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  Disappearing security threats: Understanding the silent end to the "War on Terror".

   Department of Politics and International Relations

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The Global War on Terror (WoT) was announced by US President George W. Bush shortly after the al Qaeda attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Backed by allies across the world and stamped with UN approval, the WoT transformed security policy in countless nations across the world rapidly turning terrorism into the greatest "national security" threat even in countries with little history or likelihood of political violence. With UN Security Council Resolution 1373, all UN member states were asked to develop a counter-terrorism policy while US allies were persuaded, through a variety of means, to participate in overt and covert military, intelligence and law enforcement operations spanning the world. This involved full scale military invasions such as in Iraq in 2003, to participation in covert Rendition programmes kidnapping suspects around the world to be interrogated in third countries and eventually detained in Guantanamo. The UK was a leading supporter of the WoT internationally, participating in numerous roles publicly and secretely. Domestically, successive UK governments changed legislation and practices not only in security matters, but also in education, health, and social services in pursuit of an all-emcompassing counter-terrorist priority. Just over 20 years later, the WoT has quietly disappeared from national security strategies of many countries, including the United Kingdom. The project aims to investigate how a security threat is "unmade." Indeed, although there is substantial theoretical and empirical literature in security and terrorism studies, particularly of the critical kind, that has investigated how terrorism was constructed into a global security threat after 2001 there is very little theoretical or empirical literature on how security threats are deprioritized. What are the processes through which this occurs? Who is responsible for the change? What happens to the policies, programmes, experts, and even organizations that were set up to tackle the increasingly obsolete security threat? The doctoral project will thus make a theoretical contribution to security and terrorism studies as well as an empirical contribution to understanding the evolution of UK security policy. 

Politics & Government (30)

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