The concept of international security is a rather multifaceted field with different players and politics playing the major role. In international politics the globe seems to be divided into certain independent and distinct sections. For instance, the West is deemed to always speak with one voice and include nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Frances and Canada. On the other the East tends to provide some sort of leverage in the debate. China, Russia, India and Brazil tend to consider themselves as the other side of the argument. However, the Middle East with the exception of Israel, commonly referred to as the Arab League has always considered itself to be against of the capitalist nations of the west and Israel. Other nations such as Japan and Switzerland have since taken back step and consider themselves as the neutrals. Thus when it comes to international politics and the idea of international security, the world may be viewed in these tenets. Today, the greatest threat to international security in my view is the political state of the Middle East vis-à-vis the rise of insurgent groups using terrorism to fight ‘infidels’ in the name of religion (Islam). This paper reviews the different threats to international security in the current contemporary political environment. Particular emphasis will on the on the spread of terrorism, organized crime and the recent nuclear rush in the Middle East.
Terrorism, the Greatest Security threat
Terrorism is one of the greatest threats to international peace and security. Today, every nation in the world faces the threat of a terrorist attack with several armed radical groups posing such threats. The leading groups of terrorists are composed of extremist Islamists operating in different locations in the Middle East and Africa. Levi, (2012) argues that international politics has significantly influenced the rise of terrorism in the Arab world. According to Haass, (2012), western governments view that the middles east to be backward region that resists democracy and the civil rights of women. For instance, several former Middles East leaders had served for several years with some of them serving for over forty years. For this reason, the United States and other western nations have been influencing Middle East nations claiming that they are supporting or agitating for regime change to have democracy instituted albeit for the wrong reasons . According to the Arabs, intervention by western nations only seeks to secure their supply of oil and other related resources.
For this reason, the Middles East has arisen to arms. Terrorism has emerged as a people-led struggle to avoid or deter the West from indulging in the affairs of Arabs . As a consequence terrorism has claimed thousands of lives in all corners of the world. The main target of these terrorist attacks have been Western nations and there economic interest, key installations and embassies. Of great concern is that perpetrators of these terrorist acts profess Islam. Several Jihadist groups such as Al Qaida, Taliban, Al Shabaab, Hezbollah and other organized groups around the world have continued to pelt terror killing thousands.
However, terrorism is not contained to the Middle East alone. Other terrorist groups operate in different locations of the world and pose grave danger. Such extremists groups include the MEND of Nigeria, FARC of Colombia, LRA of Uganda, and several separatist groups in Eastern Europe and Asia.
Nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea
The second threat to international peace is the nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic Republic of North Korea. The Islamic Republic nation, now led by Ayatollah Khomeini, may be the greatest threat so far to international peace. The Islamic Republic has been pursuing nuclear technology claiming to be doing so for the right reasons according to the Iranian leadership . However, the actions of the Islamic regime create much doubt in the international stage. In the 2006 protracted war between Hezbollah and Israel evidence of Iranian hand in helping the terrorist group were visible . In addition, Iran has over and over again claimed that Israel should not exist and will use whatever is in their power to eliminate the small nation. What’s more, Iran has made good of this threat and has been seen testing their long range missiles in the deserts. This coupled with an ongoing nuclear program in the country presents one of the greatest threats to international security. With an extremist nation in the Middle East armed with nuclear weapons, the region and the entire world may never see peace. A rush to increase nuclear warheads will emerge and the world will revert to a cold war-like state. Israel on the other hand will receive armament and other tools of war from the rest of the western nations.
Similarly, the lone nation of North Korea has been a nuclear threat on its own. North Korea, just like Iran has been testing long range missiles for some time now. The testing of weapons may have triggered the 2011 bombing of a South Korean Island in the Korean Peninsula and this action increased tensions in the region . North Korea is backed by China that is seeking to exploit natural resources in Korea, while South Korea has backing of Western nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom. A standoff may lead to unprecedented military invasion of both nuclear armed nations.
Organized Crime, a long standing Threat to International Peace
Organized crime has been one of the greatest threats to international peace. Nothing indicates this more than the recent lawlessness that has been experienced in Latin America by the Drug Cartels. Organized crime has overrun state security organs in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Mass murder and drug trafficking have thrived in these locations posing the greatest threats to other nations such as the United States. Other organized crime syndicates also operate in different regions of the world. Russian gangs in Eastern Europe, the Japanese Yakuza in Asia and the United States, and The Chinese Triads in West Coast America now dominate the scene of drug syndicates. There also exist small criminal groups that operate from small locations and neighborhoods in separates parts of the world. These small gangs make use of young men and women without sufficient resources to pursue education and put such youth into gangs that control streets in order to sell drugs. These small gangs are the very violent and are responsible for violent confrontation in the streets in several countries.
It is without doubt that the idea of extremists roaming around the globe presents the greatest challenge to world security. Iran in conjunction with other parties and individuals would bring terror of a mammoth scale to the world. Terrorists and other extremist groups have been pelting terror in different parts of the world using kidnapping, suicide bombings, haphazard attacks on places of worship and violent acts to oppress innocent citizens. Threats by Iran and North Korea to get nuclear weapons have significant implications on international peace. In the same regard, organized crime syndicates present a serious threat to international security by fostering drug and human trafficking. Politics has tried to stem these threats using different measures. For instance, the Security Council at the United Nations has imposed some trade embargoes on Iran and North Korea in a bid to make the nations forgo their nuclear ambitions. It is only a matter of time to see whether these nations will seek negotiations on the way forward. It also goes without mention that the Arab spring may be it’s of its own danger. The Arab world has faced a revolution like no other. Stable countries that once provided key regional stability have now shifted to become unstable and very young democracies. Now Egypt is led by the Muslim Brotherhood, a party that was once openly supported extremist activities. Syria is at the brink of genocide after a long civil war due to a revolution seeking to end the reign of President Assad. As to whether these revolutions remain to be a peaceful endeavor remains to be seen.
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