Sep 26 2012

Assessing the threat from terrorism two years on

From 2010 to present, the Global War on Terror (GWOT) blog has captured a brief two years worth of editorial analysis on the subject of terrorism. Even in this short time, it is clear for anyone who has followed this blog or the mainstream media, that terrorism, domestic and international variants, has not gone away.

Domestic acts of terror in developed countries, such as the horrific shooting and bombing in Norway and the continual public shootings in the United States, have demonstrated that right wing extremists can be as serious a threat to civility and peace as any religiously motivated terrorist organization. This suggests that we have moved beyond the original paradigm of a War on Terror comprised of the jihadist terrorist to a new type of terrorist. However, this has not entirely proved to be the reality. Civil war in Syria and unrest across the Middle East, not to mention failed bomb attempts in the United States and elsewhere have suggested that traditional notions of terrorism understood after 9/11 still exist. But the War on Terror has shifted.

There has been a growing dissent, in articles written by our contributors and within the mainstream that have attested to the failings of the War on Terror. It has been quite frequently  commented that civil liberties and human rights have suffered disproportionately under questionable counter-terrorism laws, policies and practices. But, as Professor Howell points out in her closing article for the GWOT blog project, these laws, policies and practices have not necessarily disappeared and to the contrary, have become to an extent ‘normalized’.

Assessing the threat from terrorism since 2010, it appears that little has changed. Bin Laden’s death is perhaps analogous to the current state of the ‘War on Terror’; the slow and methodical hunt and assassination of threats to the state but through increasingly questionable, yet increasingly normalized legal methods.

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About Posted by AD Brown

Adam Brown is editorial manager for the War on Terror blog series at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He holds a BA in International Relations and a MSc in Human Rights with a focus on cyber security and rights.
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