Situation of Terrorist Hostage Taking

Topics: Terrorism, Hostage, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Pages: 12 (3711 words) Published: February 19, 2014
Forum: General Assembly Committee 1
Issue: The situation of terrorist hostage taking

Position: Chair of General Assembly Committee 1

Hostage Taking incidences vary around the world with perpetrators ranging from armed militant groups and individuals to members of workforces holding management captive in labour disputes. Often in these situations, companies or families are not in a position to control the resolution of the situation as the outcome rests in the hands of local law enforcement and the government. But they can still manage elements of the response to the crisis to help safeguard the lives of those involved. Terrorism can take many forms, all with different rates of frequency and preference among terrorists. Acts of bombing and assassination may rank high consistently, while hostage taking rests much lower on the scale (Antokol 1990: 189). Despite its relative lack of frequency however, hostage taking is an important form of terrorism, distinct from other forms. But, with so much destructive power available to terrorists, why should they need to take hostages? The answer is simple—media attention and money (Poland 1999: 169). The study of hostage situations must be considered a separate and distinct form of terrorism requiring independent examination, due to the following reasons. Firstly, a hostage situation can drag on for many days, and the outcome remains in doubt (Antokol 1990: 58). Hostage taking for ransom is one of the most profitable sources of funding for terrorist groups. There are always plenty of potential hostage-victims available and never enough security to protect them all (Poland 1999: 169). Secondly, hostage taking creates a dramatic forum in which human life and death hang in the balance. The outcome is suspenseful; there are victims, weapons and emotions; and most importantly, there is a message for the world (Gladis 1979: 11). When considering the continuing drama of a hostage situation and the visual image of a few armed individuals holding the lives of innocent people in their hands, the appeal of this mode of terrorism is clear. It creates a stage to dramatize and distort the aims of the terrorist(s) (Poland 1999: 169). These situations almost always ensure getting the attention of citizens, media, entire governments and/or private organizations. With the stakes being so high and in such an imminently delicate balance, it is quite possibly the only way to command such an audience (Antokol 1990: 75).

Definition of Key Terms
Hostage Crisis (n)
A hostage crisis develops when one or more individuals or an organized group hold people against their will and try to hold off the authorities by force, often threatening to kill their hostages if provoked or attacked. Typically, the party of the hostage-taker(s) will issue demands to the forces keeping them surrounded. In a planned hostage crisis, there is often a list of political or religious demands, often including the release of imprisoned friends or allies. In cases where the hostage situation was improvised as a desperate attempt to avoid capture, the demands usually revolve around exchanging the lives of the hostages for transport to safety. Hostage (n)

A person held by one party in a conflict as security that the opposing party would meet specified terms.

Hostage taker (n)

Hostage taker is a person who seize the hostage

Crusader (n)

The crusading hostage-taker is idealistic, seeking no personal gain but power and prestige for a collective political goal while acting for the interests of the collective good.

Criminal (n)

Criminal hostage taker is driven by personal gain through the payment of ransom.

Crazy (n)

Crazy hostage taker is driven by personal motives that often do not make sense to anyone else.

Terrorism (n)

Terrorism is a systematic use of terror. Terror refers to a violent act by either a person or a group of people. Terrorism, which is intended to create fear or...

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