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Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

31st August 2018 13:02:44 Hours

‘Political Extremism’ is Manifestation of Diverse Manipulations & Ideological Extremes

Giving a comprehensive interpretation to what the whole political extremism means, Lieutenant General (Retd) Ms Orit Adato, Research Fellow and Lecturer in International Counter Terror (ICT) Research Institute - Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Chair of the Gesher Leadership Institute, Founder and Director of ‘Forum Dvora’ - Women in Security and Foreign Affairs, Founder and Managing Director of Adato Consulting Ltd, Israel, spoke at length on ‘Ideological Polarization’ during the Session 1 on the Day - 2 this morning (31) at ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018’.

She dwelt on Religious, National, Territorial, Socio Economic and Extreme Ideology highlighting polarization’s diverse motivations. Focused on radical Islamism in general, and Sunna / Shiah within the radical Islamism in particular, related to Iran vs. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, she elaborated on how radicalization finds articulations among religiously devoted people and how it infiltrates all borders.

In the same vein, national and territorial issues do contribute to this phenomenon. For example, the Europeans’ separation desires and separation process like in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Chechnya, Spain or Israeli - Palestinian dispute drew the attention of all stakeholders.

On the other hand, deep gaps at Socio Economic levels between parts of the society, revolutionist approach within countries, civil riots and demonstrations, such as the ‘Arab Spring’ in the Middle East, Europe in the past contribute to this polarization in a large scale.

Similarly, Extreme Ideology that gives birth to Fascism, Anarchism, Communism, Racism or even Liberalism Vs. Conservatism as has been the case among different tribes in Africa, Rwanda, South Sudan, Afro-American population in the US, Mexicans in the US, etc encourages extremists to take weapons into their hands. This polarization might turn into violence & terrorism through escalated phases, like Pragmatism, Dogmatism, Extremism, Terrorism, etc.

“There is a problem/dispute. Things are being discussed between parties, reciprocal declarations, contained during negotiations, talks, but still quiet. There are minor confrontations based on disagreements, high level of reciprocal declarations of parties against each other, sometimes dealing with mediators, still containing the dispute in general which has all the hallmarks of dogmatism. High level of disagreements, distrust between parties, hate expressions, reluctant will to maintain discussions (even through third party /mediator), "Blame Game", occasional violent confrontations, escalation, etc afterwards push them towards extremism,” she said.

Direct intentional violence, efforts to achieve goals by force, rage, hate, loss of ethical codes and force are considered as the only tool that make them to take up arms by way of terrorism.

Considering motivational factors or ‘Trigger Points’, extremists/immigrants, might resort to high level of violent/criminal acts. Governmental brutality and killing of demonstrators in a civilian demonstration, etc make them to further feel frustrated which is derived from personal/professional circumstances. She also pointed out direct & indirect incitement utilizing vulnerable population, needed to be identified for necessary action before escalation creeps in.

She added that professional ‘eyes’ on the ground by way of interactive relations between law enforcement agencies and local community leadership should be directed in the right direction. Equally, we must support moderate religious leaders, to increase their influence on the community. As for correctional intelligence system, cooperation with law enforcement / security agencies should be further enhanced with specific attention on subsequent continuous rehabilitation process in the community. Likewise, acknowledgement of terror inmates as offenders among the community is needed to be implemented while engaging local community leadership in policy planning & developing with a view to enhancing their trust, she noted.