Counter-terrorism Hysteria

تم نشره في Tue 18 November / Nov 2014. 08:38 PM

By Fahed Khitan

Democratic, and also semi-democratic, states resort to issuing lists of organizations both banned or classified as terrorist in order to distinguish between them and those licensed in accordance with the law. Such a rating applies to political parties, movements, associations and organizations working in various fields.

The classification process is usually subject to legal and political considerations — mainly states comply with lists issued in this regard by the UN Security Council, which in turn asks nations to commit to not dealing with certain organizations, under penalty of perjury. Sometimes, the lists include some of the people involved in the financing of terrorist groups, or those who stand at the helm of those groups.

However, the irony of it all is when Arab states — those Gulf States specifically that does not have any democratic margin, issue such a list; suggesting that there are other organizations who are allowed to operate in those countries. While the reality is just the opposite; there are no licensed political parties, associations, nor unions, with the exception of sports clubs.

The last of those lists was issued by the United Arab Emirates, and included about 80 groups, association, and organizations from around the world, mostly licensed in their respective countries, and is active in accordance with existing laws, engaged in humanitarian and charitable fields, and has close links with the governments of their democratic countries, such as Norway, the United States, and Britain.

No sane person can believe that a country like Norway allows an organization that funded terrorist activities to operate on its territory. It seems an exaggeration to say that the Arab or the Gulf intelligence services are more familiar with the activities of an organization operating in the US from the US security apparatus itself, a country that is tightening its grip around those working with Islamist societies in particular.

It is true that terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq have extensive network of sympathizers and financiers in many countries, but the bulk of the support comes from the Arab countries and not Western one. The inclusion of political groups in the lists of terrorism without provide conclusive evidence of their involvement in terrorist acts, means expanding the circle of sympathizers with the Islamic State (IS) and others from extremist organizations, and the loss of supposed allies in the raging battle with the terrorists.

Threats to the security of the Gulf and Arab countries are clearer and better defined than ever; after the demise of the al-Qaeda and the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, IS became the source of the threat. The leaders of this "state" and their supporters, in Saudi Arabia and other countries, express it openly.

Efforts to fight these should be intensified. However, that requires more intelligent approaches than creating lists and childish attitudes that we hear about from some countries; approaches to take into account the concern for winning allies instead of losing those, at this stage at least.

Some states have influenced the Egyptian proactive approach in this area. But the situation in Egypt is different to a large extent; there is a terrorist group carrying arms against the state, killing and destroying in the Sinai and around other Egyptian governorates. The Egyptian state could have resolve the battle within them in the shortest time, and with fewer losses; however, they chose to expand the circle of enemies, entered a conflict without an end in sight.

There is no wisdom in other Arab countries walking in Egypt’s shoes so as not to fall in the same hole.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition