The United Kingdom’s Counter Terrorism Strategy

Subject: Warfare
Pages: 20
Words: 6770
Reading time:
24 min
Study level: College


On 1 July 2005 morning, London residents hurried unsuspectingly to their places of work. No one could have expected what awaited them at the railway terminus. Could they have known, may be what followed could not have happened. That morning, a terrorist bomb attack ripped through the terminus killing two people and serious injuring scores of other people. What was a normal workday turned into a rescue mission with the injured being rushed to hospital while others received first aid. This attack happened about four months after a similar attack was carried out in Madrid. Previously, the US had also experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks whose impetus is still felt up to the moment. These events called for a need for special attention on the international scene concerning terrorism. A new approach had to be formulated to ensure that the new strategies used by terrorists were discovered and the loopholes sealed. Since then, terrorism ceased to be a domestic affair. It took a central platform in the international scene where nations decided to take it as a matter of cooperation to come up with strategies that would assist in curbing the increasing crime.

Despite the elevation of the issue to the international scene, countries have had their own domestic strategies which could be used to protect the countries from the ever increasing chances of other terrorist attacks. Among the countries that have had their domestic strategies to curb the issue terrorism is the UK. In the wake of the July 1st attack, the country discovered that the terrorists have invented new techniques that called for a completely new approach which was different from what they had previously known. The UK therefore hurriedly put up measures because of the perception that they felt concerning a likelihood of another terror attack. This unexpected revelation might have played a great role in the faulty systems of counter terrorism strategies enacted by the UK. As a result, the strategies have lost the real meaning of counter terrorism by subjecting people to great misery due to the strategies’ undermining of human rights. To further justify this thesis, the paper will analyse the factors that led to the formation of the strategies.

Factors that Called for a Strategy

One of the factors that led to the formation of the counter terrorism strategies was the 1 July attack in London. This phenomenon could be attributed to the realization by the British government that they were a target of the terrorist world. To ensure the safety of their citizens, strategies had to be enacted urgently. The new trends after the investigation showed that UK had to deal with a completely new form of terrorism (Leppard and Winnet, 2005). This could have been one of the most outstanding challenges that led to the formation of faulty rules. The participants of the formation of the strategies were unable to deal with the new turn of events and come up with strategies that could not temper with the human rights of many of its citizens.

According to Leppard and Winnet (2005), the form of terrorism that the British government had to deal with had nothing to do with the theories initially believed that terrorists were Arabs from countries like Pakistan and Iran. Former theories that poverty played a role in the citizen’s involvement in terrorism were sidelined by the new development. Terrorists were now targeting young men of completely British descend whose character and culture was completely British. They were doing this by recruiting from Universities and colleges. Most of the people to be targeted were those students who were pursuing careers in IT and engineering.

What was the hardship associated with these new trend? Among the most problematic issues in the strategy is their lack of determinacy. Most of the strategies fail to clearly define issues. How to come up with rules that could deal with citizens of the country posed the greatest hardship for the formulators. This is probably why failed to identify and clearly pinpoint certain descriptions of the range of a crime or the real action that defines the named crime. This issue of lack of determinacy will be clearly highlighted in the analysis of the strategy itself.

The weakness of the strategy clearly shows the hurried nature under which they were formed. Due to lack of time enough to allow the formulators analyze the strategies and coming up with them one by one, they hurriedly formulated them and as a result omitting crucial definitions. In addition, the changes in the way of attack that terrorists were believed to use also paused complications in the formation of the strategies. In the new revelation, the terrorist attacks were likely to come in form of biological and chemical weapons. In addition to this, there were several other chances that Britain was very likely to experience another terrorist attack. According to the British home secretary Jacqui Smith who was drafting a new strategy on counter terrorism, the threat to Britain for a new terrorist attack was very realistic. This was like to happen by the use of biological or chemical weapons (UK Home Office, 2009). This called for a strategy that would enable the government protect its citizens through sealing of loopholes that could trigger terror attacks. However, before embarking on the analysis of the British counter-terrorism strategy, we will have to have an insight on the phenomenon of terrorism.

