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16/11/15

PARIS 11/13- GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
by David Otto
TGS Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Expert

16 Nov. 2015 at 17:30
‘When you notice your neighbours beard on fire, sprinkle water on yours and help them put off the fire. left to spread, it may soon engulf everyone’ Salisu Suleiman 2013.


The Paris 13/11 attacks which killed about 129 and injured more than 300 innocent civilians going about their daily enjoyment must be condemned in all respects. We must also condemn with same rigour all other attacks irrespective of whether they happen in our back yard or in Timbuktu. The world has changed completely in the 21st century and security is at the core. We live in a society where we have to be lucky all the times. On the other hand the terrorist only have to be lucky once and that will be the end of our life story.

When horrible events happen, the immediate solution is not to pay the perpetrators with an ‘eye for an eye’ because this is the exact response they expect from us- a knee jerk reaction. If we react as expected, it will only assist the terrorist recruit more vulnerable victims into their camp. It is obvious from recent events that the solutions that we have been putting forward against violent extremism do not work because we keep getting the same negative results.This is not to say there are no success stories, because we have plenty of them, usually not spoken about or known to the everyday chap. But as humans we naturally pay more attention to our failures in order to perfect our objectives perhaps.
After the 13/11 Paris tragedy, we should all calm down, draw a deep breath, and not make rash decisions yet. It is time to think of a better alternative to what we have been doing so far in the name of 'strategic hard and soft solutions' for the past years without yielding any lasting success. As of today, we still do not agree on who is a terrorist and who is a freedom fighter in Syria; Who is an extremist and who is a moderate ; we are even divided against ISIL and other similar extremist groups like Al-Qaeda; We are not sincere and transparent about our intentions; We concentrate on scoring political points against each other through unhelpful propaganda while the enemy prospers and plans their next targets; We trust people without due diligence and hand them deadly weapons that end up in the hands of our enemies; We have air superiority but fail to spot our enemy’s ground operations with bulk weapons; We are negligent after all warning signs are laced in front of us. In all we do not know who to trust to defeat ISIL and who to trust to protect innocent citizens.

What we know for sure is that no amount of punishment frightens a man who is not afraid of death. Invading Syria or Iraq to shoot ISIL on sight will not work. It is a bad idea from my point of view and counter productive to say the least. What will work is an honest global approach to the problems from the roots. Forget the symptoms as a primary focus and go back to the drawing board without ignoring your neighbours problems as too far away from your backyard. Remember the terrorist only needs to be lucky once.

By TGS Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Expert David Otto