The causes of International Issues and Problems

May 23, 2013 10:30 am

In this day and age, one thing is clear: international issues and problems have many causes, but what exactly are they?

internationalTerrorism is an international issue with several causes. The first and major cause of terrorism is religious fundamentalism and extremism. The reason this leads to terrorist activity is due to misinterpretation of scriptures in holy books and brainwashing especially among converts. As a result of not being brought up with religion and/or not practicing their religion, individuals become more susceptible to being recruited by terrorists. This is due to not having a full understanding of their religion, thus, making them more vulnerable to falling prey to malevolent subsets of religious ideology. According to Muhamad Ali, an assistant professor of religious studies at UC Riverside and an expert on Islam, “Converts are especially enthusiastic about new ideas and more likely to accept fringe beliefs, including that violence is a legitimate religious objective.” Muhamad then goes on to articulate that some passages of holy books could, if taken out of context, seem to endorse violence.

Violent ideologies are justified in holy book verses to the likes of Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism. A famous example of an attack based on religious extremism was 9/11. In September 11, 2001, a group of 19 radicals hijacked four passenger airlines to be flown into buildings in suicide attacks. Although there are many theories of the root cause of these attacks, one credible theory, according to prospects magazine, suggests “9/11 was collateral damage in a civil war within the world of political Islam.” “Bin Laden adopted a war against ‘the far enemy’ in order to hasten the demise of the “near enemy” regimes in the middle east. And he used 9/11 to advance that cause.” However, for the most part, his plan failed despite the extent of radicalization present in the world at this time.

Another cause of terrorism is nationalism, separatism and unionism. These are all ideological beliefs with the intention of separating from a country or unifying with another city/country ( e.g. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland). The reason this leads to terrorist activity is because some individuals believe violence is the only answer, and that non-violent means pressure groups, social media, etcetera.. One example of a nationalism/separatism attack is ETA (‘Euskadi Ta Askatasuna’) also known as ‘Basque Homeland and Freedom’. In July 29, 2009, a car bomb exploded outside a barracks of a paramilitary Civil Guard in the northern Spain city of Burgos. The cause of ETA’s attacks links into political and cultural injustice as their fight for freedom was synonymous with their fight against the Franco administration (dictatorship). As a result of their basque language and culture being banned and many people dying due to their political beliefs, ETA had no choice but to resort to violence. ETA has since ceased fire in October 2011 but has noted they will not “rest until independence and socialism” in their ceasefire statement. In addition, socio-economic factors and social marginality links into terrorism.

international issuesAccording to NY Times, “extreme poverty is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time and a fundamental contributing factor to 21st century terrorism and insurgency.” The reason this leads to terrorist activity is because some people hold an ideological belief that desperate times calls for desperate measures and that their and other people’s lives will get better which leads to a conflict of ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. In November 26, 2008, twelve coordinated shooting and bombing attacks emerged in Mumbai. While the perpetrators demanded independence, poverty was also a major issue. According to Global-Politics.co.uk, “several of the attackers came from poverty and chronic unemployment” and “at least one of the attackers was promised that his family would receive $1,500 in exchange for his martyrdom.” Whilst poverty may not be a root cause of terrorism, it is a contributing factor.

Moreover, occupation and oppression is another cause of terrorism. The definition of these terms is ‘the exercise of authority or power in an unjustly manner.’ The reason this links to terrorist activity is because certain individuals want to change the current political and military agenda and feel their voices cannot be heard in any other way. In July 12, 2006, a divisionary rocket attack was initiated on Israeli military positions. The reasoning of this attack derived from Israeli’s capture of Hezbollah’s militants, however, occupation is a huge problem that has caused conflicts between Hezbollah and Israel for a long time. According to foreignpolicy.com, since Israel withdrew its army from Lebanon, there has not been a single Lebanese attack. Foreignpolicy has also argued the root of suicide terrorism isn’t religious but rather the problem is foreign military occupations.

Overall, there is no single root cause to terrorism and almost always, every factor of terrorism is based on an ideological belief whether it is anti-abortion or social-political injustice, every factor contains a set of ideas or beliefs, a certain individual or group holds. According to Republic Of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “these factors, alone or together can create a fertile ground where terrorism can flourish.”

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