The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism as the “unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”(Peak, pg. 393) Terrorism is a serious issue that effects every part of the world. There are different parts of terrorism, “UN described terrorism as “any act intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an International organization to do or abstain from doing any act.”(Crime Library, 2009) Terrorist organizations have formed in all parts of the world and the United States. What others may not be aware of is that terrorists’ organizations fund many dangerous criminal activities that have operated in the underground of world’s biggest cities.
In reverse, these criminal activities also fund these terrorist organizations. Sex slave trade otherwise known as human trafficking has been a growing problem that affects every country. The financial profit from sex slave trade is used to help fund terrorist cells throughout the world. This business of trafficking humans into cities, across borders and into other countries nets a profit of over a billion dollars annually. Human trafficking has become one of the biggest lucrative illegal business after drugs and weapons trafficking. The profit received from human trafficking in upwards of $10 billion a year. It is a problem that it continually growing as freelance terrorist cells are popping up around the world.
Terrorism has been around for a long time. Since changing the psycho-emotional balance of the people is principal to terrorist’s impetus, it is common for terrorists groups to take drastic measures for attention. The concept of violence and public intimidation to stimulate politics favored by the offending group. In Terrorist’s view, any political activity that relies on the threat of violence achieves the results of terrorist’s organization. The aim of terrorists is to create an environment of fear as a catalyst for political change. Terrorist’s goals are to demoralize the general population, and incite the government into an inconsistent response. Terrorism is a long practice that has underwent several significant changes due to times of warfare, the organization of the nation state, and political change.
The dawn of terrorism as a political tool came in the 14th century as Jewish extremists attempted to incite revolt against the Roman Empire. Instances of terrorism as we conceive it now were few and far between until the 19th century. This means that terrorism is only a useful political tool with the modern nation states. Terror as a political influence today reaches every corner of the globe. The globalization of these tactics can be attributed to advances in communication as well as organizational structure in the Middle East. As Marius Dabrowski writes, “Middle East terrorism has fueled the global wave of terrorism because a variety of terrorist groups (IRA, ETA, Japanese Red Army, Baader-Meinhof Gang, etc.) have received training and support from Palestinian terrorist groups, particularly the PLO.”(Towson, n.d) The effects of public bombings and assassinations are far-reaching and shake the foundations of many nations’ codes of moral ethics. The Irish Republican Army, Al Qaeda, the Basque separatists, the Taliban, and many other organizations that claim to be freedom fighters employ terrorist strategies to bring about the changes they seek for their area. Their acts of terrorism range from bombing trains and cars to hijacking aircraft. In the case of the Symbionese Liberation Army’s capture of Randolph Hearst’s granddaughter serving as a precedence of terrorist’s influence, terrorism today can take many forms and targets to undertake many different goals. Al-Quaeda is composed of many different cells spanning around the world. The Pakistani Taliban recently sprung hundreds of members from prison while the Afghan Taliban successfully planned a large coordinated attack that ran across four provinces. That is not to say that all modern day terrorist activities are so high profile, however. Car bombs placed near government offices, or near railways, have been used many times.
Religious terrorism is more violent than political terrorism. In religious terrorism, organizations rely on using sacred parts of their religion in order to incite or reimagine a religious battlefield. This influence allows for individuals to believe they are fighting on the side of their religion and using it as a means to demonize those who oppose it. “Religious terrorists are convinced that their actions take place at a critical junction in history where the fate of all creation hangs in the balance.”(White, 2012) As a society and technology continue to progress, terrorism has a certain short term pertinence- in the next few decades or even centuries terrorism will be one of the most widely used political strategies. Rebel groups that struggle to see the laws and policies of the central government continue to instrument terrorism as a means to accomplish their goals of political restructuring and destabilization. “The most prominent pan-Islamic revolutionary organization of this era is Saudi national Osama bin Laden’s cell-based Al Qaeda (the Base), which seeks to unite Muslims throughout the world in a holy war.”(Martin, 2007) Other religious groups emerging are Sikhs, Hamas, Lord’s Resistance Army, Abu Sayyaf, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist cells. “The emerging trends are mainly the products of the technological advancements and spread. Hence, these trends are leading to a new era of indiscriminate violence, more dangerous and deadly than in the past.”(Jaspal, 2002)
Trends in Terrorism
