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1 United Nations Security Council 1 st Topic: The situation in the Middle East: religious terrorism as a possible threat to international peace and security. United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 1

2 Table of Contents Welcoming message... 3 The Security Council: composition and mandate... 4 General Introduction to the Topic... 5 An introduction to religious terrorism... 6 Historical background of extremism and religious terrorism in the Middle East... 6 Most popular active terrorist Groups in Middle East Jabhat al-nusra (Victory Front) Ansar Al-Shari a (Supporters of Islamic Law) Hezbollah (Party of God) Hamas (Harakat Al Muqawama Al Islamiyya (Islamic Resistance Movement) Al Qaeda (The base) ISIS: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (some call it ISIL: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or IS: Islamic State) The definition of terrorism Type of terrorism: Religious terrorism International Action Ideas for propositions Bloc positions and key players USA UK France Russia China Israel Iran EU Arab League Issues to be addressed during debate and resolution-writing Conclusion United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 2

3 Bibliography Welcoming message Dear delegates, We are more than delighted to welcome you all to the Security Council of ThessISMUN 2015! We are absolutely confident that as members of the simulated Council we will all manage to cooperate efficiently and effectively both during and prior to the conference. However, in order to make that happen, we would like to provide you with some valuable information just before you embark on your exciting research on our topic area. First of all, as you will have realized by now, you are holding or looking at the study guide that we have meticulously prepared for you. This guide aims to offer you some general information on the topic and, mostly, to show you the direction towards which you should conduct your personal research. We can assure you that, should you combine the present study guide with the additional information you will find on your own, you will be sufficiently prepared for the Council Sessions. Secondly, please be reminded that from this point on and until the closing ceremony of ThessISMUN 2015 we remain at your disposal for any questions or remarks you might have. You can always contact us through , either on our personal accounts, which have been posted on the official website of ThessISMUN, or on the Council s official , which will be made public a couple of months before the conference. Furthermore, we would like to kindly ask you to be punctual in terms of the deadlines we will set for the submission of your position papers. The sooner you submit your work, the sooner we will correct it and thus, the more time you will have to revise your argumentation and perfect your preparation for the sessions. Besides, we strongly encourage you to start your preparation early enough, in order for you to efficiently elaborate on the topic and produce an exquisite piece of work. United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 3

4 Last but not least, keep track of news updates on our topic area. Religious terrorism in the Middle East is currently one of the headlines in international news reports and we expect it to be one up until the conference. Therefore, make sure you are fully informed on the latest developments; it will definitely make your argumentation more realistic and more concrete. Tiresome as it may, this brief message is coming to its end and all that is left to say (once again) is: Welcome to the Security Council! Alexander Wenzel, President Maria Ntourlia, Vice-President The Security Council: composition and mandate The Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations. The UN Charter appoints to the Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Council holds formal meetings but it can also meet whenever peace is threatened. All members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under the Charter 1. Under the United Nations Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are: to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations; to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction; to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement; to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments; to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken; to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression; to take military action against an aggressor; recommend the admission of new Members; to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in "strategic areas"; to recommend to the General Assembly the 1 United Nations Security Council, What is the Security Council? ( United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 4

5 appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice 2. The Council is composed of 15 members: 5 permanent (USA, UK, France, China and Russia) and 10 non-permament members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly. The current non-permanent members of the Council are: Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea and Rwanda. In addition, a State which is a member of the United Nations but not of the Security Council may participate, without a vote, in its discussions when the Council considers that that country's interests are affected. Finally, both members and nonmembers of the United Nations, if they are parties to a dispute being considered by the Council, may be invited to take part, without a vote, in the Council's discussions; the Council sets the conditions for participation by a non-member State 3. General Introduction to the Topic According to the most widely-accepted definitions, the Middle East constitutes a region consisting of the following states or territories: Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and the various states and territories of Arabia proper (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Trucial States, or Trucial Oman [now United Arab Emirates]) 4. In the course of the last decades, the Middle East has witnessed ongoing conflict, severe unrest and extended casualties. To top it all, the recent violent activity of the religious extremist group ISIS, which aims to seize control of the entire region and form an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law, has drawn the attention of the International Community to an alarming predicament: how can we preserve international peace and security when today s most fervent terrorist groups are based and mobilized in the Middle East, one of the most turbulent and unstable regions in the world? In the following paragraphs, we will give you a general overview of relevant factors and actors. Please keep in mind that you are to represent the policies and 2 United Nations Security Council, Functions and Powers ( 3 United Nations Security Council, Current Members ( 4 Middle East, Encyclopedia Britannica ( East) United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 5

