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By; Professor Dr. Abdelrazak Ali
Democracy And Terrorism

 
Democracy and Terrorism
By; Professor Dr. Abdelrazak Ali
 
 Abstract;  The terrorism expanded its strategic plan from targeting  local domestic one to the widespread  transnational  terrorism in the aftermath of  the multinational intervention  in Afghanistan and the emergence of Al-Qaeda, and then increased in severity after Iraq invasion. The correlations for levels of democracy with incidents of international terrorism, injuries, and fatalities were invariably negative with a minimal level of significance. The authoritarian states, states in transition from autocracy to democracy, and particularly if followed revolutionary events.  may create an enabling environment for terrorism, one has only to look at the location and origins of the major terrorist groups active today. States that are actively involved in international politics are likely to create resentment abroad and hence more likely to be the target of transnational terrorism than are the state that pursues a more isolationist foreign policy. Democratic states are more likely to be targeted by transnational terrorist groups not because of their regime type per se but because of the type of foreign policy they tend to pursue. The claim that democracy is the antidote to terrorism rests on four underlying assumptions: (1) democracy brings greater political participation, civil liberties, and rule of law than autocracy, which will reduce the appeal of joining terrorist organizations; (2) democracy reduces the incidents or occurrences of terrorist attacks; (3) outside efforts to coerce regimes into a transition from autocracy to democracy are successful, and the results are sustained over time; (4) the long-term benefits of states transitioning from autocracy to democracy will offset the short-term costs.
Democracy and Terrorism
By; Professor Dr. Abdelrazak Ali
Although there is no commonly accepted definition of terrorism, there has been widespread agreement on many of its key characteristics. Terrorism consists of the use of violence or the threat of violence by an organized group to attain political objectives. The victims of terrorism are important as a means for influencing a wider target audience. The victims are normal civilians because attacks on them increase the impact of the violence on the target audiences. Terrorism is also a weapon of the weak. Groups that are able to obtain their desired political objectives by other means such as victory in an election, intra-elite maneuverings, military coups, bribery, rebellion, or civil war, are much less likely to rely on terrorism as the primary means of trying to achieve their goals. The last characteristic is that terrorism involves non-governmental actors on at least one side. Either the targets, or the terrorists, and sometimes both are non-governmental actors. [1]
It has been suggested that democratic political systems provide greater opportunities for terrorist groups and create permissive environments in which terrorist networks can operate more easily. While the argument has a solid logical grounding that has been widely accepted, empirical tests of the connection between democracy and terrorism have been few and not very comprehensive in scope. In the upcoming years, one of the most significant challenges facing democratic  nation-states and their project of perpetual peace through economic, social, and political interdependence will be terrorism instigated by non-state armed groups that have territorial and political demands.
Terrorism and Democratic Systems
One indirect indication of democratic vulnerability to terrorism is the general absence of non-state terrorism in totalitarian societies. These most repressive systems have been relatively free of such terrorist activity. [2] Totalitarian governments have advantages in dealing with potential terrorist groups. They do not have to worry about collecting evidence for a trial or presenting credible or compelling evidence. They can also use more extreme methods of interrogation or even threaten family members as a means of gaining leverage with suspects. [3]
Totalitarian regimes have also been willing to track down dissidents abroad in order to eliminate them. The security services in Nazi Germany proved to be quite capable of dealing with opponents by using such techniques. The KGB in the Soviet Union was also notoriously effective in dealing with dissidents or presumed dissidents, and outbreaks of terrorism were noticeably absent in the Soviet Union before its collapse. Terrorist actions were also few in numbers in Saddam Hussein's Iraq under the Ba'ath regime. By contrast, the break-up of the Soviet Union and the end of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq have been accompanied by noticeable increases in terrorist activity. However, the absence of terrorism in the totalitarian societies does not mean that democracies are uniquely vulnerable. Weaker states of all types have provided opportunities for terrorism, including weaker authoritarian states. [4] It has also been suggested that political systems in transition may be more vulnerable. [5] 
When political systems are in transition, police and security forces are often in disarray and control mechanisms are weaker. nowadays these  serious disarrays  could be embodied in the aftermath of the Arabian spring revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Syria. it's impossible to predict the eventual outcome of the revolution related terroristic disasters. We didn't forget  the states formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the current Iraqi government all are qualified as weaker states compared to their predecessors and also as political systems currently in transition or at least in transition in the recent past. Societies in the transition from a non-democratic regime to a democratic government may be particularly vulnerable since the grip of the old security forces on society is diminished while the new freedoms provide opportunities for violent dissidents. The authoritarian states may create an enabling environment for terrorism, one has only to look at the location and origins of the major terrorist groups active today. The Islamist State, for example, metastasized amid the Syrian dictatorship’s war with opposition rebels and the sectarian divisions. And Boko Haram has radicalized and expanded its reach amid extrajudicial killings and other ineffective tactics by the corruption-plagued Nigerian security forces.Given this reality, the most effective way for democracies to combat terrorism at home over the long term may be to foster democratic governance abroad.”
