How big is the threat of contemporary terrorism and where does it come from?
“Insurgents can and do use terrorism, but insurgents are but one type of violent non-state actor who may choose to use terrorism.”
(James J. F. Forest, 2007)
That is how James J. F. Forest differentiates between the notoriety and the revolutionary particles of an outcast uprising theory. A conflict of ideas that still fail to recognize the true face of a criminal from a martyr’s is where the failure of counteracting against such a prudent concern of the 21st century prevails. It is clearly visible that the individual joining the path of so-called revolutionary and noble outcome has to pass through many a hurdle and ...view middle of the document...
Gladly the criminal is not more complicated than the cause. Once the cause behind the mask is revealed, so eventually will the faces.
What is Terrorism?
Terrorism is “the use, or threat of use, of violence by an individual or a group, whether acting for or in opposition to [an] established authority, when such action is designed to create extreme anxiety and/or fear-inducing effects in a target group larger than the immediate victims with the purpose of coercing that group into acceding to the political demands of the perpetrators.” (John Warner, 1984)
• Impetus - Revolution is only in the mind and the mind is influenced mostly by two factors – respect and fear. Basic difference of terrorism from other forms of uprising lies in the use of these factors that it uses to justify its cause. While insurgent groups and guerilla fighters have respect for their cause and they use the same benefactor to influence the mass to follow their path, “terrorists”, by the name itself, influence the mass by striking fear in their minds. Though the second has a more profound impact upon the victim, the long term effects of terrorism seem to be negative in most cases.
• Ways - Insurgency is the movement or an upheaval while Terrorism and Guerilla Warfare are more or less mere war tactics to achieve the objective from the uprising.
The potential of terrorism as a component of insurgencies is limited and is mostly at the leader’s mercy – the one who is responsible for decisions to be taken. There have been incidents where the insurgents have used means of terrorism to challenge the government’s hold on the system and there have also been instances where terrorism have overlapped the border of respect and have become predominant.
‘The guerrilla fighter’s war is political and social, his means are at least as political as they are military, his purpose almost entirely so. Thus we may paraphrase Clausewitz: Guerrilla war is the extension of politics by means of armed conflict.’ (Taber, 1972:26)
• Participants - Thriving on respect rather than fear, insurgents have the advantage of sympathy from the mass. Insurgencies in the past and also contemporarily, have a part of the mass involved in the movement. The cause being local in most cases, most of the people can relate to the issue. While in case of terrorism, the people are forced to fear the perpetrators and are remotely sympathetic about the cause. In most instances, the cause is unknown to the general public.
• Cause - Cause behind insurgencies rise generally from local tension and change of local infrastructures are the general issues mostly. So there are fixed motives behind insurgencies. Terrorism, on the other hand, has more complex issues to handle like religious gratification et cetera.
• Target - The respect to the cause makes insurgents more careful about the international norms and laws of war. A fixed goal further focuses their strategy on achieving their targets. Consequently, the proper...