International Terrorism And the Case Of Usama bin Laden
Political terrorism is defined, as the systematic use of violence for political ends, an ongoing series of acts intended to produce fear that will change attitudes and behavior toward governments. Strategically, terrorism is an instrument of influence used by non-state actors and states alike. The principle purpose of terrorism is not the actual destruction produced but its dramatic and psychological effects on population and governments. The objectives of terrorism are to frighten target audiences through the use of dramatic and shocking acts, which include bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and the taking of hostages, and hijackings.
According to scholars of international law terrorists usually violate two of the basic rules of war: the immunity of noncombatants and the ban on indiscriminate use of force. The State Department in the United has concerned itself with the satistics of terrorism worldwide. From the 2,853 international terrorist incidents between 1988 and 1993, the areas with the greatest number were in Latin America, 915 incidents. The second is Wstern Europe, 819 incidents. Te least number of incidents took place in Africa, 174.
Statistics above reveal that terrorism is the weapon of groups that are relatively weak in comparison to their goals and their opponents. Western Europe was one of the areas with the least war but high incidents of terrorism. Africa, which has had a large number of armed conflicts and interventions, has witnessed the least incidents of terrorism.
It is important to distinguish dissident terrorism from established terrorism, or state terrorism. This latter policy takes several forms; one is the support of terrorist groups aginst other governments, a state pursues the same objective of weakening the control of governments of other states by hurting and embarrassing them. In this sense states are using the actions of terrorist groups in surrogate warfare. States also use terror againts their own populations to gain or increase control through fear. This use of terror has a long history. Two famous historicl examples of the systemic use of terror by governments againts internal opposition are France during 1793 - 1794 and the Soviet Union under Stalin in the 1930s. Statistics have indicated that from 1900 to 1987 almost 170 million people have been killed by their own governments, far more people than killed in wars.
Responding to terrorist activities wherther it is state or non-state has become incerasingly difficult, because most perpetrators have networks of supporters. Protecting populations from random acts of violence is an almost impossible task, given the availability of guns and bombs in the international marketplace. The difficulty sometimes lays in the terminology, as one of the well-known phrases puts it; one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.
With respect to international terrorism the term encompasses various issues ranging from state-sponsored terrorism against foreign countries to co-operation between different terrorist groups. It aslo refers to attacks against foreign nationals or property in the terrorist’s own country or anywhere else (laqueur, 1987).
For the purpose of the present research the focus will be on the incidents in which terrorists go abroad to strike their targets, select victims or targets because of their connection to a foreign state.
International terrorism is usually though not exclusively, political in intent and carried out by nongovernmental groups, although they may receive financial and moral support from nation-states (Pierre, 1980) (as cited in Sharif, 1996).
Terrorism has been recurrent throughout history. Terrorist acts date back to at least the 1st century, when the Zealots, a Jewish religious sect, fought against the Roman occupation of what is today Israel. During the 18th and 19th centuries systematic terrorism received great impetus with the propagation of secular ideologies and nationalism in the wake of the French Revolution. Various terrorist activities were conducted after the Napoleonic Wars. Terrorist acts also took place during the Meiji Restoration in Japan in 1868. Furthermore, after the American Civil War and with the defeat of the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan was established so as to terrorize former slaves and respresentatives of the Reconstruction administrations imposed by the federal government ('Terrorism’, 1999).
In the later 19th century, advocates of anarchism across Europe performed terrorist attacks on high officials and regular citizens such as Empress Elizabeth of Austria (assassinated 1898) and President Marie Sadi Carnot of France (assassinated 1894) ('Terrorism’, 1999).
In the latter half of the 20th century, acts of terror increased and were driven by fierce nationalist and ideological motivations and facilitated by technological advances in transportation, communications, microeletronics, and explosives ('Terrorism’, 1998).
Terrorist violence may be targeted towards ethnic or religious groups, governments, political parties, corporations, and media entreprises. Through the publicity and fear which arise due to their violence, terrorists seek to increase their influence and power so as to effect political change either locally or internationally (Terrorism, 1998).
