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Perspectives

January 4, 2010
Using human development as antidote to Islamic terrorism

Alleged Christmas Day bomber when he was in Yemen. Photo: Al Jazeera

Ambassador S. Azmat Hassan is a former Ambassador of Pakistan to Malaysia, Syria and Morocco and Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations. He is currently an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University and is a contributing Worldfocus blogger.

Umar Abdulmutallab’s audacious attempt on Christmas Day — to ignite explosives that he had smuggled on board a Northwest Airlines flight approaching Detroit from Holland — has been a top story for the past few days.

Quick thinking by passengers who pinned him down averted what could have been a major tragedy.

Abdulmutallab is quoted as saying that he obtained the deadly explosives from al-Qaeda agents operating in Yemen. He reportedly spent some time in Yemen recently and presumably got indoctrinated there to attack Americans in the sky.

Parallels with Richard Reid, the so-called “shoe bomber” who tried something similar 8 years ago, come immediately to mind.

A somber President Obama said that the obvious security lapse, which allowed a passenger to smuggle explosives sewn in his underwear, was “unacceptable.”

More interestingly, Abdulmutallab’s father, a retired banker, had gone to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria late last year to warn it that his son had been radicalized. Further, that he was a potential menace to the United States. It is not known why the father’s courageous denunciation of his son did not have the desired effect of putting him on the no-fly list.

Five American youth are in custody in Pakistan because their parents had notified the FBI that they were missing and might be in contact with al-Qaeda. This example shows that the Muslim community worldwide is becoming more proactive in revealing contemplated acts of violent extremism emanating from their kith and kin.

Obama is right to order a thorough probe of the Christmas day bombing incident. Better sharing of intelligence among the American security agencies is key to thwarting such attempts to harm Americans. The Department of Homeland Security, the CIA and others must cooperate in getting to the bottom of this security failure.

There are an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity. A minuscule proportion of Muslim young men, for a variety reasons, become radicalized. Extremist organizations recruit them after pointing to alleged U.S. culpability in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Such alienation leading to radical behavior is not peculiar to Islam. It exists in other major religions as well. Blaming Islam for the acts of a few individuals exhibits both ignorance and bias.

Obama should also be very cautious about getting embroiled in Yemen, a desperately poor country with a weak government facing more than one violent insurgency. He already has his hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan. By all means, Yemen’s counter-terrorism apparatus needs U.S. advice and financial support. But an even more critical need is to use soft power for human development.

If the energies of hundreds of thousands of young Yemenis could be channeled into gainful employment, they are much less likely to be recruited by extremist organizations. Al-Qaeda and their ilk find a ready clientele in poverty-ridden and fragmented states such as Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan — and in the lawless tribal areas abutting the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Poverty was not the motivating factor with Abdulmutallab. He came from an affluent background and was educated in Britain. This goes to show that violent extremism has many faces. It is not possible to build a single profile of what motivates radicalization.

It is virtually impossible to eradicate violent extremism root and branch in our far from perfect world. But the international community — working together and taking affirmative action in impoverished areas of the globe — can certainly reduce such incidents.

Human development is the single most effective antidote to such behavior.

– S. Azmat Hassan

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Comments

10 comments

#10

we all have sen a the affect of terrorism weather it is 9/11 in USA or 26/11 in India or in Glasgow I really thin that its a good idea to of using a this kind of methodology as we can understand the human nature very well and I think it is the only we to fight against the terrorism..
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#9

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by lagresto: Using human development as antidote to Islamic terrorism http://bit.ly/57sCU7

#8

Adjustment(s)/Clarification(s) To The Previous Post # 7:

“…the Spherical Subsets of any One Supreme Value are subjected…”

“not all Intellectually Rationalized Definitions prove to be of an Immediate Finding Value”
[i.e. the Immediate Finding Value which, here, means: that Value which is, and is perceived as being, set as a judicially aspected value ruling, so to speak, and represents the Overseeing Value by which all the Subsets Of Interpretations operate. But these are often greatly fragmented…in the same way as files on a computer are fragmented.]

“…expectations of the People Of The World As Aspected According To The Degrees Of The Nations wherein they live…concerning an implied
and, subliminally expected, Sameness Of Meanings…” [Hint: Think of what a glass Thermometer does and what the degrees on the Thermometer imply as varying temperatures are “taken”.]

For the rest (about Languages and so forth), see Ludwig Wittgenstein…especially, his “Philosophical Investigations.”

#7

Adjustment(s)/Clarification(s) To The Previous Post # 6:

Not so much need one be interested
or, necessarily, entirely accurate
as to the Range Of Descriptions
which might be applied to a pertinent Subject
Concerning Human Affairs
by way of a mere recollection
of a Physics Lesson per se…
to, yet, realize:
…an Intangible Something evolving
as pertains to the Psychology Of The Spheres
of Current Affairs which are being politically involved…
and, with the Involvings Of Those Spheres…
…still notice how they are Observationally Gravitating [or Hovering] from one Plane Of Perceptionally and Regionally Aspected Opinions to Another…whereby, in so doing, not all Intellectually Rationalized Definitions prove
to be of an Immediate Finding Value
even when the Spherical Subsets of that One Supreme Value are subjected to the, often inherent, expectations of the People Of The World As Aspected According To The Degrees Of The Nations wherein they live…concerning an implied
and, subliminally expected, Sameness Of Meanings even when varying the Scopes Of (otherwise, seemingly) Symmetrical Languages which are being spoken, only apparently, at any given period of Time:
informed by and according to:
a Presumed (yet) Inadequate Common Understanding…

Though the Theological-Political Residues of Kaleidoscopically Psychological and Sensory Interpretations, continually, prove to…
greatly Vary….hence, the complexities of the Geometries involving Human Affairs throughout
the World.

#6

To be brief…

“For every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction.”

This is Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Physics, if I remember correctly.

This Law…still being intact:

How long shall we keep Experimenting
with such Laws…

(even when pondering
the Human Parallels
of what the Laws represent
as far as Matter is concerned)

…to find out that if we do
what will Provoke An Action…
we will Be Provoked…
in more ways than one…
ad nauseam?

#5

Islamic society must reign these brigants in ! If they cant do it…….well, I think its time to bring out the heavy arterelly !
The only thing these people fear is a boot in the neck, in other words, we must hit em hard,real hard !
I am sick and tired of hearing how we must help them rebuild……..they hate us ! Get it?

#4

We need to break all taboos which prevent us from criticizing religion. Until we can have frank discussions with ‘the faithful’ about what is acceptable in a civilized world, there is no hope. You can’t have ‘human development’ with people who are chained to 10th century ideas, that are reinforced by ‘leaders’ who benefit from this type of slavery.

#3

The possible data,and relevant info some radical jihadist al-Qaeda recruiters use to brainwash their foreign counterparts. Back in the 80’s Unical[major gas producer in the gulf of Mexico 1965-85)/(major oil producer in southern Alaska 1965-85)] was one of the key players attempting to build the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline to run from the Caspian area,through Afghanistan via Pakistan?,to the Indian Ocean via(India/future date?). At the time Unocal consultant was Zalmay Khalilzad,former US ambassador to Afghanistan then to Iraq,and then onto the UN. In the 80’s William Casey (CIA Intelligence Chief) was gaining intelligence from traveling businessman Marty Miller,…Unocal’s top executive conducting several negotiations in Central Asian countries from 1995,and voluntarily(?)providing this info gained on these trips to the CIA’s Houston station. Unocal opened an office in Kandahar,Afghanistan in 1996,while the Taliban were in the process of taking control of the country. Ironically,…Unical(?)rented a house in central Kandahar directly across the street from one of bin Laden’s new compounds(remember not deliberately?)which straddled the Herat-Bazaar-Road which happened to be near the Pakistani consulate,…housing officers from the Pakistani military Inter-Services (ISI) Intelligences. In 1997 Robert Oakley (ex-US ambassador to Pakistan, now Unocal’s ad hoc advisory board advised Miller to reach the Taliban by working through Pakistan’s gov’t,then led bt Benazir Bhutto. Oakley suggested that they should develop a job training program in Kandahar that would teach Pashtuns the technical skills needed to build a pipeline. Unocal set-up it’s training facility on a fifty-six acre site in Kandahar,suprisingly not far from bin Laden’s compounds. The man who arranged all this training was Thomas Gouittiere an Afghan specialist at the University of Nebraska,Omaha and was later told/asked by Miller to arrange for (Gouttiere traveled in and out of Afghanistan and met with Taliban leaders,ie)Mullah Omar?) another delegation to visit the United States in 1997. Unfortunately,…there was a intelligence whisleblower,…Julie Sirrs claiming that anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud told her he had proof that Unocal had provided money…that helped the Taliban take Kabul in 1996,and French journalist (collaborating stories integrity) Richard Labeviere said,… referring to the later 1990’s ,that the CIA and Unocal’s security forces had provided military weapons,and instructors to several militia’s. Needless to say the Taliban,and Unocal were in Texas to discuss arrangements for the proposed gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan in 1997 but the deal failed,…the irony. PS. The nicknamed “kebab seller” in Kabul,”Hamid Karzai”,a former CIA asset,and Unocal representative who had entertained visiting Taliban members at barbecues in Houston,was soon forced down the Afghan throats as the countries new leader,nice. Therefore,…I suggest the United States has a great PR battle ahead if it hopes to wane the animosity of future brainwashed terrorist.

#2

WEATHER Itelligence Reporting is right on…or off target./ Blaming ALL Muslim’s is wrong and not fair…but what’s fair to ask is…what more can the muslim comunity do ? Why are muslim young men so swayed to the radical’s false-hoods that are preached.Moderate &reformist must voice in who have …Influence ! NO JUSTIFICATION TO al-QAEDA’S Targeting INNOCENT people..or Women &Children…misdeeds of wos and heartacke !Makeing
it a Palestine vs Israeli problem is taking the blame that is rightly so al-qaeda’s and giving it to other’s.

#1

“…Muslim young men, for a variety reasons, become radicalized. Extremist organizations recruit them after pointing to alleged U.S. culpability in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israel-Palestine conflict.” As anybody who follows American political and military involvement in and near the Middle East knows, Americans have NOT attempted over the past 9 years, until Barack Obama entered office, to take anything much other than a hard-lined approach to the Muslim/Arab World–unless supplies of and profits from oil were involved. I believe the U.S. should take a firmer stance against Israeli aggression against the Palestinians…perhaps providing a substantial amount of aid to the people of Palestine in re-building their infra-structure and economy…and continuing to rebut Israeli aggression no matter what form it takes.

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