Threats posed by the current religiously inspired terrorist groups leave Malaysia with no choice but to adapt to new strategies and approaches. Not only have threats become more global in terms of networking and influences, but also the use of Islam to justify attacks produces great challenges for the country and its security enforcement. Malaysia’s promotion of moderation, or wasatiyah, as part of its counterterrorism campaign has been widely accepted by the international community. At home, the campaign of winning hearts and minds continues as an essential strategy of the government. Malaysia’s success in countering major terror threats since independence has also been credited to the role played by the police’s Special Branch (SB) Unit and the existence of preventive laws. Yet when those laws were repealed, amid a changing political climate and democracy in the country, the enforcement authorities were forced to re-strategize their intelligence gathering and to come to grips with the new legal processes, which require reasonable evidence to be presented during trials to avoid dismissal of the charges. At the same time, the SB is also upgrading its tactical skills and surveillance technology, given modern terrorists’ adaptive capabilities with a loosely connected decentralized network.
Since the 1980s Algeria has had to respond to political extremism. Following the ‘Berber Spring’ in 1980, it had to react to the Bou Yali rebellion. Then, in October 1988, countrywide discontent and an organized Islamist movement challenged the government’s claim to embody the legitimacy of the Algerian revolution by leading the struggle for national independence. In 1991, the Algerian army, fearing that the Islamist movements might win elections, took control. Within a year it faced a complex insurrection in which some groups sought to restore the electoral process and others attempted to replace the state with a caliphate. Algeria’s strategy in this struggle has evolved from counterinsurgency during its 1990s civil war to suppression of ‘residual terrorism’ afterwards. Although this forced the groups concerned into the Sahara and the Sahel, it did not eliminate them, so Algeria has been forced to attempt to influence group behaviour in northern Mali, despite pressure from the US and France for direct engagement. One approach has been to organize a regional response, despite tensions between Algeria and Morocco over the Western Sahara. However, the Libyan crisis has pushed the country into reluctant engagement with Western paradigms of confronting non-state terrorism and violence.
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.
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.
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.
Understanding state responses to terrorism in Egypt
Dina Al Raffie
The Arab Republic of Egypt has a long history of battling jihadism in the region, and as such presents an interesting case study of counterterrorism (CT) practices in a non-Western setting. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that reduces the Egyptian state's response to the indiscriminate use of repressive measures, the current case study offers a more nuanced analysis of Egyptian state responses to terrorism that spans the country's history since its independence. Despite repressive measures constituting the backbone of Egyptian state responses to terrorism, their use is much more strategic than is often implied in the literature. As this chapter will demonstrate, a comprehensive CT approach including select soft measures does exist in Egypt, albeit with the goal of maintaining regime interests, as opposed to eliminating the phenomenon. On the contrary, the analysis that follows suggests that regime longevity is highly dependent on the existence of an extremist opposition, and that a strategy of extremism in moderation is perhaps the most prominent underlying strategic trend that has emerged from Egyptian CT state practices over the past six decades.