In the above discussion, examples of pre war terrorist incidents were presented. In the following passage, post war terrorist incidents will be highlighted.
On october 7, 1985 the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro was hijacked en route between the two Egyptian ports of Alexandria and Port Said by four Palestinian guerillas who were members of the Tunis based faction of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). The hijackers demanded the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners and threatened to kill the 180 and 331 crew on board and did indeed kill a disabled Jew passenger. After two days of lenghthly negotiations the hijackers surrendered in return for free passage out of Egypt, but were intercepted en route to Tunis by American planes and were taken into custody at a NATO base in Sicily by Italian authorities and were trialed in Genoa where they were found guilty (Thackrah, 1987).
In 1988, a bomb destroyed Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland killing all 259 people on broad and 11 on the ground. In 1991 the United States Central Intelligence Agency linked Libyan agents to the crime (Thackrah, 1987).
On December 17, 1996 during the reception being held to commemorate the 63rd birthday of Emperor Akhito of Japan in the Japanese embassy in Peru, 25 rebels of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary movement seized the embassy taking more than 600 guests as hostage. They released 300 hostages after the first three hours but detained nearly 400. They demanded the release of 450 of their imprisoned comrades and a safe passage to a refuge in the Amazon jungle (Fedarko, 1996-97). Resolution of the hostage crisis that turned to an international scandal was resolve after 126 days by a Peruvian commandos operation through which the hostages were released. In the attack the remaining 71 hostages were released since during the long negotiations the rebels had released the majority of the hostages. One hostage, all the guerrillas and three solidiers died in the assault (Nelan, 1997).
The most recent terrorist activity occurred on December 24, 1999 when the Indian Airlines flight 814 was highjacked by five members of Harkat al-Mujahideen (Islamic militants working to liberate Kashmir from Indian rule) (Spaeth, 2000).
The plane was taken from Katmandu, to the Indian City of Amistar, then to Lahore where it was given enough fuel to flyto a military base in Dubai, In Dubai and in exchange for fuel, 26 passengers were released along with the body of one of the passengers who had been stabbed to death (Spaeth, 2000).
The plane’s final destination was Afghanistan where the Taliban regime set itself up as a peaceful mediator and thus pressured the highjackers and the Indian government to reach a solution. The solution was that India yielded to the terrorists demand and released three jailed Islamic militants. In this manner India ended a tense highjacking drama but the move sent the massage: Terrorism works (Spaeth, 2000).
Regardless of how one may feel about terrorist acts or how detestable they may be, they are not, in accordance to the terrorist, unjustifiable or irrational. Terrorism is not mindless. It is an intentional means to an end. It has objectives, and this point is usually not considered because to the observer, terrorist acts are random and cause death of individuals whose deaths can be of no value to the terrorist (Wardlow, 1982).
To further understand the paradox of terrorism, an overview of the various existing theories regading terrorism will be presented.
Theories about terrorism have been writtem since the past twenty-five years. It should be noted that these theories are in the form of thoughts and interpretations rather than formal propositions that have been operationalized and empirically tested (Schmid & Jongman, 1988).
Theories about terrorism encompass psychological, social, conspiracy oriented, war oriented, and communicational dimensions.
The psychological theory maintains that terrorism is the result of misery, frustration, grievance and despair, which result due to international, national, political, economic and social factors. As a result of this feeling of frustration, acts of aggression may occur in the form of terrorist acts (Schmid & Jongman, 1988).
The sociological theory highlights environmental factors, which include both the national and international environment.
Regarding the national environment, a Belgian philosopher once wrote: “Society contains in herself all the crimes which will be committed; in a sense, it’s she who commits them” (Alexander, Carlton & Wilkinson, 1979).
