Examining The Element Of Suicide New Terrorism Criminology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

There has been widespread debate from different commentators that terrorism has evolved somewhat in recent years. They point to key elements which terrorists have adopted, which characterise a development in the notion of terrorism…. I will sought to uncover the question, by giving a cohesive analysis of the concept of 'old terrorism' and the techniques used by different organisations. I shall then endeavour to look at the notion of suicide within 'new terrorism' and characterise the way this technique differs from old forms of terrorism. The essay will then explain the key motivations for organisations using suicide attacks, and sought to characterise the inextricable link between suicide terrorism and religion.

There have been a number of competing definitions on terrorism. The official definition of 'terrorism' by the Terrorism Research Centre, is defined as the "unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property, to intimidate or coerce a government, or the civilian population

Firstly, one has to define what 'new terrorism' is. The term 'new' is defined in the Oxford Englsih dictionary as, "…produced, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time; not existing before…"(oxford dictionary website). Therefore the concept of 'new terrorism', is a form of action which had 'not existed before'/ or a form of action recently 'introduced'.

Taking a historical perspective, terrorism is a concept that emerged within the Middle Eat in the 1st century, by the Zealot sect. They were one of the first groups in history to practise what is now known as systematic terrorism. Flavius Josphus published his account on the Zealots in 93-94 C.E. Within his account, he often used the term 'sicarius'- dagger man to characterise the Zealots, as they often engaged in 'guerrilla warfare', and 66 in B.C.E. they assassinated a number of key political and religious figures, using daggers to slit their throats. The Zealot sect were one of four sects, founded by Judas of Galilee (also called Judas of Gamala) and Zadok the Pharisee in the year 6 against Quirinius' tax reform. The motivation for the Zealots using terrorist tactics, was due to the hostility and tension between the Jews and the Romans, and in 6 B.C.E, the Zealots engaged in a struggle against the Roman authorities. They acclaimed popular support from the working class sections of society, who with unquestionable doubt, saw them as religious and political reformers, accountable to God and sought for freedom.

More modern forms of terrorism could be detected to post World War Two. The notion of terrorism was seen to become an important part of the anti-colonial struggles. The anti colonial struggles between the European imperialists such as Great Britain, France, Holland and Belgium. This was further stated by Wilkinson quoting, "the only clear instances in modern history where sub-state organizations using terror as their major weapon were able to achieve their long-term political goals, i.e., the withdrawal of the colonial power and establishment of a form of government favoured by the insurgents."19 (….,….). Nelson Mandela who was former President of South Africa, and now a highly respected and revered man, was previously seen as a terrorist. As leader of the African National Party (ANC), he was an influential individual striving for the end of South African apartheid. However, in 1962, Mandela was arrested and was charged for crimes equivalent to treason and of a number of capital crimes of sabotage.

the period between the late 1960s and the late 1980s is marked by traditional or so called 'old terrorism',

A few years after anti colonial movements the world witnessed new forms of terrorism in the 1980's with Hezbollah. The year 1983 is seen by many commentators as the commencement of continuous suicide attacks

The use of suicide was a tactic also used by the Tamil Tigers in the 1980's(previously known as the Tamil New Tigers until the name change in 1976). The Tamil Tigers … due to the perceived feelings of discriminatory legislation , which consequently gave a great deal of preference to the Sinhalese sect within Sri Lanka compared to the Tamils. Prabhakaran, was influenced highly by the suicide attack by Hezbollah in Lebanon against the US in 1983. He held resolutely to the belief that if the Tamil Tigers never reviewed and amended their tactics, they would never achieve their ends of their campaign during his lifetime. Therefore, Prabhakaran believed the only tactic that would ultimately achieve the ends of the organisation, was by adopting suicide bombing. Prabhakaran argued that ,"if we conduct Black Tiger (suicide) operations, we can shorten the suffering of the people and achieve Tamil Eelam in a shorter period of time" (…,141). ….. Upon examining accounts of both terrorist organisations, it is clear upon unreasonable doubt that the suicide attacks were very monotonous, in that they were very localised in their location. The attacks of Hezbollah and the LTTE, were confined to Israel and Sri Lanka respectively. This issue debate will commented further within the text.

Upon analysing research of 'new terrorism' it should be acknowledged that there have been competing views over its conception. Spencer (2006) argued that the introduction of 'new terrorism was brought about in the 1990's. He comments that a number of theorists point to the 1993 attempted bombings of the World Trade Centre in New York and also Tokyo underground, sarin nerve gas attack by a cult named Aum Shinrikyo in 1995, killing 11 and causing 5,500 casualties. However, an overwhelming amount of theorists would assert the view that the 9/11 attacks was a watershed moment concerning the phenomenon of terrorism. Commentators, not only touch on the attacks themselves, but the aftermath of the attacks within society, which have resulted in the new terrorism. Hoffman argued that the new form terrorism was different from traditional forms as it "represents a very different and potentially far more lethal threat than the more familiar 'traditional' terrorist groups" (1998, 200). Furthermore, Audrey Kurth Cronin commented on the way that the happenings of 9/11 demonstrated the "potential connection to increasingly available new technologies" . Although weapons of mass destruction was not used, the damage was phenomenal and the thought of it happening again "could be unprecedentedly dangerous" (2009,1990).

