The Next Wave Of Terrorism
Terrorism has changed throughout history. Scholars and experts argue that we are in the fourth wave of terrorism, that one that is labeled as “religious terrorism,” which started after the collapse of the Cold War, and empowered with the Iranian terrorist practices of the late 1970’s; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in that same decade, and further capitalized with the attacks of September 11th and the subsequent bombings in Madrid in 2004, and London in 2005.
The first wave was immortalized by the racist and xenophobic Ku Klux Klan that flourished in the 1860’s, and then again in the early 1920’s; advocating for “white supremacy, nationalism, anti-immigration and anti-communism.”-They were also anti-gay and anti-Jew.
The second wave was post-World War II, and it was an “anti-colonial” terrorist movement that was produced after the break-up of empires-along with rising nationalism and its subsequent anti-colonial sentiment. Some of these actors (ETA, IRA, LTTE) are still active, though diminished.
The third wave basically started with the Vietnam war and the rise of the anti-war movement that brought with it a new left that created an ideological terrorism doctrine-a clear example is the PLO.
With the present fourth wave we have a more dangerous and daunting issue that we have to deal with immediately. The Taliban, which provided a safe heaven to al-Qaeda, ruled Afghanistan, and that nation was the main center of action and training for terrorists. Al-Qaeda is much diminished in power and resources now-they haven’t had a major attack in years, and the recent ones like the failed bomber of Times Square wasn’t even a member of bin Laden’s organization. Consequently, the danger is shifting borders and groups.
Lawless nations are the next major threat, and probably more dangerous than Afghanistan itself, along with the Internet.
The Taliban were ruthless and deserve to literally, burn in hell. They denied its citizens the most basic human rights; while providing al-Qaeda with all the necessary tools and resources to wage jihad and endanger the world. Still, it was a nation in which the government had complete control. Not so are some African countries in which the state is non-existent, thus creating a vacuum that is being utilized by terrorist organizations.
Somalia: a lawless country where the Transitional Federal Government-backed by the US and AU-barely has power and control over the capital Mogadishu. Here, terrorist organizations operates and controls most of the territory, like al-Shabaab, who seeks to install Islamic Courts, impose Sharia Law and attack Western interests. It has links with al-Qaeda, in which both organizations coordinate the administration of training camps. With the TFG powerless, the danger is growing and so is the risk of a major attack anywhere in the world.
Yemen: the African nation has gained notoriety recently when a Detroit-bound jet on Christmas Day had onboard a 23 year-old Nigerian that wanted to detonate a bomb and claimed that he’d been trained by al-Qaeda leaders in this country; as well as the arrest of 12 US citizens there. With a profound political and economic crisis, and its President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a weak position, radical Islam might flourish. Most detainees in Guantanamo are Yemenis. Here is also where al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was formed and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks since 2006.
These two countries, along with the spread of online terrorist websites that provide training and propaganda for these organizations, will pose the next wave of terrorism. A lethal combination of lawlessness and web 2.0.