Lessons from Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen suggest that a new approach to terrorism and security threats is needed, according to a briefing from Saferworld, A New War on Terror or a New Approach to Peace?
The global war on terror has traumatized Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen while failing to reverse the onslaught of terrorism. As attacks rise, Western nations continue to repeat the same mistakes, focusing on military and security approaches but failing to work towards lasting peace.
In Afghanistan, “dominant military doctrines underpinned behaviours and tactics that created resentment and fuelled further conflict,” the briefing states. It goes on to note that with “limited progress on key governance and corruption drivers of conflict,” the military approach was unable to defeat the Taliban. In Somalia, international actors had no goals beyond defeating al-Shabaab and often worked at cross-purposes. the briefing explains. Alongside these other agendas, the “security needs of the Somali people have often taken a back seat.” In Yemen, terrorist groups have grown and expanded despite western interventions. Military aid to that country for counterterrorism was diverted and used to protect the capital and presidential palace. The situation in Yemen has only worsened.
A new approach to these security threats should rely less on military tools and focus on strategies for peace, the briefing asserts. It also should take a tougher approach to abuse, corruption and bad governance, and be more discerning about partners and how to engage with them, the briefing explains.