Democratic regimes, by contrast, are assumed to provide more tempting locations for terrorist activities than totalitarian states. Democracies are by definition more open politically, and there are protections that come with respect for civil liberties. Furthermore, restrictions on surveillance and investigations by the security forces and police agencies are in force. Weaker intelligence gathering capabilities mean that the ability to pre-empt terrorist groups before they strike is more limited. [6] Checkpoints, where identity papers need to be presented, are unusual and infrequent. Moreover, democracies also have relatively weaker control of their borders, thereby providing opportunities for in- and ex-filtration. [7]
The terrorism expanded its strategic plan from targeting  local domestic one to the widespread  transnational  terrorism in the aftermath of  the multinational intervention  in Afghanistan and the emergence of Al-Qaeda, and then increased in severity after Iraq invasion. The positive empirical association between democracy and transnational terrorism is thus better explained by the foreign policy behavior of states. States that adopt more active foreign policies, as democracies often do, are likely to foment some sort of resentment among foreign groups and, hence, may be the target of terrorism by these aggrieved groups.Our observations suggest that democracies are not necessarily more vulnerable to terrorism by their nature. What is important is how states behave toward other actors in the international system. Involvement in international crises, alliance ties with the United States, and intervention in civil wars particularly increase a state’s vulnerability to transnational terrorism.  This could interpret the argument of Burcu  and Brian(8) "states that exhibit a certain type of foreign policy behavior, regardless of their regime type, are likely to attract transnational terrorism. States that are actively involved in international politics are likely to create resentment abroad and hence more likely to be the target of transnational terrorism than are the state that pursues a more isolationist foreign policy. Democratic states are more likely to be targeted by transnational terrorist groups not because of their regime type per se but because of the type of foreign policy they tend to pursue. The following database analysis provides mild support for the argument; The data on international terrorist attacks and democracy were collected for countries for the years from 1972 to 1995.The measure of political openness was based on the Freedom House rankings for civil and political liberties for each of those years. The data include the number of incidents, number of dead, and number of injured which in the analyses to follow was made proportional to population figures. The first year for which the data were available was 1972. Rankings for countries ranged from 1 for countries that were politically completely free to 7 for states that were totally dictatorial with no freedoms with many countries being partially free [9]. The use of such a scale for distinguishing among states is quite important. Both Eyerman and Li used dichotomous variables rather than ones based on a continuum. [10] The variation present is relevant since it would be possible that more democratic states could be more vulnerable than partially democratic ones. While other, more complex measures of democracy have been developed, the Freedom House rankings provide a consistent ranking available for virtually all countries for a relatively long period of time. The data on terrorism were derived from information available from the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism "MIPT"[11]. While the correlations between levels of democracy with incidents of international terrorism, injuries, and fatalities were invariably negative with a minimal level of significance. The regional analysis indicated that in the Middle East the connection was very much stronger indeed. In addition, it was also obvious that the communist systems in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were much more effective in preventing these kinds of attacks than the democracies of West Europe as was expected. A number of factors may help to explain these mixed results. Somewhat limited number of international incidents, compared to domestic attacks (which outnumber international incidents by a factor of seven or more), has meant that singular events with high casualties are statistical outliers that could have affected the results.
Precautions for Democracy
The effective long-term measure for strengthening international stability; reducing regional conflicts; countering terrorism and terror- supporting extremism, and extending peace and prosperity. The United States seeks to extend freedom across the globe by leading an international effort to end tyranny and to promote effective democracy[12]. U.S. foreign policy over the past several years has clearly reflected the increased importance of democracy promotion, particularly in the Middle East. Existing USAID democratization programs have been intensified, and new initiatives, such as the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the Broader Middle East and North Africa Partnership Initiative (BMENA), were created.[13]
Recent debates about immigration policies in the United States and Western Europe reflect some of the concerns that can exist with more open borders (notwithstanding recent practices in the US for dealing with enemy combatants). Moreover, even when terrorists are arrested, there are usually limits to the length of detention and clear limits on the mechanisms that can be used in the interrogation of suspects. In democracies, suspects are generally given fair trials and have the opportunity of gaining an acquittal if the evidence is insufficient or poorly presented [14].
