We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

What Motivates Terrorist and Assassins

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 8
  • Word count: 1969
  • Category: Terrorism

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Have you ever wondered why terrorist and assassins commit the crimes they commit? There are many factors contributing to why these events happen and how they affect society in everyday life. This paper will give you an insight on how and why they commit the crimes or events they use to either establish fear in a group of people or to make a point about certain factors like political, religious and other outstanding circumstances in whatever culture they are influencing.

There are many different definitions of terrorism. One definition was created by the modern godfather of urban terrorism and the author of the Mini manual of the Urban Guerilla, Carlos Marighella. He defined terrorism as the action an urban guerilla must execute with the greatest cold bloodedness, calmness and decisions. But Brian Jenkins of the Rand Corporation describes terrorism on a more scholarly level as “the calculated use of violence to attain goals that are political, religious or ideological in nature. Terrorism involves a criminal act that is often symbolic in nature and intended to influence and audience beyond the immediate victims.” The one the U.S. Department of State uses as a definition is more on the political level.

Their definition states that “terrorism is a premeditated, politically motivated violence portrayed against non-combatant targets by substantial group’s clandestine state agents, usually intended to influence an audience. There has been ancient text such as the Bible, the Iliad, the Odyssey, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and letters inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets that have specific details about such occurrences in the eastern Mediterranean.

During the 1990’s less than 0.01% of the terrorist attacks caused 70% of the terrorism injuries and 19% of the deaths. (Johnson 2001). There was a large sample of terrorist attacks that ended the turn of the twentieth century. These attacks included: the hijacking by Lebanese Shi’a terrorist on June 14, 1985 of the TWA Flight 847 while it was in route from Rome to Cairo. The bomb explosion at Berlin disco killing two American soldiers. The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988, killing all 259 passengers and crew plus 11 unknown people on the ground at the crash site. On December 1992 two hotels in Aiden where U.S. troops stop routinely while waiting to deploy to Somalia were bombed, killing two people but no Americans were harmed.

Assassination is a specialized form of assault that has been proven to be a very effective tool for terrorist. This form is also used for intimidation against the targeted communities the terrorist or assassins has picked to commit crimes or terror attacks against. Assassination attacks are designed to gain the most media attention and also have the most psychological impact on the organization or victim represented. The political leaders and military will react to an assassination with a repression aimed at the general public. It is used by such groups like the separatists Basque movement, ETA in Spain, the FARC narco-terrorists in Columbia and various Islamic jihad groups in the Middle East.

In the eleventh century Hasam-I Sabbah the director of the small group of the Ismailia Shiite Muslims made the act of murder for a political purpose a major component of terrorism. With this being said this is how his followers became known as assassins. They were also trained to complete suicide missions. When completing these missions the assassins were paid in full in an advance so their families could have the money before they completed the mission. Assassins have been classified as the most historical group but there are others that have committed crimes sometimes far worst then whatever crime the assassin was assigned to like Guy Fawke who bombed the English parliament, the Barbary Pirates of Africa from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With all these activities occurring this led to the formation of the Christian religion group, the Redemptionist Order. These are just some of the events and situations that give a brief history of both terrorism and assassination. The next part of the paper will explain more in-depth the details on the goals and purposes of why they both commit the crimes they commit and how they affect us as a society.

The goals or motivations of terrorist and assassins vary throughout the world. They can range from a single issued event to transnational radicalism and terrorism. The United States is the easiest target for the extremist because of being the most dominant democracy, being a significant economy, the military, and the political power we have gained throughout the world. Many of the regional and global competitors to the U.S. feels they can’t challenge, constrain or defeat us any other way then terrorism. The reason many of the terrorist groups attack us is because they believe that we are really weak in areas such as casualty averse, how we rely on public opinion over anything which leads us to the psychological impact. When terrorist groups have motivation to attack someone four categories or characteristics play a huge role. They are the separatist, ethnocentric, nationalistic and revolutionary characteristics. But the biggest influence for terrorist and assassins are the political, religious and social orientation of a society.

Many terrorist are taught at a young age on how to believe when it comes to these categories some say its brain washing, others believe it’s just a way of life. According to Robert J. Brym author of an essay that was displayed in the Canadian Journal of Sociology, he stated “that one of the most difficult questions for students of the fundamentalist Islam is whether the willingness to support suicide bombing is motivated by religious or political principals”. With this being said the Islamic law doesn’t distinguish between state and religion. But with his research findings he came to the conclusion that both religion and politics have both played roles when it comes to terrorist attacks and assassinations.

There was a big debate by two researchers Robert Pape and Assf Moghaddam about the true initiated nature of suicide bombings. Pape stated that “suicide bombings are a rational political tactic because it is typically employed with considerable success to reach a realistic goal that other methods have failed to achieve. But Moghaddam argued and contested Pape’s perspective and said that suicide bombings are more motivated by religious impulses because they have little in common with the desire to liberate occupied territory and much to with the religion ambition to establish a caliphate. The main factors for a terrorist or assassin to succeed against its victims when they are committing their crimes against them are mobility, communication, security, democratic legal systems, access to arms and the most important factor is the vulnerability of the picked target or victims. When it comes to mobility they were just able to travel and move all around the world because they had certain protection from passports and other forged important documents that would allow them to gain the proper access to other countries or states.

Since 9/11 the U.S. government has made it a little harder for people to gain this documents without proper paperwork. Communication is one factor that is still hard for identifying such organizations or groups because of the internet being one of the key sources of communication. Government agencies can’t observe and monitor them all the time due to the different ways of hacking into such systems. Terrorist are always worried about the type of security the victim or targets are using because if they have a loose operating system the terrorist knows they are more endanger of being captured or caught. So when they are studying the security system of the victim or targets they make sure to pay close attention to the policies and procedures to avoid of being suspicious.

Terrorist and assassins also know how to play the court and legal system. They usually let time be the key factor for them. Once they are caught they have to go through the entire process of the legal system because they don’t usually take a speedy trial. So the time it takes to have the actual trial the witness become foggy of the events or sometimes get sick or die leaving the prosecuting team without the witness or victim statement. But it also give the terrorist the media fame they are looking for to get their organizations name heard throughout the world and what they are capable of doing. Terrorist have very many accesses to different weapons due to the advancements in today’s technology. There was many events that made Bin Laden plan the attack on the U.S. Bin Laden didn’t turn to political radicalism until the regional events of 1973, 1979 and the biggest event leading to the planning of 9/11 was the event in 1982.

The event of 1982 was when Israel invaded Lebanon with the intentions of destroying the Palestine Liberation Organization, stationed in Beirut. The American backed invasion involved repeated shelling of high rise apartment blocks in West Beirut. (Brym 1983). Bin Laden later stated “the events that made a direct impression on me was during and after the invasion of 1982, when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon…. I still remember those distressing scenes: blood, torn limbs, women and children massacred… As I looked at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the oppressor in kind by destroying the towers in America. (Bin Laden 2005:239). He always justified his support for the attacks and other forms of violence against civilians in religious terms. But his ideas were a radical departure of mainstream Islam.

When 9/11 happened the different national security agencies went on high alert, alerting everyone that there was a large list of future potential attacks. Making everyone aware that all it takes is just the right amount of time and studying of a target for an attack to happen anywhere.

After 9/11 the government established the Patriot Act. This gives the law enforcement officials the use of being able to use more surveillance techniques such as wire taping. Gives them more federal officers instead of pulling officers from the local police departments to handle a federal crime. It also gives them the right to take any money or funding the terrorist are using to commit their actions or events. Society has acted in so many different ways with how they handle these terrorist or assassin groups. One for instant is the extra security when it comes to traveling now. When you are traveling now by plane they have how many luggage items you can check in on the plane with you. How to pack certain items like your hair sprays, bath soaps, tooth pastes really anything a terrorist could use as a device to help with a terrorist act. They also made it harder to obtain the legal documents you need to travel the world with to prevent from terrorist being able to gain easier access to them. But all this definitely effects society in good and bad ways. A bad way is now people are constantly thinking when the next attack is going to happen. A good thing is that it also has made people more aware of their soundings and much safer when we travel.

This paper is and insight for what motivates terrorist and assassins and how they are affecting the society from the crimes they are committing. I have definitely came to the conclusion that political and religious are the main key factors for why they commit such crimes and a lot of it has to do with the beliefs that are installed in them at an younger age or because a leader of their group or organizations has turned them against another group or organization.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59