When analyzing the world’s current situation concerning terrorism, it is difficult to say whether the global war on terrorism has been a successful one. Since the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City, George Bush, former president of the United States, vowed to defeat terrorism. Eight years later, this promise has yet to be fulfilled, and even with the help of many countries globally, the threat of terrorism is still evident more then ever, which questions whether the global war on terror is succeeding. Moreover, to entirely grasp the subject, one must be familiar with the definition of terrorism and it can be defined as an act of violence or threatened violence intended to spread panic in a society, and to bring about political change.
Terrorists do not necessarily live in their native states, they also migrate to neighboring countries, and countries abroad and often go undetected. The logistics and man power it takes to combat terrorism is immense, and it seems more evident that the global war on terrorism is not succeeding due to essentially three factors. First, that The United States has created a terrorist haven in the Middle East. Second, international support for the global war on terrorism is decreasing. Third, terrorism has been on the constant increase since September 11, 2001.
On March 19, 2003, former American President George W. Bush announced to the world that the United States and the United Kingdom would be invading Iraq. He stated that this military operation was designed to “disarm Iraq, free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” America had seen Iraq to be a major threat against world peace as well as a “breeding ground for terrorists”, and that it had to eliminate this threat before they could attack again. On March 20, 2003, a day after President Bushes address, The United States and the United Kingdom began their invasion of Iraq. Although the invasion was intended to disarm Iraq from any weapons of mass destruction, it was also aimed at uncovering and eliminating any terrorist organizations within the country since several United States officials accused Hussein of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks.
In fact, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found and it was discovered that there was “no direct connection between Saddam’s Iraq and al-Qaeda.” Furthermore, while there was no concrete connection between Iraq and terrorism, the United States and the United Kingdom decided to remain in Iraq and liberate its people. Moreover, attacks on troops were being carried out daily and Iraqis say that these attacks were being made by “organized forces – motivated by nationalism, Islam and revenge – that feed off public unhappiness.” Instead of creating a more liberal and safe Iraq, what the United States and United Kingdom had done was essentially bring more violence and terrorist activity to the country. Prior to the United States’ and United Kingdom’s occupation, the people of Iraq were not able to speak their minds, but what they did have was security and the basic amenities to get through the day.
After the occupation had taken place, the Iraqi people to this day “fear being attacked in their bedrooms; power, water, and telephones are routinely unavailable.” Shiites, which are a branch of Islam, supported the removing of Saddam Hussein from power, but got increasingly hostile towards the United States’ and United Kingdom’s occupation of their country. This hostility resulted in the creation of religious extremists within Iraq which “have told western reporters that they are prepared to carry out martyrdom operations if and when they receive orders to do so.” The United States and United Kingdom invasion of Iraq had not only increased religious extremism in the country, but it was also used as a “recruitment tool by al-Qaeda and other groups.” The head of Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, Saad al-Faqih, said that “images of American soldiers and tanks in Baghdad are deeply humiliating to Muslims.” This humiliation is one of many things that tends to trigger deep anger for American and British forces occupying Iraq, and ultimately creates terrorists.
However, some argue that the occupation of Iraq was essential in the global fight against terrorism. Former President George W. Bush stated that if the United States and the United Kingdom had not invaded Iraq, terrorists would not be idle. He goes on to say that “they would be plotting and killing [people] across the world and within [American] borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people.” Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom also agreed with Bush’s comments stating “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that what is happening in Iraq now…is crucial for the security of the world.”