Feb 6, 2019

Emerging Trends in Counterterrorism

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Terror is increasingly becoming a challenge each passing day. As the world changes so are the forms, which it takes and the victims it targets. As a result, counterterrorism efforts are facing new challenges to overcome by the day necessitating a shift in the approaches being used. Counterterrorism is thus adopting new trends with time for the sake of effectively combating the problem. The inflexible bureaucratic approach previously employed to counter terrorism had proved inefficient in tackling the problem. Throughout the world, there are calls for measures that are both flexible and adaptive to the undercurrents of the world around us.
As such, the new age mechanisms being developed to fight terror are designed to target very specific yet dynamic areas. There is an emphasis on the formulation of policies that are driven by gender-specific roles, the qualitative change in terror landscape of a variety of conflict areas as well as the changing tactics utilized by extremist groups.

A key trend is a need for intelligence sharing, cooperation and joint counter-terrorism measures across different countries and regions. Gone are the days when intelligence was guarded secretively. We are now learning that terrorism is a global threat that can potentially affect anyone. Countries sharing close geographical links are now forming regional task forces that cooperate with another with the aim of protecting the entire region. Moreover, international bodies such as the United Nations are also calling for coordination in fighting terrorism. Therefore the current trend involves joint efforts from countries that would not otherwise work together.
Also, new trends in the fight against terror are closely examining the role parents and their children play in the fight. The institutionalized indoctrination of young minds by people affiliated to the radical groups is emerging as a new problem. It is spreading the menace across generations. As a result, the participation of children in terror at the moment has become a widespread phenomenon. Furthermore, terror groups like the AlShabaab are recently reported to be recruiting children. Thus, counterterrorism efforts here are being designed to protect the children physically as well as ideologically.

Other measures introduced by the Kenyan government in countering terrorism include: Deployment of anti-terror police in North eastern region, increased border patrols to refrain terrorist influx and Nyumba Kumi initiative-which plays a vital role in enabling citizens report suspicious cases to security forces. Uganda and Tanzania have embraced citizen-led programs to encourage cohesion and good neighborliness. This makes their citizens less susceptible to militant recruitment.

Lastly, there are calls for a complementary approach to counter-terrorism. It is termed as preventing and countering violent extremism. Here, the new trend aims at preventing terror as opposed to fighting it. As mentioned earlier, this approach is not meant to replace counterterrorism in general. The method directly targets the disturbing yet lawful belief as well as actions that are conducted in the pre-criminal space. Accordingly, the trend strategically places emphasis on fighting the growing radicalization efforts that are responsible for the violence. The approach also combines some of the previously discussed trends in an effort to provide a global platform for preventing terror attacks without violence where possible.

Indeed, the dynamic nature of the world brings with it challenges in counterterrorism. New trends are thus emerging to address said issues. These include the development of policies that target the entire complexity of terrorism, joint efforts and intelligence sharing, protecting children from ideological indoctrination and preventing and countering violent extremism.

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