6 views of a specific State and will have to deepen your research as this is merely a introduction to highly complicated issue. An introduction to religious terrorism Historical background of extremism and religious terrorism in the Middle East Throughout the centuries, there have been several religious terrorist cases, not only in Middle East but also in the entire world where people were committing horrible crimes in the name of faith. Not only Islamists but other believers tortured or brutally killed millions of people to reassure their faith and promote their systems. Some religious terrorists are inspired by defensive motives, others seek to ensure the predominance of their faith, and others are motivated by an aggressive amalgam of these tendencies. 5 Religious terrorism can be communal, genocidal, nihilistic, or revolutionary. It can be committed by lone wolves, secret cells, large dissident movements, or governments. And, depending on one s perspective, there is often a debate about whether the perpetrators should be classified as terrorists or religious freedom fighters. 6 In this chapter we will focus on the Middle East, in order to examine terrorism and its effects to the international community s security further. Christianity, world s most popular religion has been accused several times, even nowadays for terrorist actions against civilians and groups of people that they do not agree with or that do not follow Christian beliefs. Crusades are the strongest example of how Christians were forcing other states to convert. For Crusaders, fighting and dying in the name of the cross would make them martyrs and send them to paradise. 78 Christian terrorism still exists and especially in the United States where attacks on Jewish centers, attempts to poison municipal water supplies, bombing of abortion clinics, and shooting of abortion providers have been reported. 5 Religious terrorism, pg. 131, as above 6 Religious terrorism, pg. 131, as above 7 Religious terrorism, pg. 131, as above 8 History, Crusades United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 6

7 Timothy McVeigh s bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City during 1995 killed 168 people. It showed that extremist Christians can be as deadly as their extremist Islamic counterparts. 910 Hasan ibn al-sabbah, a caliph of the Ismaili sect of Islam founded the Order of Hashhashins-Assassins, in order to defend this interpretation of the faith in the 11 th century. The Hashhashin, whose name gave us the English word "assassin," were very adept at disguise, stealth, and surprise killings, and thus the word assassination was coined. To kill or be killed was done in the name of the faith and ensured a place in paradise after death. This belief is practiced by many of today s religious terrorists. The Assassins were conducting suicide missions and killed many fellow Muslims as well as Christians. 11 Terrorism in the name of Islam is the most familiar type of terrorism in the 21 st century. The violations of human rights and the growing tension in the Middle East keep escalating and spreading fear across the World. The main division in Islam is between the Sunni and the Shi a who are initially stemmed not only from spiritual differences, but historical ones as well 12. Sunni Muslims, historically accept all four caliphs as successors to Mohammed, including the caliph Ali, Mohammed s son-in-law and cousin. They believe that only the prophet Mohammed and the holy Quran are authorities on questions of religion. The Shi a succession of imams is rejected. Also, Sunni s believe that historically, leaders within the Islamic world have been political leaders and heads of governments rather than religious leaders and there is no strictly organized clergy. For example, no single religious leader can claim ultimate authority, and non clergy may lead prayers. 13 Shi a Muslims, historically reject the first three caliphs before Ali as being illegitimate successors to Mohammed and as the first legitimate caliph, Ali was also the first in a 9 Amy Zalman, Religious Terrorism, A Short Primer on Religion and Terrorism, Vladimir Tomek, Religiously motivated terrorism, Terrorist acts by Christians and members of other faiths, Religious Terrorism, pg 134, What is the difference between Sunni and Shi a Muslims? 13 Religious Terrorism, pg United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 7

8 historical line of imams, or leaders within Muslim communities. They also believe that Imams serve as both political and religious leaders and that Imams have strict authority, and their pronouncements must be obeyed. Imams are without sin and appoint their successors. 14 Islam is linked from the beginning with the practice of divinely sanctioned warfare and lethal injunctions against apostates and unbelievers while Islam experienced no period of wandering and exclusion; from its inception, it formed a unitary state bent on military conquest. While the Quran enjoins that there shall be "no compulsion in religion," Islam still regards it as a holy duty to extend militarily the borders of the House of Islam against the demonic world of unbelievers. 15 Groups that justify their violence on Islamic grounds, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, use tactics as suicide bombers or tortures and executions in order to spread their beliefs and succeed their goals. It is a common phenomenon that these groups not only want to prove the world that they have an upper goal designed by God but also, as we will see below by examining those groups, that they have political or geopolitical ambitions. The most well known example of Islamic terrorism, took place in 9/ in New York City where Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon 16. Nineteen men hijacked four commercial airlines 17 and this terrorist attack on the United States was orchestrated by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. 18 The aftermath of these attacks is well known, a counter-terrorism war escalated and the international community was shocked by the brutality of both parties. 14 Religious Terrorism, pg 147 as above 15 Phillip Blond and Adrian Pabst, The New York Times, The roots of Islamic Terrorism, Prof Michel Chossudovsky, The 9/11 Reader, The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks, Global Research, September 11th Hijackers Fast Facts, CNN Library, September 11th Fast Facts, CNN Library, United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 8

