Dealing with transnational hybrid terrorist threats

1) Consider stepping outside the Realist perspective of the problem. This is difficult because we are dealing with ‘an enemy’ whose language is realist-guns, bombs, be-headings. Any further hegemonic realist responses will intensify and escalate the conflict. Appeasement also escalates. This is the major paradox.

2) Consider the possibility that these entities are social movements (yes they are violent and thus terrorist- but our language and understanding of terrorism has not changed, while the terrorist groups and their nature have.) As social movements, they grow and are fed by recruits who share their ideas, not of ISLAM but of exclusion. Those who are excluded, fight. It is arguably the excluded from society, who have been marginalised, who act against society, with righteous vengeance.

3) The hybrid nature of these armed groups results in fragmented, loose arrangements within- culturally, ideologically, nationally, even linguistically. It is conceivable that given the diversity of beliefs, they will fight with each other from within – for dominance, as all plural social constructs do. Arguably, it is inevitable that one side will seek to assert itself over the others and this will lead to dispersion of the movement’s width, potency and external lethality. The grand inclusiveness and attractiveness of a global movement against exclusion will narrow to a smaller, identifiable, hierarchical movement, with one centre of leadership and one finite goal.

4) Consider removing the word terrorist from definitions. Insert instead, armed violent, post-modern gangs. We know how to deal with gangs who are armed. We already co-operate on trans-national narco and organised crime. We have a global law enforcement infrastructure, which allows the level of cooperation needed, to function effectively in fighting transnational gangs.Criminalisation, instead of misplaced martyrdom is a less attractive incentive.

5)This route also takes away the power to widen support by not being led into a battle of “us vs them” with ISLAM. We can assume creating this chasm is their intention. By provoking a battle and forcing populations to take sides, greater insecurity results. This insecurity might be seen to be self-sustaining. If we stop that objective being achieved, then we stop the widening of the base of global conflict. Then the state system, arguably, has a chance to reassert itself and hopefully, address the causes of exclusion, which prompted such violent reaction. Strengthening the state, its organs and its relationship with its plural populations is critical. Strengthening the role of the POLICE is critical. These problems are POPULATION centric. When we use the Military to resolve them we make them ENEMY centric.

6) Arguably there can be no single global hegemon. That route leads to conflict and security dilemmas. It has been suggested that global stability is more likely with multiple hegemons but hegemons from the first, the second and the third world, have to be allowed to emerge. You might argue that a new world order of this design, is a law of nature. Global osmosis.

Candyce Kelshall

About Candyce Kelshall

Doctoral candidate and BUCSIS Research Fellow. Independent advisor to British Transport police and Metropolitan Police. Candyce is the author of two books on Civil /military relations. "Armed Forces and Government" and "Mutiny and Revolution: Military pressure Groups"
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