A Look At Terrorism: The New War

1549 words - 6 pages

Terrorism is the issue on everyone's mind these days. It is a global disorder that we have been fighting, and probably will be fighting for many years to come. What is terrorism? There is no exact definition for the word. The word means different things to different people at different times in history. Violent activity at one point in time may be called terrorism, while the same action may be deemed war, liberation, or crime at another time in history. The most accepted definition of terrorism is the illegitimate use of force on innocent people to achieve a political objective. The State Department's official definition is the "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." These inflictions cannot be performed directly by any government, but they can be funded by a government. If these actions were inflicted directly by a government, this is known as terror, not terrorism. However, with these definitions you can see how difficult it is to define terrorism.In order to have good understanding of terrorism we have to talk about the historical context of terrorism. In times of war, armies use guerrilla tactics that resemble terrorism. In the American Civil War, the Union Army hired people to destroy Confederate railroads. They did not wear uniforms; they did not use normal tactics to fight. Was this terrorism?There are several definitions of terrorism, and new types of terrorism have evolved. However, there are three basic types of terrorism: international, intranational, and transnational. Since the definition of terrorism changes with the nature of the conflict, I will not define terrorism; I will describe it in its different forms.Some terrorist groups get public support and financing from a variety of different governments. They inflict terror on nations other than their own to bring about some type of political change. A good example would be the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Started around 1957, groups of Palestinians in Jordan were formed to become the PLO. The purpose of this group was to create a political organization to help form an alliance against Israel. This was done in hopes that Arab governments would launch a war against Israel. In this Six Day War, Israel destroyed these Arab armies in hardly any time at all. However, Yasir Arafat, the leader of the PLO, was not giving up yet. He came up with a plan to strike civilian targets. He began making a series of civilian attacks against Israel from Jordan. Keep in mind he was getting public support from Jordan, attacking Israel, making this group an international terrorist group.The next form of terrorism is intranational terrorism. In order to be identified as an intranational terrorist group, you have to receive no public funding from any government. These groups also have to perform terror within its own nation. If it does not follow these guidelines,...

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