"The Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed more details about today’s arrests of Minnesotans accused of aiding the Somalia - based terrorist organization al-Shabab."
America and Transnational Terrorism
While terrorism was not new for many nation-states around the globe, the United States was brutally awakened to the enormity of the threat after the second attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (9-11). In a way, that event ushered in the realization that the world is now in a new era of terrorism: transnational.
The new terrorists, like Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, have no specific loyalty to a particular nation-state. They move men, funds, and weapons across nation-state borders in the service of their religious ideology. They target military, commercial, and civilian targets alike with suicide bombers, media campaigns, and fear. They are elusive and driven. They are among us.
In a world composed of nation-states, these transnational terrorists threaten to overturn the existing order. To fight them effectively, a nation-state must be able to freely move its counter-terrorists across nation-state borders just as the terrorists do. Yet, no nation-state is willing to allow another nation-state's counter-terrorists to roam freely about. Such actions would destroy nation-state sovereignty. Instead, much effort is put into international cooperation. Naturally, questions about the durability of the nation-state in this environment should be raised, particularly when a nuclear attack is considered.
Following the events on 9/11, the United States vowed to hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice. This task has proved difficult with al-Qaeda operating in 60 known countries worldwide. Unable to invade every country al-Qaeda operates in, the United States has been forced to develop partnerships with numerous nation-states in order to track the movement of terrorists, stifle their ability to move funds, and bring to justice those who intend to do harm to us. Additionally, similar steps have been taken domestically to do the same.
With the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden after extensive intelligence gathering and a precise strike by a special forces team, the United States achieved a symbolic victory nearly ten years after the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. It showed the difficulty of finding specific terrorists in foreign countries, but also that success can be achieved to a great degree through intelligence and focused efforts. The success of the effort will likely impact many future decisions for American and other's efforts at counter-terrorism.
America and Transnational Terrorism explores the history of transnational terrorism and provides a number of opinions on how best to move forward against the threat.
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