Reviewing The Literature On Terrorism Crime Criminology Essay

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This chapter begins by reviewing the existing literature on... reviewing the literature on combating of terrorism crime in European Union: a case study of United Kingdom after September 11, 200. The review focuses specifically on research and surveys involving the meaning of terrorism with the impact in combating terrorism in European Union looking specifically in United Kingdom


For this structured literature review a variety of academic texts, journals and databases were used to review and critically examine what is already known about terrorism and the combat of terrorism in European Union specifically in United Kingdom after September 11, 2001. For this reason the thesis has narrowed its review to literature and research from England and Wales and will focus from the September 11 onwards through using the in-depth examination of previous literature available.

Research involving

The literature predominantly reviewed in relation to the concept of terrorism in European Union particularly United Kingdom. From the literature review already undertaken, it is apparent that much have been written on the subject of terrorism however, through the extensive researches there is not yet consensus been reached on the subject.

The definition of terrorism and difficult to define:

A majority stumbling block to the serious study of terrorism is that, at base terrorism is a moral problem. This is one of the major reasons for the difficult over the definition often are predicated on the assumption that some classes of political violence are justifiable whereas others are not. Many would label the latter as terrorism whilst being lathe to condemn the former with a term that is usually used a behaviour description to include individual motivation, social milieu, and political purpose (Wardlaw, 1998 p. 4)

Wardlaw (1998, p. 8) state that, in order to appreciate the nature of terrorism it is necessary to look at the definitions concept of terror and terrorism and to examine their often ambiguous relation to other forms of civil, military, and political violence and criminal behavior.

He continue to explain that the contemporary terrorism constitutes a potential threat to the stability and, in the extreme, the existence of democratic states. While it is true that the existence of injustice or inequality within such states provides a fertile ground for the development of social movements which view terrorism as a legitimate tool for change it not the case that the eliminate the threat of terrorism. While such social improvements would reduce the incidence of terrorism, the increasing evidence of nihilistic philosophies groups combines with the destructive potential inherent in nuclear, biological, and chemical material implies that we will always have to face policy choices other than prescriptions for social changes (Wardlaw (1998, p. 65).

Liqueur, (1999, p. 46). Agree with Warlaw above by saying that terrorism remains difficult to define because "there is not one but many different terrorism" The destruction is often blurry between terrorism, guerilla warfare, conventional warfare, and criminal activity. Terrorism tactics are used frequently during war, tactics used terrorists, but those who struggle to topple the regimes call themselves freedom fighters.

Sambaei et al (2009 p. 3) quoting Lutz (2004 p.10) states that Terrorism involves political aims and motives. It is violent or threatens violence. It is designed to generate fear in a targeted audience that extends beyond the immediate victims of violence. The violence is conducted by an identifiable organisation. The violence involves non-state actors as either the perpetrator, the victim of violence, both. Finally, the acts of violence are designed to create power in situation in which power previously had been lacking (i.e. the violence attempts to enhance the power base of the organisation undertaking the actions).

Maniscalco and Chriten (2002, pp. xxiv- xxx) define terrorism as about violence. It is the tactical use of efficient high lethality weapons to accomplish an objective. With the advent of the twenty-first century the definition of terrorism by our government is expanding. In the traditional twentieth century model, terrorism was a volatile act committed by foreign operators or governments to promote a political agenda. The modern terrorism has blurred the formal definition because the motives are changing and the players are changing.

Hoffman, (1998, p.31; 2006 p. 23) in the same view like Maniscalco and Christen (2002) above, finding difficult to define terrorism, says that, on one point, at least, everyone agrees: terrorism is a pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one's enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore.

Silke, (2004, p. 4) basing on that line, argues that the confusion in research circle mirrors problems in the international response to terrorism. In the case strong differences ways and sometimes are prepared to tolerate and even support it. The results is that there are sporadic successes against terrorism in some times and places and profound failures elsewhere. A terrorist organization can be crushed in one country and enjoying respite and a haven to recognize and regroup in an adjoining state because of conflicting definitions. 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter'.

Two conflicting theories of definition

There are also two conflicting camps of defining terrorism one being orthodox terrorism studies and another called critical terrorism studies with different view of understanding the meaning of terrorism.

Jackson, (2007, p. 244) base on terrorism critical study philosophy and contends that the argument for critical terrorism studies begins with four main criticisms of the traditional terrorism studies field. First, both past and more recent review exercises of the field reveal an embarrassing list of methodological and analytical weaknesses, including among others: a reliance on poor research methods and procedures, an over-reliance on secondary information and a general failure to undertake primary research a failure to develop an accepted definition of terrorism and to formulate rigorous theories and concepts the descriptive, narrative and condemnatory character of much terrorism research output; the dominance of orthodox international relations (IR) approaches and a lack of interdisciplinarity; the tendency to treat contemporary terrorism as a 'new' phenomenon that started on September 11th , 2001 and a persistent lack of historicity.