Phenomenon of terrorism

The issue of the definition of the word terrorism is also to be considered critically. It is from its ambiguity that weaknesses have come up in the UK counter terrorism strategy. This could be attributed to the fact that there has been a debate trying to establish whether terrorism is an aspect of political or criminal affair. Although most Western countries define terrorism from a criminal point of view, the reality is that terrorism is a manifestation of political dissatisfaction (Reeson, 2006). It is only through a clear understanding that an appropriate counter- terrorism measure will be enacted and reduce the risks of the western nations of being faced by more terror attacks.

What therefore is terrorism? As mentioned earlier, terrorism has had many definitions. However, the meaning remains intact. In his view, Caleb Carr defines terrorism as a deliberate waging of warfare against civilians with ultimate intensions of altering their will in support of a given leader or policies that the perpetrators of the terror find unsuitable or unacceptable (Carr 2002). On his part, Benjamin Netanyahu defined terrorism as a “…deliberate and systematic assault on civilians to inspire fear for political ends.” (Reeson 2006). Different arms of the United States also offer different definitions of the same phenomenon. Here, we will identify the statutory definition. The statutory definition is, “…premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” Of all these definitions, one point stands out. Terrorism is an illegal activity that has as its target civilians with the aim of making them change their positions concerning a certain issue which in most cases is of a political orientation. This is done using violent means and the underscore is intimidation.

Several reasons act as the driving force behind the terrorist activities. These vary from group to group (Reeson 2006). Among the most common reasons for terrorism is the formation of a bargaining platform, here, a group of people might involve itself in terrorist activities so as to force the government to release prisoners or to ensure that it does not send military groups to a given region. A good example can be identified in the recent terrorist activities experienced in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another reason for terrorist activities is to disrupt a political or diplomatic cause. This was evident in the Madrid bombing where the terrorists wanted to warn the Spanish government over its involvement in Iraq war by sending its troops. Intimidating a population to influence their behavior as reason to terrorist activities has been evidenced by the Middle East crisis where the actions of the Palestinians have been aimed at instilling fear into the Jewish populations and also to provoke the Israeli government so that it acts in a harsh and indiscriminate way. The actions of the Hamas have also been designed specifically to force the international community to identify them as a government. The Fatah and the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigade have engaged in terroristic activities with a sole aim of revenging the Israeli government’s attacks on the Palestinian settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. Others do it simply due to hatred and as a divine commission from God. This has been evidenced by the Al Qaeda’s deep hatred for the West. Many of the al Qaeda followers have engaged in the terror activities against the West because they hate the Western policies and also because they feel that God commissioned them to fight all the holy wars. This is perceived as a holy war.

In problem solving process, it is very important to understand and define a problem before trying to solve it. Without this, the chances of solving the issue partially or side stepping the real issue is very likely. This is what the counter terrorism strategy of the UK has missed. The real definition of the problem and its causes makes the strategy formation remain faulty and counter productive. From the examples outlined above, most of the reasons behind the terror activities happen to be politically inclined. The terrorists are engaging in the activities with a reason of attaining some political gains. This therefore makes terrorism an act completely political as objected to the general view points held by many Western governments as a criminal activity. As a result, this calls for a different approach that is rooted from the political orientation of the activity. As Reeson (2006) puts it, the political orientation of the problem therefore calls for a political solution. What does this mean? It means that the UK should put, as its major strategy, the issue of solving the political frictions between them and the highly suspected terrorism countries as a core aim in the formation of the strategies. By killing the causes, they will have killed the whole phenomenon but killing their facilitating means simply controls the phenomenon for a while which later comes up in a more complex manner before the government starts running around formulating another lot of faulty strategies. Therefore, the real cause should be the core of the strategy.

UK’s New Anti Terrorism Strategy

Why is the strategy found faulty? As identified above, the major cause of terrorism as portrayed by the different definitions is political dissatisfaction. But does this appear in the UK strategy? The answer is no! The formulators fail to capture the importance of dealing with the source of this phenomenon which is political dissatisfaction and instead, major greatly on ways through which they would stifle the activities and thus protect their citizens. This means that the main idea of the strategy is not completely abolishing terrorism but just protecting its citizens from being attacked. This can be detrimental in the cases of transformation and attaining of new means of attack as experienced earlier. The consequences will be felt before new strategies are formed to deal with the new methods of terror attack. In the strategy, the developers of the strategy first identified the major factors that promote the creation and the sustenance of the acts of terrorism. Among these factors, they identified the failed states as one of the major contributors to the formation of the bases from where terrorists can have havens to plan there activities. Next, the strategy identifies the terrorists’ embracing of technology and therefore relying on new technology in their warfare. Thirdly, the strategy identified the ideology behind the extremists as another factor contributing in the creation and sustenance of terrorism. Finally, the strategy identified the process of radicalization as another factor that contributes in the encouraging of terrorism (UK Home Office, 2009).

