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Intro to terrorism chapter 2

by: Amanda Beecham

Intro to terrorism chapter 2 EM 351

Marketplace > Jacksonville State University > Emergency Mgmt > EM 351 > Intro to terrorism chapter 2
Amanda Beecham
Jacksonville State University
GPA 3.4

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About this Document

Week 2, chapter 2.
Introduction to terrorism
Eugene I. Rothman, Jeff R. Ryan
Class Notes
terrorism, intro, Emergencymanagement
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amanda Beecham on Monday August 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EM 351 at Jacksonville State University taught by Eugene I. Rothman, Jeff R. Ryan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Introduction to terrorism in Emergency Mgmt at Jacksonville State University.

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Date Created: 08/29/16
Intro to T errorism-Chapter 2  Defining Terrorism o New terrorism is defined by the threat of WMD (weapons of mass destruction), high casualty rates, and random targeting.  The use of these weapons against civilians is indefensible regardless of the cause. o State Sponsored Terrorist Environments  Examples: Nazi Germany, the French reign of terror, and Stalin in Russia.  Considered a positive to defend order and liberty. o Dissident Terrorist Environments  Referred to as ‘freedom fighters’  Understanding Extremism: the foundation of terrorism  Extremism is not always huge events like terrorist attacks, sometimes it can be as small as publishing a newspaper or sponsoring a debate. o Defining Extremism  Takes an idea to the extremes regardless of consequences  Does not tolerate anyone’s views but their own  Words by themselves, no matter how offensive, are not acts of terrorism.  Common Characteristics of Violent Extremists o Intolerance  It is the trademark of extremist belief and terrorist behavior. o Moral Absolutes  Extremists develop moral absolutes to clearly distinguish between good and evil. o Broad Conclusions  These are made to simplify the goals and the nature of the extremist’s opponents.  Evidence is usually based on a belief system and not logic. o New Language and Conspiratorial Beliefs  This is used to demonize the enemies and set apart those within the group.  Example: Neo-Nazi rightists use the term “mud people” to refer to non-European races.  The World of the Extremist  Extremists often believe that secret forces are out to get them.  Religion is often an underlying factor for extremist activity.  Extremists have a very clear sense of mission, righteousness, and purpose.  Extremists beliefs and terrorist behaviors are logical from the perspective of those who accept the behavior and illogical to those who reject it.  Defining Terrorism: An Ongoing Debate o Guerrilla Warfare  Guerrilla warfare is not equal to terrorism. 2  Guerrilla (“little war”) was a term that was used in the 19th century after Napoleon fought a long, unsuccessful war in Russia.  A Sampling of Formal Definitions o The most common characteristics that are widely used to help define terrorism are:  Illegal force  Attacks against civilians, or passive military targets.  Subnational actors  Acts aimed at affecting audience  Unconventional methods  Political motives o The American Context: Defining Terrorism in the US  The United States has not adopted a single definition for terrorism to use in government policy. Instead we use a variety of definitions used by government agencies.  The United States Department of Defense (DOD) used the definition…”the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence, often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs, to instill fear and coerce governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are usually political.”  The US Code defines terrorism as…”illegal violence that attempts to intimidate or coerce a civilian population…influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or… affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping” 3  The FBI uses their own definition of terrorism…”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.”  The State Department uses this definition of terrorism...”premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”  Combining all these definitions gives us one functioning definition… “Terrorism is a premeditated and unlawful act in which groups or agents of some principle engage in a threatened or actual use of force or violence against human or property targets. These groups or agents engage in this behavior, intending the purposeful intimidation of governments or people to affect policy or behavior, with an underlying political objectives.”  All of these elements make a very narrow, legalistic approach to terrorism.  Types of Terrorism o State Terrorism  “from above”  committed by governments against perceived enemies  can be externally against international enemies, or internally against domestic foes. o Dissident Terrorism 4  “from below”  committed by non-state movements and groups against the governments, religious groups, or other enemies whether they be real or perceived. o Religious Terrorism  Motivated by an absolute belief that an otherworldly power has commanded violence for the glory of the faith. o Criminal Terrorism  Motivated by profit or some combination of politics or profits.  Tradition criminal enterprises (ex. Italian Mafia) accumulate profits for personal use.  