US Outlines Efforts to Combat Terrorism

US Calls For International Coalition to Beat Extremism

Stressing that violent extremism is spreading geographically and numerically in recent months, the United States of America today outlined efforts to combat the surge of terrorism.

In her remarks in Washington DC, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Sarah Sewall, said the United States and its allies must strengthen their comprehensive strategy to address the underlying drivers that fuel the appeal and spread of violent extremism.


United Airlines Flight 175, which had been taken over by hijackers, hits the South Tower of the former World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, in New York City, United States. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“That is precisely why President Obama recently hosted the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism.” – Ms. Sewall

She emphasized that joining with leaders of foreign governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society, President Obama and Secretary Kerry launched a global effort to address the enablers of violent extremism in order to prevent the emergence of new terror threats.

US Approaches To Combat Terrorism

Despite today’s terrorism trend lines being worse than at any other time in modern history, the US approach and that of partners in the fight against violent extremism has been adapting as well.

The US and its allies continued to pursue military force to go after terrorist leaders plotting to attack the U.S. or its interests and continued to refine intelligence capabilities.

“We proved adept at taking key terrorists off of the battlefield.” – Ms. Sewall

In addition, the US also adopted more comprehensive approaches toward terrorism and violent extremism, adapting to the evolving threats it faced.

To cite an example, the US placed greater emphasis on building the capacity – including military, intelligence, and civilian – of our partners to address threats within their own borders and region, as well as expanding efforts to reduce the radicalization that was leading individuals to join terrorist groups.

To add more, the US also strengthened the international counterterrorism architecture by working with its Western allies and Muslim-majority partners to launch the Global Counterterrorism Forum in 2011.

The US also gave priorities on the role of law enforcement and the wider criminal justice system in preventing terrorism and bringing terrorists to justice within a rule of law framework, thereby strengthening the international cooperation that is so essential to addressing the threat.

Prevention Key To Counter Terrorism

According to Ms. Sewall, despite the world’s devotion of enormous military and intelligence resources – as well as human treasure – the threat of violent extremism persists.

However, she highlighted that the most effective and useful way to address the metastasizing threat of violent extremism is to prevent its spread through less costly and destabilizing methods, to better enable the success of the our military efforts to defeat terrorism where it already has rooted.

“The long game lies in building an international coalition to prevent the rise of the next ISIL.” – Ms. Sewall

She emphasized the importanve of the concept of preventing the rise of violent extremism before it becomes a terrorist threat.

So how to prevent this? Ms. Sewall stressed there is a need to refine how they think about policies and programming to enhance our understanding of what makes communities vulnerable to radicalization, co-optation, or exploitation by violent extremists. In addition, there is a need for strategy to prioritize the allocation and alignment of resources to address first those seams most vulnerable to terrorist exploitation.

This preventive approach also requires policymakers and experts to expand their focus beyond today’s dangerous threats.

“Effective prevention requires us to work not in violent extremism “hot spots,” safe havens, but the places that terror networks will seek to penetrate.” – Ms. Sewall

This prevention through addressing vulnerabilities on the periphery of terror networks also boosts available interventions to include diplomatic, political, and economic tools.

In addition, a prevention approach further enlarges the coalition of effective interveners to include civil society and the private sector, who find it challenging to work in crisis zones.

Ms. Sewall said civil society organizations, especially local voices, actors, and networks are essential, since they have intimate knowledge and authentic credibility to mediate disputes and misunderstandings, among communities or with state actors.

“Civil society organizations are especially well-suited to partner with women and youth, two groups critical for successful community resilience.” – Ms. Sewall

Every Corner Of The Globe At Risk Because Of Violent Extremism

According to Ms. Sewall, no country or community is immune. In fact, she pointed that intelligence officials argue that terrorism trend lines are worse than at any other time in modern history; despite the tactical successes of global intelligence gathering, military force, and law enforcement efforts, terror networks are spreading and new threats are emerging around the world. Accordingly,

“Yet despite the world’s devotion of enormous military and intelligence resources, the threat of violent extremism persists.” – Ms. Sewall

She stated that over the past 13 years, violent extremist movements have diffused and proliferated. Increasingly, terrorits have sprung from within conflicts worldwide.

The extremists have exploited grievances and divided societies in order to further their own aims.

Why they persists could point to the facta that weak, illegitimate, and repressive governments inadvertently created opportunities for terrorists to capitalize on popular resentment of governments make common cause with local insurgents, the discontented, and criminal networks, and operate in poorly governed territory.

Additionally, terrorist methods and goals have diversified as well. In fact, the terrorist groups now control large territories in several regions of the world.

Some Of The Violent Terrorists

According to Ms. Sewall, some of the most violent extremist groups, such as Daesh or Boko Haram, differ from Al Qaeda. Many of these new actors seize land, resources, and population to consolidate geographic control and advance their apocalyptic visions.

These notorious terrorists violate human rights in the most egregious ways imaginable, exacerbate communal differences, and lure foreign fighters to incite violence around the world.

In addition, these groups destabilize entire regions and inspire, if not actively plot, attacks on the US homeland and against our allies. The worse thing also is they pose very real threats to U.S. interests and to international stability as they propagate and violently pursue their nihilistic goals.

One cannot miss of course to mention the notorious ISIS terrorist group.

Ms. Sewall said their sudden and dramatic rise has animated a robust military coalition to defeat it. The group has been plaguing the global headlines because of their violent nature. Killing of innocent civilians in inhuman ways and kidnappings of civilians made them so notorious and wanted around the world.

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.