Counterterrorism communications

Exploring the different dialogues in the war against terrorism

On September 11, 2001, a massive terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City precipitated what ex-US President George W. Bush would soon call the “Global War or Terror”.  A decade later the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is dead. Hundreds of thousands more lives have been lost and trillions of dollars have been spent. It is unclear whether the war on terror is near a conclusion, or indeed, even winnable given its existing frames of reference. In the interests of clarity it is helpful to define the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘strategic communication’. Terrorism may be defined as the deliberate application of violence against civilians to induce terror-based behaviour. It does not matter whether the perpetrators are individuals or states, or whether their motivation is political, religious or ideological. In short, it is a very brutal tool for changing behaviour.

Nicholas Labuschagne

Nicholas Labuschagne works as a strategy adviser tio the Government of Dubai's Media Office. He began his career as a chemical engineering consultant before enetering the derivatives markets in the City of London. 1n 1990, he worked in South Africa as a corporate strategist before moving to Dubai in 1999. In 2006 he was appointed to the Government of Dubai’s Strategic Affairs Committee. He is currently completing a degree in Terrorism Studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.