Is there a Global Anti-Terrorism Movement?

By | June 26, 2017

[June 26, 2017]  Just a few days ago at a meeting in Washington D.C., there was another of many expert-only conferences attempting to grasp the ever evolving concept of terrorism and what to do about it.  What was learned was that in the past year the world did see the beginnings of a small anti-terrorism movement being led by four Middle East countries.

Are they part of a new global anti-terrorism movement?  No, but encouraged but not lead by the United States, the leadership in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain have created a mini-coalition to oppose countries supporting terrorism (terrorism in the name of Islam).  Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has been one of the central leaders in criticizing terrorists, their tactics, and those who support them.

It was once said that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”  This simple statement explains, in part, the complexity of defining exactly what terrorism is about.  Some have noted that before we can fight it, we must define it.  Well, that is not exactly true.  Scholars note that there is no consensus on its definition but there is a fight against terrorism and it has been going on for a long time.

“Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.” – Christopher Hitchens, American author, columnist, and social critic

One big problem is that there remains no consensus to its meaning or even the action to take against it; even the United Nations that has been unable to agree to a definition or action plan.  This hinders a worldwide effort, but for many in senior political leadership positions that has not stopped them from taking action.  The latest was a demand from the leadership of these four nations for Qatar to stop assisting terrorists.1

This is what leadership is about.  When no consensus is possible, where the majority of peoples’ desire cannot be obtained, or when there are irreconcilable differences, leadership provides the light to guide people away from a problem.  In this case, the leaders in Saudi Arabia are leading the four-nation effort to blunt Islamic terrorism.

A lack of agreement on the concept of terrorism is an obstacle to fight it using the entire civilized world’s assets.  The country of Iran is one of the holdouts on defining terrorism and it should not come as a surprise that it is also the largest sponsor of terrorism across the world.  They claim, of course, that they never support terrorism but are assisting people who are trying to overthrowing the chains of repressive regimes.

Over the past few months, the United States has demonstrated a growing interest in joining this effort.  Under past-President Obama, the U.S. was slowly withdrawing from any major coalition building against it.  That has now changed.

Over the next year, our friends here at will track the successes and failures of this mini-coalition from the Middle East and how they’re doing.  Note: See tomorrow’s post on the middle ground Muslim reformers like Maajid Nawaz and how he and his comrades are part of this anti-terror movement.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.