by CATHERINE DIECKMAN '17
While the United States may be in the midst of the 2016 Presidential Election, countries around the world are facing significant problems revolving around jihadist terrorism. From the recent attacks in Brussels to hotel shootings in the Ivory Coast, the world is experiencing terrorist threats that have reached a new level of extremism. In order to see the expansion of terrorism in the past few months, one must understand the differing perspectives in countries throughout the globe.
1. Bombing at an Airport and Subway Station in Brussels
Several weeks ago, three explosions occurred in Belgium – two at the Brussels airport, and the third at a busy subway station. More than 260 suffered injuries, and at least 30 people were killed. Shortly after the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility, similar to the attacks that took place in Paris in November 2015. Belgian authorities began to heavily investigate the situation and draw connections between the mentioned events in Paris. In order to calm the unrest in Belgium, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel states that “we feared terrorist attacks and that has now happened.” In accordance with French Prime Minister François Hollande, he believes that there will be an end to jihadist terrorism in the coming years.
2. The Endless War against Terrorism in Pakistan
On Easter Sunday a few days following the Belgian attacks, radical jihadists struck again in Lahore, Pakistan at an amusement park. The Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar sent several suicide bombers into the park where hundreds were injured and at least 70 people were killed. After the terrorists again praised their murderous acts, they spoke out; in fact, one jihadist stated that “the target was Christians” and that they “wanted to send this message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that [they] have entered Lahore.” Because of Pakistan’s Middle-Eastern location, terrorism has been a constant war in which innocent civilians have paid the ultimate price: death. Though aid from surrounding countries may temporarily relieve this ideological war, this conflict in Pakistan is far from over.
3. Innocence Lost in the Ivory Coast
In early March, over 16 civilians were killed in resort hotels in Grand-Bassam, near Ivory Coast’s capital, Abidjan. At three beach hotels, gunmen opened fire on swimmers, picnickers, all innocent victims. Since November, West Africa has experienced three terrorist attacks by different factions of Al Qaeda. In a world of terrorism, Ivory Coast citizens dropped into a state of fear; yet their president, Alassane Ouattara believed the situation was under control. In order to protect the country from other radical groups, government officials have set up extra checkpoints on highways, placed metal detectors in various public places, and have even stopped random drivers to search their belongings. In addition to public safety, Ouattara has encouraged international businesses to place their headquarters in the capital to ensure their security. As a result of this attack, the Ivory Coast has been set back in its journey to stability following political unrest in the 2000s.
4. Southeastern Asia - Anti-Terrorism Acts
On April 7, China and several Southeast Asian countries convened in Beijing to improve security against primarily Middle Eastern terrorism in their nations. Senior Chinese official Meng Jianzhu states that most southeastern Asian countries share a common interest in their futures; they wish to protect their citizens and their nations’ similar values. One way that the countries will work together is through informational exchanges, giving access to private information about terrorists and their upcoming plans to Southeast Asian governments.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng also wishes to develop bilateral relations with China. In the future, he sees a strong bond between Cambodia and China; therefore, Southeast Asia will be a strong force pushing for anti-terrorism.
A common thread is seen in the way countries are responding to terrorism: the strong desire to win. Until a country is affected itself by these attacks, world leaders do not realize the severity of these situations. In order to face terrorists, global rulers must learn the jack of the trade and get to the root of this problem.