Silke, (2004, p. 5) make criticism with strong allies nations for failure to define terrorism by citing the example of UK Terrorism Act 2000 in which the way define terrorism stating that 'The use of serious violence against persons or property, or the threat to use such violence, to intimidate or coerce a government the public, or any section of public for political, religious or ideological ends'. This definition being close similar the UK's ally, the USA, but when it comes making list groups terrorist organizations they differ. Because of conflicting definitions Silke, (2007, p. 4) contend that 'one man's terrorism is another man's freedom fighter'.

On the other side of camp of orthodox terrorism studies, Franks, (2005, pp. 2-3) define orthodox terrorism studies primarily in terms of state legitimacy and largely understood to represent a challenge and threat to state authority by an illegitimate body. This is the conventional or the 'orthodox theory' of terrorism and is based on the legitimacy/illegitimacy dualism that constructs non-state violence as terrorist while state violence is deemed to be legitimate. As a result it does not engage in a roots debate about the causes of terrorism, as this would legitimize non-state violence.

There are others who compare terrorism with other war like Wilkinson (2005, pp. 16-170) in comparing with terrorism acts and insurgency states that, the acts of terrorism do not inevitably lead to a wider insurgency. On the contrary the vastly majority of groups using the weapon of terrorism remain locked in a circle of individual, usually very spasmodic, acts of bombing, assignation, hostage-taking, etc. only a small minority of terrorist campaign succeed in expanding their struggle.

Diaz-Barrado (2009, p. 28) looking on the fight against terrorism says that there has been on the contemporary international scene for long time now, although perhaps it is only now that greater effort is being poured into preventing and combating the perpetration of terrorist acts from the normative perspective. At least after recent event such as terrorist attack on the 11 September 2001, states in international community have been increasingly insistent in expressing their firm political will to combat terrorism and desire to adopt whatever measures are necessary to end the perpetration of such acts and where appropriate, to persecute and punishing those to blame

Terrorism being one of international organized crime Sharma, (2000, p. 253) explaining the global international combat of transnational organized crime states that the international community should adopt a generally agreed concept of organized crime as a basis for more compatible national response and more effective international cooperation.

Sharma, (2000, p. 254) says that, to effectively combat organized crime, states should take its structural characteristics and modus operandi into account in devising strategies, policies, legislation and other measures.

In dealing with the atrocity of international terrorism and the threat thereof, the United Nations has developed different instruments. Especially in the years after the attacks of 11 September 2001 the Security Council has become more involved in the fight against terrorism (Ginkel, 2008)

In order to supervise the implementation of the financial measures the Council also established in the same resolution an administrative organ, namely the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC).

Example of terrorism attacks in UK after September 11, 2001:

Terrorism Attack of July 7, 2005 in London:

During the past decade, there has been an increase threat level from religious fundamentalist groups, especially Islamic fundamentalist led by Mohammed Sidique Khan and allegedly associated with Al Qaeda, on London's public transportation led to 52 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The attack consisted of three explosive devices detonated approximately 1h later on the upper deck of a two-level public bus. Although this was first successful attack by Islamic terrorists in the UK, in the past many UK citizens have been injured or killed due to Islamic terrorist attacks abroad (Haberfeld, Kinf, and Lieberman, 2009, p. 44).

Two weeks after the July 7, 2005, attacks, on July 21, another terrorist was attempted in London. Similar to the previous attack, the targets were part of London's public transportation system, three explosive devices were left on underground trains and one explosive was left on a bus however, none of the devices detonated. Police recovered fifth devices 2 days after the incidents. These attacks were also attributed to Islamic extremists. Four individuals, Muktar Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Hussain Osman, and Ramzi Mohammed, all born in East Africa, found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison. The fifth individual, Manfo Kwaki Siedu, who was born in Ghana, pled guilty to lesser charge. A sixth individual, Adel Yahya who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Yemen, pled to a lesser charge of collecting information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism (Haberfeld, Kinf, 2009, and Lieberman, p. 44).

On June 29, 2007, an ambulance crew saw smoking coming from a vehicle, a green Mercedes, parked in London, near a night club. Police examination revealed a crude explosive device, using gas or propane cylinders, petrol, and nails, which was subsequently disabled by police. The device was probably created by amateur or inexperienced bomb maker. A second car bomb was found in another Mercedes, London's West End, near Piccadilly Circus, parked illegally and towered to a pound by traffic wardens. The explosive device did not detonate and was discovered after staff smelled fumes coming from the vehicle. Although police found no direct links to any organisation, simultaneously and coordinated bombs have been distinguishing feature of Al Qaeda attacks (Haberfeld, Kinf, and Lieberman, 2009, pp. 44-45).

Counterterrorism in European countries and UK in particular:

Since September 11, 2001. U.S and European officials have sought to present a united front against. Most European governments have cooperated closely with U.S law enforcement authorities in tracking down terrorist suspects and freezing financial assets. Many have tightened their laws against terrorism and sought to improve their border control mechanism. Moreover, the September 11 attacks have given new momentum to European Union initiatives to boast police and judicial cooperation both among member states and with the U.S to better combat terrorism and other cross-border crimes. The March 11, 2004, terrorist bombings in Madrid, Spain further energised EU law enforcement effort against terrorism (Gregory, 2007, p. 117).


