Which approach - in the aftermath of Paris terror attacks- is more likely to successes in the fight against terror?

After the terrifying terror attacks in Paris, the common reaction of western governments have been to step up their military effort in Syria. Germany decided to send 1200 soldiers to Syria; this evening the British Prime minister hopes for a positive vote on RF airstrikes in Syria in the House of Commons, while at the same time accusing MPs who want to vote against airstrikes as a "bunch of terrorist sympathisers." Paris and Brussels is flooded with police and military; All in all, the reaction on this type of attacks is always the same: increase of military action, increase of surveillance of every citizen, increase of so called "security measures". On the other hand, the attitude of the public turns against Islam and Muslims therefore Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims rising.Opposition to accepting refugees is rising.

But there is a different approach too: The leader of the Islamic Revolution , Sayed Ali Khamenei, has written a second letter to the youth of North America and Europe, in order to make them aware of the reason behind all this hatred and the western policies causing fear of Muslims and Islam.

"It is correct that today terrorism is our common worry. However it is necessary for you to know that the insecurity and strain that you experienced during the recent events, differs from the pain that the people of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan have been experiencing for many years, in two significant ways. First, the Islamic world has been the victim of terror and brutality to a larger extent territorially, to greater amount quantitatively and for a longer period in terms of time. Second, that unfortunately this violence has been supported by certain great powers through various methods and effective means."

He demands a peaceful solution:

"The truth is that if painful matters do not create the grounds for finding solutions and mutual consultation, then the damage caused will be multiplied.”

“I want you youth to lay the foundations for a correct and honorable interaction with the Islamic world based on correct understanding, deep insight and lessons learned from horrible experiences.”

Even though both letters are addressed to the youth, they speak to all of us.

  1. letter issued in February 2015:


  2. letter issued on Sunday, 29.11.15


Which approach is more likely to succeed in the long term fight against terror?

  • 2
    It's worth noting that Khamenei's Iran does have boots on the ground in Syria as well.
    – Christian
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 11:17
  • 1
    But these boots on the ground (Hezbollah, fighting ISIS) have already been there before the attacks in Paris. And they do not try to overthrow Assad.
    – Noor
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 11:22
  • 2
    Whether pacifism or militarism will have better long-term results regarding terrorism is purely speculative. The preferred course of action also depends on a hundred secondary factors which are not related to terrorism at all and their desirability depends on your personal values. I voted to close this question as primarily opinion-based.
    – Philipp
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


I would argue that air strikes, as we have seen, have the potential to cause more suffering than they prevent; for example, the American bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital. When they do go wrong, they spur on grief and spite which can then be exploited by Daesh to aid their recruitment. It is an inefficient use of resources; restrictions on the international arms trade would be far more efficient to stop the flow of guns to Syria and Iraq and stifle Daesh expansion.

By comparison, Khamenei's letter may be a source of inspiration to the youth, creating an interest in activism. While the impact may be small, it would certainly do more good than air strikes.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .