What is Terrorism?
Terrorism is not new, and even though it has been used since the beginning of recorded history it can be relatively hard to define. Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty. Obviously, a lot depends on whose point of view is being represented. Terrorism has often been an effective tactic for the weaker side in a conflict.
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, often violent. In the international community, however, terrorism has no legally binding, criminal law definition. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear, are perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal; and deliberately target civilians.
Studies have found over 100 definitions of “terrorism”.
The symbolism of terrorism can leverage human fear to help achieve these goals.
Within this definition, there are three key elements—violence, fear, and intimidation—and each element produces terror in its victims.
Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. The strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that draws the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public’s or government’s reaction to the act.
For example, in 1972 at the Munich Olympics, the Black September Organization killed 11 Israelis. The Israelis were the immediate victims. But the true target was the estimated 1 billion people watching the televised event. The Black September Organization used the high visibility of the Olympics to publicize its views on the plight of the Palestinian refugees.
!!!! There are three perspectives of terrorism: the terrorist’s, the victim’s, and the general public’s. The phrase “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is a view terrorists themselves would accept. Terrorists do not see themselves as evil. They believe they are legitimate combatants, fighting for what they believe in, by whatever means possible. A victim of a terrorist act sees the terrorist as a criminal with no regard for human life. The general public’s view is the most unstable. The terrorists take great pains to foster a “Robin Hood” image in hope of swaying the general public’s point of view toward their cause. This sympathetic view of terrorism has become an integral part of their psychological warfare and needs to be countered vigorously
Terrorist acts or the threat of such action have been in existence for millennia.
Over the past 20 years, terrorists have committed extremely violent acts for alleged political or religious reasons
Early History of Terrorism
Terror in Antiquity: 1st -14th Century AD
The earliest known organization that exhibited aspects of a modern terrorist organization was the Zealots of Judea. Known to the Romans as sicarii, or dagger-men , they carried on an underground campaign of assassination of Roman occupation forces.
The Assassins were the next group to show recognizable characteristics of terrorism, as we know it today. A breakaway faction of Shia Islam called the Nizari Ismalis adopted the tactic of assassination of enemy leaders because the cult's limited manpower prevented open combat. Their leader, Hassam-I Sabbah, based the cult in the mountains of Northern Iran.
Even though both the Zealots and the Assassins operated in antiquity, they are relevant today: First as forerunners of modern terrorists in aspects of motivation, organization, targeting, and goals. Secondly, although both were ultimate failures, the fact that they are remembered hundreds of years later, demonstrates the deep psychological impact they caused.
Early Origins of Terrorism: 14th -18th Century
The French Revolution provided the first uses of the words "Terrorist" and "Terrorism". Use of the word "terrorism" began in 1795 in reference to the Reign of Terror initiated by the Revolutionary government. The agents of the Committee of Public Safety and the National Convention that enforced the policies of "The Terror" were referred to as 'Terrorists". The French Revolution provided an example to future states in oppressing their populations
Current State of Terrorism
The largest act of international terrorism occured on September 11, 2001 in a set of co-ordinated attacks on the United States of America where Islamic terrorists hijacked civilian airliners and used them to attack the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
Other major terrorist attacks have also occured in New Delhi (Indian Parliament attacked); Bali car bomb attack; London subway bombings; Madrid train bombings and the most recent attacks in Mumbai (hotels, train station and a Jewish outreach center). The operational and strategic epicenter of Islamic terrorism is now mostly centred in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
There is clearly a wide choice of definitions for terrorism. Despite this, there are elements in common among the majority of useful definitions. Common threads of the various definitions identify terrorism as:
A terrorist act is a political act or is committed with the intention to cause a political effect. Terrorists merely eliminate the intermediate step of armies and warfare, and apply violence directly to the political contest.
The intended results of terrorist acts cause a psychological effect ("terror"). They are aimed at a target audience other than the actual victims of the act. The intended target audience of the terrorist act may be the population as a whole, some specific portion of a society.
Violence and destruction are used in the commission of the act to produce the desired effect. Even if casualties or destruction are not the result of a terrorist operation, the threat or potential of violence is what produces the intended effect. For example, a successful hostage taking operation may result in all hostages being freed unharmed after negotiations and bargaining. Regardless of the outcome, the terrorist bargaining chips were nothing less than the raw threat of killing some or all of the hostages.