According to (Gregory, 2007, p. 117), in UK the theory of proper public debates on the governance capacity to respond to terrorism post-9/11 has often been polarised around arguments for and against the UK variable 'lead Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established after 9/11. Any engagement with this debate has to reflect that terrorism only forms part of a spectrum of contingencies' covering what Sir David Omand has called '... a predicated future threat or hazard and materialised risk now'. Or as the 2004 EU Constitution Treaty put it; the threat to society from natural or manmade disasters or a terrorist attack. However, the polarisation of the debate on the optimum homeland security system is mistaken on five grounds. First, the UK system is actually a more complex mixed model of centralised and decentralised system. Second, the debate tends to neglect consideration of the comparable systems in other EU states. If comparison is made within the EU and Commonwealth, then it will be found that whilst most other EU states have a response system which is similar to that in UK there are signs of more centralised direction, on a small scale, in both Canada and The Netherlands. Third, account needs to be taken of the inherent problems in the establishment and construction of the DHS in the USA. Fourth, other than in extreme form of catastrophic terrorism, all response systems are ultimately dependants upon the efficient functioning of some form of localised response capacity, a point recognised by both Sir David Omand, the UK first security and intelligence Coordinator, his observation that '... it is certainly the case that the overwhelming likelihood is that the challenges that local responders will be called upon to face are the everyday hazards of modern life, not terrorism and by the Secretary of the US DHS, Mr. Michael Chertoff who referred to security as being "... built upon network of systems that span all levels of government and the private sector. Sir David's comments are well borne out by the UK Emergency Planning College's listing of major incidents. Lastly, the US actually considered more than one model and its final choice is in fact an amalgamation of the two models. Carter identifies for models that were considered in the USA: command and control (as proposed by the Clinton administration), the lead agency approach, establishment a homeland security department and creating the post of White Housencoordinator or 'czar' which was tried for a short while. (Gregory, 2007, p. 118)

The approach of many European countries to protecting their public and infrastructure have grown out of decades of experience in dealing with domestic terrorist groups, such as the IRA in the UK, the Basque terrorist movement EATA in Spain or the anarchist Red Army Faction in Germany. Even after the terrorist attacks of the few years, European countries have continued to view combating terrorism primarily as a task for law enforcement and intelligence authorities. Some critics suggest that many European countries have been slow to bolster domestic protection efforts, reduce societal vulnerabilities, strengthen border controls and transport security and push the defence of Europe territory as far out as possible. Others contend that European governments have sought to integrate counterterrorism and preparedness programs into existing emergency management efforts, thereby providing greater flexibility to respond to a wide range of security challenges with often limited personnel and financial resources (Kristin, Ek, Gallis, et al, 2007, p. 2).

The Terrorist Act of 2000 updated and instituted greater coherence into the country's anti-terrorist legislation. The act went into effect at the beginning of 2001.

The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, CAP 28 it is one of instrument to combat terrorism in UK. It is an Act to confer further powers to gather and share information for counterterrorism and other purposes; to make further provision about the detention and questioning of terrorist suspects and the prosecution and punishment of terrorist offences; to impose notification requirements on persons convicted of such offences; to confer further powers to act against terrorist financing, money laundering and certain other activities; to provide for review of certain Treasury decisions and about evidence in, and other matters connected with, review proceedings; to amend the law relating to inquiries; to amend the definition of "terrorism"; to amend the enactments relating to terrorist offences, control orders and the forfeiture of terrorist cash; to provide for recovering the costs of policing at certain gas facilities; to amend provisions about the appointment of special advocates in Northern Ireland; and for connected purposes (The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, CAP 28).

The UK's Approach to Homeland Security Counterterrorism:

The United Kingdom does not have one department responsible for all aspects of homeland security and terrorism. Responsibility for the issues is scattered across several governments, and the UK's approach is based on long-standing intergovernmental cooperation and collaboration, which grew out of the UK's decades of experience in dealing with Northern Ireland-related terrorism. UK policy towards terrorism and other security challenges is largely coordinated by inter-departmental committees of ministers and other government officials; specific UK ministries or departments have the lead on different issues. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States was focused (prove the word) greater UK attention on the threats posed by international terrorists and acted as a spur for UK authorities to enhance planning and response capabilities (Kristin, Ek, Gallis, et al, 2007, p. 29


From the above evidence it can be seen that there has been a great deal of research regarding terrorism and combat of terrorism in United Kingdom, and there has even been research on the impact of terrorism and efforts made to combat terrorism in UK. However, it is argued that this literature review has failed to uncover studies specific to the role of government of UK to completely combat terrorism instead it is ongoing war. However, on this basis it is argued that the research conducted for this thesis is both interesting and original and will

further inform the ongoing debate on counterterrorism in UK.