9 The war of terror as it is known today has been exercised, as mentioned above, by several groups, that all fight under the flag of Islam but for different purposes. Modern Arab Islamic Extremism came to existence gradually and only following the geopolitical developments in the Middle East. After the Ottoman Empire s overlordship ended in 1918 it was followed by a European domination through colonialism which ended after World War II, in 1945.During the decolonization era, the new Arab and North African states, were at first ruled by monarchs or civilians who were always authoritarian and frequently despotic. Those regimes lead to a series of military coups and other political upheavals which led to the modern era of governance. 19 Postwar activism in the Arab Muslim world likewise progressed through several intellectual phases, most of them secular expressions of nationalism and socialism. At first it was the anticolonial nationalism, during which the Arab nationalists resisted to the European presence in the region and demanded their departure along with their armed forces. Then, in the early 60 s, the Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser who is also known for the failure of the Six days war with Israel in 1967, lead the Pan-Arab movement for the creation of a single dynamic United Arab Republic. Ideologically the secular leftist radicalism which was based on the promotion of Marxist or other socialist principles of governance, was often opposed to their governments. 20 All those theories gradually failed to deliver political reforms, economic prosperity, and the desired degree of respect from the international community. For instance, Arab countries were humiliated from their military defeats during the wars with Israel and the seemingly intractable plight of the Palestinians so they were distanced from the secular movements they were once embracing. On the other hand, their religion along with their ideologies had struggled since the end of World War II to resist what they perceived as Western domination and exploitation, and some tradition-oriented nationalists began to interpret Western culture and values as alien to Muslim morality and values. 21 The failure of the previous generation s ideologies, resulted in the rise of new movements promoting Islamist extremism as the only viable solution to unify their 19 Religious Terrorism, pg 136, 20 Religious Terrorism, pg 136, as above 21 Religious Terrorism, pg 136, as above United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 9

10 people and claim their emancipation from the West. Especially after the Cold War, Muslims in Arab countries were counting on the radical interpretation of Islam as a vehicle for liberation. There are several cases where theories have been invented in order to demonize a group of people, such as the denial of the Holocaust. Nazi s Germany, during the Second World War launched a genocide and brutally murdered more than Jewish people. Among the many conspiracy theories circulating in Middle Eastern extremist circles, is the argument that the Nazi s holocaust never occurred. They claim that it is a hoax and that inside the camps such as Auschwitz and Dachau there were workers and not victims of one of the world s cruelest genocides. In order to demonize Israel and Jewish people in general, many terrorist, far right groups not only in the Middle East but also in the United States (Ku Klux Klan) adopt this theory in order to marginalize the Jewish people. In December 2006, a major international conference was convened in Tehran, Iran, to promote Holocaust denial. Also in a 2- day conference sponsored by the Iranian government at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he publicly called the Holocaust a myth in The United Nations General Assembly condemned the Holocaust denial in January In our era, religious terrorism is mostly practiced by radical Islamists. In the Western world there is a huge misunderstanding regarding the historical and cultural origins of the growth of the radical interpretation of Islam, such as that Muslims are united in supporting jihad. 23 Jihad: It literally means a sacred struggle or effort rather than an armed conflict or fanatical holy war. Although a jihad can certainly be manifested as a holy war, it more correctly refers to the duty of Muslims to personally strive in the way of God. This is the primary meaning of the term as used in the Quran, which refers to an internal effort to reform bad habits (such as alcohol consumption) in the Islamic community or within the individual Muslim. The term is also used more specifically to denote a war waged in the service of religion. Greater Jihad: It is referred to the struggle each person has within him or herself to do what is right. Because of human pride, selfishness, and sinfulness, people of faith must constantly wrestle with themselves and strive to do what is right and good. 22 Religious Terrorism, pg 140, 141, as above 23 Religious Terrorism, pg 140, 141, as above United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 10

11 Lesser Jihad: Involves the outward defense of Islam. Muslims should be prepared to defend Islam, including military defense, when the community of faith is under attack. Mujahedeen: Are those who engage in armed jihad and they are considered as holy warriors. Mujahedeen who receive martyrdom by being killed in the name of the faith will find that awaiting them in paradise are rivers of milk and honey, beautiful young women and eventually reunion with their families. 24 The causes for the modern resurgence of the armed and radical jihadist movement are two: the revolutionary ideals and ideology of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the practical application of jihad against the Soviet Union s occupation of Afghanistan. 25 Some radical Muslim clerics and scholars have concluded that the Afghan jihad brought God s judgment against the Soviet Union, leading to the collapse of its empire. As a consequence, radical jihadists strongly believe that they are fighting in the name of an inexorable force that will end in total victory and guarantee them a place in paradise. 26 These type of religious terrorists conceder their actions only justifiable but also blessed. They consider themselves as the defenders of their beliefs against the attacks of the non-believers or that their faith is indisputable and a universal guiding principle must be advanced for the salvation of the faithful. 27 There are examples confirm that religious terrorism in the Middle East occurs between and within, local religious groups. Radical believers of many faiths attack not only those of other religions but also fallen members of their own. Attacks against proclaimed apostates can be quite violent. 28 Iraq is also a strong example of sectarian violence as the Hussein (Sunni s leader, in a country that Sunni population is a minority) years led to difficulty in fully integrating all groups into accepting a single national identity. More ominously, the Sunni minority, which had dominated the country under Hussein, found itself recast 24 Religious Terrorism, pg 140, 141, as above 25 Religious Terrorism, pg 140, 141, as above 26 Religious Terrorism, pg 142, as above 27 Religious Terrorism, pg 142, as above 28 Religious Terrorism, pg 142, as above United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 11

12 as a political minority when the country began to move toward democracy and an interim government was established in June Iraqi religious extremists, it is unclear whether they are Sunnis or Shi a, conducted a series of attacks on non- Muslim cultural institutions. These included liquor stores (often owned by Christians) and barber shops (that offered Western-style haircuts). 29 Most popular active terrorist Groups in Middle East Jabhat al-nusra (Victory Front) Also known as al-nusra Front was formed in late 2011 when Iraq and more specifically emir Abu Bakr al-baghdadi (today s head of Islamic State) sent operatives to Syria in order to establish jihadist s cells in the region and fight against the al- Assad regime. He aimed at the creation of a salafist-oriented Sunni Islamist state in Syria, once the al-assad regime would fall. Jabhat al-nusra is regarded as one of Syria's main rebel groups which intends to establish an Islamist caliphate across the Levant and it is considered as one of the best-equipped rebel groups in Syria. It also believes that the fight against the Syrian regime is supported by religious texts, and its fighters hope to fulfill 'God's wish' for an 'Islamic caliphate'. 30 In 2013, tensions rose between al-nusra and its parent organization AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) when Baghdadi unilaterally proclaimed that the two organizations had been merged to create the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham, but al-nusra s leader Julani, rejected the merge and a number of al-nusra fighters defected to ISIS, furthering tension between the groups. By March 2014, over 3,000 fighters had been killed in battles between ISIS and al-nusra. In the summer of 2014, ISIS drove al-nusra and a number of its allies out of one of its key strongholds in Deir al-zor, which included oil fields that were an important source of al-nusra's income. Regardless of the documented confrontations, there is evidence of cooperation between ISIS and al- Nusra on the battlefield in some areas. There have been several attacks from al- Nusra,the latest on 3 November 2014 when al-nusra attacked and defeated the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF) and Harakat Hazm in the Jabal al-zawiya region in Idlib. The two groups, moderate rebels linked to the FSA, surrendered local towns to 29 Religious Terrorism, pg 142, as above 30 Australian National Security, United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 12

13 al-nusra. Some members of the FSA-linked groups were arrested, and others defected to al-nusra Ansar Al-Shari a (Supporters of Islamic Law) The naming trend actually started in Yemen, when al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the powerful and ambitious local al Qaeda branch, established the front group Ansar al-sharia in Yemen in April It is possible this was born out of Osama bin Laden's musings over whether to rebrand al Qaeda. However none of the names in the documents captured from the late al Qaeda leader's compound, mentioned Ansar al-sharia as a potential example. More recently, one of the preeminent global jihadi ideologues, Shaykh Abu al-mundhir al-shinqiti, put his stamp of approval on the new wave of Ansar al-sharia groups. They are fighting in different lands using different means, but all for the same end, an approach better suited for the vagaries born of the Arab uprisings. 33 In March 2011 Ansar al-sharia was established in Tunisia and declared itself responsible for the attack on September 14, 2012 against the U.S. Embassy and the American school in Tunis, which put the lives of over one hundred United States employees in the Embassy at risk. Members of both organizations continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests in Libya. In Morocco and Egypt, Ansar al-sharia has not publicly announced itself as an organized group on the ground, while the Moroccan organization was only created few months ago. Ansar al-sharia is said to have links to Al-Qaeda, but the group denies these allegations. ASM's raison d'etre is to spread the word of God and his law, provide social and economic services to the downtrodden, and expose the West's decadence and to free society from its grip Stanford University, Mapping Militant Organizations, 32 Sven Pöhle, Deutche Welle, Islamist Terror groups in Africa and Middle East, 26/06/2014, 33 Aaron Y. Zelin, The Washington Institute, Know Your Ansar al-sharia, US Department of State, Terrorist Designations of Three Ansar al-shari'a Organizations and Leaders, Office of the Spokesman, Washington DC, Sven Pöhle, Islamist Terror groups in Africa and Middle East, Deutche Welle, 26/06/ United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 13

14 Hezbollah (Party of God) 36 Hezbollah is an extremist s Shiite group founded in 1982 after the Iranian revolution of 1979 and active especially in Lebanon. This group receives support from Syria and Iran and its units are fighting in Syria on the side of President Bashar al-assad's forces. 37 Hezbollah had two goals when it was founded: removing the Israeli presence in South Lebanon that remained following the 1982 invasion, and establishing a Shi a Islamic state in the image of the post-revolution Islamic state of Iran. 38 Hezbollah later abandoned its goal of an Iranian-style Islamic state, and is now nationalist and Islamic in its political orientation. 39 Hezbollah's raison d'etre, resistance to Israel and Western involvement in the Middle East, has made it an effective proxy for Iranian foreign policy while earning the group some support from beyond its Shiite base. 40 In 1985 in their manifest they stated: "Our primary assumption in our fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people. Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no ceasefire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated." 41 Also in October 1983 suicide attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut (258 Americans killed) furthered the group's image as leaders of the Shiite resistance. 42 Hezbollah's military arm is listed as a terrorist organization in the US and the EU. Hezbollah is a clear example of State- sponsored religious terrorist group which as already mentioned, operates under the names of Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization. 43 Hamas (Harakat Al Muqawama Al Islamiyya (Islamic Resistance Movement) The group is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood founded in 1987 after the beginning of the first intifada uprising against Israel s occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 44 Until 2005, Hamas had two purposes. 36 Oxford dictionary 37 Sven Pöhle, Deutche Welle, Islamist Terror groups in Africa and Middle East 26/06/2014, as above 38 Amy Zalman, Hezbollah, a profile of the Lebanese Militant Group, 39 Amy Zalman, Hezbollah, a profile of the Lebanese Militant Group, as above 40 Jonathan Masters, Zachary Laub, Council on foreign relations, Hezbollah, Jonathan Masters, Zachary Laub, Council on foreign relations, Hezbollah, 2014 as above 42 Jonathan Masters, Zachary Laub, Council on foreign relations, Hezbollah, 2014 as above 43 Religious Terrorism, pg 143, Sven Pöhle, Deutche Welle, Islamist Terror groups in Africa and Middle East, 26/06/2014, United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 14

15 First, waging war against Israel. Second, the delivery of social welfare programs. 45 It was in that year that Hamas began participating in the Palestinian political process and became the first Arab Islamist group to obtain power through democratic means. Since 2007 Hamas has the control of the Gaza strip and in their manifest they state that they are seeking for the distraction of Israel while the modest Fatah has the control of the West Bank. Israel never recognized Hamas due to the fact that they are responsible for 1990 s suicide bombings and several attacks in Israeli s territories targeting mostly, civilians so as the United States, European Union, Canada and Japan designate Hamas as a terrorist group. During 2014 there was an escalation between Hamas and Israel which lead to a 50 days war between the two sides. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that 2,104 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 1,462 civilians, among them 495 children and 253 women. Those U.N. numbers would mean that 69 percent of the totals killed were civilians. 46 Hamas used to fire rockets from homes or UN facilities and as the Israeli government said they used Palestinians as human shields while Israelis were destroying the tunnels Hamas created in order to kidnap or assassinate civilians. Since September 2014 there has been no further escalation to this crisis and both sides agreed to a ceasefire Al Qaeda (The base) Al-Qaeda is the strongest and most dangerous terrorist group around the world and responsible for severe terrorist attacks such as 9/11. It is considered as the mother of all the other terrorist groups and was founded in 1988 by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan after which it soon spread to other countries. Al-Qaeda consisted of Mujahedeen, Muslim fighters who fought the Soviets following their 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. In early 1990 s Osama relocated to Sudan, where he started searching for nuclear materials, weapons and started forming links with other Islamic 45 Gregory Baskin, Liberty Voice, Gaza Strip: A short history of Hamas, William Booth, The Washington Post, The UN says, 7 in 10 Palestinians killed in Gaza, where civilians. Israel disagrees, August says-7-in-10-palestinians-killed-in-gaza-were-civilians-israel-disagrees/2014/08/29/44edc598-2faa- 11e4-9b _story.html 47 Amy Zalman, Hamas, 48 William Booth, The Washington Post, Here s what really happened in the Gaza war (according to the Israelis), September United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 15

