TheRising Threat of Jihadists in Mali to U.S. Homeland Security
Terrorismis a problem that has recently become global and that calls for theinput of all nations in fighting it. Terrorist activities areconducted by people who believe in certain ideologies associated withkilling and destructing property. It is notable that America has beenone of the primary targets of terrorism activities (Banez 66).Terrorism activities have had tremendous impact both to the state andfederal governments, as well as the citizens. Since the 2001 bombingin the US called for enhanced security by the government which led tothe formation of homeland security. The killing of the Al-Qaidaleader undermined the operations of the group. However, Homelandsecurity is yet facing another enormous security threat from theJihadists. These are radicals from the Muslim religion who are mainlyfrom the African country Mali.
Jihadistsare people who are trained and radicalized by the leaders of theMuslim religion. The Jihadists are said to be in a form of strugglecalled the Jihad. The reason why the new group is a threat to the USHomeland security is due to their support for terrorist groups suchas the Al-Qaeda (McCauley 297). It is, necessary, therefore, toevaluate the problems associated with Jihads and how people becomeJihadists. This will create an understanding of the extent of therising threat to US Homeland Security. It is also essential to comeup with various possible solutions to counter the threat of theJihadists.
Sincethe inception of the Jihadist group, the largest security concern tothe Homeland security and the world at large has been the rate atwhich the group’s network has been expanding. It has been found outthat Jihadists in the African country of Mali have been radicalizingthe interested people in the name of Islam. This has attractednumerous people across the world especially the youth who come as faras from Afghanistan. Such people are mainly from terror groups suchas Al-Qaeda (McCauley 302). Whereas the group has associated itselfwith the Muslim religion, the Congressional Research Service hasestablished that there has been over 63 plots and or attacks in theUSA since 2001 by the Jihadists. The expanded nature of the Jihadistgroup enables them to have an efficient coordination process withother terror groups in other countries. This poses a huge securitythreat to the Homeland security in the United States. A bomber, ZaziNajibullah, for instance, who placed explosives along a subway in NewYork, was following instructions from Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
Researchas indicated that the Jihadists pose a challenge to the law enforcersin their efforts of detecting and disrupting their terroristactivities. Whereas the Jihadists are said to be less powerful thatother terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, research has indicated thatJihadist cells are extremely difficult to detect and eliminate (Banez88). The group operates on short time plans and can easily move fromone country to the other to receive trainings on terroristactivities. While in the foreign countries, Jihadists can easilyreceive instructions and trainings from their seniors to survey ontheir prey or even carry out attacks. This is why the Jihadists fromMali are a major threat to Homeland security. This conditioned isworsened by the increase in the number of immigrants into the US inthe recent past. It is evident that Jihadist members can easily poseas immigrants and later implement their terrorist activities.
Therehas been a number of arrests in the US with regard to terrorismactivities associated with Jihadists from Mali. For instance,American law enforcers arrested two Americans, Randy and Mohammed,who were heading to Mali through Mauritania deserts. They wereaccused of travelling to join the Islamic Jihadist group in northernMali. The suspects argued that they used Mauritania since it is lesswesternized and has a weak government system. This would reduce theirchances of being suspected significantly (McCauley 307). Mauritaniawas also said to be a minor target by the Jihadists and thereforethere was little chance for them to be suspected. It is clear thatthis poses a huge security threat to the Homeland security in theUnited States. It is easy for Jihadists to use the neighboringcountries to get and leave the US.
TheCongressional Research Service has clearly analyzed what the Jihadistattacks exhibit. They include the following four themes endgames,martyrdom, successful attacks by lone wolves, and divergentcapabilities. Endgames involves the application of differenttechniques to attack. The research body has established that since2001, 20 plots by the Jihadists have involved the use of foreignerswhile 18 made use of explosives (Banez 112). Additionally, three ofthe attacks made use of firearms. It is also established through theresearch that 12 of the attack plots had individuals who were willingto end their lives. Lone wolves also conducted successful attackssince September 2011. The violent Jihads are also well equipped withdifferent capabilities such as bomb making skills. The four themesestablished by the research body and the statistics they haveprovided have enhanced the belief that the Jihadists from Mali areprimary threat to the United States Homeland security.
HowPeople Become Violent Jihadists
Radicalizationis now a common word in the mouths of many people. This is a processused to convert individuals with average faith and beliefs to adoptaggression as a tactic and become a Jihad. Individuals have so farshifted from the simple Jihad faith to become violent Jihads. Thismakes such individuals terrorists (McCauley 310). It is, however,imperative to note that not all Jihads become violent and thereforeterrorists. Research has established that the social media andprisons have been major platforms through which individuals areradicalized and lured into terrorism.
Thereare various factors that are associated with the development ofJihadist groups in Mali and across the world. Primary among arepoverty, alienation, brainwashing and personal interests. It is,however, asserted that are the minor factors. Intermediaries, socialmedia, internet and jailhouses are the main factor contributing tothe development of Jihadist groups. The intermediaries have beencited as playing an essential role in the organization andformulation of beliefs on violent Jihadists amongst individuals andgroups (Dreazen 64). The Islamic groups in Mali that recruitindividuals to Jihad are well connected with other terrorist groupssuch as Al-Qaeda. Most of the terrorist activities carried out byviolent Jihadists are mainly orchestrated by intermediaries such asgovernment workers. The accomplishment of terrorist activitiesinvolve the use of government informants who act as intermediaries.
Thesocial networks have also been largely associated with thedevelopment of Jihadists. They act as a platform through whichmembers send messages of outrage such as the suffering that theMuslims are going through in the hands of the various governments.Social media platforms are used as the basis of forming either actualor virtual friendship and forming kinship bonds (McCauley 299). Inother words, the social media platform creates ties between peoplewho are like-minded. It is evident that the creation of such strongties amongst like-minded people may lead to the quick development ofviolent terrorist groups.
Theterrorist groups in Mali and other places in the world have largelyrelied on the internet to rain and educate their members. Theyinteract through chat rooms, social networking sites such as Twitterand Facebook, emails, blogs and messaging boards. This has enhancedthe creation of stable relationships with other terrorist groups suchas Al-Qaeda. The internet has enabled and eased the process ofradicalization (Dreazen 68). Individuals do not need to travel tophysical locations to receive training, but can rather be trainedthrough the phone. The Jihadists are also in apposition to easilycommunicate with other terrorist groups or Jihadist members throughthe internet in order to successfully carry out attacks.
Inorder to successfully destroy the Jihadist organization, the Homelandsecurity must be in a position to fully understand the plans and theoperations of the group. The key aspect is to prevent any furtherdevelopment of the terrorist group. It is prudent for the lawenforcers to swiftly address the radicalization, as well as theviolent extremism in the Mali region. Radicalization has been definedas the introduction and inculcation of people into ideologicalcomplex and extreme viewpoint from the normal and mainstream beliefs.It involves a number of behavioral and belief changes that justifyviolence or self-sacrifice that is associated with the attainment ofsimilarly linked goals. Jihadists have viewed violence as one of theways through which societal change can be achieved. Although theAmerican law has allowed extreme viewpoints, it has maderadicalization that promotes the planning, organization, support orexecution of terrorist activities (Dreazen 69). The national publicsafety and security interests are alerted once a violation of thislaw is detected. Radicalization which results in people acquiringJihadist beliefs is legal. However, Jihadist extremism and terrorismleads to violent and terrorist activities that are prohibited by thelaw.
Researchhas indicated that there are various ways through governments candeal with terrorism both in Mali and in other parts of the world.They include preventive policing, investigative approaches by stateand local authorities, trust and partnership, and balancing securityand liberty (Perkins 74). The preventive policing entails guardingthe nation against future attacks. The challenge in this measure isthat it is hard to detect the time schedule of the next attack. It isevident from the above research that the internet is the primarymethod through which terrorist groups communicate. It is, therefore,the responsibility of the law enforcement officers to investigate andsuspicious communication in the internet (Banez 108). Additionally,establishment of state and local authorities can work effectivelywith the government to curb the security threats posed by the variousterrorist groups. The government can work with the state and localauthorities to detect any terrorist plans. The September 2011 attackswas a wakeup call to the US government to integrate the state, localand the federal government efforts towards fighting the terrorists.It is evident that this has had tremendous success since numerousterrorism attacks have been averted. It is vital, however, vital tostate there needs to be more tactics by the government of dealingwith the threat of this group.
Investigativeapproaches must be enhanced in order to effectively counter terroristactivities. Since the September 2011 attack in America, the US lawenforcement has developed two measures called the “Al Capone”approach and the “agent provocateurs.” These are techniques thatthe law enforcement officers use to counter and investigate terroristactivities. The first approach, the Capone approach involves theapprehension of people who are associated with various terroristplots. It employs different mechanisms such as immigrationviolations. The agent provocateurs’ approach, on the other hand,involves the government undercover agents befriending the suspectedterrorists to acquire relevant information on terrorist plots(Dreazen 66).
Itcannot be contested that terrorist activities have been associatedwith Muslim, Arab, and Sikh. It is therefore prudent for the Homelandsecurity and the government of the United States to create a fruitfulrelationship with these communities in an effort to fight terrorism.It is evident that such good relationships can be extremely helpfulin eliminating and curbing terrorism (Perkins 54). It is abundantlyclear that the US government has by involving these communities inthe war against Jihadist terrorists. It is also vital for thegovernment to enhance proper community policing in regions whereterrorism and Jihadist extremism is common.
Itis clear from research that the development of Jihadist extremists inMali poses a major threat to numerous countries across the world.Primary among this countries is the United States where the Homelandsecurity is faced with the threat of the activities of the Jihadistmembers from Mali. This became a major threat when two Americans wereapprehended while trying to cross into Mali through the Mauritaniadesert which they considered safe. The advanced and wide network ofJihadist group is significant threat to the Homeland security(Dreazen 61). The members of the group can travel easily andimmigrate into the US where they pose as normal immigrants. Thecontrol and destruction of Jihadist development has proven hardespecially due to the small cells and their short time plans. Thisposes a huge threat to the Homeland security. It is essential forcountries to unite against this common enemy. It is also prudent toinvolve the Muslims and Arabs in the fight against terrorists.
Banez,Justin D. TheInternet and Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism: Assessing U.S. DetectionTechniques.Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School, 2010. Print.
Dreazen,Yochi. "The New Terrorist Training Ground." AtlanticMonthly (10727825)312.3 (2013): 60-70.
McCauley,Clark. "Testing Theories of Radicalization in Polls of U.s.Muslims." Analysesof Social Issues and Public Policy.12.1 (2012): 296-311. Print.
Perkins,Samuel J. HomegrownTerror and American Jihadists: Addressing the Threat.Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2011. Print.