The first trend is that the war on terror has not reduced terror. According to research from the Heritage Foundation, “Between 1969 and 2009, there were 38,345 terrorist incidents around the world. Of these attacks, 7.8 percent (2,981) were directed against the United States while 92.2 percent (35,364) were directed at other nations of the world.” (Heritage Foundation, 2011) Transnational Terrorism is another trend in terrorism. The CIA has found, “States with poor governance; ethnic, cultural, or religious tensions; weak economies; and porous borders will be prime breeding grounds for terrorism. In such states, domestic groups will challenge the entrenched government, and transnational networks seeking safe havens.”(CIA, 2013) The Islamic terror threat has experienced a paradigm shift. Al Qaeda, is the main terrorist group that was run primarily by Osama Bin Laden, where they trained, armed, funded, and planned their plots of terrorism. They have inspired hundreds of terrorist cells across the worlds, where they seek to recruit young individuals. “Self-starter” cells initiated the attacks in London in 2005, Madrid in 2004, and Casablanca in 2003. The trend towards homegrown terrorism has been identified by the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee and intelligence services in the U.S., Holland, Denmark, and Sweden.”(Ibrahim, 2008) Lastly is the trend in terrorism is Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) terrorism. It is extremely dangerous, terrifying, and inevitable. “Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons are inherently terrifying. They evoke moral dread and visceral revulsion out of proportion to their lethality.”(Jaspal, 2002)
The theory of analyzing terrorism is explained through the functionalism, social theory of what is good for the whole society. Functionalists see “Durkheim (1933) believes that society is composed of interrelated systems. Functionalism also assumes normality and sees equilibrium as one of the major tenants of social life.”(Cinoglu, Ozeren, n.d) “Terrorism flourishes on a fear psychosis. By manipulating fear in a special way, terrorists have always been able to effect human behavior in a fashion disproportionate in their effort.”(Jaspal, 2002) In functionalism, terrorist attacks are seen as a contraction and a temporary aberration from the presumed normal stage and also practical to society. “Functionalism sees terrorism not only as a temporary stage and deviation from the mainstream, but also as having some latent functions.” (Cinoglu, Ozeren, n.d) Functionalists unquestionably believe that social change is not only anticipated, other than being predictable, it is essential to preserve a well-adjusted and strong society. “Symbolic interactionism is a micro level theory with the majority of its focus laying on individual interpretations of beliefs and meanings in our social lives.” (Cinoglu, Ozeren, n.d) People that learn to commit crimes and become involved in acts of terrorism through interaction with others. Symbolic interactionism is a learning process that focuses involvement in groups and activities.
Analysis of Terrorism Recruitment
The way that terrorist recruit is in several stages. First, they group shares stories of Muslim suffering around the world, and wait for the individual to emphasize with moral. “For some, that spark will be inflamed by an interpretation which explains that suffering in the context of a wider war between Islam and the West.”(Ibrahim, 2008) In the third stage, the individual will use the unpleasant experiences living in Western countries, as a fuel for resentment such as discrimination, inequality, or just an inability to get on despite good qualifications. (Ibrahim, 2008) The final stage is then when they join the terrorist organization, and they shut out everyone else to rely on the organization as a family unit. From this shutout, the group is able to infiltrate and influence the individual with their radical views and plans for preparing them to take action against the enemy. Al Qaeda sees its duty today as increasing radicalization worldwide. Al Qaeda seeks to motivate as much as to organize. Al Qaeda has stated, “That it now conducts 50 percent of its war through the media, and its attacks are often immediately uploaded onto the internet, edited, translated, and packaged for an audience worldwide by its dedicated media branch, al-Sahab.”(Ibrahim, 2008) They released their propaganda videos in 2002 every two months to one every three days. They have moved to launch videos for mobile phones, as well as streaming on other devices. Terrorism is globalizing. In the last decade, the trend of terrorist’s movements have become a transnational. Terrorist have developed their skills using technology, internet, and technological advancements in communication to spread their propaganda. “Motivations, targeting, strategy, tactics and logistics continue to evolve, in keeping with efforts on the part of terrorists to meet the challenges and to penetrate into the foolproof security arrangements to accomplish their objectives.”(Jaspal, 2002)
In conclusion, Terrorism is an ever changing and growing practice that progresses as technology and political views change. Terrorism relies on acts of terror creating fear and changing the structure of government. Terrorist organizations not only rely on terrorist cells but also they have side criminal acts that are funded by crimes such as sex slaves or human trafficking. Human trafficking is a serious problem as profits include upwards of billion dollars per year. The best possible way to resolve the problems of terrorism is to negotiate with organizations in order to come a plausible resolution. Intelligence organizations have relied on means of negotiation and diplomacy as methods of counterterrorism in some events, it does work, but in others it fails. Security and law officials must continue to work with intelligence agents in order to prevent and break up the terrorist organizations’ crimes of terror, only then can the problem be solved.
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