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Syed Yusuf SAADAT: International Cooperation for Counter Terrorism: A Strategic Perspective
September 12,2019   By:
International Cooperation for Counter Terrorism: A Strategic Perspective 
 
Syed Yusuf SAADAT
 
Bengladesh
 
Abstract: The world today is a dangerous place. The existence of competing needs, diverse cultures, power struggles and economic inequalities mean that individuals and nations have incompatible goals and objectives. The number of terrorist incidents around the world is increasing rapidly. The three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism have proliferated around the world, creating pandemonium and causing panic. This rise in the number of terrorist incidents has led to an increase in the loss of human lives. 
 
Despite the rise in the frequency and deadliness of terrorist attacks, international cooperation for counter terrorism is still limited. In fact, it is rather ironic that terrorists are often more united against a single government, than governments are united against a single terrorist threat. To add further to the complexity, governments around the world do not have a consensus regarding what constitutes as terrorism and who are the terrorists. Some governments may even shy away from international cooperation for counter terrorism based on the belief that it may be perceived as an inherent weakness of the government. Because of these pitfalls, international cooperation on counter terrorism is often stunted from its infancy. Meanwhile, terrorist groups and organisations continue to cooperate within themselves and become stronger. Thus, there is is a need for research that can provide evidence that international cooperation for counter terrorism can indeed be beneficial for all countries involved. Unless such differences are resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, they may escalate and lead to conflict.
 
This paper advocates that there exists a strategic rationale for international cooperation for counter terrorism, both in ancient Chinese wisdom and in contemporary game theory. It begins by drawing upon insights from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” and uncovers that countries may gain a strategic advantage over terrorists by sharing intelligence among themselves. It then delves into how counter terrorism may be viewed as a Stackelberg game, and argues that international cooperation may improve the efficacy of sophisticated game theoretic security algorithms. Following this, it briefly looks into how international cooperation may strengthen “Moving Target Defence” as a mechanism for countering cyber terrorism. Finally, it discusses some of the challenges of international cooperation for counter terrorism by means of Prisoner’s Dilemma and Stag Hunt games. By revealing clear strategic advantages, this paper aims to influence policy makers of various countries to prioritise mutual cooperation for mutual benefit. The time has come for countries around the world to set aside their differences and cooperate within themselves on issues pertinent to counter terrorism. Such cooperation is particularly required among countries of the less developed regions of the world, which are disproportionately affected by terrorism. By revealing clear strategic advantages, this paper aims to influence policy makers of various countries to prioritise mutual cooperation for mutual benefit. 
 
The main structure of the article is as follows: remainder of this paper is structured as follows: Section 1 mainly introduces the background of international counter-terrorism cooperation, Section 2 recalls the ancient Chinese wisdom of Sun Tzu pertinent to counter terrorism through a strategic lens, Section 3 describes counter terrorism as a Stackelberg game, Section 4 discusses moving target defence as a strategy for countering cyber terrorism, Sections 5 and 6 point out the challenges of international cooperation for counter terrorism by highlighting Prisoner’s Dilemmas and Stag Hunt games, and finally Section 7 ends the paper with a few concluding remarks for the way forward.
 
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