Today’s World
Section 3
Threats to World Security
• Main Idea / Reading Focus
• The Threat of Terrorism
• Map: World Terrorism Incidents
• Other Threats to Security
Today’s World
Section 3
Threats to World Security
Main Idea
Terrorism, the potential use of weapons of mass destruction, and
ethnic and religious tensions threaten security around the world.
Reading Focus
• How does the threat of terrorism affect today’s world?
• What other threats to world security exist today?
Today’s World
Section 3
The Threat of Terrorism
A major threat to global security today is terrorism, the unlawful use or threat
of violence to cause fear and to advance political, religious, or ideological
goals. Terrorists often intentionally target unarmed and unsuspecting citizens
during their attacks.
Terrorism throughout History
• Terrorism not modern phenomenon
• Acts of terrorism far more common
over last 200 years
• Terrorism has been used to
overthrow governments, fight for
independence, or change society
Terrorist Attacks
• Number of worldwide attacks has
increased over past few decades
• Violence of attacks also increased,
with few regions of world spared
• Latin America, illegal drug trade
• England, Irish Republican Army
• South Asia, Tamil Tigers
The Middle East has become a focus of efforts against terrorist groups.
Today’s World
Section 3
Terrorism in the Middle East
• Part of focus because of ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict; has history of Western
colonial domination leading to resentment of West among some Arabs
• Region home to radical Muslim organizations claiming Islam justifies terrorist
attacks against innocent civilians
• In fact terrorist actions contrary to Islamic law, condemned by most Muslims
Islamist Tactics
• 1980s, Hamas, Hezbollah, al
Qaeda used terrorist tactics against
Israel, Western nations
• Iran’s support of Hezbollah—statesponsored terrorism
• Hamas seeks to destroy Israel,
create Palestinian state
• Israel, United States, other nations
consider Hezbollah terrorist
• Hezbollah supported by Iran, has
primary goal of destruction of Israel
• Other nations see it as legitimate
resistance movement against Israel
Today’s World
Section 3
Fighting Terrorism
New Legislation
• After al Qaeda attack September 11, 2001, U.S. government took many
actions to prevent future terrorist attacks
• Passed new legislation to strengthen international, domestic intelligence
Homeland Security
• Established after 9–11; focused on security of nation’s borders,
transportation networks
• Sought to find, cut off funding sources for terrorist networks
Military Action
• Used to pressure countries suspected of supporting terrorists
• 2001, U.S.-led military campaign invaded Afghanistan, forced out Taliban
government, which had supported, protected members of al Qaeda
Today’s World
Section 3
Other Military Actions
• 2003, another U.S.-led invasion targeted Iraq, dictator Saddam
• Some officials claimed Saddam possessed dangerous biological,
chemical weapons, supported anti-American terrorist groups; this
later found to be untrue
Similar Security Issues
• Other countries faced similar security issues
• Bomb attacks on trains, buses in Madrid, London, Jerusalem spurred
Spain, Great Britain, Israel to investigate ways to use technology to
improve future security for transportation systems
Today’s World
Section 3
Today’s World
Section 3
Make Generalizations
How are countries working to prevent
Answer(s): strengthened intelligence services,
increased security, military actions
Today’s World
Section 3
Other Threats to Security
In addition to terrorist attacks, there are other threats to global
Dangerous Weapons
Biological Weapons
• Many countries possess weapons
of mass destruction (WMDs),
• Made with organisms, toxins
found in nature; easy, inexpensive
to develop
– Biological weapons
– Chemical weapons
– Nuclear weapons
• Can cause enormous amounts of
• Terrorist groups, governments
seek to use for own purposes
• Diseases, poisons like anthrax,
plague, smallpox
• 1972, more than 70 nations
signed treaty prohibiting
production, possession
• Officials worry about biological
attacks by terrorist groups
Today’s World
Section 3
Other Weapons
Chemical Weapons
• Mustard gas, nerve gas use chemical toxins to kill, injure
• Used in both world wars; used in Iran-Iraq war against Iraqi Kurds, 1980s;
nerve gas sarin in Tokyo subway system, 1995
Nuclear Weapons
• Biggest threat to world in twenty-first century
• During Cold War, U.S., Soviet Union, 60 other nations signed Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, meant to stop spread of nuclear weapons
• Nearly every nation in world has agreed to this treaty
• At least eight countries known to possess nuclear weapons
• Others believed trying to develop them
Today’s World
Section 3
Addressing Nuclear Issues
Legitimate Use
• Difficult to control nuclear
• Nuclear technology can be
used for legitimate purposes
• International concern over
development of nuclear
• Many countries making efforts
to ensure nuclear technology
used safely
• International Atomic Energy
Agency monitors countries
suspected of developing
nuclear weapons
• Countries have placed
penalties, on nations
considered nuclear threats
Today’s World
Section 3
Ethnic and Religious Conflicts
Multiple Threats
• High-tech weapons threat: have
power to destroy, kill
• Ethnic, religious conflicts threat:
create willingness to destroy, kill
French, UN Troops
Tutsi, Hutu
• 1994, tensions between Tutsi, Hutu
ethnic groups led to massacres in
• 1 million people killed, another 2
million became refugees
• Worked to maintain ceasefire in
Rwanda until new government
could establish order
• Early 2000s, similar situation in
Darfur: Arab militias attacked
African villagers
• 1998, some involved in the
genocide convicted, executed
• By 2006, 400,000 killed, 2 million
fled to refugee camps
Today’s World
Section 3
Security Summary
• Violence caused by ethnic, religious hatred
significant threat to people around world
• Nations face
– Risk of terrorist attacks
– Use of weapons of mass destruction
– Ethnic, religious conflict
• People around world working hard to protect public
Today’s World
Section 3
Identify Problem and Solution
How are countries and international groups
dealing with threats to world security?
Answer(s): peacekeeping missions, imposing