Terrorism in Today’s World
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Terrorism in Today’s World. Definition, History, Root Causes and Strategy. Dr. James Forest, Director of Terrorism Studies. Defining Terrorism. Definitions Many Ambiguous Are terrorists “freedom fighters”? Matter of perception?

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Terrorism in Today’s World

Definition, History, Root Causes and Strategy

Dr. James Forest, Director of Terrorism Studies


Defining terrorism l.jpg
Defining Terrorism

  • Definitions

    • Many

    • Ambiguous

    • Are terrorists “freedom fighters”?

    • Matter of perception?

    • What is the relationship between insurgency and terrorism? Are all insurgents terrorists? Are all terrorists insurgents?

    • AW/UW, 4GW and terrorism


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Defining Terrorism

  • Certain aspects are fundamental

  • Political act

    • Desire for political change

    • Terrorism is typically non-state in character

      • (Note the separate but related topic of state terrorism, for whom political change is usually not desired)

      • States can terrorize, but they are not terrorists.

    • Terrorists do not abide by norms

      • They target innocents

      • They seek psychological trauma


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Terrorism: Key Terms

  • Indoctrination

  • Radicalization

  • Rationalization

  • Moral Disengagement

  • Facilitators/Causes

  • Enabling Environment

  • Learning Organization

  • Counter vs. Anti

  • Hard/Soft Power

  • Vision

  • Power

  • Ideology

  • Duty

  • Self-sacrifice

  • Strategy

  • Tactics

  • Will to kill

  • Skill to kill


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Elements of modern Terrorism

Brian Jenkins (2007) :

  • Terrorism has become bloodier

  • Terrorists have developed new financial resources, so that they are less dependent on state sponsors

  • Terrorists have evolved new models of organization

  • Terrorists can now wage global campaigns

  • Terrorists have effectively exploited new communications technologies


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Elements of modern Terrorism

  • Increasing number and lethality of attacks

    • Less by Al Qaida, more by regional or local affiliates and wanna-bes

    • Shifting from small groups to motivated and resourceful individuals (e.g., Madrid, London)

  • Info Ops – role of technology

    • From DVDs and web videos to Al Jazeera

    • Availability of info on government security, CT efforts, public sentiment, transit systems

    • EW – another role of technology


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Elements of modern Terrorism

  • Taking instruments from our daily life—the backpack, the car, the shoe, the cell phone—and turning them into weapons. Goal – damage the trust necessary for a successful open society

  • Use of children and female suicide bombers by terrorist organizations


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Conclusion

  • Defining terrorism: not as easy as some might assume

  • There is no real ‘profile’ of a terrorist.

  • Potentially anyone can be radicalized, indoctrinated, taught why and how to murder others in pursuit of some broader vision.


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Defining Terrorism

  • Definitions

    • Many

    • Ambiguous

    • Are terrorists “freedom fighters”?

    • Matter of perception?

    • What is the relationship between insurgency and terrorism? Are all insurgents terrorists? Are all terrorists insurgents?

    • AW/UW, 4GW and terrorism


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Department of Defense

The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit

of goals that are generally

political, religious,

or ideological.


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Department of State

Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national or clandestine agents,

usually intended to

influence an audience.


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Federal Bureau of Investigation

The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political

or social objectives.


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Defining Terrorism

  • Certain aspects are fundamental

  • Political act

    • Desire for political change

    • Terrorism is typically non-state in character

      • (Note the separate but related topic of state terrorism, for whom political change is usually not desired)

      • States can terrorize, but they are not terrorists.

    • Terrorists do not abide by norms

      • They target innocents

      • They seek psychological trauma


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Terrorism: Key Terms

  • Vision

  • Power

  • Ideology

  • Duty

  • Strategy

  • Tactics

  • Indoctrination

  • Facilitators/Causes

  • Enabling Environment


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5 Goals of Terrorist Groups

According to Walter and Kydd:

  • Regime Change (Sendero Luminso)

  • Control of Territory (LTTE)

  • Policy Change (al Qa`ida)

  • Social Control (KKK or Army of God)

  • Maintain Status Quo (United Self Defense Forces of Colombia)


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Defining Terrorism

Primary Types

  • Left-wing

  • Right Wing

  • Ethno-nationalist (separatist)

  • Religious


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Left-Wing Terrorism

  • Driven by liberal or idealist political concepts

  • Prefer revolutionary anti-authoritarian anti-materialist agendas

  • Typically target elites who symbolize authority

  • Examples

    • Red Brigades (Italy)

    • Red Army Faction (Baader Meinhof Gang) (Germany)

    • MRTA (Tupac Amaru movement) (Peru)

    • Sendero Luminoso (Peru)

    • Weather Underground (United States)


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Right-Wing Terrorism

  • Often target race and ethnicity

  • Examples

Aryan Republican Army USA

Aryan Nations USA

The Boeremag South Africa

The Aryan Republican Army

Skinheads

Neo-Nazi Skinheads

American Nazi Party USA

National Alliance USA

National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP) USA

Christian identity USA

Creativity movement USA

Combat 18 England

Ku Klux Klan

Neo Confederates

NeoNazism

Silent Brotherhood

White Aryan Resistance (WAR) USA

World Church of the Creator


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Ethno-Nationalists

  • Usually have clear territorial objectives

    • Liberation/separation

    • Popular support usually along ethnic/racial lines.

  • Examples

    • ETA (Basque Separatists)

    • Irish Republican Army

    • Lashkar-e Taiba (& other Kashmir groups)

    • Moro Islamic Liberation Front

    • Tamil Tigers (LTTE)


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Religious Terrorists

Largest category of groups today

  • Ideologies are supremacist (believers assume superiority over non-believers) & absolutist (you are with us or you are an unbeliever or an enemy “an infidel, an apostate”)

  • “God is on our side – we are acting on the desires of a diety” (audience is thus not necessarily human; “we are unconstrained by man’s laws”)

  • Adherents believe they are involved in a struggle of good vs. evil; Piety and persistence in the faith will lead to rewards in this life and the next

  • Polarizing values in terms of right and wrong, good and evil, light and dark can lead to a complete alienation from existing socio/political order


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Religious Terrorists

  • Examples

Hizballah

LEHI, Stern Gang and Zvi Irgun (Jewish extremists)

Al Qaida

Jemaah Islamiya

Aum Shinrikyo

Egyptian Islamic Jihad

AQ in the Islamic Maghreb

Algerian GIA and GSPC

Syrian Muslim Brotherhood

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Al Qaeda in Iraq

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

Christian Identity

The Sword, Covenant & Arm of the Lord


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Elements of modern Terrorism

  • Increasing number and lethality of attacks

    • Less by Al Qaida, more by regional or local affiliates and wanna-bes

    • Shifting from small groups to motivated and resourceful individuals (e.g., Madrid, London)

  • Info Ops – role of technology

    • From DVDs and web videos to Al Jazeera

    • Availability of info on government security, CT efforts, public sentiment, transit systems

    • EW – another role of technology


Elements of modern terrorism24 l.jpg
Elements of modern Terrorism

  • Taking instruments from our daily life—the backpack, the car, the shoe, the cell phone—and turning them into weapons. Goal – damage the trust necessary for a successful open society

  • Use of children and female suicide bombers by terrorist organizations


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Conclusion

  • Defining terrorism: not as easy as some might assume

  • There is no real ‘profile’ of a terrorist

  • Potentially anyone can be radicalized, indoctrinated, taught why and how to murder others in pursuit of some broader vision.

  • Ideologies, targets, tactics may differ

  • Enabling environments, facilitators are often similar


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Questions?

The CombatingTerrorismCenter

atwest point

http://www.ctc.usma.edu

Lincoln Hall, 122

Dr. James Forest, Director of Terrorism Studies