Establishing a united response to current and future terrorist threats in the Arab Region
In recent years, the world has become more aware of the presence of terrorist groups in the Middle East. Some groups are more well known, such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Al Qaeda, but there are numerous other groups. Some groups are based on a religious ideology whilst others started out as political parties. Many identify with a certain sect of Islam. Due to the current instability in countries such as Syria and Yemen, terrorist groups have been able to expand and take advantage of the situation. The resurgence of these groups poses a serious security threat to the members of the Arab Council and in this debate the chairs would like the delegates to form a unified response to current and future threats.
ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) ISIS, also known as ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) is an Islamist terrorist group that operates in Iraq and the Levant led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. ISIS’ objective is to create an Islamic Caliphate (a state run through islamic law by one leader) across the northern Arab territories. The ISIS held territories have been severely diminished after numerous attacks from a Saudi-led coalition to fight against them. In 2015 ISIS was estimated to have anywhere between 20,000 and 32,000 fighters. Many fighters travelled from across the world to join the group, entering Syria from Turkey and other border countries. A lot of the members are converts. The group is largely funded by private donations from certain countries in the Arab Council and controls several oil fields in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has lost significant territory since the Saudi led coalition in Syria was launched but it still remains as a significant threat to all countries in the Arab Council.
Al-Qaeda Al Qaeda is most well known for the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers. It is one of the most well known terrorist groups in the world and is considered to have been the starting place for global jihad. Al Qaeda was founded in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi. Al-Qaeda started as a network to support Afghans against the Soviets in the Afghan war. In the 90’s, following the war, the group set up its base in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Al Qaeda trained numerous militants to carry out terrorist attacks including the US embassy attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the 9/11 attacks and the 2002 Bali bombings. The 9/11 attacks prompted the US to start a war on terror. The US invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 prompted the growth of Al Qaeda franchises throughout the world. These franchises were mostly independent groups that centred around the same ideology as the main group and used its name and broader ideas. There are now large Al Qaeda franchises in North and West Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. On May 2nd 2011, Osama Bin Laden was killed by US troops. His deputy took over but the group has maintained a relatively low profile since then, only coming back into notice as a result of the Yemen civil war. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of the current situation in Yemen to grow and gain influence.
Hezbollah Hezbollah is a Shia organization in Lebanon that emerged with the help of Iran during the Israeli occupation of Yemen. It was named as a terrorist group by the Arab League in 2016. Hezbollah has maintained a significant military power since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. Hezbollah has been accused of carrying out several bombings against certain targets that have led to its designation as a terrorist organization. In 2009, Hezbollah was allowed to run in the election and won 10 seats, however they caused the downfall of the unity government in 2011 after four of the group’s members were accused of being involved in the assassination of the President’s father. Hezbollah has also been involved in the Syrian civil war with thousands of their fighters supporting Bashar al-Assad.
Al-Shabaab Al Shabaab is a terrorist group operating in the horn of Africa that was founded in the mid 2000s. The group’s ideology is based in Wahhabi Islam. The group has carried out several attacks in East Africa, notably the armed attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Al Shabaab is estimated to have 7,000 to 9,000 fighters and focusses most of their recruitment efforts in Somalia. They control territories in Somalia where they impose strict Sharia law. They are also linked to other terrorist groups in the region such as Boko Haram.
Hamas Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group was originally created to fight against Israel and provide social welfare. According to the group’s charter, they are committed to the destruction of Israel. In 2005, they became involved in the political process in Palestine and are the first Islamist group to win a ballot election. Hamas’ biggest political opponent is Fatah. Hamas uses suicide bombings as an effective power of veto in situations that they oppose. Hamas opposes all peace talks with Israel. Hamas became increasingly popular after organizing clinics and schools for the Palestinian people in place of the ruling government which was predominantly made up of Fatah members.
The aforementioned terrorist groups are not the only groups in the region, and the chairs would encourage all delegates to do their own research on terrorist groups that pose a threat to their country. To help get their resolutions the chairs would suggest that the delegates consider the following guiding questions.
Which terrorist group affects your country the most?
Are there any ties to terrorist groups from within your country?
Who are your allies and what are their ties to terrorist groups?
How has terrorism in the middle east been tackled in the past?
What factors allow terrorism to spread and how can they be negated?
What are the links between terrorism, technology, and politics?
Is education a factor that should be considered when tackling terrorism? If so explain how.
Is terrorism a violation of human rights of civilians and children?
How has terrorism spread across the Arab World?
Which parallel political events have contributed to the rise and fall of terrorist groups?
How do parallel political events contribute to the rise and fall of terrorist groups?