The Causes and Effects of the Different Types of Terrorism
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Terrorism has been widely known to all of the world for many years. “It exists as a means of making a government or group aware of certain needs that they must change something by creating fear and destruction”. But why do people have to resort to violent acts such as: bombing, assassinations, and hi-jacking? How do and how can individuals and organizations justify these acts of terror? During the last few years, many groups of terrorists have formed all over the world and it’s becoming an international problem. Unfortunately, governments have had close to no success in their attempts to resolve issues in which terrorism is used.
One of the major problems in discussing terrorism is being able to establish an accepted definition of the word “terrorism” or “terrorist act.” For example, terrorism can be defined/described as “the unlawful use or
threatened use of force or violence by an individual or an organized group against property or even people with the intention of intimidating societies or governments, often for achieving certain ideological, economical, and political reasons” (Mifflin, pg. 1). Since it is a difficult word to define, organizations such as the United Nations have had a tough time setting up policies against acts of terrorism.
There are many different types of terrorism: nationalist terrorism, anarchist terrorism, state-sponsored terrorism, right wing terrorism, left wing
terrorism, religious terrorism, narcoterrorism, and cyberterrorism. Nationalist terrorists like to use violence, an example of this Is are the Irish Republican Army and Kurdistan Workers Party. Anarchist terrorism was a global phenomenon from the 1870’s to 1920 when a young Hungarian refugee murdered President William Mckinley. State-sponsored terrorism is when a certain state/nation supports terrorism. An example of state-sponsored terrorism is the Abu Nidal Organization. Right wing terrorism are a group of terrorists who attack immigrants and refugees. Left wing terrorism limits the use of violence, but will destroy the democracy and take over with socialist or communist regime. They also stay away from harming victims. The Japanese Red Army is an example of left wing terrorism. Religious terrorism attack large numbers of their enemies and they use violence as their strategies, such as Al-Qaeda. Narcoterrorism has to do
with drugs. Some terrorist groups like the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia use narcoterrorism. Lastly, there is cyberterrorism, which is a type of terrorism that engages in the use of computers and networks. It is normally used by small groups of terrorists like the Tamil Tigers. Cyberterrorism can allow disruptions in military communications and even electrical power. Some of the ways that cyberterrorism is demonstrated are by controlling from a distance, electrical things such as dams or power plants. Another way cyberterrorism is used is by destroying the actual machine that contains the electronic information.
Individuals turn to terrorism for a variety of reasons. Many terrorists act and are created from political, ideological, and religious convictions. Others become terrorists because of perceived oppression or economic deprivation, as well as tragic incidents such as the tsunami which had recently hit East Asia where many Muslims are dominating countries like Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Now that many of them are homeless and don’t really have anything to live off of as of yet, countless Muslims are losing hope everyday. Now the United States is doing their best at shipping off as many goods as they can to each country that was damaged in the tsunami for the youth, in hope that their lives will return to normal as soon as possible. Part of this is because history has proven that whenever you have a lot of people without hope, it seems as if terrorists like to breed from these types of situations.
Unfortunately, terrorism is caused for a variety of reasons. It is often a result of a politically unstable country, different beliefs in discipline, religion, and morality. Lebanon is an example of a politically unstable country. It has been torn by years of civil war and it has been a sight of numerous terrorist attacks. In addition to Lebanon, the entire Middle East is a part of the world that has been rocked by terrorism for decades. For example, a Palestinian youth could strap on a bomb laden backpack, step on an Israeli school bus and kill dozens of people; to the Palestinian’s he is looked upon as a hero, but to the majority of the free world he might be considered a murderer. Recently, the United States has become exposed to a tax by terrorists on a scale that we have never witnessed before.
On September 11, 2001 the United States suffered from a high rise in deaths when a terrorist organization called al-Qaeda led under Osama Bin Laden, had attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Osama heads a global network of terrorist groups and has kept the network possible through tools of globalization. Apparently, Americans have a history for being targeted for terrorist attacks since globalization. New communications like the internet have made it possible for political organizations to build large organizational networks, combine resources, and exchange information.
International terrorism is becoming an increasingly dangerous and difficult threat to America. “Today’s terrorists seek to inflict mass casualties, and they are attempting to do so both overseas and on American soil. They are less dependent on state sponsorship and are, instead, forming loose, transnational affiliations based on religious or ideological affinity and a common hatred of the United States, which makes terrorist attacks more difficult to detect and prevent” (Bremer, pg. 1).
The odds of terrorism coming to an end are very low, however, there are ways to decrease terrorism activity by what is called “counterterrorism.” “Terrorist attacks against America threaten more than the tragic loss of individual lives. Some terrorists hope to provoke a response that undermines our Constitutional system of government. So U.S. leaders must find the appropriate balance by adopting counterterrorism policies which are effective but also respect the democratic traditions which are the bedrock of America’s strength” (Bremer, pg. 1).
Some of the economic effects of terrorist attacks are those that were placed on the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was a place for U.S. banking, investment, and insurance. The destruction of the twin towers was an overwhelming shock to an already weakened economy. Employee records cannot be easily replaced, dozens of financial and government offices were either destroyed or damaged during the collapse. Consumer confidence, which is responsible for keeping the world economy afloat will be less confident. Some analysts are even predicting that the U.S. could go into a slight recession.
In addition to the economical effects of terrorism there are also some major political effects. For example, the United States had recently held their presidential elections. There is no doubt that the election was only going to be based on who was better suited to lead our nation without considering the latest terrorist attacks. Between George Bush and John Kerry, many of the American people feared voting for Kerry as they thought he would not be as capable as Bush in handling the conflicts of 9/11. A little over half of the people in the United States voted for the candidate which they felt would better protect our nation and as a result, this had a tremendous influence on Bush’s winning of the election. Similarly, the people who are working in the government are more likely to be chosen according to the people in their country’s beliefs on terrorism. The countries who do not support terrorism will almost always pick their leaders who follow that belief, but unfortunately, some countries are going to continue picking leader’s based on whom they believe will support organizations like al-Qaeda.
In conclusion, terrorism by nature is difficult to define. I don’t believe that anyone will truly understand why people will continue bombing, why they will continue to assassinate, and why they will continue to hi-jack.
Terrorists are not born, but created as yesterday’s issues that have not yet been resolved and have led to today’s developments into the conflicts of tomorrow. Sadly, because so many different parts of the world have so many different points of views, who is to say that the Middle East is wrong in the way they handle things or who is to say that the United States is right in the way we go about our business? As the world is so diverse with many ideologies, economical, and political beliefs, it is probably safe to say that terrorism in some form of another will always be a tool used by people who don’t have what they want to try and gain what they want.