Steve Stoddard  suggested" The basic claim that democracy is the antidote to terrorism rests on four underlying  assumptions: (1) democracy brings greater political participation, civil liberties, and rule of law than autocracy, which will reduce the appeal of joining terrorist organizations; (2) democracy reduces the incidents or occurrences of terrorist attacks; (3) outside efforts to coerce regimes into a transition from autocracy to democracy are successful, and the results are sustained over time; (4) the long-term benefits of states transitioning from autocracy to democracy will offset the short-term costs[15].
 The number of terrorist attacks and level of violence are greatest in the early stages of democracy but, generally speaking, continually decrease over the course of time. As democracies mature, there is a long-term, dynamic movement toward a more rule-based, consensual and participatory politics. This is usually accompanied by the development of the freedom of speech, civil society, and other ways for people to express themselves. All of these are associated with declines in political, social, and/or religious violence.
References
[1] David Claridge, "State Terrorism? Applying a Definitional Mode," Terrorism and Political Violence, 8, 3 (1996), pp. 47-63; Bruce Hoffman Inside Terrorism, revised and expanded edition, New York: Columbia University Press, 2006, Chap. 1; and Brenda J. Lutz and James M. Lutz, Terrorism in America, New York: Palgrave, 2007, p. 2.
[2] Ted Robert Gurr, "Terrorism in Democracies: When It Occurs, Why It Fails," in Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (Ed.), The New Global Terrorism: Characteristics, Causes, Controls, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003, p. 202, and Walter Laqueur, A History of Terrorism, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers 2001, p. 122.
[3] Peter Chalk, "The Response to Terrorism as a Threat to Liberal Democracy," Australian Journal of Politics and History, 44, 3 (1998), p. 386, and Lutz and Lutz, Terrorism in America,p.7.
[4] Martha Crenshaw, "The Causes of Terrorism," in Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (Ed.), The New Global Terrorism: Characteristics, Causes, Controls, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003, p. 94, and Feliks Gross, Violence in Politics: Terror and Assassination in Eastern Europe and Russia, Studies in Social Sciences 13, The Hague: Mouton, 1972, p. 90.
[5] Tore Bjorgo, "Introduction," in Tore Bjorgo (Ed.), Root Causes of Terrorism: Myths, Reality and Ways Forward, London: Routledge, 2005, p. 9; Jan Oskar Engene, Terrorism in Western Europe: Explaining the Trends since 1950, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2004, p. 168; Ted Robert Gurr, "Economic Factors," in Louise Richardson (Ed.), The Roots of Terrorism, New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 98; Leonard B. Weinberg and William L. Eubank, "Terrorism and Democracy: What Recent Events Disclose," Terrorism and Political Violence, 10, 1 (1998), p. 114; and Paul Wilkinson, Terrorism versus Democracy: The Liberal State Response, London: Frank Cass, 2000, p. 24.
[6] Engine, Terrorism in Western Europe, p. 34.
[7] Gabriel Sheffer, "Diasporas and Terrorism,' in Louise Richardson (Ed.), The Roots of Terrorism, New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 119.
[8] Democracy, Foreign Policy.  Terrorism Burcu Savun and Brian J. Phillips.Journal of Conflict Resolution OnlineFirst, published on August 17, 2009, as doi:10.1177/0022002709342978
[9] Freedom House, Country Ratings, www.freedomhouse.org/ratings , accessed 2002.
[10]-Eyerman, "Terrorism and the Democratic States", op. cit., and Li, "Does Democracy Promote or Reduce", op. cit.
[11]-The MIPT data is no longer available since the funding for the collection was ended. Cf. Brian K. Houghton, "Terrorism Knowledge Base: A Eulogy (2004-2008)," Perspectives on Terrorism, 2, 7 (2008). The data set was transferred to the University of Maryland, but it is no longer accessible.
[12]-United States, National Security Strategy of the United States, White House, 2006. http://georgewbushwhitehouse.archives.gov/nsc/nss/2006/sectionII.html
[13]-Katerina Dalacoura, “US Democracy Promotion in the Arab Middle East Since 11 September 2001,” International Affairs. 81, vol. 5, (2005): 964.
[14] Engine, Terrorism in Western Europe, p. 34; Philip Jenkins, Images of Terror: What We Can and Can't Know about Terrorism, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 2003, p. 72.
[15] Steve Stoddard - International Affairs Review
www.iar-gwu.org/sites/.../files/.../Democracy%20and%20Terrorism

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