Terrorism is currently a major challenge that confronts the world. Terrorism is a frightening and horrifying event; It has the ability to take away your sense of security and leave us feeling vulnerable, causing the individuals and nations unease. This decade has witnessed some of the most notorious terrorist acts. In recent memory many can easily recall the attacks of 9/11, The day two 767 Boeing jets took down the world-trade centers. Despite, world-wide agreement that 9/11 was an act of terrorism, there remains much dispute on the specifics of what defines terrorism. The definitions provided in one dictionary differ in another. Lets take into example Merriam-Webster's definition, which states that terrorism is “the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion.”¹ The problem with this definition is its simplicity. It can applied to almost anything and sometimes things that traditionally wouldn't be considered terrorism. For example, an elementary school kid ‘systematically’ bullies a kid daily in-order to ‘coerce’ him into giving lunch money. Is this an act of terrorism? Should you agree on charging this child with terrorism? the answer clearly ought to be no. However, Terrorism is more accurately defined as act(s) of violence by an organization directed towards civilians, rather than against the military done to achieve an objective. As a our nation continues to fight the “war of terror[ism]”, It’s important to as quickly as possibly clarify this term so correct measures can be taken in identifying the who’s and what’s of terrorism. To begin terrorism is never a solo-enterprise, It requires the efforts of more than one individual to plan and carry-out those plans. In all internationally recognized plots of terrorism, there seems to always be more than one perpetrator. It’s very important to note this because for an attack to be categorized as an act of terrorism it must originate from a group rather than an individual for very good reasons. First, Individuals that do carry out violent attacks fail to fall into this definition because they fail in spreading fear. This failure to spread ‘terror’ is what inhibits them from being included in the definition. Here is a hypothetical scenario illustrating this point, A 24/7 store gets robbed in the middle of the night and the robber leaves behind a dead clerk. The authorities get on the case and the community returns to normality knowing in time the robber will get caught. A more real-life example that mimics 9/11 would be the 2010 Austin plane crash. In this incident, a distraught man named Joseph Stack who was frustrated with the IRS decided to take matters into his own hands. In a final act of vengeance Stack crashed his personal airplane at full speed into a IRS building. This attack did cause terror, it was premeditated and like 9/11 Joseph Stack had committed suicide. It sounds like a terrorist attack, but it isn't. Here’s why, Stack had no intent for coercion because he would be dead and he was not a part of a organization that could possibly gain any benefit from his death. But most importantly, His reign of terror ended with his end. Regardless of how despicable both these scenario might be neither can be classified as an act of terrorism, Because for those engaging in terrorism, there is clear intent to leave an impression after an attack, and to let the designated target(s) know that this is not the end. This can only be achieved if the perpetrators are still at large. Once again, I return back to the attacks of 9/11 to illustrate the difference. Al Qaeda wanted to spread terror, which unfortunately happened. But unlike the robber or the distraught man, They are still at large despite the death of its members. Even after a decade, The world is still in a state of fear and apprehension since Al Qaeda is free to strike while enjoying limited impunity.These are distinctions that should be taken into consideration when classifying terrorism, because for it to be...
CHANGING NATURE OF TERRORISM AND RISE OF NON STATE ACTORS
“Prediction is very difficult, especially about future”.
- Niels Bohr
12. Terrorism is by no means a new concept in terms of law; however it is a complex one as no consensus has yet been reached regarding its definition under international law1.There are many definitions of terrorism but the underlying fact is that all of them encapsulate the major elements of threat and act. Few examples of the definition of terrorism are as follows:-
(a) Violent acts aimed against a state and/or that in some way threatens the security of a state most often with a politically motivated purpose.
(b) As per Article 1(2) of Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism 1937 acts of terrorism meant “criminal acts directed against a State intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the mind of particular persons, or a group of persons or the general public2”.
(c) Terrorism is the threat of violence and the use of fear to coerce, persuade and gain public attention3.
13. While understanding various definitions of terrorism a common fact emerges which reinstates that terrorism is most often aimed against a state, and if not against a state it most...
Ryan M. Faught
Arkansas Tech University
Terrorism has been a major topic of research for many years. We’ve learned a lot about terrorism and terrorist groups, but there are still major questions to be answered. What exactly is a terrorist? What causes ordinary people to become terrorists? What attracts people to terrorism? How do terrorist groups in the Middle East recruit and radicalize people from all over the world? In this paper I will discuss these questions and more according to the knowledge I’ve gained from reading these five research papers.
Terrorism is the use, or threat, of action which is violent, damaging or disrupting and is intended to influence the government or intimidate the public and is for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause (De Zulueta, 2006). This or any definition of terrorism is still subjective depending on the “terrorist” and the situation. For instance, most Americans don’t consider the founding fathers as terrorists, but freedom fighters. In the same way, radical Muslims may look at al Qaeda as freedom fighters, although most of the world would view them as terrorists. The deciding factor that separates freedom fighters from terrorists appears to be the intentional murder of innocent people. Terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda are well known for such murders. Rather than merely fighting for freedom, they...
TERRORISM; THE QUESTION OF DEFINITION
'However certain the facts of any science may be and however just the ideas we may have formed of these facts, we can only communicate false impressions to others while we want words by which these may be properly expressed'
Despite the events of 11 September and the ongoing ‘War on Terrorism’ there remains no agreed definition of terrorism. Academics, scientists, military experts, the media, governments and security experts all expound a plethora of definitions2. Some focus on the methods used, others on the organisations themselves, and others place the emphasis on motivations and characteristics of individual terror groups. However, despite an apparent world united front, with a few notable exceptions in Iran and Iraq, it would appear that an agreed definition is no closer. If the world is to continue to remain united in the war against terrorism then it must first know what enemy it is fighting against. If they do not know who their enemy is then victory may be impossible. So why does no clear definition of terrorism exist?
In their book Political Terrorism, Schmid and Jongman cite some 109 different definitions of terrorism, obtained primarily from academics in the field. This article will explore the...
...Origin of term
"Terrorism" comes from the French word terrorism, and originally referred specifically to state terrorism as practiced by the French government during the Reign of terror. The French word terrorism in turn derives from the Latin verb terreō meaning “I frighten”. The terror cimbricus was a panic and state of emergency in Rome in response to the approach of warriors of the Cimbri tribe in 105 BC. The Jacobin cited this precedent when imposing a Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. After the Jacobin lost power, the word "terrorist" became a term of abuse. Although "terrorism" originally referred to acts committed by a government, currently it usually refers to the killing of innocent people by a non-government group in such a way as to create a media spectacle.
Types of terrorism
In early 1975, the Law Enforcement Assistant Administration in the United States formed the National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. One of the five volumes that the committee wrote was entitled Disorders and Terrorism, produced by the Task Force on Disorders and Terrorism under the direction of H.H.A. Cooper, Director of the Task Force staff. The Task Force classified terrorism into six categories.
* Civil disorder – A form of collective violence interfering with the peace, security, and normal functioning of the...
...many differing definitions on terrorism. What is terrorism? How do we define it? Why is one man’s terrorist another man’s freedom fighter? These are just a few of the questions that face the world on a daily basis. There are many challenges that face the international community when it comes to how to define terrorism and what it constitutes. This paper will explore the challenges facing scholars when it comes to labeling terror and discuss potential ways to properly define it.
Challenges in Defining Terrorism
Finding a proper, well-accepted definition of what constitutes terror is extremely difficult. There are many challenges that confront scholars, experts, and everyday people when it comes to defining terrorism and terrorists. Differing backgrounds and cultures of those defining terror in addition to differing histories are just one of the many challenges facing those that wish to define terror. Furthermore, labeling a group or an individual as a terrorist could be considered offensive, especially in today’s politically correct environment, potentially damaging those in the political arena. However, on the flip side, labeling someone as a terrorist can also serve a political purpose as in the case of being propaganda towards a war effort, or to help define an enemy. Nevertheless, the main problem with not being able to have a widely accepted definition of...
"Terrorism" comes from the French word terrorisme, and originally referred specifically to state terrorism as practiced by the French government during the Reign of terror. The Jacobins cited this precedent when imposing a Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. After the Jacobins lost power, the word "terrorist" became a term of abuse. Although "terrorism" originally referred to acts committed by a government, currently it usually refers to the killing of innocent people by a non-government group in such a way as to create a media spectacle.
The definition of terrorism has proved controversial. Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of terrorism in their national legislation. Moreover, the international community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed, legally binding definition of this crime.
Among the various definitions there are several that do not recognize the possibility of legitimate use of violence by civilians against an invader in an occupied country.
Barack Obama, commenting on the Boston Marathon bombings of April, 2013, declared "Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror."
The terms "terrorism" and "terrorist" (someone who engages in terrorism) carry...
The multitude of differentiating definitions of terrorism through out the world’s governments, agencies, and international community has led to a confusing and bleak understanding of the true nature of terrorism. Now I do not believe that my definition of terrorism will be any better in helping understand this matter but it does help define my personal view of terrorism, terrorists, and their tactics. My definition of terrorism is any deliberate, planed use of force or violence, or the threat of such actions, against innocent people, with the aim of inducing fear or intimidating some other group of people into a specific course of action for political, religious, philosophical, or ideological aims. In my paper I want to examine the implications of my definition with regard to my assertion that terrorism is only carried out against innocent people.
In my definition I define terrorism as actions or threats of actions against innocent people. To me this is a very important idea. I feel that terrorism works because it induces fear in the general public and people become afraid because they are faced with the fact that even though they have done nothing wrong they could be attacked. I feel that violence is never legitimate when used on innocent people and thus a terrorist is...
...If people around the world were surveyed and asked to define terrorism, the answers would be seemingly endless. It has been said, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” From culture to culture, people view terrorism in a different way. An inherent definition of terrorism would be the act of creating terror, but not everyone is terrified of the same thing. So how then is it possible to come up with onedefinition for the word? “A 2003 study by Jeffrey Record for the US Army quoted a source that counted 109 definitions of terrorism that covered a total of 22 different definitional elements.” In the book Understanding Terrorism, the author Anthony Marsella comes up with
“four problems associated with efforts to define terrorism today: (a) there have been historical changes in the definition, (b) media and states have been inconsistent in their use of the term, (c) there are multiple definitions across agencies even within a single country such as the United States, and (d) there is international disagreement on the definition of the term.”
Some views of terrorism say that it must have political goals, while other do not believe this. Some views state that it must be innocents or civilians who are the victims, while other definitions do not believe...