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Transcript of Terrorism
The use or threat of use of violence against civilians to achieve some political objective.
Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence the audience (US Dept. of State)
All criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public (League of Nations)
Causes of Terrorism
Lots of causes cited in the literature, social, economic, political, ideological, geographic, demographic
Causes often categorized as structural permissive or direct
Who are Terrorists?
"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" - Osama bin Laden (during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan)
Only 6% of terrorist attacks in the US over the last 25 years were attribute to Muslims
Research suggests that most terrorists are young men from middle to upper class families
Case Study - Abu Sayyaf
First international conference on combatting the use of terrorist tactics was in 1898
Considered a law enforcement/intelligence problem for most of its history
International response to terrorism was slow to evolve, changed with 911
History of Terrorism
Terrorist tactics have been used for thousands of years
First recorded instance of the systematic use of terrorism was 1st Century CE - Judea (Sicarii Zealots) against Roman occupation
French "Reign of Terror" (1793 - 1794) - Use of terrorist tactics, including execution, by the French government to incite fear in the french revolutionaries in an attempt to quell revolt
20th century was particularly active in terms of the use of terrorism by semi-organized groups
Igrun (1931-1948) - Fought British occupation of Palestine
National Liberation Front (1954-1962) - Fought French occupation of Algeria
Irish Republican Army (1916 - present) - Fought over a number of causes, including "the split"
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) (1959-present) - Fought for Basque separation from Spain
Weather Underground (1969-1974) - Fought against capitalism and US involvement in Vietnam
Terrorist tactic whereby an individual or individuals sacrifices themselves to accomplish their objective
First used in modern times by the group Islamic Jihad during the 1983 Lebanese Civil War
Gained prominence by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka during the late 1980s and 1990s
Grown from an average of 5 per year during the 1980s to 460 in 2005 (although there seems to be a downturn over the last few years)
Notable is the involvement of women, who make up 15% of all suicide bombers from groups where women are allowed to participate, disproportionate number of assassinations using suicide tactics are women (60%)
Most come from middle to upper income families, well educated
Often motivated by grief or loss
State Sponsored Terrorism
State sponsorship of terrorist acts against inhabitants of other countries as an instrument of foreign policy. For example, to hurt other countries without risking the consequences of overtly attacking them
Libyan support of terrorist acts against U.S. interests during the 1980s
Iraqi support of Palestinian terrorist acts against Israel during the 1990s
Iranian support of terrorism against Israel by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza).
Use of terrorism by a government against its own citizens, to coerce them into accepting the government’s authority
Germany in the 1930s
Argentina in the 1970s
Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s
Use of terrorism by a government against the civilians of another country with which it is at war
German and Allied bombing campaigns in World War II, which damaged London and destroyed Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki and were deliberate efforts to target civilian populations in order to force the hands of their governments
Those conditions that allow terrorism to come about, and can include:
Poverty - which can lead to inadequate educational systems, and an inability of a state to meet basic needs
Demography - rapid population growths and uneven population shifts across different ethnic groups
Urbanization - lead to disaffected populations, income disparities,
Exclusion from political processes
Dispossession of historical homelands
Occupation of homelands
Human rights abuses
Alienation and humiliation (often ideological in nature)
A clash of values (also ideological or religious)
Case Study -
The "War on Terror"
First introduced by George W. Bush on September 20, 2001, as a response to the attacks on September 11, 2001
Not only a military response to the use of terrorist tactics, but an internationalized military response.
Terrorist Group Structure
Muslims have fought for independence since 13th century, either through regime overthrow or separation
Founded in early 1990's by Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani
Have carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and extortions
Approximately 200 members, as high as 500 at its peak (mid-2000s)
Founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984
Name loosely translates into Religion of Truth
In 1995, claimed over 9000 members in Japan, with tens of thousands more outside
Mixed Christian theology with Yogic meditation and prophecy derived from and inspired by Nostradamus
Asahara believed himself to be the reincarnation of Christ, referred to himself as the "Lamb of God"
Ran for public office on a platform of "Truth to the masses"
Militarized after defeat in election, began stockpiling arms and WMD
Culminated in an attack on an underground rail station on March 20, 1995, killing 13 civilians and injuring between 1000-5000 more
The Big Questions
(which we will discuss later)
Can terrorism be deterred? If so, how?
Can terrorism be prevented? If so, how?
Pape - Strategic Logic
Pg. 4 - "At its core, suicide terrorism is a strategy of coercion, a means to compel a target government to change policy. The central logic of this strategy is simple: Suicide terrorism attempts to inflict enough pain on the opposing society to overwhelm their interest in resisting the terrorists demands and, so, to cause either the
government to concede or the population to revolt against the government."
Causes immediate panic and shows the resolve of the organization in its willingness and ability to carry out future attacks