16 groups including the Islamic Jihad Movement of Eritrea and al-itihaad al-islamiya, a Somali group. In 1996 Bin Laden is asked to leave Sudan and returns to Afghanistan, where the Taliban militia is in the ascendancy. He calls for a jihad against the US to end the presence of "American crusader forces" in Saudi Arabia. On September 11, 2001 al-qaeda, after a series of smaller acts of terrorism, attacks the World Trade Center in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania kill close to 3,000 people. After this tragedy, the United States launched heavy airstrikes followed by US-coordinated attacks on Taliban positions by Afghan opposition groups which destroyed the regime Al-Qaeda s terrorist attacks continued in Europe, Russia and other countries by groups related to al-qaeda where suicide bombers, beheadings of civilians, usually Americans took place during a war or terror. The US troops invaded Iraq in March 2003 and in 2006 the leader of al-qaeda in Iraq is killed during a targeted air strike conducted by U.S. forces.. In the past three years alone, the United States has killed four of the top five leaders of the organization, and eventhough Osama Bin Laden is dead, al-qaeda still exists and grows stronger under its new leader Ayman al-zawahri. Groups related to al- Qaeda are active not only in Middle East but also in African countries and there are trying to strengthen Islam by using attacking civilians. These groups share al-qaeda's Sunni Muslim fundamentalist views. Some terror experts theorize that Al-Qaeda, after the loss of its Afghanistan base, may be increasingly reliant on sympathetic affiliates to carry out its agenda. Intelligence officials and terrorism experts also say that al-qaeda has stepped up its cooperation on logistics and training with Hezbollah, a radical, Iran-backed Lebanese militia drawn from the minority Shiite strain of Islam. The group ISIS in Iraq split off from Al-Qaeda Comparing ISIS and Al-Qaeda 49 Leah Farrall, Foreign Affairs, How Al Qaeda works, What the organization Subsidiaries say about its strength, Deutche Welle, Islamist Terror groups in Africa and Middle East 51 Amy Zalman, Al Qaeda, Profile of al Qaeda, 52 BBC News, Al Qaeda remaining leaders, United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 16

17 There is a new threat rising in the Middle East which compared to the most dangerous and alarming group in the world, namely Al-Qaeda, seems very strong and capable of causing severe damage not only to the Arab states, but also to international security. ISIS is a salafist group which abandoned the Saudi Arabian model and is based on how Mohammed organized his dominion in Medina. ISIS is a great threat given the fact that they are wealthy and they have access to and control of the media. Contrary to Al-Qaeda, ISIS occupies territories including oilfields and it also obtains Iraq s and Syria s weaponry. Their leadership is charismatic, based on western education and is more than familiar with war tactics, by organizing their state in a centralized administration with expansionism in the region. ISIS: The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (some call it ISIL: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or IS: Islamic State) ISIS is a Jihadist group known for carrying out public executions, beheadings, crucifixions and other brutal actions. 53 It all started in 2004 when the late Abu Musab al-zarqawi formed an al Qaeda splinter group in Iraq. Within two years, al-zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq was trying to fuel a sectarian war against the majority Shiite community. 54 In April 2013, Islamic State in Iraq absorbed the al Qaeda-backed militant group in Syria, Jabhat al-nusra. 55 Its leader Abu Bakr al-baghdadi said his group will now be known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Since then, the English-speaking world seems to have had a hard time settling on a name for them. In February 2014 Al Qaeda renounces ties to ISIS after months of infighting between al-nusra Front and ISIS due to Al-Nusra s Front leader Abu Mohammed al-jawlani rejection attempt to merge with the ISIS. 56 ISIS regularly employs the vicious hudud punishments to enforce sharia law in the areas it controls in Syria and Iraq. In June 29, 2014 ISIS announces the creation of a caliphate (Islamic state) that erases all state borders, making al-baghdadi the selfdeclared authority over the world's estimated 1.5 billion Muslims. The group also announces a name change to the Islamic State (IS). During July 2014 in Syria, all the cities between Deir Ezzor city and the Iraq border have fallen to ISIS, says Omar Abu 53 Ray Sanchez, CNN, ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State?, September Ray Sanchez, CNN, ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State?, September 2014 as above 55 CNN, ISIS Fast Facts, November 2014 as above 56 Ray Sanchez, CNN, ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State?, September 2014 as above United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 17

