The Difficulties Of Tackling Terrorist Groups 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.

In 1993, there were four car bombs in London. This attack was the first terrorist using car bombs in the 20th. In this attack, a plethora of innocent people were injured. At the same time, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) declared they would be with responsibility with this attack (Holtorp, 1994). It become worth mentioning the terrorist bombing attacks continue to occur in the mainland of the UK. To date, the issues of terrorism have appealed to considerable attention from the public, especially in the post 9/11 age (Drakos, 2010). Kondrasuk (2005) indicated that terrorism can be seen as a worldwide problem, which occurred on all continents but Antarctica. Officially, counter- terrorism has been regarded to be a common task of almost nations and the capitals of leaders holding the power. Some scholars claimed the terrorism is affecting the security of individual and the whole society (Sheffi, 2001; Alavosius et al., 2002; Burke, 2005). As a result, it becomes essential to analysis the causes of the terrorism and propose certain countermeasures to tackle this issue so as to ensure a bright and safe future for human.

In this essay, the concept and the types of the terrorism will be introduced initially. Subsequently, the situation of the Irish Republican Splinter Group will be presented systematically. Then it will focus on issue of tackling terrorist, including the difficulties on tackling it, the reason of these difficulties, and the effective countermeasures on this issue. By and large, a brief conclusion will summarize the whole essay.

2 Relevant concepts

2.1 Terrorism

Although almost all of the countries in the world support counter- terrorism, every country's definition of terrorism may be different. A plethora of researchers conveyed "terrorism" to be a series of violence against the innocent civilians for political purpose. It is usually planned and carried out by secretive divisions whose aim is to attract the audiences (State Department, 2004; Magnusson, et al., 2004; Knondrasuk, 2005). Some authors considered "terrorism" as an unpredictable violence and threats systematically attacking target countries, the public, and individuals (Burke, 2005; Lyness, 2006).

After the Cold War, the terrorist organizations tend to exist independently. A number of researchers indicated terrorist groups do not require a powerful state to supply funding. The modern terrorism is demonstrated as a privatization of violence (Joseph, 2002; Faynberg, 2005). Currently, the terrorism has been summarized to be in possession of five main features that 1. It is gradually becoming more globalization. 2. The terrorism is flowing into the interiors of almost developed countries. 3. The former terrorist activities seem to intend attracting the public attention, while the attacks in these days are with the purpose to deprive the masses' life, as well as appealing to attentions. 4. The utilization of weapons is becoming advanced, such as chemical and biological weapons, and nuclear weapons (Knondrasuk et al., 2004; Knondrasuk, 2005; Faynberg, 2005).

2.2 Classification of terrorist organizations

Viewed from Masters' (2008) research, the terrorist organizations can be classified as Left- Wing, Ethno- National, and Right- Wing or Religious terrorist organizations.

As Masters (2008) demonstrated, Left- Wing terrorist organizations do their utmost to convert the existing government regime to be a revolutionary one, such as Sendero Luminoso in Peru. The Left- Wing terrorism includes Nihilist terrorism, which is regarded to be the opponents to the west countries, capitalism, and government.

The Ethno- National terrorist organizations intend to separate from the existing ethno- national groups then set up their own ethno- national groups. It becomes worth mentioning the Ethno- National terrorism is related to self- determination and identity formation, which means to establish a new group with legal identity.

The Right- Wing or Religious terrorist organizations deem that the social morality is experiencing a relapse. It includes Fundamentalist terrorist organizations, Racial Superiority terrorist organization, and Cult terrorist organizations.

3 The Irish Republican Splinter Group

3.1 Introduction to the Irish Republican Splinter Group

In terms of Northern Ireland in the UK, it may be always considered as a disharmonic place full of arms smuggling, drugs trafficking, and terrorist activities. As a result, it should focus on the Irish Republican Splinter Group, whose main armed forces will be presented as follows.

