GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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The rise of Terrorism: Implications & Assessing Gulf security measures to combat terrorism
Paper Proposal Text :
One of the main security challenges facing Arab Gulf States is the rise of terrorist groups, as evident by the various terrorist attacks that targeted Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain & UAE during 2015.
Terrorism that threatens Arab Gulf states comes from two main sources. First: the Iranian sponsored terrorist groups, most notably in Bahrain & Kuwait. Second: the so called "Islamic state", which managed to establish a statelet in the Levant, in addition to Al Qaeda regional affiliates.
Compared to 2014, these terrorist organizations managed to launch more attacks against several gulf states in 2015. Most importantly, many polls conducted in the Islamic world points that there are those who hold a favorable view of ISIS (Statista: UAE – Kuwait: 3% - Saudi Arabia: 4%). This speaks large of the number of the people who may join the group and conduct a terrorist attack.
On the other hand, there are considerable Shiite minority in the Arab gulf states, especially, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain & Kuwait. They feel marginalized and suppressed, and that may open the door for Iran to recruit and conduct terrorist attacks, as evident in the Bahraini case.
Also other factors played a role in the rise of the terrorist activity in the region. One of these reasons is the rising internal conflict in the Levant, especially in Syria & Iraq. Such wars have enabled the terrorist organization to establish a safe haven in conflict zones, and enhance its capability to launch attacks against other countries.
Second reason is related to the rising regional conflict in the region, especially between Iran & Saudi Arabia. Such conflict exacerbated the existing internal conflicts and blocked several peace initiatives. Also such conflict is gaining a sectarian dimension, which is polarizing the general populace and allow extremist and terrorist organization to find the suitable condition for recruiting more people.
Several Gulf states adopted several measures to counter terrorism, whether on the local, regional or the international level. On the local level, several counter-de-radicalization programs have been adopted, in addition to enhancing counter-terrorism measures. On the regional level, several Gulf countries have participated in the Saudi-led coalition: "Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism", while on the international level, they have participated in the US-led coalition to strike the "Islamic state" in Syria & Iraq.
The main argument this paper tries to present is to counter the conventional wisdom that argues that gulf states have united when facing a common threat. Fighting terrorism is one area, where cooperation among gulf countries have been far ineffective.
This paper will try to assess the dangers of terrorism on the national security of the Arab Gulf states. Also, the paper will try to evaluate the measures taken to counter terrorism threat on local, regional & international Levels.
The paper argues that Gulf measures to combat terrorism on the regional & international level have been so far ineffective. In trying to do so, the paper draws on the extensive literature that points out to the problems effecting the efficiency of coalitions against terrorism (Daniel L. Byman, Friends Like These: Counterinsurgency and the War on Terrorism). Also, it will point to other problems relating to the differences among Arab gulf states on designating what should be considered a terrorist organization, as well as divergent policies practiced by these states.
At the end, the paper hopes to analyze the reasons why combating terrorism has been ineffective, and presents some suggestions on how to enhance cooperation among Arab gulf states.