18 Leila, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army and few days later, ISIS takes control of a major Syrian oil field, al-omar. It is the country's largest oil field and can produce 75,000 barrels of oil daily. In Syria's Homs province, ISIS claims to have killed 270 people after storming and seizing the Shaer gas field and ISIS militants blow up Jonah's tomb, a holy site in Mosul. During August and September 2014, ISIS has relieved videos where British and American journalists were beheaded by jihadists and also the CIA warns that ISIS fighter can muster between and across Iraq and Syria. Their objective is to create a large-scale theocracy made up of Syria, parts of Iraq, Lebanon, and much of Palestine and Jordan. The militant group is considered more radical than Al-Qaeda. More than 11,000 people have traveled from abroad to fight in Syria and Iraq, officials suggest, many Europeans and Americans have traveled to join ISIS including Chechen snipers, Saudi car bombers, and many Western subjects, although some have gone back home again. 57 They align themselves with different factions, and sometimes change loyalties as groups merge, disband or change allegiances. The brutality of ISIS embraces such an extreme, violent ideology that it makes even al Qaeda squeamish, argue many Western experts. On this reading, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri was forced to distance himself from ISIS s bloody practices ISIS has promised to govern as effectively as it intimidates, but its talent lies in extortion and ethnic cleansing, not in sanitation and job creation. The definition of terrorism The international community has been trying for years to unanimously define terrorism but it seems extremely difficult to agree on the use of violence in the context of national liberation conflicts and the right to self-determination. As the 57 Hussain Abdul- Hussain and Lee Smith, The Weekly Standard, On the origin of ISIS, September, Elizabeth Schumacher, Deutsche Welle, Islamic State, A chronology of key developments, 14/09/2014, 59 Nick Thompson, Richard Allen Greene and Inez Torre, CNN, ISIS, everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group, November Sven Pöhle, Deutsche Welle, Islamist Terror groups in Africa and Middle East, 26/06/ Holly Yan, CNN, What s the difference between ISIS, al-nusra and the Khorasan Group?, September Steve Coll, The New Yorker, In search of a strategy, September United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 18

19 disputes continue, many states defined terrorism in their own ways in order to reassure stability and set the framework to examine such cases. For instance, the United Kingdom uses the following definition: terrorism covers the use of violent acts designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public, and for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, or ideological cause. 63 According to Dr. H. H.A. Cooper, terrorism is the international generation of massive fear by human beings for the purpose of securing or maintaining control over other human beings 64. What is underlined in his work is that the definition of terrorism should not be focused on who are victimized and the reasons they are targeted, but on what is done. This is also his explanation on what the already existing Conventions define as terrorist acts. As mentioned above, the international community has not yet been able to agree on a comprehensive definition of terrorism despite several attempts by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council in this regard. Most notably, in 1994 the General Assembly, in the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, declared that criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstances unjustifiable, whatever the consideration of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other nature that may be invoked to justify them. In 2004, the Security Council, in its resolution 1566, identified elements of a definition, referring to criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act. 65 It is also a fact that many would accuse states of terrorism. Israel has for many years been characterized by critics, especially in the Arab world, United Nations 63 Definition of Terrorism and Self-Determination, Harvard International Review, December 20, American Behavioral Scientist 2001; H. H.A. COOPER, Terrorism: The Problem of Definition Revisited, American Behavioral Scientist 65 UNODC, Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism, pg 16 _en.pdf United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 19

20 Resolutions, and human rights organizations, as perpetrating terrorism against the population of the territories it has occupied since 1967 Six Days War. Critics also accuse the United States of terrorism for backing not only the Israeli occupation, but other repressive regimes willing to terrorize their own citizens to maintain in power. Palestinian militants call Israel terrorist, Kurdish militants call Turkey terrorist, Tamil militants call Indonesia terrorist; and, of course, the nationstates call the militants who oppose their regimes terrorists. Long debates and negotiations finally led to two different definitions that were presented by UNbodies, however both were rejected. 66 The question that posed itself, was whether States wanted to work with a politically oriented definition based on existing frameworks such as the Geneva Conventions and adding the element of intimidation, or a more typical criminal law oriented definition that elevated terrorist acts into a separate international crime. In the end neither were adopted. Instead, the international community opted for a sectorial approach, which will be specified under the chapter International Action. A new question that raises itself, is whether the current frameworks and actions are still sufficient and applicable to organizations such as IS. Type of terrorism: Religious terrorism In order to define and understand better what religious terrorism really is, we should first compare it with the secular one. At first the quality of violence between secular and religious terrorism differs on the limitless religious terrorism scale of violence which has as a result the unconstrained choice of weapons and tactics. In secular terrorism the scale of violence is constrained and the choices of weapons and tactics adjust to the scale. Moreover in religious terrorism the scope of violence when it comes to define the targets is expansive, where in secular terrorism it is focused on specific targets. The result in the first case is the indiscriminate use of violence and in the second case the discrimination in the use of violence. 66 These can be found in pr. 164 of the Report of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change "A more secure world: Our shared responsibility ( ) and Annex II, art Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, Sixth session ( ) United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 20

21 Concerning the constituency profile, religious terrorism is narrow, insular, and isolated so it does not appeal to a broader audience. The secular terrorism on the other hand, is inclusive, for the championed group so it appeals to actual or potential supporters. This argument is questioned nowadays due to ISIS exposure which lead to thousands of Europeans flying to Iraq or Syria in order to join the jihadist group and fight in the name of their caliphate. Last but not least, religious terrorism s relation with the existing system seems to alienate the definition of true believers and as a result it completely reconfigures the social order. Especially in the case of Islam, the different interpretations of Quran led to misunderstanding and confusion on who and how a true believer is. Religious terrorism is a type of political violence motivated by an absolute belief that another worldly power has sanctioned and commanded terrorist violence for the greater glory of the faith. Acts committed in the name of the faith will be forgiven by the otherworldly power and perhaps rewarded in an afterlife. In essence, one s religious faith legitimizes violence as long as such violence is an expression of the will of one s deity. 67 Some terrorists are motivated primarily by faith, whereas others use religion secondarily. The latter movements are motivated by nationalism or other ideology as a primary inspiration but are united by an underlying religious identity. The goals of both primary and secondary religious terrorism are to construct a new society based on a religious or ethno-national identity. The terrorist behavior of both tendencies is active and public. State-sponsored religious terrorism arises in governments that pursue international agendas by mentoring and encouraging religious proxies. Cases of religious terrorism and state-sponsored religious terrorism will be examined later on. 68 International Action Both comprehensive and sectoral international legal instruments have been adopted to counter the rise of terrorism. The first comprehensive treaty to be signed was the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism of 1937 (Geneva Convention of 1937), which however never entered into force due to its attempt to 67 Religious terrorism, pg.130,131, Religious terrorism, pg.130,131,153 as above United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 21

22 define acts of terrorism 69 in a way that was not welcomed by the required number of states for its entry into force 70. Nevertheless, despite the failure of the Geneva Convention to produce legally binding effects, the International Community did not cease its efforts to create sufficient legal instruments against terrorism. Thus, to this date the following comprehensive international Conventions have been drafted and adopted: Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents (1973), International Convention against the Taking of Hostages (1983), International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999) and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005). As far as sectoral international Conventions on terrorism are concerned, these include: Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (1963), Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (1970) and its Supplementary Protocol (2010), Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation (1971) and its Protocol (1988), Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (1980) and its Amendments, Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (1988) and its Protocol (2005), Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continent Shelf (1988) and its Protocol, Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the purpose of Detection (1991) and the Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation (2010). Given the diversity and the length of the above-mentioned legal instruments, we believe it would be helpful to make some collective and comparative remarks with regards to the definition of terrorist acts, the obligations of states provided in the legal documents and issues of jurisdiction and extradition. As Galicki explains 71, sectoral Conventions were able to provide less disputed definitions of what 69 Article 1 par.1 defines acts of terrorism as criminal acts directed against a state or intended to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons, or a group of persons, or the general public. 70 Zdzislaw Galicki, International Law and Terrorism, American Behavioral Scientist, SAGE Publications, Zdzislaw Galicki, as above. United Nations Security Council Topic Area A 22

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