Analysts View Terrorism As Biggest Global Security Threat

A “red alert” was raised at all of Pakistan’s airports following a deadly attack by Taliban forces over the weekend that claimed almost 20 people. The Taliban boldly stated that the attack was just the beginning of their terror campaign and that they were committed to an “all-out war.”

The attacks are a stark reminder that terrorism remains the gravest security threat not only in Pakistan, but to the United States.

Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Mike Vickers told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the threat from Al Qaeda and its affiliates remains the primary threat. The threat posed by China lagged behind the Syrian civil war, and Russian “revanchism,” Iran, North Korea and what he called the “persistent volatility” across South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa.

A recent report issued by the RAND Corp. also asserted that the threat of foreign extremist groups requires a continued U.S. focus on the Middle East and North Africa.

According to The National Journal, the report urged Washington to remain focused on foreign counterterrorism above all other issues.

“Based on these threats, the United States cannot afford to withdraw or remain disengaged from key parts of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia,” report author Seth Jones said in a provided statement.

Canada’s Globe and Mail recently opened up the debate on whether al Qaeda remained a global threat or whether it was more of a regional actor.

J.M. BergerSecurity analyst, editor of the terrorism site Intelwire, argued that it has shifted its focused to localized warfare, rather than global terrorism. Holding the opposite view was Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The challenge facing the international community today, rather than 70 years ago when Adolf Hitler was moving across Europe, is the nature of the enemy and war itself.

“Of course, war in the 21st century is something far different from 1940. Or at least, overseas contingency operations and counterterrorism efforts are different. Thousands of miles from Paris, on other continents, angry young men continue to stream into Islamist extremist movements. Sometimes by the thousands, like the 8,000 foreign fighters in Syria. More often, by the hundreds. Or less. They fight against everything Paris stands for but likely they will never set foot in this city,” wrote Kevin Baron in a recent article in DefenseOne.

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