notably in the Somali-majority north and at the Swahili-speaking coast. As a result, the government’s response to terrorism reflects communal divisions and animosity within Kenyan society that precede contemporary counterterrorism. Second, Kenya’s invasion of neighbouring Somalia created and blurred two fronts: one within Kenya and the other in southern Somalia. The actions of Kenyan policymakers and al Shabaab therefore contributed to a more complete integration of the conflict in Somalia and tensions within Kenya.
Ugandan security concerns throughout the Museveni era have centred around terrorism, both domestic and international. Internationally, there is evidence to suggest that the Ugandan intelligence services foiled attempts by al Qaeda to bomb the US embassy in Kampala at the time of the Dar es Salaam and Nairobi embassy bombings. In 2010, Kampala suffered from bombings carried out by the Somali group al Shabaab, inspired by al Qaeda and in retaliation for sending peacekeepers to Somalia. Domestically, Uganda has also experienced attacks deemed to be terrorism from the Allied Democratic Front and the Lord’s Resistance Army. This chapter demonstrates how the term ‘terrorism’ has been used by the Ugandan Government in many different ways, and how the expansive use of this term has been critiqued. The chapter argues that the key to understanding the Ugandan Government’s response to these disparate threats is through understanding how Museveni has used these crises to become a key US ally in the ‘War on Terror’ and to position himself as a regional leader in East Africa.
This chapter sets the scene for the book by explaining the evolution of the United Kingdom and highlighting some of the features of its unwritten Constitution. It touches on the civil wars of the seventeenth century, the revolutions in America and France, and the separate stories of how Wales, Ireland and Scotland were annexed by or united with England. The main constitutional features highlighted are the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, the ability of judges to develop the common law, and the role of constitutional conventions. Given the current fragility of the Union, at least in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the chapter wonders if the creation of a written Constitution would help to strengthen the bonds within the Union. It states that the book’s main argument is a written Constitution would not of itself strengthen the Union. What is required is the federalisation of the UK. The chapter ends with a glimpse at some of the subsequent chapters.