on Terrorism, War on Terror, or Global War on Terror is the name given by the U.S. administration of President George W. Bush to his military campaign in response to the attacks of 11 September 2001. This term is no longer used in the U.S. government since the inauguration of the Obama administration in 2009.
The concept, already used at the beginning of the Reagan presidency, resurfaced when President Bill Clinton faced the rising threat of international terrorism.
The war against terrorism consists of several police, political, and military actions of the United States government, supported by various allies including NATO, against various organizations related to Islamist terrorism, such as Al-Qaeda. These anti-terrorist operations were supported by coordination at the various UN committees established by the Security Council of the United Nations, which by resolution 1373 of 28 September 2001 required all UN member states to take legislative measures against terrorism as well as tougher laws governing the rights of foreigners.
This campaign differed from traditional counter-terrorist operations by large-scale military actions abroad, an active intervention, the activity that do not opposed to a State (definition of war in international law) but to non-state groups (Al-Qaeda in the first place), and as one having no defined term, which has led some commentators to criticize the establishment of a “permanent state of exception.” It led to the development the concept of a “preventive war” against states accused of harboring terrorists or groups or suspected in providing them with “weapons of mass destruction” that caused the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which had a prolongation in the form of the war in Afghanistan that began in October 2001.
Besides direct control (dismantling terrorist cells, destruction of training camps, etc..), the war on terror implies as well the investigation and pressure on governments, organizations and individuals supporting terrorist organizations and freezing assets suspected of belonging to or being used by terrorist groups. It also includes financial aid to countries participating in the fight against terrorism, the growth of international police cooperation and cooperation between intelligence services (implementation of Alliance Base, headquartered in Paris) attempts at political reorganization of the Middle East decided by the Bush administration (the “Greater Middle East” project supported by the neocons), etc.
The NGO Amnesty International has documented and denounced hundreds of cases of torture and other serious violations of human rights (Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary renditions, CIA black sites, etc.), committed under the new policy.
Finally, there was massive criticism with respecting the U.S. foreign policy, arguing that Americans themselves practice international terrorism.
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