September 1, 2004
Jehangir Unwalla & Nikhil Khanna
Around the globe we are seeing pictures of terrorism and brutality against innocent lives. Today Chechen rebels lay siege on a school in Southern Russia, a week earlier two Russian airlines were blown up and a new spate of suicide bombings have wreaked havoc in Israel. Insurgents are resurrecting every day and bringing about a new 'war' on people around the world.
Are we all beginning to see the face of the new enemy? The last few wars were fought between countries with disparate borders, massive landings in enemy territory and precise military operations. But none of these tactics are deemed logical today, for the 'new' enemy is within us. This enemy lives within our territories, drinks the same water, eats the same food and blends in with a normal environment. At a time of choosing, this enemy has the means to strike in a method more lethal than any soldier of the previous wars. This enemy is smarter and more agile, allowing him/her to quickly adapt to changing environments far quicker than we think.
With the number of radicals worldwide growing at an alarming rate, it has leading governments worried. A stop to these extremist groups is going to require far more than promoting democratic ideals and reforms. It will require a new way of thinking and action by countries devoted to curbing terrorism everywhere – in Nepal, India, Spain, Russia, Israel and America. It is a survival against those who specialize in terror, fear and taking of innocent lives. They resort to cowardly and inhuman tactics to achieve their objective. By using innocent children as cover, the Chechen separatists have proved that they will resort to whatever means necessary to achieve their 'cause'.
Are we loosing the war on terror? One can look at it from both sides. Yes, we are currently loosing it because the number of terror attacks worldwide has gone up, even though many of their safe havens have been dismantled. But terror organizations and radical groups have found innovative ways of regrouping, with ‘cells’ taking new form and cultivating almost as soon as they are disbanded. For every innocent life taken in a mindless attack, one must take it as a loss in this war. Then where are we winning? Countries around the world have realized that the only way to win this war is to unite and fight terror together. By collaborating on all levels - sharing intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance on terrorist movement, training and grouping is a path towards victory. A combined mission carried out with precise planning can avert future attacks. Every small step in stopping terror attacks from happening is a ‘win’.
When 1000 people are taken hostage by militants, most of them school children, it is no longer a Russian problem. It is a global problem! Today Russian children are held hostage, tomorrow the same could happen anywhere else. By using children as bomb covers and threatening to mercilessly kill scores of them, the insurgents have shown their barbaric ideals and despicable acts of human rights violations.
As purveyors of peace and freedom around the world, we say that terrorists and insurgents have raised the bar in this global war. Sure, one should expect collateral damage in this war and it is expected that more innocent people will lose their lives but rest assured, victory will be ours - people who seek to be free and liberated from fear and oppression. Insurgents, separatists and militants acting under the guise of 'freedom fighters' must be eradicated wherever they exist.
Indeed, a new 'world order ' is called for that sheds regional, national and religious differences. Quite simply put, two categories of people exist-those who perpetuate terror and those who have to fight it. However, more than just rhetoric is required. A concerted, concentrated, scientific and systematic organization has to be created, funded and manned like the UN Peacekeeping Force. Easier said than done, but achievable if nations cooperate. Further, the tendency to reap political advantage (such as phrases like 'leading the global war on terror') should be curbed. The need TO ACT WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY cannot be overemphasized.