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Chapter one


1.1 Background for the Study

Violence and the fear of violence have been identified as an unavoidable aspect of human existence. It is based on the biblical tale of Cain killing Abel. This is because human existence and actions on Earth are primarily social events subject to agreement and disagreement.

It is also well understood that because peace is synonymous with agreement, disagreement leads to anarchy and violence. That is why it is impossible to eradicate conflict and crises in human affairs and interactions.

This also explains why it was impossible to maintain international peace following the Cold War. At the end of the Cold War, there were high hopes that the international community would once again experience peace and security following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the creation of a Uni-polar International System.

Unfortunately, this hope was destroyed by what Viotti and Kauppi (2009:256) refer to as the “preeminent post-cold war threat,” when on September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked in a very destructive way by al Qaeda, attacking significant targets such as the World Trade Centre (WTC) Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

The foregoing explains why US President George Bush committed to confront terrorism front on and immediately organised a coalition of other nations, particularly North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members and some superpowers, to assure the successful and comprehensive defeat of this new enemy. Great Britain, France, and Spain responded swiftly to the call, as did Germany, Russia, and China (Konecky and Konecky, 2008:631).

He urged all peace-loving nations to join him in successfully prosecuting terrorists, their sponsors, and custodians. He then stated, “Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other ever witnessed” (Woodward 2002:108).

This is because the planning, execution, and chronology of the 9/11 events, as well as the death rate, were such that any rational person would see terrorism as worse than war.

That attack remains the pinnacle and most catastrophic in the history of international terrorism, stunning the entire globe. It shook the basis of the international community not just because of the weapon deployed, but also because of the meticulous preparation and execution, as well as the casualty count.

According to Konecky and Konecky (2008:630), more over 3,000 people died in New York, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The attacks involved the hijacking of four passenger jets departing in the morning from Boston’s Logan Airport, Washington’s Dulles Airport, and Newark Airport in New Jersey.

At 8:45 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 with 88 passengers and staff members crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre in New York, while United Airlines Flight 175 with 59 passengers and crew members slammed into the second tower.

Within less than two hours of these crashes, the twin towers imploded, destroying five other WTC buildings as well as four tube stations, resulting in over 2,650 deaths, including approximately 350 firefighters who were dispatched to assist the estimated 25,000 people inside the towers.

At 9:43 a.m., the third jet, American Airlines Flight 77, smashed into the Pentagon, killing all 59 people on board and 125 on the ground. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was unable to hit its target, the White House at Camp David Presidential Estate.

The failure to hit this target was due to the heroic actions of the passengers, who had already been informed about the New York episode over the phone and

as a result, mounted strong resistance to the hijackers’ plan of steering the plane towards the White House, but which eventually crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew.

After the horrible and sad occurrence, it was determined that al-Qaeda, an Islamic fundamentalist group led by Osama Bin Laden, was responsible for the vile and atrocious conduct. Analysts saw it as a continuation, rather than a repeat, of the previous attack on the same WTC on February 26, 1993, which killed six people.

The low amount of effect documented in the first bomber attempt is thought to have prompted the meticulous planning for 9/11. According to Martin (2006:19), Ramzi Yousef carried out the attack on February 26, 1993, by “detonating a bomb in a parking garage beneath tower one of the World Trade Centre in New York City.” He had first intended with his master Bin Ladin to use a chemical weapon to achieve a high death toll.

Some analysts stated that he put poisonous sodium cyanide into the device with the intention of creating a toxic chemical cloud. This claim is unsupported, while some experts believe he attempted to obtain chemical agents prior to the attack but was unsuccessful (Parachini, 2000:186–187).

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