Over the past centuries, the world has faced different kinds of internal and external conflicts and problems, but the current devastating problem facing the globe is terrorism. Terrorism has become a major problem over the last two decades that it is solvable only by understanding its origin, old trends, and modern trends and analysis (Martin 36). Today the world is faced by a threat of new forms of terrorism that have been experienced all over the world with, suicide bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, hijackings, amongst others. The emergence of global conventions and authorities like the counter terrorism by the U.N meant for addressing global terrorism attest to the global threat the world is facing from new forms of terrorism (Martin 45). The following paper focuses on discussing if the world is facing a new form of global terrorist threat with reference of the history of terrorism. This paper argues that the world is indeed facing a completely new form of terrorist threat.
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Terrorism has evolved over the centuries with new forms emerging that have led to disasters beyond description. With the advancement of technology global information technology commit crimes has been evolved to a whole new level. Supporters of violence and extremists use these information technologies to apply their criminal ideologies with many being terrorist practices. For instance, individuals, terrorist organizations, religious societies, and even governments to cause violent acts of terror have used the modern form of terrorism cyber terrorism. Other new forms of terrorism are marked by the emergence of organized criminal societies that have been witnessed all over the world, like the Jihad culture, Al Qaeda, amongst others.
Reflecting on the mass effects of terrorism the world is facing an entirely new form of terrorist threat. With the current information wars, suicide attacks, rebellions, and other terrorist practices, many lives have been lost; economies deteriorated, governments torn down, and many more disasters experienced.
Terrorism can be described as the application of erratic violence or terror against, individuals, governments, or public (Grabosky and Stohl 6). Another definition of terrorism in the current world is that terrorism is a technique of continuous violent or terror applied by state or group actors and clandestine individuals for political, criminal, eccentric motives (Martin 96). In addition, the most commonly accepted definition implies the application of violence against civilians by groups of sub-national nature for political rationale. In the wake of global terrorism it has become a contentious explanation due to the high emotional incriminate it has gained (Grabosky and Stohl 25). Terrorism has been proved a key reason of universal infringement of human rights.
Great changes have emerged from the practices and application of terrorism in the 20th Century. Terrorism has no approval in any international law, morality, or religion (Franks 46). Currently, terrorism has taken a universal proportion affecting each country and its society. The world as now a day is full of numerous individual terrorists and terrorist associations. Such terrorist individuals and organizations use weapons like nuclear warfare, guns, bombs, chemical weapons, amongst others to practice terror attacks on their targets (Franks 59). Most individual's terrorists use suicide bombings for terror attacks. Acts of terror are meant to be a means to force others to fear or meet the terrorist's demands or desires. Terrorism instills in the mind of an individual oppression, demoralization, helplessness, and suppression by others (Franks 66). The individual forgets the cause of the problems and revenges in any way possible.
History of Terrorism
The history of terrorism is intricate with the earliest terrorist organizations ever known like the Judean Zealots. The Romans commonly refereed to the zealots as dagger-men; they were an organization known for their underground crusade of assassinations of Jews and Roman forces. Their acts were fueled by the idea of them being slave for the Romans and Jews. Other notable origins of terrorism are the era of barbarianism at the times of the Assassins in the 13th century. Unlike now, communication was not advanced and they use of technology like now was not applicable. This contributed to physical conflict and warfare.
From the 1970s, there has emerged a methodical study on terrorism, which mistakably deemed terrorism to be a monopoly of great left-wing organizations or groups such as German Red Army or the Italian Red Brigades (Gupta 36). The early studies concluded that terrorism emerged from scenarios where people have been most exploited and oppressed. The study implies that eliminating oppression and exploitation would end terrorism. However, this definition of terrorism is not a correct since at that time there was no actual acts of terror both in the richest and poorest societies. Currently, people mistake terrorism to be a political principle since it involves certain quantity of sophisticated logistics and organization that humans did not have in the past (Grabosky and Stohl 26).
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Historically terrorism is traceable in the Bible as there frequent cases of organized assassinations and political murders in the Roman history. For instance the death of Julius Caesar was a result of murder that is a terrorism act. However these implications of terrorism in the Bible were concluded to be applicable under certain conditions (Grabosky and Stohl 36). For instance, in a scenario where a tyrant ruler oppressed and exploited people and even violated Gods desire of human justice, people may commit an act of terror against the intolerable subjugation and oppression.
Between the 8th and 14th century numerous organized groups had started emerging over long periods of time such as secret assassin sects, Muslim Islamic who killed prefects, caliphs, and governors, in Iran and Iraq, and a Jerusalem king who was a crusader. Such groups initiated suicide terrorism because most of their victims were well armed and their chances of getting away were minimal so deciding to commit suicide. Eventually terrorism continued at start of modern era and the end of middle era at a decreasing rate. This was an era marked by the Napoleonic wars of 1799-1815 and the 30 years war of 1618-1648 that brought tragedy and calamities.