Sociological explanations of the cause of internal domestic terrorism include the following: Ethnic, religious, and ideological conflicts. Hatreds, discrimination and oppression. Relative deprivation in socio-economic means. The perception of political favoritism. Violation of one’s rights, injustice, or oppression. The lack of adequate means for communication of protest, complaints, and demands. The existence of a tradition of violence, discontent, and popular agitation. The presence of a revolutionary leadership with an attractive ideology. The weakness and ineffectiveness of the government, police and judicial organs. The collapse of the population’s confidence in the regime and its institutions and finally the existence of divisions in the leadership groups and elites (Wardlaw, 1982).
International terrorism has been facilitated due to the existing international environment, which encompasses within itself a global infrastructure, which permits terrorism. This infrastructure includes urbanization, which contributes anonymity, targets, and spectators for the terrorist act. Transportation, which makes possible kidnappings, highjacking and hostage taking, as well as espace to safe havens. Communication which allows threats to be communicated by telephone or the public media and letter bombs to be delivered to their destinations. Furthermore, the attention of the mass audience is gained through the creation of newsworthy events (Wadlaw, 1982).
Moreover, weapons have been made available by the major powers since they assemble huge arsenals, replace the old weapons with new ones and dump the old ones on the developing countries or on the black market. Finally, many governments show toleration towards terrorists especially in the context of “my enemy’s enemy is my freind”, and this in its own way has further encouraged terrorism (Wardlaw, 1982).
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, terrorism became related to a great international conspiracy. And the great conspirator was pointed out to be the former Soviet Union. Theories regarding this notion emphasized that communists of one form or another were involved in any terrorist activity anywhere in the world. Thus it was believed that communist parties and governments such as Moscow, Peking, East Berlin, and Havana were ready to take advantage of disorder in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and anywhere else so as to undermine the industrialized democracies of the West (Shmid & Jongman, 1988).
The communication theory of terrorism stresses that the spread of television and the increase in audiences facilitated by the use of satellite transmission are the causes behind making terrorism an attractive strategy and have contributed to its spreading in societies where local pre-conditions of terrorism (social, political, economic, deprivations) are present. The transnational flow of information from mass media benefits terrorist groups in four ways (Redlick, 1979) (as cited in Sharif, 1996).
1 - The flow of information can be a propaganda tool.
2 - The flow of information subjects societies to data that may justify the terrorist group’s use of violence.
3 - By providing information about particular terrorist tactics and strategies, the mass media in turn supplies dissatisfied groups with technological knowledge and ideological justification to support their own use of violence.
4 - The coverage of a successful terrorist attack may cause a similar event to occur somewhere else in the world.
Before examining the goals and objectives of international terrorism it is essential to definie the direct and indirect “targets” of terrorism. These “targets” include targets of violence, terror, demand and attention.
Targets of violence encompass the victims of the terrorist activity. These victims which are chosen randomly or selectively share class or group characteristics which from the basis for their selection (e.g. passengers travelling to Israel at an airport). Because of the use of violence or the credible threat of violence, other members of that group or class are put in a state of chronic fear. This group then becomes the target of terror and the overall purpose of terrorism is to immobilize the target of terror so as to put forth disorientation and/ or compliance or to influence the targets of demands (e.g. governments) or targets of attention (e.g. public opinion).
The primary objective of terrorism is to produce terror which is defined as an “extreme form of anxiety followed by frightening imagery and intrusive, repetitive recollection” (Schmid, 1988).
Terrorist goals are quite similar to the goals of other political actors and thus may include the following: independence, self-determination, revolution, and a better society, However, contrary to other political actors, it is the desire of terrorists to reach their goals faster and at a higher cost (Schmid, 1988).
Terrorism attemps to maintain or create regimes, obtain concessions by “coercive bargaining” and gain an audience and publicity. It seeks the creation of disorder and social strain. It tries to provoke repression, wishes to enforce obedience and tends to be punitive (Stohl, 1983) (as cited in Sharif, 1996).
