Terrorism: an International Crisis

Topics: Terrorism, Hamas, Irregular military Pages: 10 (3783 words) Published: August 30, 2007
Terrorism is a word that tends to strike fear into the hearts of many. According to the Encarta World English Dictionary, terrorism is defined as, "political violence: violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes" (Terrorism, 2006). It's also a word used by leaders of states and NGOs to create polar opposite outcomes. It can either incite people to rise up against those who would try to create fear or it is used to coerce people into volunteering themselves into the service of those who wish to create terror in the hearts of others. There are several issues dealing with terrorism that people don't necessarily see. The first issue is that their many other types of terrorism other than the religious-based variety commonly seen in the news today. The next issue is that the United States is not the only country affected by terrorism. Finally, terrorism is difficult to combat because not only do terrorists fight a non-conventional, guerrilla war, but also because terrorists are becoming increasingly more crafty in the way they hand the spread of plans and ideas around the planet. This essay will discuss some different ideologies of terrorism, the different countries affected, and finally, the difficulties of the war on terror. The first mistake most people make is overlooking the different types of terrorism that exist. When most people think of terrorists, they think of the religious extremists who often use suicide bombings to try to bring terror. In reality, there are many types of terrorism. The MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base lists the following as different ideologies of terrorism: anarchist, anti-globalization, communist/socialist, environmental, leftist, nationalist/separatist, racist, religious, right-wing conservative, and right-wing reactionary (National, 2006c). Along with each type of terrorist ideology come different thoughts and methods of how to spread terror. It is important to note that many terrorist groups operate globally, while others limit themselves to one country. For instance al-Qaeda is known to operate in cells around the globe (National, 2006a), but the Freemen operate in the United States (National, 2006b). Three types of terrorism will be discussed below: religious, environmental, and nationalist/separatist. Religious terrorism comes in many of the faiths found around the world. These groups try to either force their beliefs on others, or they simply try to eliminate others who do not share their faith. Of these groups, the Islamic terrorists seem to be the most commonly seen around the world. Of the Islamic groups found around the world, none are more infamous than al-Qaeda. This group seeks to strike at Western targets. "Terrorist planners are carefully probing the loopholes and gaps in the post-9/11 security architecture to strike once again on North American and European soil" (Gunaratna, 2005, p. 31). According to Rohan Gunaratna, al-Qaeda has ceased to be just a group of terrorists. It has become a movement that influences other religious terrorist groups around the world (Gunaratna, 2005, pp. 31-32). One of the important things that help the growth of these groups is the promotion of their leaders as god-like or god-appointed figures to be followed because their ideas are inspired by god. It is these ideologies that allow groups of Muslim terrorists who may have different beliefs to be united under a single cause (Gunaratna, 2005, 32-33). Another terrorist ideology that should be important to Americans and the world are the environmental terrorist groups. These groups use their violence to try to force people to change their way of life. They destroy car dealerships, damage or destroy industrial equipment. They are very open with their views and often present them as a war. Two of the largest groups, the Animal Liberation Front and Environmental Liberation Front, are thought to be responsible...

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