Terrorism, extremism two eyes of global threat, and Saudi Arabia role

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Saudi Arabia is a main target of Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) and other terror organizations, as it is the home of the Islamic religion and attracts millions of Muslims, providing them with a safe and secure environment. The Kingdom continues to expand and intensify its counter-terrorism initiatives, as both terrorism and extremism remain a major threat to the safety and security of the global community.

Not all terrorists are extremists and some types of extremism have nothing to do with terrorism. Extremism is adhering to an extreme ideology, while terrorism is political violence that includes the planned targeting of non-combatants and distinguishing between direct victims and the audience that terrorists want to affect.

In order to understand the War on Terror, both terrorism and extremism must be seen to be associated with the ideology of a person or a group, as per the constructivism theory, one of the major theories of International Relations. Constructivism is influenced by ideas, norms, identities and interests of historical events and is subject to change. Constructivism is mainly concerned with world politics and global change and argues that world politics is linked to global social movements.

Saudi Arabia is one of the leading nations combating terrorism and extremism, with the objective of addressing the roots of radicalization through focusing on three different concerns. First, “security” as Saudi Arabia has restructured its operations to prevent terrorist attacks as well as to address national security threats. The Kingdom is a member of the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh and a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

Second, “financial control” as Saudi Arabia has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism. The Kingdom is a member of Middle East & North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a regional body that imposes financial sanctions on individuals and groups that help to fund terrorism. Saudi Arabia has established a financial intelligence unit (FIU), which is a member of the Egmont Group.

Third, “ideology or mindset” as Saudi Arabia carries out a multifaceted campaign that attacks extremism at its ideological roots as a critical component of its strategy to defeat terrorism. Saudi Arabia is destroying the mindset that Daesh and other terror organizations create and rely on, through implementing technological and ideological counter-terror strategies.

Saudi Arabia inaugurated the Global Center for Countering Extremist Ideology (Etidal) to fight terrorist narratives and extremist content on the web, as efforts focus on promoting an online culture of preventing the spread of propaganda. In addition, (Salam) is a Saudi project for cultural communication that aims to promote mutual understanding between Saudi people and the rest of the world.

However, considering terrorism as a social construction allows investigation into “unthinkable policies” to counter it. Moreover, a new defense mechanism that Saudi society can play a huge part in nowadays is the use of filmmaking to spread awareness to a larger audience. Moreover, Saudis must benefit from tourism to enhance dialogue with foreign tourists.

Terrorist groups, according to constructivism, are socially constructed, thus a terrorist group or organization can belong to any country in the world without exception. In my opinion, a country can be labeled a terrorist nation if it does not develop effective strategies to fight such danger to its own people and to the world.

To achieve an efficient global counter-terrorism strategy, each nation is required to participate in an interaction between local and international entities to increase dialogue and tolerance. Saudi Arabia is determined to uproot all forms of terrorism and extremism and will remain a decisive partner against inhumanity.

— The author can be reached at: ekleel.sallam@hotmail.com Twitter: @EkleelBS


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