Moreover, the motives of international terrorism are not only publicity and financial gain but also the frustration over unaddressed grievances, political objectives, technological advancement and erosion of public leadership and government authority. Terrorism also seeks the diffusion of information. ideology, strategies and tactics and low-cost unconventional warfare (Wilkinson, 1986) (as cited in Sharif, 1996).
From here it becomes essential to understand that there are numerous prerequisites for mounting a viable campaign of international terrorism. These seven prerequisites include the followung.
There must be an aim or motivation among the perpetrators even if this aim is little more than an intense hatred towards their enemies or a desire for violent revenge against certain injustice. There must be leaders to instigate and direct the struggle. There is also a need for a degree of organization, some training in the special skills of terrorism and cash which helps to buy weapons and ammunition and other basic needs, also it is vital for the terrorists that they have access to the target country and the precise targets selected in that country (Wilkinson, 1988).
It has become increasingly important to understand how terrorist groups derive their support, not only financial but also ideological and motivational. Hence, it is important to emphasize that every international terrorist movement or group requires an axtremist ideology or belief-system of some kind to nourish, motivate, justify and mobilize the use of terror violence (Wilkinson, 1988).
Some major types of support mechanisms involved in contemporary international terrorism include the international support that certain terrorist groups get from sympathizers from the global community. For example the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) gets its support from émigré populations across the globe (Wilkinson, 1988).
Support can also come in the form of indirect and direct state sponsorship. In the former case, a government decides to aid a particular group or movement on the grounds that it will serve the strategic and political interests of the sponsor. For example, in the course of the Arab-Israel conflict on the issue of Palestinians, many states intervened by giving indirect sponsorship and help to factions of the PLO involved in terrorist activities (Wilkinson, 1988).
In the case of direct states sponsorship, state have used their own hit-squads to assassinate opponents or disrupt or undermine adversairies. For example in 1985, there were seven major attacks involving actual or abortive attacks by Colonel Gaddafi’s hit-squads on opponents in Rome, Nicosia, and Bonn (Wilkinson, 1988).
It is also worthwhile to mention that support can also be in the form of individual support as is the case of Osama bin Laden.
Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden, also known as the Prince, the Emir, Abu Abdallah, Mujahid Shaykh, Hajj and the Director has been labeled as one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world ("Ten most wanted fugitives”, 1999).
Born in Riyadh in 1957, he is the youngest son of Saudi construction tycoon Muhammad bin Laden. Raised in Al Madina Al Munawwara and Hijaz, he received his education in Jeddah then studied management and economics in King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He began his interaction with the Islamic groups in 1973 and joined the Afghani Jihad againts the Soviet Union almost immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 (Nida’ul Islam, 1998).
Bin Laden played a significant role in financing, recruiting, transporting, and training Arab nationals who volunteered to fight in Afghanistan. He assisted the Afghan Mujahideen by establishing a base and participating in the battles (U.S. Departement of State, 1998).
Furthermore, he became a leader of the Afghan Arabs and a regional hero, but was careful to distance himself from U.S. influence. Ironically the U.S. poured $3billion into the Afghani resistance via CIA. The war cemented a hatred of the U.S. government and radicalized bin Laden’s politics ("Osama bin Laden”, 1998).
At a later date bin Laden declared the Saudi ruling family “insufficiently Islamic”, a fact that caused the Saudi government to eject him. He went into exile in Sudan in 1991 and according to terrorist experts he spent his time in Sudan funneling money and Arab veterans of Afghanistan into neighboring Arab countries thus contributing to the violence that occurred in the early 1990s. However, in an interview with English journalist Robert Fisk, bin Laden maintained that he had been only building roads where in fact he had been using his family’s construction equipment to dig bunkers and tunnels for the Mujahideen (Schemm, 1999).
In 1994 the Saudi government revoked his citizenship and his family officially disowned him. In 1996 and under U.S., Egyptian and Saudi pressure bin Laden was expelled from Sudan and so took refuge in Afghanistan (U.S. Department of State, 1998).