The first strategy in countering terrorism was identified as cutting off of any financial avenues to the organized groups. As a way out, the strategy underscores the importance of money in the day to day activities of the terrorists. Therefore, the cutting off of funds will eventually disrupt their activities which include the training programs, all the recruitment activities, all facilitation and welfare programs for the different terrorist organizations. This was identified as the fundamental course in the total war against terrorism. The strategy calls upon the government agencies which include law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies and the financial agencies to step up the war against terrorism by identifying and cutting off all the financial avenues to the illegal organizations. In this strategy, the UK intents to work in collaboration with other governments to ensure that they put a check to all the financial systems so that they disrupt all the terror activities (UK Home Office 2009).

The key aim of this strategy is to ensure that they reduce all the funding of the terrorists that emanates from the UK by the creation of a very unfriendly environment that will not allow for the activity. Secondly, the strategy intents to ensure the identification and the disruption of all the facilitators of terrorism and in the process temper with the smooth flow of money to the terror organizations that can impact on the UK interests. Finally, the strategy aims at giving enough support including encouragement of other countries to intensify their effort on curbing financial support to the terrorists (UK Home Office 2009).

Among the ways through which terrorist financing can be interrupted is through asset freezing of all terror suspects. All the assets that are linked to terrorists will be frozen publicly by the UK government. Furthermore, the government will deport all citizens whose presence in the UK will be deemed to pose a security threat to the citizens. However, the deportation law is open to appeal (UK Home Office 2009).

The second strategy will be the ensuring of border security for all the UK ports and other points of entry. In the strategy, all freight and passengers will be screened in order to ensure that illegal goods that could be used in terror activities do not gain entry to the country. Furthermore, freights will be especially checked to determine any signs of human trafficking. This strategy has been enforced through the inclusion of two new windows which are the immigration and Nationality directorate and the HM revenue and customs. To check on the attacks of chemical and nuclear nature, the government has introduced radiation screening equipment which will ensure the no passenger or freight will be in position to transport radio active elements into the UK (UK Home Office 2009).

The third strategy to be employed by the UK will be the use of surveillance methods to detect forms of terrorist communication. In this method, a surveillance device will be used to monitor, observe and listen to individuals’ activities which entail communication and movements. Furthermore, the conversations will be recorded for later use in terms of detection. According to the strategists, the this strategy is important in gathering information for which will later be useful in terms of evidence to bring to book all perpetrators of terror activities. Also, the method will be used in the identification and tracing of terrorist activities and therefore ensuring safety of the citizens and tracking all the steps in the terror organizations. In this strategy, the government intends to use three forms of surveillance which are communication data surveillance which includes the communication channels like the internet and other telecommunications channels, directed surveillance which is includes the following of an individual in public and recording their movements. Thirdly, the government will use intrusive surveillance which is the presence of a person on the premises of the suspect or in the private car. It can also entail the use of devices. Finally, the government intends to use interception of communication accessing the information before it reaches the source. These are the forms that the government will employ so as to track all the information that will lead to a better follow up of the terror activities (UK Home Office 2009).

The Ethical Dilemma

Most of the mentioned points in the strategy outline chances of faultiness. With strict adherence to such means, most of the innocent citizens will be denied their rights to freedom, expression, and many other fundamental rights because of the measures stipulated under the new strategy. Many innocent civilians stand a chance of being denied entry to the UK, being followed around hence lacking privacy, being denied financial support from their relatives who are well of in the UK because of frozen accounts and being suspected of funding terrorist organizations. The formulators might have also been members of the group that believes that a little human rights and liberty could be infringed for the benefit of the whole nation’s security. One of the most heated debates concerning the formation of security strategies has been the ability to come up with balance between the citizen’s security and at the same time respecting the rights of liberty (Westervelt 2008). This has resulted into some people arguing that offering full respect of liberty leads to a jeopardy to the government’s power to ensure security for its citizens. In that line, they argue that it is justified to forfeit some little rights in order to ensure total security for the whole Nation.

