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Anti-terror fight needs to focus on root causes of terrorism

The Sydney Opera House is lit up in red, white and blue, resembling the colours of the French flag on November 14, 2015, as Australians express their solidarity with France following a spate of attacks in Paris. Photo: AFP

Many landmark buildings across the world were bathed in red, white and blue floodlights of the French tricolor to show solidarity with France after terrorist attacks rocked Paris and killed at least 129 people last week.

French President Francois Hollande denounced the attacks as an “act of war” and vowed to fight against IS without mercy.

It is not a conflict between civilizations but a clash between civilization and barbarism as unarmed civilians were targeted in the worst-ever attack on French soil. Terrorism crossed the bottom line of humanity and stood on the opposite side of civilization, which requires the coalition of mankind to root it out.

Since 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, a worldwide anti-terror war has done little but turned the Middle East into a terrorist hotbed. It attests to the fact that the sheer use of force doesn’t work. The root cause of terrorism cannot be eliminated by bombings and raids.

The place that harbors terrorists is usually a country or region marked by economic stagnation and social instability where the youth have no access to education and jobs. The chaotic situation generates brutality and bellicosity. The root cause of international terrorism boils down to an imbalance of international power structure.

Since the Arab Spring in the Middle East, the US and Europe have been pushing to set up democratic governments there at the cost of its own regimes. But the attempts have proven to be a failure in a region with deep-rooted factional conflicts between religions. The interference in politics plunged Syria and Yemen into crisis and indirectly fomented terrorism in the Middle East. While countering terrorism, the US and Europe have to reflect on their mistakes.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the G20 summit that the international community must join hands in further stepping up co-operation to combat terrorism. Xi said there is a particular need to "address both the symptoms and root causes" of such attacks and there should be "no double standards". 

The effective way to eliminate terrorism is for a united world to help the Middle East find a solution to end chaos and turmoil.

All countries across the world need to join hands regardless of race, religion and politics in the war against terrorism. On top of military cooperation, measures in economic development, political strategy and social reform are what the Middle East is short of. Bombings cannot root out terrorism.

(The article is translated by Wu Jie.)


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