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Europe, the Middle East, and the Global War on Terror

Critical Reflections

Edited By Ondrej Beranek

After 9/11, the (Global) War on Terror started as a military campaign waged against al-Qaeda and other organizations. This campaign was led by the United States though included NATO and a wide assortment of other actors. Originally, it was supposed to last «until every terrorist group of global reach had been found, stopped, and defeated». However, the campaign has been criticized on various grounds by security experts, politicians, scholars, and others. Eventually, Barack Obama and the new US administration declared the War on Terror over. This book deals with various Western perspectives on the campaign and its impacts on the larger Middle East. It includes chapters written by experts on international relations and the Middle East from various institutions (SOAS, University of London; Metropolitan University Prague; Charles University in Prague; and the Institute of International Relations in Prague), all of which gravitate around delving into the complexities of understanding the Global War on Terror and its conclusion.


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Vera Vesela: Afghan Islamists: Do They Need the GlobalWar on Terror?


87 Afghan Islamists: Do They Need the Global War on Terror? Vera Vesela 1 Despite the forceful expulsion of the Taliban from Afghanistan justified by the Global War on Terror, various Islamist groupings have gradually man- aged to re-establish themselves in the country again. Furthermore, regard- less of the growing investments of Western countries into both the military intervention and development assistance to Afghanistan, the logistical and strategic capabilities of the Taliban have steadily been improving. Conse- quently, not only has any improvement in strategies on the govern- ment/international side been paralleled by changes in the opposition tac- tics, but the government and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have often trailed behind Islamist activities. Islamists, in turn, have successfully dictated the style and the content of the war while effectively preventing the social and economic stabilization of the country, the main objective of the Western intervention after the successful elimination of the Taliban regime. Western opinion-makers have attributed this development mostly to the portrayal of the conflict in ideological terms on the part of the Bush admin- istration, which constructed the Global War on Terror as a threat posed by a global Islamist conspiracy. In their view, such conceptualization of the conflict provided legitimacy to Islamists to act as religious leaders of a ra- ther disparate group of actors, profiting from various local conflicts and grievances. Furthermore, it has led to a technicist approach to tackling the Islamist threat, sidelining focus on state-building and good governance and thus further alienating...

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