Terrorism rose at high rate towards the end of the 19th century, with major active terrorist organizations such as assorted anarchists, Irish rebels, and Russian communist revolutionaries in North America and Europe. However, secret sects and societies were dynamically connected to terrorism acts all over the world like in Egypt, china, and India intending to obtain national liberation (Wilkinson 50). Some terrorist practices failed while others became successful in the long-term in attaining their motives. Terrorism in the 19th century was clearly identifiable with numerous notable happenings such as assassination of American presidents like James Garfield in 1881 and William Mckinley in 1901, Russian tsar, king Umberto of Italy amongst many other prominent figures in the world.
During the First World War, terrorism again repapered in numerous countries like Balkan nations and Germany. Throughout this period both communists and fascists deemed mass aggression rather than individual terrorist attacks, however there were some individual terror attacks like the assassination of Giacomo Matteoti an Italian socialist leader. At the time of the Second World War terrorism had decreased a bit. This explains the regeneration of terrorist practices and many people as something unprecedented and new comparing the history of terrorism-understood operations in the 1970s and the surfacing of Islamist terrorist. The interpretation was due to the striking practice of suicide terrorism. Suicide terrorism was facilitated by the lack of weapons like guns and the use of unstable explosion that could only detonate in the attacker's hand.
Earlier or traditional terrorism differs from modern terrorism based on some important respects that happened in the past and current trends. Conventional terrorism is distinguished by its code of honor of targeting military leaders, kings, ministers, and other influential and public figures (Wilkinson 66). In addition, terrorist refrained from acting in cases where the act would endanger the family of the target even if it threatened their own lives.
Currently, terrorism has taken an indiscriminate rule where very few top politicians have been murdered or assassinated, however, mass destruction and tragedy has engulfed innocent individuals because of terrorist acts (Harmon 25). Nowadays the term terrorism has a very negative implication because of the number of innocent victims involved to an extent that terrorists insist on being addressed and refereed by other names rather than terrorists.. After Boris Savinkov the leader of the Russian socialist activists before the First World War, published his life history and did not hesitate in awarding it the title Memoirs of a Terrorist. In comparison to the modern trends on terrorism, this would be unthinkable as modern terrorist desire to be refereed to as militants, freedom fighters, insurgents, rebels, and revolutionaries but not terrorists (Harmon 78).
For instance, the recent most infamous terrorist attack by Osama Bin Laden of Al Qaeda left thousands innocent lives dead. Such terrorist groups are a major threat in the world with their current claims to be a self proclaimed and pragmatic organization occupying both sides of the Mediterranean supplying resources, expertise, information, and support to smaller groups (Marret 556). The network of Al Qaeda has increased with its widening of goals from regionalization to the cooperation and solidarity with international Jihad and Islamist networks (Esposito 96). With the global networks all over the world Al Qaeda has used terrorism on the based on geographical, traditional history, and cultural reasons (Marret 556). With the increased Al Qaeda operations in almost all over the world the world is facing a whole new for of terrorist threat.
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Numerous grounds of terrorism are identifiable. According to the unbiased western media reports on American leaders opinions on the 9/11 terrorist attack, the main reason for the attack was the jealousy Islamists had for American prosperity and democracy (Esposito 102). Similarly, Roger Scruton a conservative philosopher acknowledges the same and further implies resentment or bitterness as the definitive grounds of all terrorism practices.
To some extent, irresponsibility or uncaring, selfish behavior of groups and organizations reflect the minor phases of persons where individual concerns befall out of proportion. According to professor, Scruton identifies resentment and hatred to be major attributes of terrorists and clearly emphasizes envy to be the root of the emotion rather than coercion (Harmon 96). The professor defines terrorism with reference to the Russian and French revolutionaries. Based on the conventional and current trends of terrorism the professor defines terrorism as the imbalance between the needs of the society collectively and the freedom of the person.
Mostly, terrorist practices are motivated from injustice grounds, as when a minority believes their rights are being ignored, and a nation does not have independence amongst other nations (Franks 96). To avoid terrorism nations must ensure that there are no such implications of political injustice practices that motivate and provide grounds for terrorism. Additionally, if subjugation is the root of terrorism it is due to poor or failed application of democracy since democracy should eliminate oppression if properly and effectively practiced (Harmon 106).
Global terrorism contemporary analyses indicate a more political motivation in trying to rationalize a peculiarity between uncivil and civil uses of violence. Defining terrorism nowadays has led to the application of new categories that is transnational or international terrorism. This issue of identifying and understanding international terrorism has led to Western policy makers particularly in U.S to formulate a universal order that has the authority to address the issue of global terrorism. Such authorities forming global orders are genuine by description or many individuals interest in the universal order are affected sufficiently in the appearance of the global political order. Groups or individuals who may not or may get support from rebellious populations or nations, whose driving force is changing and challenging the existing social order (Martin 58), therefore practice such forms of terrorism. This concept is based on a basis of jurisdiction and distance.
Reach or distance may be viewed as spatial relic, frequently made relevant by asymmetries of supremacy between established authorities and contending groups. This means that those seeking to change and challenge the terms of a social order will use to their advantage existing vulnerabilities and technologies relating to distance by seeking to utilize mobility, communication, and information to recognize and perform violent acts on moderately distance authorities (Martin 88). This concept is not unique in global terrorism. Most opposition is concentrated in the borders of combined consciousness due to the central structure of authorities. Even in local or non-global terrorism acts, terrorist have applied proximate, local, and distant action. Strategically, relations between two distant groups, what one group regard as local the other group consider it distant and vice versa.
Effects of Terrorism
Terrorist operate easily locally, however, it is strategically important for the agents of terror to exhibit their capabilities on executing distant attacks in their rival's heartland. Such exhibitions illustrate the perceived value that increases the terror potential of the targets with closeness to the heartland. Moreover, two rival groups do not inhabit the precise same political space and in the event they share, competing and contending claims to supremacy over that space their heartland remain distinctively separated even if their jurisdictional and territorial concerns overlap and challenge (Lilley 89). For instance, the Sri Lankan Tamils have conducted terror attacks in India and Colombo, plus the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi; also, the Irish Republican Army has operated in London and the British province of North Ireland. The recent globalization of anti-authority terrorism perhaps is because of increased trendy access to technological or distance achievement. Other example illustrating the concept and capabilities of distant attacks are the 1942 U.S raids against Tokyo and the 1999 NATO air invasions against Belgrade (Wilkinson 54).
The comparison between domestic and transnational terrorism reflects on the challenges encountered by terrorists due to linguistic and cultural barriers. Most terrorist practicing their violent acts in foreign countries are face by an environment that culture, daily life, and language is hardly understandable (Duyvesteyn 441). This facilitates recent studies that described the reason as to why most terrorist attacks against the U.S by foreigners take a lot of time to plan and execute compared to domestic terrorism that does not require a lot of planning. Foreign terrorists will most likely depend on immigrant communities than domestic terrorists to overcome the obstacles of language and culture in the target nation (Duyvesteyn 443). The same reasoning concludes that foreign terrorist or transnational terrorists will ensure they act against the target at the closest position meaning they have to blend in and look like local individuals of the target's nation. Recent reports illustrate the significance of local recruits in the famous terrorist organization of Al Qaeda. This results relate highly to the 9/11 attacks. However, the Al Qaeda were able to plan and execute the 9/11 terrorist attack without using locals but used specially trained foreign operatives.
The issue of global terrorism has been defined by violent strategies that seek particular political motives of governments, interested individuals, or organized groups (Wilkinson 124). The actors and the act itself basing on political grounds directed towards some particular strategic motives rather than a movement or abroad ideology as thought in the past can only define global terrorism. Some scholars define global terrorism as the transnational practice of politically driven violence against individuals or figurative targets that is meant for delivering the message to a collective audience (Wilkinson 126). This implies that nations contribute as actors in adopting strategies of terrorist acts.
Transnational terrorism has been understood and characterized by numerous inopportune trends. Such unfortunate tendencies and trends are notable in the biased research on global terrorism and the increased emergence of conspiracies that are never conclusive (Duyvesteyn 445). Currently the concept of global terrorism is applied to nations opposed to the Western interests and almost all nations supported by the Western are not anyhow labeled terrorist even when they commit terror or violent acts such as kidnappings, bombings, and hijackings. Basically, left-winged nations have acquired most of the attention in research and analysis of terrorism; however, right-winged nations such as anti-Castro, Contras groups, South Africa and the U.S supported movements in Mozambique and Angola, diverse death squads from Latin America, some Afghan splinter groups, and Iraqi death crews have remained reprehensibly understudied (Lilley 102). This concept is due to the avoidable but understandable ideological foregone conclusion of numerous Western scholars and studies that concentrate more on the interests of their own governments and not the international community.
Based on the recent reports and studies, global terrorism has received many critics on the international authority's failure to present constant analysis and moral disapproval of global terrorism (Silke 9). Comparing state and transnational terrorism to domestic terrorism, there have only been an estimated two percent of research analysis articles or studies from 1990 to 2000 focused on international terrorism and only 12 pages of the Encyclopedia of World terrorism that has 768 pages studied the issue of global terrorism (Silke 9). This characteristic is due to the inconclusive definitions of terrorism that implies terrorism to not being a form of state violence.
Nevertheless, most scholars and studies acknowledge that impartially, terrorism is a form of political strategy that individuals or states can perform but refuse to examine the issue of state terrorism in their studies and reports (Silke 13). The increased denial and bias in examining global terrorism has contributed to the world facing a new form of global terrorist threat unlike the past. The modern terrorism concepts have been attributed by political organizations on a global scope attempting at adopting a new world order and using money and other resources to fund terror in the world for long-term and short-term motives that only lead to tragedy amongst innocent individuals (Lilley 115).
In conclusion, new forms of global terrorism as compared to past terrorism are a major threat to the world. New terrorist organizations are funded to by individuals to carry out terrorist acts, making it more of organized crime than terrorism. The world is full of conspiracies that mar the efforts expressed by global counter terrorist organizations that seek to eliminate global terrorism (Martin 120). Evidently, new forms of terrorism acts have and may continue to cause calamities and tragedies threatening the security of the world and its inhabitants. In addition, its only when leaders and individuals realize and act right in ensuring terrorist motives are reduced by looking into their concern rather than justifying their action and framing the terrorist as criminal.