Criminal-political enterprises (ex. Colombia’s FARC) accumulated profit to keep the movement going. o International terrorism  Targets are selected because of their value, either to the home country or across international boundaries.  A Definitional Problem: Perspectives on Terrorism  Perspective is everything when it comes to defining terrorism.  Fighters within movements will sometimes resist classifying themselves within Western perspectives.  Example: Mujahideen are radical Islamic fighters. o Perspective One: Four Quotations 5  “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter”  Terrorist never consider themselves to be bad, but they will admit that they have been forced into terrorist methods.  “One man willing to throw away his life is enough to terrorize a thousand.”  A motivated individual willing to sacrifice oneself when committing a violent act in conjunction with good timing, precision, and a purpose is an priceless weapon of war.  “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.”  This quote shows the uncompromising belief in the absolute righteousness of a cause.  Clear line between good and evil  You can substitute any cause with the word liberty to understand how the expression can confirm any devotion to a cause.  “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”  Terrorists use this to justify hardships that they endure, and also impose. o Perspective Two: Participants in a Terrorist Environment  The terrorist  The perpetrators of violent acts.  They believe it is a justifiable act of war. 6  They target civilians or uncommitted bystanders of the enemy.  If an attack is properly carried out, they will deliver symbolic messages to an audience. This is called propaganda by the deed.  They cast themselves as martyrs, soldiers, and freedom fighters. If they are successful in this feat they will be portrayed as frontline movement representing an oppressed people.  The supporter  Generally refer to the terrorists as freedom fighters.  They will rationalize their methods even if they do not agree with them.  They often help spin the cause and manipulate reports of attacks.  They will allude to the grievances to the reason for using terrorist methods.  The victim  Victims of violence will rarely sympathize with the perpetrators regardless of motive.  Terrorists view high profile attacks as wake up calls for the victims to understand their cause.  Terrorists believe that the victims can become educated by the deed, and through propaganda.  The target 7  Targets are symbolic most of the time.  They can be property or people targets.  Targets are selected because they symbolize the interests of the terrorist group.  Terrorists can gain understanding or sympathy if they can control the media into spinning their reasons for the attack  The onlooker  These people are the broad audience to a terror attack.  They can be directly effected or indirectly effected.  Onlookers can despise, sympathize, or remain neutral towards the attackers.  If a government tries to repress the media about the attacks, the terrorist group can gain new supporters.  The analyst  Analysts are important because they create different perspectives, can interpret incidents, and label the participants.  Leaders and the media play extremely strong roles in the analysis of an event  Political leaders, scholars, and experts all rely on the media to express their expert opinions.  Many characteristics can shape the perspectives on all of these participants in a terrorist environment some of them are: 8  Political associations  Emotional responses  Labeling of participants  Symbolism  Perspective three: Terrorism or Freedom Fighting? o Groups will never label themselves as terrorists. o They will align themselves with things like liberation, national identity, religious fervor, and democracy. o Example: Provisional Irish republican army (Provos) fight on the behalf of oppressed people.  Perspective four: extremism or “mainstreamism”? o Some terrorist organizations will admit that their methods are extreme but always have justification o Governments have also adopted authoritarian measures to counter domestic threats o Between 1976-1983 an estimated 30,000 people disappeared during the “dirty war” in Argentina.  Political Violence Matrix  The political violence matrix aids in helping understand the scales and qualities of violence that define terrorist violence.  One distinguishing feature between the models is the relationship between the quality of force, and the characteristics of the intended target of the attack. o Combatants, Noncombatants, and the Use of Force  Lines are not clearly drawn when it comes to terms such as combatant target, 9 noncombatant target, and also discriminate force, and indiscriminate force. o Combatant and Noncombatant Targets  Combatants refers to adversaries who participate in armed conflict.  Noncombatants include civilians with no ties to the military, off duty military in non-warfare scenarios, and other security forces.  Civilians can become combative, especially during times of social unrest. o Discriminate and Indiscriminate Forces  Indiscriminate force is the application of force without attempting to limit the degree of destruction of the target.  Discriminate force is considered acceptable when used against combatants in war. It is a more precise use of limited force and strictly condemned in non-warfare situations. 10


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