First and foremost, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) is a military organization, founded in 1969. Generally, IRA is radical and extreme, with the main purpose of dividing Northern Ireland from the UK. IRA's common terrorist methods include bombing, assassination, abduction, and contraband. In the last 20 decades, there were more than 3000 people lost their life in the terrors. At the same time, the UK government spends over 4.5 billion dollars on the military expenditures and financial support in the Northern Ireland annually (Bernadette and McAllister, 2005). In order to tackle the IRA, the UK government ought to pay huge expenses every year, as well as stationing a great number of garrisons.

Secondly, Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) is an armed organization which belongs to the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). It is founded in 1975, with the purpose of dislodging the British troops from the Northern Island and establishing a Marxist country with other 32 Irish counties (Adrian and Smyth, 1992; Sànchez-Cuenca, 2005). In the meantime, INLA moved in Belfast and the boundary of Northern Island. Additionally, it should be noted the INLA's normal terrorist methods are bombing, assassination, abduction, hijacking, robbery, and smuggling drugs (Sànchez-Cuenca, 2005).

The third one is Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) established in 1994. The objective of this organization succeeded to the goal of IRA to expel the UK from the Northern Ireland. CIRA engaged in the terror in the Belfast and Northern Ireland's boundary. In the end of 2006, the CIRA listed 20 names that would be attacked. Then some involved targets were injured in the terror (Gordon, 2003; Sànchez-Cuenca, 2005; Bernadette and McAllister, 2005).

3.2 The lack of wider population mandate

Viewed from the research of Sanchez- Cuenca (2005), the terrorist groups can obviously exist depending on the public support, to some extent. In this research, the degree of public supports for terrorism can be demonstrated as three levels: 1. People do not agree with the armed struggle and depriving citizen of life, but they identify with the organizations' objectives. 2. People support the party related with the terrorist groups, or they take part in certain movements which are conducted by these groups. 3. People help the terrorist groups in many different kinds of ways, including providing money, weapons, and information.

Generally, a large number of citizens in the Republic of Ireland support to reunite with the Northern Ireland, but few of them are agree to utilize the paramilitary ways to achieve the unification (Bernadette and McAllister, 1996). At the same time, to focus on the IRA, 46 percent of the Catholics gave their adhesion to this paramilitary group in 1978, deeming it is patriotic. Nevertheless, 35 percent Protestants agreed with this adhesion, without any support (Sanchez- Cuenca, 2005). Then Bernadette and McAllister (2005) concluded IRA got 20 percent to 30 percent of the population support in this period.

In 2000, there is only 3.6 percent public support in Northern Ireland for the violence. Meanwhile, it should be noted 74.6 percent has showed they had no sympathy. It becomes worth mentioning the Catholics were comparatively more sympathetic to these organizations than Protestants. As a result, based on the research results, considerable minorities support the utilization of violence for political outcomes either in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. Bernadette and McAllister (2005) maintained it may be the only one developed industry society where terrorism can be condoned to some degree.

4 Terrorism tackling

As it is discussed above, the terrorism and terrorist organizations are the great threaten to the people and world. Hundreds and thousands of the public have been injured or lost their lives because of the terrorism attacks. Nowadays, a series of measurements have been developed to tackle the terrorism.

4.1 Measurements of tackling terrorism

4.1.1 Counter- terrorist agencies

Recently, more and more countries have set up the security departments to cope with the terrorist organizations and terrors home or abroad. These agencies might be incorporated by several former existing departments or be built from zero (Faria, 2006). Their responsibilities are supposed to involve intelligence gathering, terrors scouting, planning and so on. One of famous agencies is the US. National Counterterrorism Center which was established by the USA government after the 911 terrorist attack (Blackbourn, 2011).

In the UK, a mass of police and intelligence agencies are connected together to investigate terrorism. However, the overall national responsibility for countering terrorism relies on MI5, which is strictly an intelligence service and has no arrest powers. While, considering the terrorism matters, the police have developed several particular branches to work with MI5, such as Metropolitan Police Special Branch (SO 12) and Anti-Terrorist Branch (SO 13) (HMSO, 2002).

