- Ebook: Understanding and Responding to the Terrorism Phenomenon
- Network of Extremist Groups in Africa
- Selim Çürükkaya
- Building Resilience Against Terrorism: Canada's Counter-terrorism Strategy
Thus, the Kurds have had Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. Contents Search. Living reference work entry First Online: 26 November How to cite. Synonyms Collective violence ; Ethnic identity ; Exclusion ; State policies. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Ebook: Understanding and Responding to the Terrorism Phenomenon
IOS Press, Includes bibliographical references and index. Such terrorists may even recognize that their ends can not be accomplished, but they continue to engage in acts of terror to prevent their enemies from enjoying the benefits of peace and order. Other forms of terrorism are clearly different. Rural guerrillas or government security forces using terror in the midst of a revolutionary war are engaged in a struggle in which issues are paramount.
The problem presented is political in nature. From the point of view of government, the revolutionary terrorists who seek change through specific programs identify a set of issues that must be addressed by the forces of government if order is to be achieved without resorting to a policy of unenlightened repression, itself a form of terrorism. Military force may work to hold the revolutionary terrorists in check, but reform is needed if cooptation is to take place and a lasting peace is to be achieved. In the absence of reform, brutal repression would seem to be the only significant policy alternative.
In the late twentieth century organizing and carrying out terrorist acts became easier, complicating efforts to deal with the problem posed by terrorism. In an age of virtually instantaneous world-wide communication, efficient global transportation, and relatively cheap but highly destructive weapons, terrorists have many advantages not available to them in the past. They can strike targets far from home using methods limited only by their imaginations in many cases.
Network of Extremist Groups in Africa
Miniaturization and other high-tech applications that revolutionarized conventional warfare revolutionized terrorism as well. As terrorist threats increased, the means of carrying them out multiplied as well. One result is that terrorist attacks increasingly kill and wound larger numbers of people than they did in the past.
Where a few individuals might be taken hostage or assassinated in the past, now entire plane loads of people can be victimized by terrorism. Where only the most outspoken political dissidents might have been victims of government repression in the past, now entire nations can be terrorized by their own governments. Increasingly people worry that some group will escalate terrorism to the point where entire cities are subjected to chemical, biological, or nuclear threats or attack. Even where the daily level of terrorist violence appears to be relatively low, the costs can be high over time.
In Northern Ireland, for example, approximately 2, people have died since If an equal percentage of the population in the United States had been lost in a conflict at that level of violence, the total having died would be close to , The problem is compounded as various purveyors of terrorism have begun to cooperate, each for his or her own particular reasons. Nations, revolutionary groups, and even sociopathic urban terrorists have cooperated, supplying weapons, funds, and other support, even carrying out missions for one another. The fear engendered by such developments can be tremendous.
The frustration that has been created by the terrorist threat is itself a danger in a world where miscalculation in a response by a nuclear power could mean disaster. Unfortunately, even if one penalizes people for murder, one still sees murder, as states with capital punishment have discovered.
Seeking ways to end a war is clearly preferable to developing better techniques for fighting it. Instead of assuming that forceful action will deter terrorists, one might more logically conclude that an escalation of force will take place on both sides, leading to an undeclared war of attrition.
The commission of acts of terror as well as acts of retaliation is relatively cheap and easy, both within nations and outside of them. But a country such as the United States cannot stop every act of terror against its citizens without achieving both the total destruction of all anti-American terrorists and also the deterrence of all the regimes supporting them. Destroying the regime of a Colonel Gaddafi or a Saddam Hussein, for example, would not be sufficient.
Leaders attempting to deal with terrorism often find themselves pursuing more than one goal. First, they want to prevent acts of terror.
One approach to achieving that end would aim at resolving the problems that have led terrorists to act in the first place: resolving differences between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East, for example. Obviously, given the extent of discontent in the world and the diversity of the issues that motivate the terrorist response, such an approach is more easily described than implemented.
Another policy aimed at preventing terrorism would emphasize the enhancement of security. Better intelligence, better police work, improved security at key targets and other, comparable activities would obviously help to prevent certain acts of terrorism. Unfortunately even the most astute methods, well applied are unlikely to prevent all terrorist action, although in the United States such preventative measures might well entail a significant diminution in civil liberties.
At best, enhanced security is only a partial solution to the problem. A third approach relies on deterrence. This particular approach is evident in the rhetoric of the United States and the actions of Israel; its essential element is the promise of swift retaliation. The problems with such a policy are many.
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First, one can not always identify the proper target for retaliation. Second, to the extent that the retaliation kills, maims, or terrorizes innocent people, it is itself an act of terrorism. Third, a number of terrorists are willing to give up their own lives for whatever cause they serve, and they are therefore not deterred by the thought of death through retaliation or any other means.
Building Resilience Against Terrorism: Canada's Counter-terrorism Strategy
Finally, in some cases terrorists hope to bring about retaliation, particularly if they believe that the victims of the retaliation will be perceived as innocent. As a result, the promise of swift retaliation may sometimes act as an incentive rather than a deterrent to terrorism. When prevention fails, as it most surely will in at least a few cases, one must focus on a second general goal: the solution of whatever problem the acts of terrorists present. In the case of a hijacking or hostage taking, for example, one has the lives of the hostages to consider. In a bombing, one must deal with the casualties and disruption caused.
In an environment of torture based repression, one must deal with the refugees that are invariably produced. Rarely, however, does the resolution of specific crises prove to be a satisfying response to terrorism, and it clearly does very little to solve the problem of terrorism itself.
It matters little to angry citizens and leaders whether or not the act of punishment helps or hinders in pursuing the broader policy goal of abolishing terrorism. The urge to punish may even contribute to the continuation and escalation of terrorism, but that will often make little difference to the frustrated individuals crying out for retribution.
As one might guess, the desire to punish can easily disguise itself as a seemingly more rational policy of deterrence. In the final analysis, how one responds to terrorism may depend upon how one views the phenomenon. Viewing terrorism as an act of war to be deterred by threat of retaliation or, deterrence failing, to be met with a military response seems relatively unproductive.
It provides neither a means of dealing with any underlying problems that might cause terrorism nor a method for minimizing the damage that results from terrorism that is not deterred. If one sees the terrorism one confronts as a tactic of individuals or groups who are involved in a rational, goal oriented action, then a political or diplomatic approach would seem to be indicated.
If one can solve whatever problems led the terrorists to undertake their attacks on innocent civilians, the terrorism should disappear. Some terrorism, however, may not appear to be the result of rational, goal oriented behavior. In such cases, terrorism becomes a phenomenon much like crime; it can be controlled but not eliminated. One must take a police approach to the problem and develop an ability to live with a low level of terrorist activity in the same way people adjust to living with a degree of criminality in their societies.
Before effective remedial action can be taken against terrorists that will help diminish the problem throughout the world, however, many of the people concerned with the problem will need to alter their perceptions of it. People in the United States, for example, must recognize that they cannot obtain support in their efforts to end terrorism in one area or of one type if they are not willing to condemn terrorism of other kinds in other places.
As Americans have found in the past, gaining allies to fight against Islamic terrorists in Europe and the Middle East was sometimes made more difficult by U. At the very least, consistency in defining terrorism and greater uniformity in dealing with terrorists of all kinds would base United States policy on principle instead of expediency.