From a hideaway in the mountains of Afghanistan and under the protection of the Taleban militia which controls almost 90% of Afghanistan, bin Laden operates a global network of terrorism (Reuters, 1996).
In fact bin Laden bankrolled the Taleban’s capture of Kabul under the leadership of Muhammad Omar thus becoming one of his most trusted advisors (U.S. Department of State, 1998).
In August 1996, bin Laden issued a statement outlining his organization’s goals: to drive U.S. forces from the Arabian Peninsula, overthrow the Government of Saudi Arabia, “liberate” Muslim holy sites in “Palestine”, and support Islamic revolutionary groups around the world. To these ends, his organization has sent trainers throughout Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Philippines, Egypt, Libya, and Eritrea to train fighters (US State Department, 1998).
In the last six years bin Laden has been linked to almost every Muslim Extremist movement in the world. Thus making him the most dangerous non-state terrorist in the world. He has used his millions to influence the following countries either with training and funding or with actual terrorist plots (Cannistraro, 1999).
Afghanistan: Since taking refuge in 1996, bin Laden has run religious and military indoctrination camps for militants from around the world. The Taleban has resisted pressure to stop him saying-despite considerable evidence to the contrary-that they will not allow him to export terrorism (Cannistraro, 1999).
Algiers: bin Laden was reportedly linked to funds transferred a few years ago to an Algerian group suspected of seven bombings in France (Cannistraro, 1999).
Bosnia: Bin Laden founded training camps for Islamic militants who came to fight the Serbs (Cannistraro, 1999).
Chechnya: Separatist rebels have received military training at camps financed by bin Laden (Cannistraro, 1999).
Egypt: Bin Laden allegedly funds and trains members of al-Gama at-al-Islamiyya, the fundamentalist terror group funded by Omar Abdel Rahman which is dedicated to bringing down the secular government of President Hosni Mubarak. bin Laden also keeps several of the blind sheikhs disciples within his inner circle in Afghanistan (Cannistraro, 1999).
Eritrea: Bin Laden’s camps trained Muslim troops and provided them with safe haven in Sudan (Cannistraro, 1999).
Ethiopia (Adis Ababa): Egyptian intelligence suspect bin Laden’s support in a failed 1995 plot by Egyptian radicals living in Sudan to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They also believe that he and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman’s group was behind some of the murders of Western tourists (Cannistraro, 1999).
France: Bin Laden was reportedly linked to finds transferred a few years ago to an Algerian group suspected of seven bombings in France (Cannistraro, 19990.
Israel: Bin Laden trainees linked to Ahmad Sheikh Yassine who leads a small group of Palestinian Islamists blamed for the bombing in Tel Aviv’s Dizangoff street that killed 12 people and wounded more than 100 (Cannistraro, 1999).
Jordan: jordanian Intelligence suspected bin Laden in funding extremists opposed to the late King Hussein’s rule (Cannistraro, 1999).
Kenya (Nairobi): Terrorist bombs went up in the U.S. embassy on August 7 1998 killing 74 people. The attack was orchestered by an Islamic extremist called Haroun Fazil from the island nation of Comoros who reported directly to bin Laden ("Terrorists” “Bombs”, 1998).
Libya: Bin Laden funded Islamists rebels fighting Mohammed Gadhafi’s government (Cannistraro, 1999).
Pakistan: recently bin Laden convened to what amounts to a supreme to a supreme Council of Islamic Terrorists. More than 150 clerics named themselves the “International Islamic Front for the Jihad against Jews and Crusaders” and issued a variety of fatwas with the goal of coordinating global terror attacks againts perceived enemies of Islam.
Philippines (Mandoa): Bin Laden allegedly funds terrorist training camp for the Muslim insurgency there (Cannistraro, 1999).
Saudi Arabia: Although some intelligence analysts have discounted him as a prime suspect in the bombing of the U.S. military complex in Dhahran that killed 19 US soldiers on June 20 1996, bin Laden claimed he had a role in both this and the attacks on a Saudi Natonal Guard building in Riyadh on November 1995 where 4 Americans were killed. This attack was convened as an effort to drive non-muslims out of the country (Cannistraro, 1999).
Somalia: Bin Laden funded and supplied heavy weapons to militants enabling them to shoot down a U.S. helicopter in October 1993 killing 18 American soldiers and leading to a quick UN pullout (Cannistraro, 1999).
Sudan: Bin Laden acknowledged closed ties with Muslims fighting a civil war against Christian and animist groups in Sudan. He also ran a military training camp for Islamic extremists from many countries (Cannistraro, 1999).
Tajikistan: Separatist rebels have received military training at camps funded by bin Laden (Cannistraro, 1999).
Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam): Terrorist bomb masterminded by bin Laden went up in the U.S. Embassy on August 7 1998 killing 7 people and injuring 72. (“Terrorists” “bombs”, 1998).
Unite States (New York City): Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993 was carring bin Laden’s phone number when he was arrested in a guest house owned and financed by bin Laden in Peshawar Pakistan. bin Laden denied knowing Yousef before the bombing but said he shared his goals telling ABC News: “Americans will see many youths that will follow Ramzi Yousef” (Cannistraro, 1999).
Yemen: Separatist rebels have received military at camps funded by bin Laden. He also claimed responsibility for trying to bomb U.S. soldiers in late 1992 (Cannistraro, 1999).
It is worthwile to mention that bin Laden also has close associations with the leaders of several Islamic terrorist groups such as the al-Gama’at-al-Islamiyya, and probably has aided in crating new groups since the mid-1980s. He traines their terrorist groups, provides safe haven and financial support and probably helps them with other organizational matters (US Department of State, 1998).
Since August 1996, bin Laden has been very vocal in expressing his approval of and intent to use terrorism. In November 1996 he called the 1995 and 1996 bombings againts US military personnel in Saudi Arabia “Praiseworthy acts of terrorism” but denied having any personal participation in those bombing. At the same time he called for further attacks against military personnel saying: “If somebody can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters” (US Department of State, 1998).
Thus bin Laden has declared war on the United States, calling on “every Muslim” to “obey God’s command to kill the Americans... wherever he finds them” (Peterson, 1999).
For bin Laden, political violence has the standing of a religious injunction. He sees the “Jihad” as necessary to raise the Muslim world above the world of the heretics. In his view, the term “heretics” embraces the “pragmatic” Arab regimes including Saudi Arabia and the United States which he sees is taking over the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina and assisting the Jews in their conquest of Palestine (Schweitzer, 1998).
He further argues that terrorism is justified by the degraded moral standards of his enemies, the Christians and Jews. The U.S. he maintains is responsible for the most reprehensible acts of world terrorism such as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and carpet bombing in Iraq. While the Zionists are held responsible for the massacre of Dir Yassin and Sabra and Shatila (Schweitzer, 1998).
Subsequently, in 1998 the clerics of bin Laden’s organization “International Islamic Front of Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders” published a “fatwa” (religious ruling) (Schweitzer, 1998) proclaiming the “Jihad against the Judeo-Christian alliance occupying Islamic sacred land in Palestine and the Arabian Peninsula” (Schemm, 1999).
In speaking of his connection with the attacks and with those who perpetuate them, bin Laden uses the kind of double talk characteristic of states supporting terrorism. On the one hand he expresses support and praise for acts of terror, referring to them a righteous and just acts while at the same time disallowing all responsibility for their execution (Schweitzer, 1998).
The principle danger presented by the phenomena of “sub-state” supporters of terror like bin Laden is the combination of tremendous financial resources coupled with an extremist ideology backed, in his view, by heavenly decree; an ideology which advocates the wholesale slaughter of its perceived enemies, whether soldiers or civilians, children or adults (Schweitzer, 1998).
Bin Laden’s worldview sees the entire world as a battlefield. This combination of extremism and wealth has given bin Laden a very dangerous place on the stage of international terrorism today (Schweitzer, 1998).