4.1.2 International cooperation

As the terrorism is becoming globalization, it requires more positive and extensive international cooperation to anti terrorism. This kind of cooperation should include legislative, political and technical cooperation. (1) The legislative cooperation is supposed to help all countries specify the terrorism under the familiar legal framework. It is useful to indentify whether a certain organization is terrorist or not, especially for the religious and nationalism terrorists (Ronald, 2001). (2) As the modern terrorist attacks are usually global and the connection between different terrorist organizations is gradually tight, the political cooperation is regarded as the fateful factor. It means the different governments should not only share the information but also coordinate their actions (Blackbourn, 2011). (3) With the development of technology, as mentioned before, the methods of terrorist attacks are really various and advanced, including chemical and biological weapons. Therefore, the relevant and limited technology sharing is helpful to tackle those kinds of attacks (Geissler, 1996). Another important facet is about the financial terrorism. Before exposure, most of the terrorist organizations have their seemingly legal income. To cut off their capital chains, the international anti money- laundering cooperation is indispensable (Newman, 2006).

4.1.3 A proactive approach

Considering the huge destructiveness of terrorist attacks, an advanced preventative approach is undoubtedly superior to a postmortem remediation. It requires an efficient and effective intelligence service to support the proactive actions. In 2003, the UK government successfully stopped an operation targeted the Finsbury Park mosque in London by discovering of the poison ricin in a London flat. This action probably saved thousands of innocents and British reputation (Bamford, 2004). However, in this case, some innocent civilians might be involved in or arrested because of the imprecise intelligence.

4.2 Tackling difficulties caused by public support on terrorism

Although terrorist attacks have destroyed hundreds and thousands people's lives, there are still several organizations acquire a wider population support. The public staying on the side with terrorism is normally based on following reasons. Firstly they have the same religion. It is usually found in Muslim and Islamism (Christine and Shepherd, 2006). The religious terrorists are usually extremist religionists. The second reason might be that the public do not satisfy the existing political or economical system. They support the terrorists to split the state or force the government to reform the economy and polity (Krueger and Maleckova, 2003). Another factor is that some people commiserate with the terrors on fighting against the power states. A survey took in several Islam countries by Mesquita (2007) illustrates that many Islamists treat the Unite States as a large threat to their countries which affects them to support the terrorism.

Obviously, the wider population support makes it more difficulty for the governments to tackle the terrorism. The details are analysed as follows.

More difficult to collect intelligence

If a terrorist has a wider support from civilians, it would be much more difficulty for the agencies to track him. When he comes with a mission, he might stay and hide in any local residences provided by a local. Meanwhile, if the terrorist organization wins the most of the local people, when the government tries to take a force against the terrorists, the agencies might become blind and deaf (Schmid, 1992). No intelligence or information would be collected easily.

More recruits

A better popular support means more potential recruits. If the parents are the supporter of terrorism, it would be much easier for the terrorist organizations to develop their children to be the recruits than those not (Christine and Shepherd, 2006). The recruits are the basis of the sustainable development of the terrorist organizations.

More financial support

A wider population support could provide more channels for the terrorist organizations to raise funds and launder money. Shelley and Picarelli (2002) suggest that the contraband is one of the most important sources of gathering funds by terrorists. This kind of contraband is usually implemented or obtains the cover from local residents. Furthermore, for those religious terrorist organizations, their supporters are more willing to consecrate their entire properties.

Affect the national policies

In most democratic countries, the president is engendered by the general election. Therefore the president should represent his nationals and the people can affect the government policies by their votes (Faria, 2006). After the 911 terrorist attack, the Americans more and more support their government to take forceful actions against the terrorism. As a result, the USA government developed several more active policies on counter terrorism (Freilicha, Chermakb and Simone, 2009). Oppositely, in some Islam countries, as their people commiserate and support the terrorism, the governments can not carry out the uncompromising actions on some of the terrorist organizations.

