Last Updated 31 Jan 2023

The September 11th Attacks and the Global Security Strategies

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The September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in the United States in 2001 shook the world and caused lasting effects on the global security strategies. Maritime security was also threatened after the attacks, not only in the U.S but globally. After the attacks, the U.S and other countries of the world including the Indo-Pacific region re-evaluated their vulnerabilities against the threat of terrorism.

Essentially, it seems like the September 11th attacks sowed the seeds of terrorism worldwide with the emergence of terrorist organizations like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in the Middle East. As a result, nations all over the world, particularly those that border the oceans and seas began to focus on maritime security.

Countries have also exerted naval efforts outside their geographical regions. Many strategies have been created and implemented to improve the security of the global maritime transport. The initiatives aimed at highlighting the risks of attacks including maritime piracy and problems in links among the various modes of transport supply chain. Steps are being taken to prevent any such attack in the future.

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The international community reacted to the terrorist attacks of September 11th with various strategic plans and security measures (affected directly by the United States reaction) that led to a significant change in the field of maritime transportation and security. Task forces have been created to scan vessels sailing in and out of many countries, particularly the U.S –bound containers for dangerous materials such as nuclear weapons.

The concept of Importer Security Filing has emerged which enables authorities to acquire information about importers planning to access ports. Such steps were taken to reduce the risk of maritime attacks globally.

The concept of security changed after 9/11. Countries all over the world have been taking steps to identify new steps and implement strategies. A few fundamental factors have been identified that threaten maritime safety. Firstly, piracy has emerged in global waters. This can be due to increased commercial maritime traffic along with the establishment of a large number of ports worldwide that serve as high payoff targets.

High profile terrorist attacks are on the rise at sea. Several incidents have occurred that have increased fears globally. These incidents are associated with militants belonging to the global terrorist network. Maritime domains are being targeted by terrorists due to the much vulnerability that was earlier ignored.

Consequently, a higher rate of pirate attacks has been observed. Moreover, commercial enterprises that specialize in maritime sports and equipment have been facilitated by terrorist organisations to obtain an accessible conduit for acquiring the necessary training and resources to operate at sea.

Maritime attacks are associated with mass economic destabilisation, therefore; the maritime environment has become a favourable target for terrorists. If the trade is disrupted effectively, it can have devastating effects on the parties involved.

In addition to cruise ships passenger ferries which remains a high-value target for sea-based terrorists to cause massive losses to the enemy.

The Indian Ocean gained a substantial importance recently (post 9/11) among either regional actors or extra-regional actors. It became an arena for competition among Asian Powers and extra-regional powers to leverage the regional sea lines of communication, which emerged, as the world’s most important, vital to global and regional energy and economic security.

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