Below are two examples of intelligence indicators or warnings of potential terrorism threats with details on why they are important indicators for the development of strategies to preventing violence. Furthermore, some limits and challenges to the strategies to counter are presented.
In 2007, Perl lists ideas on counter-terrorism for the U.S. Congress presenting his synthesis of Sam Reid’s research. One idea “Mitigating extremists indoctrination of the young”, and another denying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists and rogue states including materials access, and improving the U.S. intelligence system to detect and respond to possible WMD attacks (Perl, 2007). On the surface both ideas appear useful approaches, but nothing concrete is offered to illustrate how the strategy can produce tangible results. Perl observes mitigating extremism in educational systems and cites problems in Muslim schools that are funded by oil tycoons and charities- he criticizes the international community for neglecting this threat of terrorism suggesting that the early seed planting of hate can erupt later in life, yet the assertion lacks accompanying evidences of any credible research which might reinforce his views. One possible historical experience he could draw upon includes Hitlar’s youth programs and any related conditioning research which may be relevant. There are no present international laws restricting types of education. However, is a case was tried tying education activities to hate, it is possible an existing international law judgement could apply (Prosecutor v. Nahimana, Barayagwiza, and Ngeze (Media Case), Case no. ICTR-99-52-T (Int'l Crim. Trib. for Rwanda Trial Chamber I Dec. 3, 2003) regarding genocide prevention.
The U.N. has celebrated a decade of youth which resulted in many positive education programs, but even in the U.S. research is showing a significant concern about the quality of education systems. There is a need to take a closer look at correlations between poverty and violence (Laurete 2010), that assumption may be baseless as we may find perpetrators of violent crime indexes do not reflect more or less criminal propensity to violence depending on economic status. However, research may confirm the likelihood to commit violence is related to empathy or ethics and that empathy and ethics can be socially influenced to be strengthened or weakened over time depending upon the environment one is situated in. However, if empathy or ethical ability is found to be more genetically influenced than it is determined by environment that could present an interesting ethical dilemma. For example, if we know the likelihood of violence action exists, does that authorize differential treatment and who would enforce that? Similarly, does a past violent offence increase the likely hood of a future violent offense and warrant differential treatments, freedoms, and employment opportunities. Behavioral conditioning and the availability of instruments of violence on the other hand are predicted to be greater determinants of the delivery of violence. Therefore, correlations of weapons to violence and specific learning methods can be shown to be greater indicators of possible conditions for attacks. Society tends to reward violence on one front, but demonizes and considers it wrong on another depending on the post occupied i.e. a cop or soldier versus thief or criminal killer/ combatant.
One challenge for the west addressing extremism in the Middle East is the age old phenomenon of cultural oppressions and the process of conversion and assimilation which does not peacefully respect the pre-existing cultures. The globalization process tends to be violent and exploitive and opponents can easily cite examples from history. Thus, parameters for legitimate interventions and how interventions are made to address threats is critical and should not be made by one culture pressing on another. A better solution would be for people from within the culture to be empowered to democratically influence their less desirable trends and to diplomatically offer solutions and non-violent resistance where possible. Simple mechanism such as aide to countries dependent on reasonable benchmarks can influence countries to set up internal policies on items such as education restrictions or minimum standards. However, enforcement which should come from internal checks and balance as much as possible versus outside pressure, both with periodic evaluations to measure performance are critical.
Perl (2007) also discusses denying weapons of mass destruction to terrorist and rogue states. He lists controlling the access to materials and determining intent and developing an appropriate response capability to threats. An obvious challenge exists between private industry globally and the interests of any specific government. Especially when a government like the U.S. has so many enemies, some of which are formidable state superpowers and can easily wage wars by proxy by arming smaller factions and networks which are not even existing states, but may reside in safe haven zones or ungoverned territories. There are many well intentioned treaties or documents that attempt to promote non-proliferation, but as we have witnessed in the past it only takes one strike to rearrange priorities and alter rules or watch as those rules or mutually agreement go broken often without serious consequences. If the U.S. or anyone wishes to control the materials used to make WMD, unfortunately it would mean they would need to control all the areas from which the natural resources to make the weapons are being acquired and or an ability to monitor all laboratories and developments pertaining to WMD which presents serious logistical problems including technological limits and human resource shortages of the various specialists needed to conduct proper monitoring. For example, no country has figured out how to even monitor and prevent undesirable movement or people and drugs/ weapons, so controlling information and other resources which can be more easily disguised and transported presents much more significant threats. A review of history shows over and over again the bravery of people whom simply did not cooperate and presented obstacles to advancing threats, the pressure of belonging and self-preservation has worked in some instances to prevent harm and in other instances reinforced harm as the trends of social movements build and recede over the natural lifetimes. Usually violence and violence based movements do not remain sustained, in part because their nature is to destroy and is unsustainable. Industrialism itself is a very violent process and is beginning to show signs of various terrorist driven revolts to what may otherwise be characterized as genuine pre-existing threats the developed and developing nations face if they are modeling western lifestyles and cultures. Serious contradictions exist regarding weapons controls. On the one hand the international community of the G8 claims they want peace, but on the other hand the citizens of those countries- just like China and Russia are selling and shipping arms related materials and goods to conflict regions globally. Combined with the realities that large governments often say things, but act completely opposite as if they are themselves exempt from the demands they want to place on others. The notion that any government is capable of being honest and a good cop is naïve. Instances throughout history demonstrate the vulnerabilities that the ever fluctuating pendulum of power presents. Therefore, the only checks and balance really are the tolerances as Fredrick Douglas professes in the 19 century, of those whom they oppress. To minimize this dynamic a real negotiation and trust building exercise must take place where the playing field among giants and the smaller groups attempting to build nations have the same rules applied to them and enforcement concerning nonproliferation is evenly applied.
Harvard Law Review. 2004. International Law. Genocide. U.N. Tribunal Finds That Mass Media Hate Speech Constitutes Genocide, Incitement to Genocide, and Crimes against Humanity. Prosecutor v. Nahimana, Barayagwiza, and Ngeze (Media Case), Case no. ICTR-99-52-T (Int'l Crim. Trib. for Rwanda Trial Chamber I Dec. 3, 2003) Vol. 117, No. 8 Jun., 2004. pp. 2769-2776.
The Harvard Law Review Association DOI: 10.2307/4093416 retrieved Aug. 2, 2015 from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4093416
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). 2010. Terrorism: Legislation and policy: Causes of terrorism. Baltimore: Author.
Perl, R. F. 2007. National strategy for combating terrorism: Background and issues for Congress. Retrieved from http://www.law.umaryland.edu/…/crsdocu…/RL34230_11012007.pdf