Seventeen years on from the 9/11 attacks: where are we going with terrorism?

Speaker: Professor Greg Barton

As another terrible anniversary approaches what are we to make of the global threat of terrorism, and 17 years of metaphorical, and real, war in countering terrorism? What have protracted military campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan achieved and what have they cost? Assessing the cost is easier than evaluating the achievements but, truth be told, there is little appetite for either. 

Trillions of dollars have been spent and hundreds of thousands of lives lost and broken, with the greater cost coming from the unintended consequences of conflict.  The broader al-Qaeda network is arguably stronger than ever, albeit unable and unwilling to repeat the massive attacks on Western cities of the previous decade.  On this score, credit must be given for a stream of domestic successes in countering terrorism around the world.  At the same time, however, the threat has metastasised into the so-called Islamic State movement, which though weakened is far from dead and may yet again prove to be more potent than al-Qaeda. 

Meanwhile, the resilience of local terrorist groups like Boko Haram and al-Shabab underscores the reality that the terrorism becomes devastatingly potent when it parasitically infests the weakened body politic of a failing state.

And in the northern hemisphere violent right-wing extremism represents a rising threat no less potent, if less grandiose and acknowledged, to jihadi Salafism.  Just as in vulnerable states far-right nativism and radical Islamism pair with authoritarian populism to present a deeper and more far-reaching, if less overtly violent, threat to good-governance and peace.

This is a free event but registration is required. Please RSVP to Leesa Davis,

Professor Greg Barton is Research Professor in Global Islamic Politics in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University where, since August 2015, he has led research on Islam and civil society, democratisation, and countering violent extremism. Over the past 30 years he has undertaken extensive research on politics and society in Indonesia,...
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