BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Terrorism can be defined as an action or threat intended to influence the government or intimidate the people. It is a violent action in which its purpose is to advance a political, religious or ideological cause. Counter- terrorism is therefore the policies or activities used to prevent the acts of terrorism. It is also defined by an attempt by the governments to identify terrorists and the use of political strategies to prevent terrorism or the application of military force to retaliate for terrorist acts.
The 9/11 attacks on The United States of America gave rise to terrorism. On September 11, 2001, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York City. The attacks were led by the Islamic Terrorist Group, Al-Qaeda. The United states quickly responded by launching the War on terror and invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban. The attacks were denounced by mass media and governments worldwide. Across the globe, nations offered pro-American support and solidarity.
Leaders in most Middle Eastern countries, and Afghanistan, condemned the attacks. Iraq was a notable exception, with an immediate official statement that, “the American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity”.. At the joint session of the United States Congress following the attacks, President Bush said that ‘every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.’ This ultimatum deepened America’s relations with states that had a strong interest in destroying Al-Qaeda, and strained those with states that had mixed records in combating terrorism, such as Saudi Arabia. Iraq has been a threat to the United States, starting with the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was as a result of the breakdown of the Iran- Iraq war, in which Iraq was not in a financial position to repay the US$14 billion it borrowed from Kuwait to finance its war. The Iraqi government justified its invasion by claiming that Kuwait was a natural part of Iraq carved off as a result of British imperialism, therefore was driven by the desire to take control over Kuwait’s infinite oil reserves. The United States was vocal in its public justifications for involvement in the Iraq-Kuwait conflict and sought to encourage support for an international coalition. The most prominent justification was the necessity to protect the territorial sovereignty of Kuwait. The United States also suspected an Iraqi military build-up along the Saudi Arabian border. . Further, the United States cited Hussein’s record of human rights abuses, and Iraq’s possession of biological and chemical weapons. On January 15, 1991, the United Nations Security council authorized the use of force against Iraq unless it withdrew its forces from Kuwait. The United States organized a coalition made up of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) allies and other nations including Arab countries and started pushing Iraq out of Kuwait since it demanded an end to sanctions, permanent access to the Persian Gulf and sole ownership of the Rumaila oil field. In addition to this, Saddam Hussein refused to grant exit visas to Westerners in Iraq, and thus held them as hostages. The President George H.W.Bush decided to contain Iraq’s potential military threat and did this by stationing American military forces in neighbouring countries. Also, during the Bill Clinton administration, a policy of no- fly zones in the North and South of Iraq kept Saddam Hussein’s aircrafts grounded in an effort to protect the Kurds and Shias. In 1998, Madeleine Albright confirmed that US strategy towards Saddam was that of containment. Following the terrorist attacks in 2001, Wolfowitz and other neo-conservatives pressed for an immediate attack on Iraq, the officials quietly began to consider military options against Saddam. Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley developed a policy of phased pressure on Iraq, which included ratcheting up many of the measures used by the Clinton administration, such as sanctions and weapons inspectors. However, after the 9/11 attack, Bush’s first order of business to destroy Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan , and then face his attention to Saddam.In George.W.Bush’s January 29, 2002 state of Union Address, he identified Iraq, North Korea and Iran as an axis of evil’ , and that they pose a grave and growing danger’. He argued that the vulnerability of the United States began on the September 11 attacks and Iraq’s continued possession and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction and its support of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda made disarming Iraq a major priority. Bush declared an end to diplomacy and issued an ultimatum to №addam, giving the Iraqi president 48 hours to leave Iraq after it still retained proscribed weapons. America’s terrorism operations in Iraq finally began on the 20th of March when Saddam refused to leave Iraq. It began when U.S. aircraft dropped several precision-guided bombs on a bunker complex, followed by a series of air strikes directed against government and military installations, and within days U.S. forces had invaded Iraq from Kuwait in the south. The U.S. president declared an end to the major war on May 1,Iraqi leaders fled into hiding and were the object of an intense search by U.S. forces. №addam Hussein was captured on December 13, 2003, and was turned over to Iraqi authorities in June 2004 and was executed on December 30, 2006. Also, in December 2006,President Bush was inclined to increase the number of troops in Iraq, this effort was known as The Surge’. The surge was effective as there was a change in counterterrorism tactics such as the Sunni Awakening, a movement in which Sunni tribesmen who had formerly fought against U.S. troops eventually realigned themselves to help counter other insurgents, particularly those associated with Al-Qaeda. In November 2008, the Iraqi parliament approved a U.S.-Iraqi agreement that redefined the legal framework for U.S. military activity in Iraq and set a timetable for the final withdrawal of U.S. forces. In February 2009, newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama declared that U.S. combat forces would be withdrawn from Iraq by August 31, 2010, and the remaining troops would pull out by the end of 2011. Further, an American led intervention in Iraq began on June 15, 2014 when President Barrack Obama ordered U.S forces to be deployed in Iraq in response to the operations in Iraq conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The American troops went to assess the Iraqi forces and the threat posed by ISIL. ISIL attacked a Kurdish held territory in Iraq in August 2014 and captured three towns. In response, America started supplying the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces with weapon the United and also started humanitarian aid, air droppings of food, water, and medicine for civilians fleeing ISIL in the Sinjar Mountains. The President ordered airstrikes in Mosul Dam and in the Erbil and Sinjar areas.STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Terrorism is still a threat to both America and the entire world. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, America’s major strategy towards countering terrorism has been by changing the ideology through which the people are inspired to support and join these groups, and also to destroy the Al- Qaeda network. With U.S continuing to act against terrorism, its citizens are put in danger, whereas the job of the government is to secure them. The anti-terrorism strategy has failed to accomplish national objectives as U.S has issued policy statements that sets broad goals, but has not amounted to a strategy, there are no real assessments of situations and reasons for selecting a given course of action. Al- Qaeda has rebuilt its strength and may be stronger than prior to the 9/11. The Islamic State has decentralized and expanded into new locations around the world.OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The broad objective of this study is to evaluate the issues and challenges of the America’s counterterrorism operations in Iraq. The specific objectives that would be addressed in this research would be:1. To define terrorism as a continuous national security threat.2. To investigate the effects of counterterrorism in both America and Iraq.3. To analyse America’s counterterrorism operations in Iraq.4. To identify the strategies America has used to conduct its counterterrorism operations in Iraq.5. To measure the successes of the counterterrorism strategies and policies.6. To investigate the challenges of the strategies used in eradicating terrorism.7. To determine new strategies for counterterrorism.SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The study would be considered significant for the following reasons: 1. This study will be resourceful to students and the society in general, and give them adequate information on counterterrorism.2. The result of the study will enable different people such as policy makers the best option to take when countering terrorism.3. The result of this study will also allow Americans to understand that although terrorism is a threat to their country, there are still vital concerns to contend with. For example, scholars posits that the current President Donald .J. Trump is not bothered with terrorism , as his concern is to compete with other world powers such as China and North Korea. 4. This study will give sufficient data for future researchers who will engage in similar study in the future. It will be of immense benefit to researchers who intend to know more about this topic. It contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other works.SCOPE OF THE STUDY This study is focused on the rise of terrorism in America, starting from the 9/11 attacks, leading to the America-Iraq war. It covers the Iraq invasion of Kuwait, which led to the suspicion of possession of weapons of mass destruction and led to the containment policy. It covers America’s counterterrorism operations in Iraq from 2002 till today. This study covers the different approaches and strategies America has taken to counter terrorism.LIMITATIONS TO THE STUDY This study is limited to lack of prior research studies on the topic. Data collection and gathering has been challenging because people the topic has not been fully explored or researched. For this reason, the researcher is required to develop an entirely new research typology. This study is also limited to lack of available and reliable data. The researcher believes the data gathered is missing and unreliable; for example, following the strategies that America has taken, every other source or cite keeps giving the same answer ,or there are not precise enough. Further, the researcher does not have access to organizations, particular data and documents. The researcher is only able to use international websites which has to be paid for. While the currencies are different, the researcher will be unable to make payment. RESEARCH QUESTIONS The study will attempt to find out answers to the following research questions:1. What are the effects of counterterrorism on the American economy and Iraqi economy?2. What are the roles of the government in the fight against terrorism?3. What are the effects of the strategies used in both America and Iraq?4. Have the strategies used in eradicating terrorism in Iraq been sufficient? RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The methodology that would be used in this study is the qualitative method which aims for a complete, detailed description of observations, including the context of events and circumstances. The study will be descriptive; therefore, data will be collected through interviews and observations. The researcher will make use of paper surveys or questionnaires, web-based questionnaires or internet based survey. Most importantly, the researcher will make use of documental revision; the researcher will go over books and other reference materials to collect relevant data. DEFINITION OF TERMSTerrorism: It is referred as a tactic or strategy of violence to create fear for political, religious, and ideological reasons. The terror is deliberately aimed at non-combatant targets such as civilians or iconic symbols. It is a deliberate attack by an individual or a group against a country, its institutions or its people – with the aim of intimidating them and damaging or destroying their political, economic or social structures. Counterterrorism: It is referred to as the joint efforts to combat terrorism. It is the strategies that the government, military and intelligence agencies use to prevent terrorism.Al-Qaeda: It is an organization and a terrorist group designated by the United States, United Nations Security Council, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other countries. Also known as The Base and The Foundation, it is a militant Sunni Islamist multi-national organization founded in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL): It is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It is a terrorist group designated by the United Nations and other countries. The United Nations holds ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes.