Terrorism, the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Terrorism has been practiced by political organizations with both rightist and leftist objectives, by nationalistic and religious groups, by revolutionaries, and even by state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police.
Terrorism is not legally defined in all jurisdictions; the statutes that do exist, however, generally share some common elements. Terrorism involves the use or threat of violence and seeks to create fear, not just within the direct victims but among a wide audience. The degree to which it relies on fear distinguishes terrorism from both conventional and guerrilla warfare. Although conventional military forces invariably engage in psychological warfare against the enemy, their principal means of victory is strength of arms. Similarly, guerrilla forces, which often rely on acts of terror and other forms of propaganda, aim at military victory and occasionally succeed (e.g., the Viet Cong in Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia). Terrorism proper is thus the systematic use of violence to generate fear, and thereby to achieve political goals, when direct military victory is not possible. This has led some social scientists to refer to guerrilla warfare as the “weapon of the weak” and terrorism as the “weapon of the weakest.”
In order to attract and maintain the publicity necessary to generate widespread fear, terrorists must engage in increasingly dramatic, violent, and high-profile attacks. These have included hijackings, hostage takings, kidnappings, car bombings, and, frequently, suicide bombings. Although apparently random, the victims and locations of terrorist attacks often are carefully selected for their shock value. Schools, shopping centres, bus and train stations, and restaurants and nightclubs have been targeted both because they attract large crowds and because they are places with which members of the civilian population are familiar and in which they feel at ease. The goal of terrorism generally is to destroy the public’s sense of security in the places most familiar to them. Major targets sometimes also include buildings or other locations that are important economic or political symbols, such as embassies or military installations. The hope of the terrorist is that the sense of terror these acts engender will induce the population to pressure political leaders toward a specific political end.
Types of terrorism
Nuclear terrorism means different type of use of nuclear material by the terrorists. It includes attacking nuclear facilities, preparing nuclear weapons or purchasing nuclear weapons, or finding ways to scatter radioactive materials.
A terrorist assault on a nuclear research centre or nuclear power plant can be cause of the release of nuclear material. The consequences of an attack on a nuclear research centre or nuclear power plant could equal or exceed the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in USSR, which led to 30 deaths from radiation sickness, 1800 cases of childhood thyroid cancer, the evacuation of one Lakhs persons and the radioactive contamination of huge area of land in numerous countries.
This type of terrorism is inspired by ideologies and beliefs like communism, fascism, Nazism, Racism, chauvinism and opposition to immigration. The contemporary rightwing terrorism first came into sight in Europe after the division of the Soviet Union, in the year 1980.
The aim of Right wing terrorists to overthrow government and to establish a nationalist or fascist government. The persons include in this type of terrorism are fascist skinheads, hooligans, youth sympathizers and intellectuals who deem that the government must send foreigners, out of country, for protecting its original citizens.
In this type of terrorism, the terrorists fight with the liberal government in order to preserve their tradition. Right Wing terrorists are racially motivated and they aim to suppress minorities within the country. The right wing terrorist groups are Klu Klux Klan and Neo-Fascists. There are so many groups of this type are present in U.S.A, India, Germany, Russia, and other countries.
Left-wing terrorism (Marxist-Leninist terrorism or revolutionary terrorism)
In this type of terrorism, the terrorists want to remove the capitalist government and to establish communist or socialist based government. Left-wing extremists, universally known as Maoists and Naxalites. They want to attack the established system in order to remove class distinction. These types of terrorists are still in existence, in some countries but now they are not as effective as they were during the Cold War.
The Revolutionary People‟s Liberation Party-Front in Turkey, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) Communist Party of India (Maoist) in India, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in Nepal, Japanese Red Army in Japan, and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are the examples of left wing terrorist groups.
Special interest terrorism, also called single-issue terrorism
This type of terrorism is special subject oriented, also called single-issue terrorism. This type of terrorism differs from above mentioned left wing terrorism and Right wing terrorism. The ideology of this type of the terrorist groups to resolve explicit issues, rather than to extensive political change. This type of terrorists use violence to compel the public, to change their thinking about the issues, considered important to their causes. These groups fight for animal rights, environment issue, anti nuclear and other social movements.
In this type of terrorism, the act of violence is being conducted by Nation against the other nation or against its own citizens. This type of terrorism is different from state sponsored terrorism, in which nation sponsors terrorist groups who holding power in a country. The state terrorism is the systematic use of terror by a government in order to control its citizens.
The 1793 French Revolution, in which thousands of peoples had executed, is usually mentioned as the first illustration of state terrorism. In history, every dictator has utilized this type of terrorism in order to control his population. The more contemporary example is, use of violence against the Kurds by Saddam Hussein or the suppression of democratic protestors in Syria.
In this type of terrorism, the terrorist groups perform terrorist activities, on the basis of faith oriented tenets. From centuries, the terrorist acts have been performed on religious basis with a view to spread or enforce a system of belief, or opinion of their religion on others. In this type of terrorism, does not necessarily define a specific religious view, but, usually defines the view of groups of people or interpretation of teachings that belief.
Intimate terrorism means the control by one partner over the other. This type of terrorism also involves emotional and psychological abuse. This type terrorism is likely to increase over the time. Intimate terrorism is of two types: Generally violent antisocial and dysphoric borderline. The first type includes person with psychopathic and violent tendencies. In second type, peoples are emotionally reliant upon the relationship. The acts of violence by a person against his or her intimate partner is usually made as a method for controlling his or her partner. This type of violence is not frequent.