The notion of the 'risk society' is another concept which was seen to bore from the aftermath of the new terrorism. Denney in his book, 'Risk and Society' described the 'risk society' as a concept that rose following 9/11. The aftermath of these attacks brought about a state of insecurity within the west. Further, as the US was seen as a worldly and global dominant country, who had a domineering sphere of influence worldwide, for it to come under attack, it showed that other countries were vulnerable to a terrorist attack. He goes on further to affirm, " [t]he events of 11 September were even more dramatic since they exposed the fragility of the intelligence services designed to protect a world superpower" (2005, 136). The events, had a deep underlying effect on western society, with vulnerability and uncertainty being the basis of our feelings. Ulrich Beck spoke about the way in which the transition from traditional to post modern society, resulted in a gradual change in the notion of risk, to the point that way in which we are now afraid of risks. He quotes, "[t]he driving force in the class society can be summarised in the phrase 'I am afraid!" (1992: 49). One of the fears that individuals risk is the concept of death as result of being a victim of a suicide attack. Baumann was a very influential writer on risk and fear inherent within society, which was created at the birth of post modernism. In his book Liquid Fear, he comments that society see's death as a something to fear about, as us as individuals know the outcome of each event, however, we do not know about death. This uncertainty in which death is wrapped in, conjures a fear in individuals. He affirms this by quoting, "[d]eath is the 'unknown' incarnate, and among all other unknowns, it is the only one fully and truly unknowable" (….,….).

Another concept in which Baumann touched on was the wolf vs. fear. (speak on this).

Talk about the way that differently to old terrorism, new terrorism is global. Global suicide attacks.

Russia as a result of the Chechen conflict, ranging from the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002 to the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004.[16] The 2010 Moscow Metro bombings are also believed to result from the Chechen conflict.

There have also been suicide attacks in Western Europe and the United States. The September 11 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks killed nearly 3000 people in New York, Washington D.C and Shanksville, Pennsylvania in 2001. A further attack in London on 7 July 2005 killed 52 people. (paraphrase)

Link this in to

The concept of suicide has been characterised by commentators as a crucial feature within 'new terrorism'. Howard (2002) believed that the features of the 'new terrorism' are more deadly and highly organised. The use of suicide within terrorism was seen before September 11th 2001, stemming back to the 1980's with Hezbollah's conflict with Israel.

Religious vs. secular groups.. It is clear that religion within new terrorism has been a stronghold for organisations as it allows them to justify the attacks. This view is backed by Hoffman, where he comments by saying "[f]or the religious terrorist, violence is a divine duty… and justified by scripture.38 (…). Islamic terrorist groups justify suicide attacks as a form of martyrdom, which is an act of sacrificing ones self and altruism, which is highly revered within the Islamic world. The suicide attacks also gave clear indication that there was a adornment of death and the value of dying a martyr. Hoffman writes that witnesses in a number of different attacks on Israeli soil, saw the suicide bomber smiling before detonating the bomb. The smile is known in Arabic as the 'bassamat al- Farah', which in English is translated as the 'smile of joy', joy being the happiness of martyrdom. J. Cole and B. Cole interviewed a Muslim cleric on Islam and death. He held to the belief that, "when the love of the world sets in the heart of Muslims, when love our in the heart of Muslims, when we love our luxury"…. "how can any Muslim hope to meet Allah in a good way?"… " if there's a love of life"… "inevitably lead to the dislike of death" (…, 259). Clearly, there has to be a enjoyment in the thought of dying, so that one could go and meet Allah,

The Winds of revolution poem….

That there are now female suicide bombers…

Hoffman gives a number of reasons why the suicide terrorism has been used within 'new terrorism' and hence being of importance for terrorist organisations. Suicide terrorism is a variation of other forms of terrorism, as the terrorist is now the "the ultimate smart bomb." (…,…), and can choose a specific target to detonate the bomb. Secondly, the construction of a suicide vest, which has been seen in various Hezbollah attacks, are very inexpensive to construct. The total cost amounts to approximately $150, nevertheless, has the potential to bring attractive returns. Compared to other forms of attacks, it kills about 4 or 5 times as many people. Moreover, it brings expediential increases for casualties, in comparison to other terrorist techniques

Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation in Palestine….

Despite Pape's huge advantages in his empirical studies, his analysis of suicide terrorism can be deemed to be riddled with a number of critiques. In the journal 'a critique of dying to win', it points out 3 criticisms, which resultantly questions the validity of his study. Firstly, his chapter on 'conventional wisdom on suicide terrorism' came under intense scrutiny as Pape cited work by Ariel Merrari (1990), who at the time believed suicide terrorism was irrational. However, since, Merrari has changed his stance somewhat on the irrationality of suicide terrorism. He now holds to the belief that suicide terrorism is highly individualistic, but also organised. Nevertheless, Pape doesn't establish this in his book. Secondly, Papes work has brought debate due to his conception of suicide terrorism and his intricate linking to the LTTE. Suicide terrorism, is believed to be committed when it is against non combatants. However, Pape's quantitative database are LTTE attacks against military targets. Cook argues, that as it is not attacks against non combatants, LTTE attacks should be referred to as 'insurgency or military warfare'.