Terrorist groups demand change, revolution, or political movement. The radical worldview that justifies terrorism mandates drastic action to destroy or alter(изменить) the status quo. Such goals require action to "turn back the clock" or restore some kind of system that is extinct. Nobody commits violent attacks on strangers or innocents to keep things "just the way they are."
Terrorism is an activity planned and intended to achieve particular goals. It is a rationally employed, specifically selected tactic, and is not a random act.
Media Exploitation (Эксплуатация СМИ)
Terrorism's effects are not necessarily aimed at the victims of terrorist violence. Victims are usually objects to be exploited by the terrorists for their effect on a third party. In order to produce this effect, information of the attack must reach the target audience. So any terrorist organization plans for exploitation of available media to get the message to the right audiences.
Illegality of Methods
Terrorism is a criminal act. Whether the terrorist chooses to identify himself with military terminology (as discussed under insurgencies below), or with civilian imagery ("brotherhood", "committee", etc.), he is a criminal in both spheres. The violations of civil criminal laws are self-evident in activities such as murder, arson, and kidnapping regardless of the legitimacy of the government enforcing the laws. Victimizing the innocent is criminal injustice under a dictatorship or a democracy. If the terrorist claims that he is justified in using such violence as a military combatant, he is a de facto war criminal under international law and the military justice systems of most nations.
Preparation and Support
It's important to understand that actual terrorist operations are the result of extensive preparation and support operations. Media reporting and academic study have mainly focused on the terrorists' goals and actions, which is precisely what the terrorist intends. Significant effort and coordination is required to finance group operations, procure or manufacture weapons, conduct target surveillance and analysis, and deliver trained terrorists to the operational area.
The Intent of Terrorist Groups
A terrorist group commits acts of violence to -
•Produce widesrpead fear
•Obtain worldwide, national, or local recognition for their cause by attracting the attention of the media
•Harass, weaken, or embarrass government security forces so that the the government overreacts and appears repressive
•Steal or extort money and equipment, especially weapons and ammunition vital to the operation of their group
•Influence government decisions, legislation, or other critical decisions
•Turn the tide in a guerrilla war by forcing government security forces to concentrate their efforts in urban areas. This allows the terrorist group to establish itself among the local populace in rural areas
Bombings are the most common type of terrorist act. Typically, improvised explosive devices are inexpensive and easy to make. Modern devices are smaller and are harder to detect. They contain very destructive capabilities; for example, on August 7, 1998, two American embassies in Africa were bombed. The bombings claimed the lives of over 200 people, including 12 innocent American citizens, and injured over 5,000 civilians. Terrorists can also use materials that are readily available to the average consumer to construct a bomb.
Kidnappings and Hostage-Takings
Terrorists use kidnapping and hostage-taking to establish a bargaining position and to elicit publicity. Kidnapping is one of the most difficult acts for a terrorist group to accomplish, but, if a kidnapping is successful, it can gain terrorists money, release of jailed comrades, and publicity for an extended period. Hostage-taking involves the seizure of a facility or location and the taking of hostages. Unlike a kidnapping, hostage-taking provokes a confrontation with authorities. It forces authorities to either make dramatic decisions or to comply with the terrorist’s de- mands. It is overt and designed to attract and hold media attention. The terrorists’ intended target is the audience affected by the hostage’s confinement, not the hostage.
Armed Attacks and Assassinations
Armed attacks include raids and ambushes. Assassinations are the killing of a selected victim,usually by bombings or small arms.Drive-by shootings is a common technique employed by unsophisticated or loosely organized terrorist groups. Historically, terrorists have assassinated specific individuals for psychological effect.
Arsons and Firebombings
Incendiary devices are cheap and easy to hide. Arson and firebombings are easily conducted by terrorist groups that may not be as well-organized, equipped, or trained as a major terrorist organization. An arson or firebombing against a utility, hotel, government building, or industrial center portrays an image that the ruling government is incapable of maintaining order.
Hijackings and Skyjackings
Hijacking is the seizure by force of a surface vehicle, its passengers, and/or its cargo. Skyjacking is the taking of an aircraft, which creates a mobile, hostage barricade situation. It provides terrorists with hostages from many nations and draws heavy media attention. Skyjacking also provides mobility for the terrorists to relocate the aircraft to a country that supports their cause and provides them with a human shield, making retaliation difficult.
Other Types of Terrorist Incidents
In addition to the acts of violence discussed above, there are also numerous other types of violence that can exist under the framework of terrorism.
Cyberterrorism is a new form of terrorism that is only going to increase in profile as we rely on computer networks to relay information and provide connectivity to today’s modern and fast-paced world.