In this type of terrorism, the terrorist groups want to divide the country for establishing a new nation. This kind of terrorism is basically of minorities, within a nation that desire their own state, generally, due to discrimination from the majority of citizens or government. The most famous examples are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, ETA Basque separatists in Spain, the Kurdish PKK in Turkey, the Chechen terrorists in Chechnya, and the Quebec Liberation Front in Canada.
Causes of Terrorism
People are not born terrorists. Therefore, it is an significant point that the terrorism is a long process and a political strategy selected from among a range of other options to achieve their goals.27 The process of terrorism has an historical background, which involves people who think that the political system is treating them harshly.
Many reasons have been specified for the causes of terrorism. The researchers and other experts have devoted the vast time and efforts for explaining terrorist conduct. They give many reasons for the cause of terrorism, like political history, modern politics government policies, ideological reasons, cultural tensions and economic trends etc.
The desire of group of persons in the society to separate from the existing government and to formation of their new nation can cause the creation of terrorist organizations. In the 20th century, many nations gained freedom from colonial era masters through violence. However, as Bruce Hoffman points out in “Inside Terrorism”, that this type of terrorism was in existence even before the First World War. But the most of these famous groups, created before and after World War 2nd and encouraged by the deteriorating of imperial powers.
At present, Hamas is one of the most dangerous ethno-nationalist groups involving in different types of terrorist activities like suicide bombings for attacking against Israel with the objective of creating a separate state i.e. Palestinian. Chechen terrorist organizations are also ethno-nationalists, as they attacks against the citizens and government of Russia in order to establish their own nation.In India also there are numerous terrorist groups, who want to create separate nations like in J & K and in Eastern States of India.
Around the world, there are many terrorist groups exist, who wants independence from their original state. So, ethno-nationalism is a main cause of terrorism. It be controlled with peacefully and politically by listening and solving the grievances of terrorist groups.
Terrorism due to Alienation or Discrimination
Many groups of peoples came from their home land to other countries for employment or education and ultimately settled there. Many times, they face discrimination from the original citizens of the countries where they shifted. These groups may become jaded towards the society and feel excluded. Due to sentiments of discrimination and isolation, these groups become more conservative and start terrorist acts against the original citizens and government.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks, in USA is the best example of this type of terrorism. The persons involved in this attack were migrant Muslims, who went to Germany, from their native nation, for their education. They felt discriminated in Europe and they created a terrorist group with other conservative Muslims and attacked in USA on 11- 09-2001. Due to discrimination, they became more jaded with the society.
Religion is treated to be a significant cause of terrorism. Although, religion is not the major cause for terrorism but it plays an important role in terrorism, in entire world. As Hoffman gave example of religious terrorism in his book “Inside Terrorism” that Thugs of ancient India killed the innocent peoples to terrorize in the name of the God Kali and Jewish Zealots cut the throats of Romans in public to combat their occupation of Israel. Religion has long been a factor of terrorism.
Today, religion has been mainly attributed to Islamic fundamentalism as a part of terrorism. As Sageman describes: “The global Salafi jihad is a worldwide religious revivalist movement with the goal of re-establishing past Muslim glory in a great Islamist state stretching from Morocco to the Philippines, eliminating present national boundaries.”
The terrorist attacks based upon religion are more dangerous in nature than other types of terrorism. The religious head entices the young people by saying that they would be reward, after death by God and make them ready for suicide bombing which are harder to defend.
In India also, religion is main reason of terrorism. The maximum number of terrorist incidents and deaths of innocent civilians have occurred due to religious terrorism. In Punjab, some Sikh groups chose terrorism to create an independent state called Khalistan based on Sikh religion. In J&K, Muslims belonging to different organisations chose to terrorism for creation of independent Muslim nation and for this purpose, they attack on innocent public.
Terrorism may also be caused due to difference of economic standards of different countries. Due to economic differences between the rich countries and poor countries lead to humiliations frustrations and victimizations in groups of persons belonging to poor countries and they make comparison about their economic conditions with the citizens of rich countries. The modern media and internet also play a vital role to create awareness about the opportunities and resources available in other countries. For example, by comparing the economic differences between themselves and the Western countries, enraged the Muslims youths of underdeveloped countries which increased tension and frustration. This permitted the terrorist organizations to get attention and entry to their countries and associate with them for the purpose of terrorist activities. The simple mean to check this type of terrorism is through economic development of the underdeveloped countries. Thus, this driver is hard to defend as globalization facilitates more mediums of comparison between different global socio-economic levels.
The grievances against a certain political policy or lack of political participation in states may be of reason to join or form terrorist groups. The Left and right wing terrorists are the example of this type of terrorism. It is akin to ethno-nationalist terrorism, but in this, the demand is not to create new state but to change the political policy within the nation.
The democratic government represents the people and provides political means to voice against grievances, where terrorism should not have place but Some Scholars and experts say that the democracy is facilitator or instigator for terrorism because of its openness. Few experts treat this openness is a big flaw of the system which is also reason of terrorism. They think that due to this openness, terrorists get publicity of their cause in the absence of strong censorship.