The big question to ask is, can the two be unified so as the government legislation comes up with laws that will guarantee safety to its citizens and at the same time respect liberty of rights? In reference to a case of the former US president, George W Bush Jr Vs the US Supreme Court concerning the terrorism detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Justice Antony Kenneth’s view was worth noting within this context he purported that within the framework of law, it is possible to reconcile liberty and security. This according to Bush called for a thorough analysis in order to determine whether additional effort in the processes of legislation could be in position to allow for equilibrium between the security and liberty (Westervelt 2009 2008).

The UK counter terrorism strategy fails the major aim of its formation. Killing democracy to come up with means of suffocating terrorism because it undermines people’s democracy is quite a baseless meaningless statement. It is a counter productive effort because the final result for both routes is denied liberties and rights. On his part, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan highlighted the importance of a democratic society. In his statement, Annan argued that it is undebatable that terrorism is an impediment to the democracy of a society. This serves as their main aim – disrupting the democratic rights of a society. Therefore, in the struggle to counter terrorism, the policy makers should not again do away with these core values because this will be handing victory to the terrorists. Therefore, the policy makers should ensure that human liberty and democracy is respected in every step that they take in the process of ensuring national security (Westervelt 2008).

The executive director of human rights watch, Kennedy Roth, on his part had a point to note concerning the relationship between human rights and counter terrorism strategies. He argues that most of policy makers have come to believe in a notion that has no base that there is an indispensable opposition between combating terror, ensuring national security and observing human rights. This he feels is a self defeating concept (Roth 2004). Due to tight holding of this tenet, many of the policy makers have come up with strategies that do not allow the human rights to play any role. In fact, they view human rights as an impediment to the effort of counter terrorism. According to Roth, this position is “…dangerous, shortsighted and counterproductive.” Not only does it fight against the intended aim of the campaign against terrorism but it also undermines the set standards of the United Nations concerning liberty. This approach leads to creation of an atmosphere which begets terrorist violence and facilitates terrorist recruitment. Therefore, an appropriate strategy to counter terrorism should take human rights as an essential part and a great ally whose alliance will assist in the ultimate goal of national security.

United Kingdom and the US have been identified among the countries that have been cited for not incorporating the dictates of human rights in there fight against terrorism (Roth 2004). Others in the list include the Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Israel, Zimbabwe and Malaysia. These countries found that the most appropriate way to cover themselves from international scrutiny from abusive practices was through waving profoundly the anti terrorism flag. However, the decency of the practice is unknown. Some do that for the sole effort of quashing separatist sentiments.

This brings in the issue of giving democracy to each country or groups of people by allowing them to participate in their country’s political interests in their own way. This counter terrorism measures that suffocate the democracy of these groups do not actually counter it instead, it fuels it. With the UK being the major ally of the United States, and both being mentioned by the human rights watch as non observers of human rights, their counter terrorism strategies will always remain faulty until they approach the issue from a political point of view. This will mean giving the countries and groups that are suspected to be terrorist supporting the freedom to operate in a more violent free, dialogue friendly atmospheres. This will be the ultimate counter terrorism measure. To achieve this, counter terrorism measures that are very determinate and clear should be enacted ensuring that they put in as their main foundation the observation of human rights in action and not in words.

To identify the legitimacy of anti terrorism strategy, several aspects have to be considered. This is because the term legitimacy could be seen in different perspectives from different people. To measure the legitimacy of the UK, we will first put them on the scale of the national legal basis. On this scale, the measure will be determined whether it corresponds with the civil rights stipulated by the national constitution. Secondly, the policy or the measure will be passed through the international standard. It will be determined whether it meets the obligations of the international law in terms of treaties of human rights (Westervelt 2008).

The next level will be the measuring of the legitimacy of the measures and policies on a theoretical framework determined by the international Lawyer called Franck. According to Westervelt (2008) Franck identifies the legitimacy of a measure to be determined in terms of the degree. In his view, legitimacy of a measure could be defined as “the pull to compliance of a measure.” Franck puts it that the legitimacy of a measure especially those emanating from a decentralized source like the international order of legality depends on the perception of the people under which the measure is subjected. This is as a result of the inability of the decentralized organ to force compliance.

To measure the legitimacy of a policy or measure, Franck identifies four pillars from which one could use to establish. These four pillars are, Determinacy, pedigree, its coherence and the adherence of the measure. In this paper, we shall use the pillar of determinacy to identify whether the measures taken by the UK to counter terrorism are justified. This is because it is easier to determine non compliance to a rule if it’s determinate. The effectiveness and the pulling ability of a measure are better in relation to its clarity. Ambiguity in the wordings can lead to difficulties in terms of justifying non compliance (Westervelt 2008).

How does one explain the effectiveness of policies that fail to measure up in terms of their determinacy? Faulty will be the best explanation. The UK counter terrorism measures fail to measure up on the determinacy scale as constructed by Franck. Unfortunately, a measure’s ability to pull and result into a change depends on its clarity. Ambiguity in words as mentioned above will simply lead to the justification of unfair acts which eventually translate into muffling of human rights. The UK counter terrorism measure most of which are marred with ambiguity therefore provide room for the breaking of human rights and also fail to have enough pulling ability due to their lack of determinacy which is one ethical dilemma that comes up in the UK counter terrorism measures. This starts all the way from the definition of the term terrorism to the definition of terrorist acts. This is serious because it can lead to arrests and torture of innocent victims just because the acts they did fall within the faulty definition of terrorism or terrorist acts. A good example of the instances of lack of determinacy is presented in the following examples. The first instance is I the definition of terrorism in the UK Acts, terrorism has been defined to include use of threat, with the aim of influencing the government or international body, intimidation of a section or the whole public, the use of violence and threats, for the advancement of a religious, political or ideological cause. This definition fails to differentiate terrorism from a normal political protest that can end up with the destruction of property and bodily injuries (Westervelt 2008).

What then will be the impact of this on the human rights? The impact is great. The procedural trials of a normal criminal are quite different from the trials of a terror suspect. This will mean that innocent people who engaged in a political protest without a single desire for terrorism will be entrapped in the definition subjecting them to tribulations that they did not deserve. As exhibited in the US, one of the great allies of the UK, Guantanamo terror suspects are treated in a very different manner as compared to the rest of criminals. This was exhibited in the US’s refusal to apply to the Guantanamo detainees the Geneva conventions. In addition to this, the US decided to have power to hold the suspects indefinitely without charging them something that contravenes the Geneva Convention. When the UN human rights Commission tried to come up with measures to reinforce observation of human rights in the counter terrorism strategies, the US openly straggled to quench this effort. This was also witnessed in the ICC when they tried to prohibit the use of torture on terrorism suspects. With such positions, many other parts of the world have thus emulated them. While the UK continues being the main ally of the US, the chances of terror attacks to the UK linger strongly. This issue human rights and its alliance with the US must have been a part of the strategies in countering terrorism.

The UK counter terrorism policies incriminate the glorification and encouragement of terrorism. Unfortunately, this measure does not directly identify these acts that are referred to as glorifiers, direct and indirect encouragers and the inducers of terrorist activities. Just like the issue of definition, the indeterminacy of this measure could result into unfair arrests and torture of innocent citizens. In addition, it denies the individuals the right to speech which is a fundamental right to citizens (Westervelt 2008).

The terrorism Act of 2005 gives room for an undisclosed inquest. In this measure, the authority is given mandate to withhold information that they deem inappropriate for public knowledge. Unfortunately, the information that is not worth public knowledge is not clearly defined. This is not worth of human rights because the information that is denied access to the public could be of significance to the public domain. In addition, it is the right of every citizen to understand and to know (Westervelt 2008).

Article 33 of the terrorism Act of 2006 contains the disclosure of information measure. In this measure, the authority will be given power to offer a mandatory disclosure notice to this person who is deemed to have information that would be of relevance to the government concerning terrorism. The measure then purports that the authorities will only offer the order under reasonable ground. Unfortunately, the reasonable ground is not identified. There are no specific determinants of a reasonable ground. This is very serious in terms of human rights. There are high chances of arresting and torturing innocent victims under the pretext of deriving information under reasonable grounds that these people have relevant information that is important for the government in combating terrorism (Westervelt 2008).

The fifth part of the Terrorism Act 2000 contains the stop and search measures of terrorism countering. Like many other measures above, the law does specify the measure will be used under reasonable suspicion of which the reasonable suspicion is not identified clearly. This will form a basis from which human rights of individuals will be undermined without reasonable causes but be justified by the definition of the statute (Westervelt 2008).

The strategy of the UK counter terrorism also legalizes pre-charge. This does not only go against the national standards but also the international standards that offer the right to liberty for all individuals. Furthermore, the provision denies the terror suspects the right to a fair trial and the normal innocence presumption. These are fundamental rights that are expressed in international treaties of which the UK are members.

Finally, the terrorism Act of 2000 denies a suspect the access to a lawyer. In its faulty description of this measure, the degree to which one should not be allowed access to a lawyer is not clearly specified. The matter is left at the hands of the investigator. This is serious to the unfortunate innocent victims of terrorism suspect that will find themselves in the hands of the law (Westervelt 2008).

Effectiveness of the UK Counter Terrorism Strategy

With such glaring weaknesses and ambiguity, how can the UK anti terrorism strategy be measured in terms of its effectiveness? One cannot answer this question unless he has an insight in the issue of terrorism and how scholars have approached it. We will therefore see the scholars’ points of view in approaching this controversial issue.

What is the relationship between human rights and terrorism? Can the issue of withholding and respecting human rights lead to a solution to the international problem of terrorism? The answer according to Roth (2004) is yes. Respecting human rights to their maximum can act as a very important weapon in the fighting of terrorism. From this point of view, the UK strategy will be seen to be faulty and ineffective. Furthermore, it will be seen as a form of fuel and the will be working towards worsening the state of terrorism in the international community. This marks the state of the UK counter terrorism measures. With most of the measures lacking determinacy and thus giving room to the violation human rights, their effectiveness will measure very low on the scale of effectiveness.

Roth (2004) argues that neglecting human rights is the main causal effect that leads to a conducive atmosphere which begets terrorism. A mixture of ideologies supported by undermined human rights makes the most appropriate ingredients for a terrorist attack. In his argument, the absence of an avenue that will give citizens a means of peaceful achievement of political changes are the major cause of terrorism. He sidelines other theories as less important in the definition of a real cause of terrorism. Among them are the theories that identify poverty as a cause of terrorism and failed states. These to him are just assists that contribute to the main reason which is political orientation. This he says that most of the terrorists are not likely to be classified under the poorest members of the societies. In his observation, Roth identifies that most of these terrorists have had political agendas as one of the common denominators. These agendas he purports, could have been solved very peacefully through open dialogues and uninterrupted political systems. Failure to achieve their goals leads to some of the people look for an alternative to revenge and to show their position. This, they achieve through joining the terrorist organizations.

The UK counter terrorism measures also lack effectiveness owing to the fact that they are meant to tackle what has been observed as the new trend of terrorism. If the new findings in the Dossier number ten showed that most terrorists were changing their tactics of recruitment and attack, then it means that more and more new trends are expected. This will render the strategies useless if the terrorists come up with new strategies. The dossier number10 showed that al Qaeda has changed its tactics and is currently recruiting from colleges and universities in the UK (Leppard & Winnet 2005). In a foiled attempt of terrorism, the police chief identified the suspected terrorists were completely of British descend. What actually drives them into terrorism is not poverty. What drives them is the disillusionment that results from the Western policies towards the Muslim world. Due to the abhorrence of the policies, most of the British citizens of the third generation and other originally non Britons who have acquired citizenship through naturalization support terrorist activities through joining training camps where more than 3000 Britons are said to have passed through Osama’s training camps, or through supporting the terrorist activities in terms of finance.

This gives a new insight towards the specter of terrorism. It is the repression imparted by the Western countries, UK being part of them, which leads to terrorism. This means that unless the UK amends the defective parts of the strategy mentioned in the section above, their strategy will not be very effective. An effective strategy in combating terrorism should first of all identify the causes and solve them before defending itself. Roth (2004) identifies an effective strategy to contain an option which will offer a means by which the communities viewed as terrorists will have an avenue through which they will be able to address their political grievances peacefully. In addition, Roth identifies “healthy civil societies, accountable governments, independent press, unfettered political parties, a rage of citizen organizations, and periodic competitive elections.” As the results of a political system that is given freedom. In such a community, there are less chances of involvement in terrorism.

Counter terrorism measures can only succeed in countering terrorism if they work hand in hand with the people of the countries from which terrorists are prone to originate (Roth 2004). If a the counter terrorism measures of a country is bias and does not respect the human rights, the chances of working with this group of people will be null. Roth argues that these people are the ones who can be used to report on suspicious activities and also work hard I converting would be terrorists into good citizens. Unfortunately, counter terrorism measures that do not respect human rights subjects these very people to innocent suffering. Apart from directly being subjected to suffering, they watch their relatives and friends being tortured innocently. This creates an environment that cuts communication between the countries trying to counter terrorism and the citizens that could have acted as links and support to curbing the phenomenon.

UK strategies being short of the obedience of human rights therefore lack efficiency basing on this point of view. As many Britons continue joining Osama training camps, the strategies to combat terrorism as pointed out by the Contest II will not be efficient. Many of the Muslim brothers and sisters would have watched painfully as Binyam Mohamed walked off the plane from his detention in Guantanamo. With him he carried the message that George Bush and Tony Blair should be face trial for the atrocities and torture that Guantanamo detainees face (Walker 2009). When he talks of torture of the detainees, the message send to the brothers and sisters and friends and relatives of these people is revenge. This will automatically result into joining terrorist organizations and giving both moral and financial support to the organizations that sponsor terrorism.

Talking of Guantanamo, most of the communities that are prone to producing terrorists will not relent on their effort to support the terrorist activities. Tony Blair having been identified as a supporter of the Guantanamo where many terror suspects have been tortured under circumstances that completely undermine human rights, it will be impossible to avoid terrorist attacks for the UK because of their position. In his statement after his release from Guantanamo, Binyam Mohamed purported to have severally been interrogated by M15 agents including being shown files of which some were said to be from the US while others were said to be from the UK. This shows that the UK’s participation and support of the great human torture and human rights violations in Guantanamo will only contribute to subjecting the UK to more and more terrorist attacks.

This points serve to give evidence that the UK’s strategy on counter terrorism is bound to be ineffective in the fact that it has not given the root cause of terrorism an upper hand. It has not identified the causes of power straggle which trigger the terrorist activities. This will be the only way that a reasonable understanding will be found between the perpetrators and the targets of terrorist attacks and activities. Therefore, basing on this concept of international relations, one could conclude that the UK strategy is bound to be ineffective.


Basing on the discussions above, it is quite clear that terrorist activities will always be experienced unless appropriate measures are taken. However, the activity calls for a more appropriate approach which will identify the main reasons leading to the rise of the vice. Best strategies that will work to counter terrorism should not base their activities in suppressing the activities of the terrorists, instead, they should identify the problems of which the terrorists are trying to express through their terrorist activities then settle them in a very appropriate manner.

While tackling the issue of countering terrorism, Reeson (2006) identifies the theory of realism as an important aspect in the strategizing for counter terrorism. According to Reeson, realists believe that all nations struggle to achieve power and control others. The major effort is usually to maintain a favorable position on the international stage. According to the realists, war is inevitable in the struggle to maintain power. According to them, the state is the key actor in international relations and that no other actors are above it. Putting the issue of power within the drawing board and the issue of the state being the utmost key player in International relations, it is therefore important to identify the role that states play promotion of terrorism. Benjamin Netanyahu reported that no international terrorism can stand on its own. There has to be a government that supports them through arming them and giving them a safe haven through which they can train and strategize on their next agenda (Netanyahu 2001). From the realists’ point of view, it can be argued that most terrorist activities are activated by the need for self preservation. Any Terror organization will attack a government that tends to threaten their existence. This he attributes to the September 11 attacks on the United States.

To ensure that their strategies manage to work appropriately, the UK should therefore work hard in the sealing of the loopholes in their strategy that will lead to triggering terrorist activities. In addition, they should try to ensure that they take a holistic approach that will not only identify their position in the war against terrorism, but also, they should consider the position of the terrorists. This could give them an insight in the issue.

Finally, the role of human rights should be considered in actions and not in words. By acting towards respecting of human rights, the issue of terrorism will easily be tackled. This is because scholars identify it to be one of the greatest contributory factors in encouragement of terrorism activities. In addition, the observation of human rights will give them chance to work with citizens in the countries from where terrorists are prone to originate. This will help in reducing terrorist activities because the citizens will be in position to reveal suspicious characters in their societies and also convince others to change their position towards terrorism. This paper therefore calls for the policy makers to check on the loopholes identified in this paper and make appropriate amendments. This will help to create a safe UK now and in future.


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