Washington today wants Afghanistan’s ruling Taleban to hand over bin Laden who has been indicted by a US court on charges of masterminding the bombing of two US Embassies in East Africa in July 1998 that killed 224 people including 8 Americans. So far however, the Taleban has refused to hand him over to the United States because they claim that Washington “cannot provide any evidence or any proof” that bin Laden is involved in these terrorist activities (“Taliban”, 1999). Furthermore, Taleban has emphasized that: “Without any evidence, bin Laden is a man without sin... he is a free man” (Gannon, 1998).
In this manner, bin Laden represents a new type of supporter of terrorism-the wealthyindividual who, without reservation, places his extensive resources (he is reckoned by some Middle East sources to command a fortune of $300 million) at the disposal of terrorist organizations (Schweitzer, 1998).
At the moment Bon Laden is on the FBI’s 10 most wanted fugitive list and the U.S. government is offering a reward up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of the most dangerous international terrorist of the moment (Roth, 1999).
Will terrorism ever stop? Will terrorism ever end? Will terrorism diminish as a worldwide problem? Will we simply see more of the same? Will terrorists escalate their violence without changing their basic tactics? (Jenkins, 1988).
These questions reflect our growing frustration and our deepening fears. We want an end to terrorism, once and for all, since we fear if it continues it may enter the domain of mass destruction (Jenkins, 1988).
In answer to these questions terrorism as we know it now is likely to persist since political violence in one form or another has existed for centuries, and the recent technological developments will enhance the use of terrorist tactics especially with the increasing availability of arms to buy them (Jenkins, 1988).
Moreover their will be no shorage of potential causes for terrorism: rising population; increased poverty and scarcity; racial tension; inflation and unemployment: increased tension between the have and have-not nations; waves of rerefugees shoved about by wars and repression; immigrants moving from poorer states to wealthier ones, often bringing with them the conflicts of their home country thus sometimes causing resentment among native citizens; rapid urbanization; the disintegration of of traditional authority structures; the emergence of single-issue groups and the rise of aggressive fundamentalist religious cults (Jenkins, 1988).
Despite the succecces of some governments in combating terrorist elements, the total volume of violence maintained in international terrorism has increased and will be on the increase in years to come. Furthermore, terrorist activities have not only escalated in volume but also in bloodshed since terrorists have become technically more proficient a fact which enables them to operate on a higher level of violence (Jenkins, 1988).
Up until now, terrorists have attacked embassies, airlines, airline terminals, ticket offices, railroad stations, subways, buses, power lines, electrical transformers, mailboxes, mosques, hotels, restaurants, schools, libraries, churches, temples, newspapers, journalists, diplomats, businessmen, military officials, missionaries, priests, nuns, the Pope, men, women, adults, and children.
In the future terrorists will continue to attack anything, anywhere and anytime being limited only by operational considerations.
In conclusion, terrorism has been a recurrent feature of our history. It has had a bloody past, a bloodier present and most probably will have an even bloodier future. The above discussion defined terrorism as an anxiety-inspiring human political activity directed toward the creation of fear, and designed to influence other human beings, and through them, some course of event.
The discoussion portrayed the various psychological, social, conspiracy oriented, war oriented and communicational theories of terrorism. The various goals, objectives and prerequisites of international terrorism were elaborated. Moreover, the various support mechanisms were presented including: sympathizing populations, direct and indirect state sponsorship and individual support.
Furthermore, the furure trends of international terrorism were portrayed maintaining that terrorism in the future will persist, double in volume escalate in violence but will probably not enter the Armageddon of mass destruction. The discussion also highlighted the case of Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Islamic fundamentatist who has used his extensive resources to finance international terrorism.
Thus, so long as social, political and economic injustices persist, so long as individuals have a cause to fight for, so long as individuals transmit these terrorist incidents and so long as there is an audience to listen to, view and nead about these events, so long will terrorism exist and its myths and legends will continue to captivate the world.