0623 GMT July 22 2017
The world has been facing the growing threats of terrorism, violence and extremism in the forms of terror attacks over the past years.
Bomb blasts in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia as well as terror attacks in Brussels, Munich, London, Stockholm and Paris indicate that violence and extremism are rapidly growing and turning into a global phenomenon. This phenomenon has affected the world’s stability and security.
Studies show that these bomb blasts and terror attacks stem from the expansion of violence and extremism which are based on religious, ethnic and political tensions. Such tensions are fueled by wrong policies adopted by certain regional states and the interference of foreign powers.
If we consider the 9/11 attacks as the onset of the modern terror and anti-terror attacks, the world’s public opinion argues that those states which claim to have been fighting against terrorism have failed to tackle its threat. These states have also adopted double standards and divided terrorism into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ which has, in fact, given legitimacy to the gloomy phenomenon.
In other words, prior to the 9/11 attacks, terrorism and violence pertained to a limited number of groups. However, the wrong response to the 9/11 attacks turned terrorism and extremism into a pervasive phenomenon. Hence, terror attacks in the world suggest that dividing terrorism into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is a failed approach. This approach has resulted in the expansion of terrorism.
Attempts made to defeat ‘bad terrorism’ by encouraging ‘good terrorism’ is a very dangerous policy as well as a strategic mistake. This is because there is no border between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorism. Terrorists have shown that they do not remain committed to their alliance with the states that sponsor them.
Likewise, the interference of foreign powers in the region, under the pretext of combating terrorism, has fanned the flames of extremism and terrorism.
Ethnic divisions, authoritarian governments, lack of legitimacy and democracy and weak economies have also led to the promotion of extremism and terrorism in the region.
The regional crisis has pushed many people to flee their homes and immigrate to Western nations. Over the past years, discrimination and social exclusion have disillusioned these immigrants in the host countries, paving the way for the emergence of extremism and violence there.
Terrorists also use disillusioned immigrants as tools to carry out terror attacks.
To sum up, terrorism and extremism are not limited to certain regional countries. The whole world is suffering from the fallout of this gloomy phenomenon.
All-out efforts of all countries are needed to overcome terrorism. This necessitates that regional and trans-regional countries do away with their double standards, refrain from interfering in other nations’ affairs, and respect the sovereignty of other states.
*Bahram Qassemi is Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman.