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How to Handle the Enabling Conditions for Extremism and Terrorism

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dr. M. Javad Zarif*

Much is being articulated today about the formidable challenge presented to the global community by terrorism and extremism, and on the approaches to combat and contain—and hopefully eradicate—them. Regardless of where each state stands on these twin challenges, and whatever the quintessence of the official policy of this or that country, the international community in its entirety shares the common conviction that these problems need to be addressed urgently.

The global community must be rid of them as effectively as possible, and I doubt the exigency of the challenging task before us all is in any question. The twin problems of terrorism and extremism, far beyond the never-ending polemics among politicians, stand out as the natural outcome of intrinsic failings in the current (and recent) international situation. They are neither confined to any part of the world, are exclusive to one religion, nor can they be combated on a regional basis and then only through heavy reliance on military hardware.

After a decade-and-a-half of wholesale failure in combating post-9/11 terrorism, ugly realities on the ground push us to look at these challenges with open eyes—without illusions or indeed self-delusion. It should have become all too clear by now that a successful, effective fight against these two cancerous phenomena calls for a comprehensive approach and a multi-pronged strategy which depends, first and foremost, on a sober understanding and recognition of their enabling social, cultural, economic and global conditions.

*Dr. M. Javad Zarif, is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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