4.3 A case from Sendero Luminoso

In this section, the Sendero Luminoso will be analysed as an example that won the mandate from wider population initially but lost it later.

Sendero Luminoso, also regarded as Shining Path, is a Left- wing extreme terrorist organization built up in later 1970s in Peru. It was established by Abimael Guzman who was a professor of philosophy. He believes in overturning the government by violent means then rebuilding a new stated powered by proletariat (Palmer, 1995). As a result, Sendero Luminoso carried out a mass of terrorism attacks in Peru, including bombings, assassinations, pillaging the banks and attacking the publics. They almost pulled the country into the civil war. According to the TRC's (Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru) report, it killed about 60,000 people during the civil war and more than half of them were slain by Sendero Luminoso (Martin, 2009).

Even if Sendero Luminoso had murdered thousands of civilians, they were still supported by a lot of people most of who were poor peasantry. This situation was caused by the unjust and authoritarian regime. From 1950 to 1975, Peru's GDP increased at an annual average rate of 5.08% and became largely urban from a rural country (Tulchin and Bland, 1994). However the peasants did not benefit from the development. They were exclusive from the legal economic system. Meanwhile Sendero Luminoso claimed that they were fighting for benefits of proletariat and would build a country without poverty. Those peasants believed the proletariat without other choices. As a result, those peasants joint, supported and covered Sendero Luminoso. Because of the mandate of wider population, in middle 1980s, Sendero Luminoso controlled over one third of Peru (Palmer, 1994).

Above all, it is the wider population support that makes Sendero Luminoso stronger and stronger. However, everything was changed when Hernando de Soto finished his research. Firstly, he was confused that although Sendero Luminoso killed massive people including those peasants, they still gained the mandate from a wider population. After some researches and surveys, Soto figured out that most of the Peruvians were exclusive from the national laws and rules (Martin, 2009). He indicated that the government considered the poor as the source of chaos and crimes. In this case, the government introduced massive and complex barriers to keep the pauper away from living in the cities which forced the pauper to create their own extralegal shantytown and underground business. By 1981, about 33% of the population of Lima, the largest metropolis in Peru, lived in self- governing (Burt, 1997). They supported Sendero Luminoso and obtained the protection from it.

Then Soto helped the government reform their existing economic and political system. He made the extralegal business turned to be legitimate and under the protection of laws. When people found they could live and develop under the sun, they retracted their mandate and support from Sendero Luminoso. While, Sendero Luminoso betrayed their revolutionary dream, they tried to threaten the supporters back by terrorist attacks. Actually, Sendero Luminoso had lost the support of wider population and gradually dwindled. In recently, this terrorist organization is almost disappeared (Zirakzadeh, 2010).

5 Conclusion

By and large, terrorism is a problematic issue which appeals to considerable attention. To date, terrorism has its new features such as: globalization, applying advanced weapons, and always accruing in developed countries. Meanwhile, the terrorist organizations can be classified as three groups.

To focus on the Irish Republic Splinter Group, it should be noted there are several main armed forces, such as: Irish Republican Army (IRA), Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA). Obviously, the final purpose of these organizations is to expel the UK from Northern Ireland, but their methods are full of violence. In addition, although a large number of citizens support the unification of Ireland, most of them never support the use of violence for political ends.

When referring to tackling the terrorism, it becomes worth mentioning that the governments have developed several effective and practical measurements, which include setting up counter- terrorist agencies, enhancing international cooperation and applying proactive approach. However, it should be noted that it is more difficult to tackle the terrorist organizations which wins the mandate of a wider population. It is because that the wider population support is supposed to raise the difficult to collect intelligence, supply more recruits and funds, and affect the national policies. At last, the case from Sendero Luminoso is a convictive bolster for this point.