Historically, terrorist attacks using nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons have been rare. Due to the extremely high number of casualties that NBC weapons produce, they are also referred to as weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The increased development of WMD also increases the potential for terrorist groups to gain access to WMD. It is believed that in the future terrorists will have greater access to WMD because unstable nations or states may fail to safeguard their stockpiles of WMD from accidental losses, illicit sales. Determined terrorist groups can also gain access to WMD through covert independent research efforts or by hiring technically skilled professionals to construct the WMD
Terrorist groups can be at various stages of development in terms of capabilities and sophistication. Newer groups with fewer resources will usually be less capable, and operate in permissive areas or under more proficient organizations.
The smallest elements of terrorist organizations are the cells that serve as building blocks for the terrorist organization. One of the primary reasons for a structure is security. The compromise or loss of one cell should not compromise the identity, location, or actions of other cells. A cellular organizational structure makes it difficult for an adversary to penetrate the entire organization. Personnel within one cell are often unaware of the existence of other cells and, therefore, cannot open sensitive information to infiltrators.
Terrorists may organize cells based on family or employment relationships, on a geographic basis, or by specific functions such as direct action and intelligence
Categories of Terrorist Groups
There are many different categories of terrorism and terrorist groups that are currently in use. These categories serve to differentiate terrorist organizations according to specific criteria, which are usually related to the field or specialty of whoever is selecting the categories.
Separatist. Separatist groups are those with the goal of separation from existing entities through independence, political autonomy, or religious freedom or domination.
Nationalistic. The loyalty and devotion to a nation, and the national consciousness derived from placing one nation's culture and interests above those of other nations or groups
Revolutionary. Dedicated to the overthrow of an established order and replacing it with a new political or social structure. Although often associated with communist political ideologies, this is not always the case, and other political movements can advocate revolutionary methods to achieve their goals.
Political. Political ideologies are concerned with the structure and organization of the forms of government and communities.
Religious. Religiously inspired terrorism is on the rise, with a forty-three percent increase of total international terror groups supporting religious motivation between 1980 and 1995. Religiously motivated terrorists see their objectives as holy writ, and therefore infallible and non-negotiable.
Domestic. These terrorists are "home-grown" and operate within and against their home country. They are frequently tied to extreme social or political factions within a particular society, and focus their efforts specifically on their nation's socio-political arena.
Terrorist acts in Russia
On December 8 — in the city of Pyatigorsk (Stavropol Krai) around the market two cars were at the same time blown up. As a result of acts of terrorism 4 persons were killed, 45 are wounded.
On March 15 — on March 16 — three terrorists captured in Istanbul (Turkey) 174 hostages aboard Tu-154 of "Vnukovo Airlines" which was taking off for Moscow. The liner landed in Saudi Arabia where as a result of storm hostages were released. The stewardess and one terrorist were killed.
On October 19 — the Tavry car was blown up at the "McDonald's" building on Pokryshkin Street in Moscow. At explosion 1 person was killed, 8 got wounded. The damage in 3 million 320 thousand rubles was caused to the building.
On October 23 — on October 26 — Act of terrorism on Dubrovka — over 900 were taken hostage in the building of the Theatrical center on Dubrovka (Moscow). All terrorists were destroyed eliminated during building storm, hostages are released, but more than 120 people were lost from effect of lulling gas.
On February 6 — a suicide bomber carried out a terract in the train between Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya stations of Moscow Metro. 42 persons were killed, about 250 werewounded.
On August 24 — Explosions of the Tu-154 and Tu-134 planes in air over the Tula and Rostov areas, carried out by suicide bombers. 90 people were killed
On August 31 — the female suicide bomber put in action the explosive device at Rizhskaya metro station (Moscow). More than 10 people were killed, and 50 more got wounded.
On September 1 — on September 3 — the Act of terrorism in Beslan — the group of terrorists captured over 1100 hostages in the school No. 1 building in Beslan (North Ossetia). As a result of act of terrorism 334 hostages, from them 186 — children were killed. Over 800 were wounded. 31 terrorists were killed.
On August 17 — Act of terrorism in Nazran (2009). 25 people were killed and 136 got wounded.
On November 27 — Crash of the train "Nevsky Express" is classified as act of terrorism. 95 people were hospitalized, 28 people were killed
On January 24 in Moscow at the Domodedovo airport a suicide bomber at 16:32 undermined a bomb. According to the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation, 37 people were killed, 130 were wounded.