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In order to stand in good position while trying to reply the inquiry, if direct military action is the best class of action while covering with terrorist act, it would be pertinent to first understand the beginnings of terrorist act, what it means, its causes and types, before diging into researching how best to cover with it. In the universe of international dealingss a overplus of terrorist act definitions exist. The word terrorist act is derived from the word “ panic ” which harmonizing to the Oxford English lexicon means “ A policy intended to strike with panic those against whom it is adopted… ” After the September 11th bombardments in the United States of America the phenomenon of terrorist act has generated monolithic public attending and seems to be present in the mundane life of the common adult male through an of all time progressively complex web of communicating mutuality that exists in our modern-day society.

We can follow the beginnings of terrorist act back to the Judaic rebellion against foreign regulation ( 66 – 71 AD ) . Attempts to liberate the Judaic people were championed by groups known as the Zealots and the Sicarri ( dagger work forces ) the later was known by that name because of their pick of arms ( Lutz and Lutz 2008: 80 ) . In order to efficaciously throw out their Roman swayers they foremost had to convert their family to back up the rebellion. In the class of seeking to earn this needed support they undertook different classs of actions which included nobbling outstanding individuals to utilize as purchase in bargaining for the release of their companions held confined. They besides used public blackwashs of Roman sympathisers with the purpose of intimidating the public into giving their support for their cause ( ibid ) . During the seventh century a group of Shi’a Muslims known as Assassins stabbed to decease prominent and spiritual persons who they thought were hindering the advancement of their cause which at that clip was to continue the traditional values of Islam ( Hough 2008: 69 ) . At about the eleventh century in India a group known as Thugs was active and was known to strangulate their victims all in the name of their commitment to the goddess Kali who it was said required that they kill and nourish her with blood ( Sterba 2003:2 ) . An every bit interesting clip to observe while following the beginning of terrorist act is 1793 to 1794 in France, in order to depict this period a British solon and philosopher known as Edmund Burke coined the word “ terrorist act ” , the period was otherwise known as government de la terreur or reign of panic in English ( Martin 2006:7 ) . This period in France saw a Jacobin dominated authorities use the spread of panic as a agency to foster its radical ends ; 1000s of people perceived to be enemies of the Republic were executed by closure by compartment. The reign of panic caused the executing of about 40,000 people and the deceases of about 200,000 political captives by famishment and diseases ( ibid ) .

In more recent times, the 1800s industrial revolution in England brought about immense economic alterations, one of those alterations was the loss of fabric occupations. This loss precipitated the formation of a group known as the Luddites. This group was made up of English workers who objected to the societal and economic transmutations experienced during this period particularly since it threatened their support. In response to this menace the Luddites sabotaged fabric mills and machines that mass produced merchandises that they would hold otherwise produced by manus. The People ‘s Will was a Russian group made up of pupils that hated the Czarist government of the late nineteenth century and sought to coerce a governmental alteration by trying to expose the failing of the authorities. Some of their tactics included shots, knifings and bombardments. They successfully assassinated Czar Alexander II by exploding a bomb on the 1st of March 1881. It is really of import to observe that like modern-day terrorist act these terrorist motions were guided by patriot, spiritual or political strong beliefs and in most instances sought public attending for their several causes.

A universally acceptable definition of terrorist act is missing in the universe of international dealingss, nevertheless we have legion definitions, with each seeking to explicate the nature of this phenomenon. The ground for this apparently hard undertaking of making a nem con accepted definition might non be unconnected to the fact that the word means different things to different people. For some people terrorism means Acts of the Apostless of force carried out by groups against provinces, for others it means provinces suppressing its ain citizens and for some it may intend militant Acts of the Apostless of one province against another ( Chaliand and Blin 2007:12 ) . The presence of this clang of positions does non halt states, private and public organisations every bit good as members of the academe from seeking to specify terrorist act.

The British define terrorist act as “ the usage or menace, for the intent of progressing a political, spiritual or ideological cause, of action which involves serious force against any individual or belongings ” . In Germany terrorist act is “ enduringly conducted battle for political ends, which are intended to be achieved by agencies of assaults on the life and belongings of other individuals, particularly by agencies of terrible offenses ” ( Martin 2006:46 ) . Walter Riech and Brian Jenkins were quoted in Gus Martins as specifying terrorist act as a scheme of force designed to advance desired results by transfusing fright in the populace at big and the usage or threatened usage of force designed to convey approximately political alteration. The State Department of the United States of America defines terrorist act as “ premeditated, politically motivated force perpetrated against noncombatant marks by sub national groups or clandestine agents, normally intended to act upon an audience ” ( ibid:48 ) . The common denominators in these definitions are that terrorist act is illegal, premeditated, and political ; it besides poses a great hazard to lives and belongingss whilst seeking to act upon an audience and is normally violent.

It is hard to nail one beginning or one cosmopolitan cause of terrorist act because the causes of terrorist act are every bit complex as terrorist act itself and is about inextricably linked to the different types of terrorist act we can place. The determination of a group or single to prosecute in force can stem from assorted grounds which might include logical pick, corporate reason, and alienation within an elite or deficiency of chance for political engagement ( ibid: 76-77 ) . There are different signifiers or types of terrorist act bing in our universe today. Some of these types of terrorist act identified by Gus Martin include State terrorist act, Dissident terrorist act, Religious terrorist act, condemnable terrorist act and International terrorist act ( ibid: 50 ) .

State terrorist act is seen by Martin as terrorist act from above. In this scenario terrorist act is committed by the authorities against their sensed enemies whether domestic or international ( ibid ) . In the 1980s a guerilla counter-revolutionary Nicaraguan group known as Contras was alive in Honduras much to the displeasure of the Honduras authorities who carried out steps to quash them. Some of these steps included the constitution of a decease squad known as Battalion 3-16 which was alleged to hold been responsible for the disappearing of 100s of people. In the same period of the 1980s a Marxist radical motion fought to subvert the United States backed authorities of El Salvador. In response to this the El Salvador authorities worked together with decease squads such as ORDEN and White Hand, the attendant consequence was legion atrociousnesss committed against civilians ( ibid:110 ) .

On the international scene Libya has been implicated in assorted terrorist incidents some of which include the 1985 Rome and Vienna airdrome onslaughts, the bombardment of the La Belle Discotheque in Berlin in 1986, the Pan Am flight 103 bombardment in 1988 and the support of the Liberation of Palestine General Command and the Abu Nidal Organization. It has besides been alleged that the Soviet Union created the Patrice Lumumba Peoples Friendship University of Moscow for the intent of making a enlisting land for future leaders of Marxist believing patriot and extremist motions. As if to justify this veracity the Venezuelan, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez besides known as Carlos the Jackal attended this university ( ibid:117 ) .

Dissident terrorist act in contrast to State terrorist act is seen by Martin as terrorist act “ from below committed by non State motions and groups against authoritiess, ethno-national groups, spiritual groups, and other sensed enemies ” ( Ibid:50 ) . All over the universe we experience heretical terrorist act. In the 1960s a Marxist group of immature dreamer in-between category Rebels known as Tupamaros sought the redistribution of wealth and political power in Uruguay. In seeking to accomplish their purpose they adopted steps that were geared towards coercing the authorities to take inhibitory actions that would finally take to a mass rebellion. Part of this scheme included bank robbery, bomb detonations and nobbling for ransom. In 1972 they successfully kidnapped the British embassador to Uruguay Sir Geoffrey Jackson ( ibid: 152 ) . In the United Kingdom Acts of the Apostless of heretical terrorist act were present particularly in the Northern Ireland struggle which ended in 1999.

Religious terrorist act is “ terrorist act motivated by an absolute belief that an nonnatural power has sanctioned and commanded the application of terrorist force for the greater glorification of the religion ” ( ibid: 50 ) . History is full with violent Acts of the Apostless carried out in the name of protecting faith. The Christian campaigns which started about 1095 proverb Christians zealously engaged in force with the purpose of capturing the holy lands from their current residents whom at that clip were largely Muslims and were called Saracens. The cardinal fuel that stoked the fires of force was the promise of Pope Urban II that contending and deceasing in the name of the cross would vouch a topographic point in Eden every bit good as remittal of all wickednesss for those who survived. The conflict call of the reformers ; Dues lo V ( God wills it ) seems to hold encapsulated the religious rightness of the violent Acts of the Apostless carried by the reformers. The consequence of the campaigns was the slaughter of 1000s of Muslims, Jews and Orthodox Christians ( ibid: 192-194 ) . Some other historical illustrations are the Thugs and Assassins before mentioned.

Religious terrorist act in our modern epoch has achieved cardinal focal point on the international phase because of its increased frequence, graduated table and range. Uganda in 1987 experienced a portion of spiritual terrorist act in the signifier of the Holy Spirit Mobile force led by Alice Lakwena who claimed to be led by the Holy Spirit to free Uganda of witchery and superstitious notion. She anointed her followings with holy oil to guard them from being killed by slugs and led them against the Museveni led Ugandan authorities who slaughtered them. In that same state Josef Kony reorganized the group with the purpose of get the better ofing the authorities and put ining a society that would be pure and governed harmonizing to the scriptural Ten Commandments. The new group became known as The Lords Resistance Army. In the class of seeking to accomplish this dream and with bases in the adjacent state of Sudan the group committed different atrociousnesss, they killed 1000s, burned downed small towns, committed mass colza, abducted kids and turned male childs into kid soldiers and their female counter parts into sex slaves called Bush married womans. The Godhead ‘s opposition ground forces is alleged to hold been responsible for the abduction of about 30,000 kids and the supplanting of many more Ugandan households ( Ibid: 196-197 ) .

Condemnable terrorist act is “ terrorist act motivated by sheer net income or some amalgam of net income and political relations ” ( Ibid: 50 ) . The lines between purely condemnable organisations and terrorist webs are going progressively blurred. It has frequently been noticed that terrorist groups get involved in offense as a agency of funding their motions while traditionally condemnable endeavors carry out terrorist Acts of the Apostless with the purpose of making an enabling environment to further their illicit concerns. Groups like Hezbollah and Hamas have been alleged to hold been involved in drug trafficking as a agency of back uping their motion financially.

In states like Italy and the United States of America organisations like La Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia, the Camorra and N’drangheta have at different times engaged in terrorist activities with the exclusive purpose of fostering their illegal concern either by act uponing authorities policies or discouraging whomever might take to interrupt their easy flow of concern ( ibid 326-327 ) .

In 1983 the Camorra assassinated a journalist who had written articles knocking organized offense. In 1992 the Sicilian Mafia assassinated the main prosecuting officer in Palermo, Sicily while an anti-Mafia justice was dramatically killed by a bomb in Sicily by the Sicilian Mafia in 1992. In July 2000 the N’drangheta assassinated a Calabrian probationary functionary ( ibid ) .

International terrorist act is “ terrorist act that spills over onto the universe phase ” ( Ibid: 50 ) . International terrorist act can be said to hold occurred when the psychological and political effects of Acts of the Apostless carried out by a terrorist goes beyond a strictly domestic issue. Globalization has made it easier for terrorists to magnify the effects of their actions across legion lodgers in a affair of seconds through the usage of sophisticated media engineerings available in the universe today. This has the consequence of pulling international attending to whatever do the terrorists are taking to accomplish. On the opposite side when terrorists limit Acts of the Apostless of force to a domestic environment they frequently do non bring forth much attending globally as their actions are usually viewed as domestic political issues which step ining in would amount to the eroding of the sovereignty of whichever province the terrorist are terrorising. In order to internationalise a cause marks chosen by terrorists are either outside their domestic lodgers or marks within their domestic lodgers that are of international significance such as diplomats, embassies, tourer or foreign concern work forces and adult females ( ibid: 269-275 ) .

During the Lebanese civil war in the 1970s and 1980s the Shi’a Muslim group known as Hezbollah was alleged to hold carried out legion terrorist Acts of the Apostless against marks with international profiles under different names such as Islamic jihad, Organization of the Oppressed and the Revolutionary Justice Organization. Some of these Acts of the Apostless included bombing the United States Embassy in Beirut, assailing the Gallic and US peacekeeping forces in Beirut every bit good as snatch of non-Lebanese Nationals like an minister plenipotentiary of the Archbishop of Canterbury and a CIA station head ( ibid: 275 ) .

A assortment of options are available to policy shapers in their traffics with terrorist act. The complex nature of terrorist act makes it hard to use one solution towards work outing all terrorist related jobs. The context with which counter terrorist act is viewed can travel a long manner in finding the peculiar set of options available for usage when covering with terrorist act. Different bookmans have written about different ways of sing options available when covering with terrorist act. Gus Martin made allusions to a continuum that has difficult line and soft line responses at either terminal ; the difficult line option entails the usage of force while the soft line options include things like diplomatic negotiations, societal reforms, via media, legal attack and even making nil ( ibid: 476 ) .

Hard line options allow policy shapers to utilize weaponries against terrorists in different signifiers.

Suppression runs: these are military work stoppages at marks linked to terrorist act and could come in a reactionist or pre-emptive signifier. The purpose of this scheme is to stultify or wholly wipe of the terrorists in inquiry. A good illustration of this is OPERATION PEACE FOR GALILEE. This operation carried out by Israeli armed forces in 1982 saw the invasion and eventual business of Lebanon ( southern Lebanon ) by Israel with the purpose of deracinating the group known as Palestine Liberation Organization ( PLO ) . The operation was deemed successful as it removed the PLO from the South of Beirut nevertheless the invasion and business is non unconnected to the rise of anti-Israeli sentiments and opposition in that part which became embodied in different organisations including Hezbollah ( ibid: 482 )

Covert operations: these besides involve the usage of weaponries but unlike suppressive runs are more close and are carried out by specialised units of a province ‘s military or paramilitary. The intent of this signifier of response is the same as above but on a lower graduated table. They frequently involve extraordinary renderings, blackwashs, sabotage and other signifiers of semi legal activities. The downside of this sort of operation is that most actions carried out under this signifier of response are at best controversial and therefore explains the close nature with which they are usually carried out. An illustration of a covert operation occurred in 1973 by a covert Israeli unit known as the wrath of God. They were responsible for happening and assassinating the Black September terrorists in Europe and the Middle East after the 1972 Olympics. The operation was non without guiltless casualties as a North African server was erroneously changeable decease in the procedure ( ibid: 485-487 ) .

Soft line options unlike is opposite do non imply the usage of weaponries in covering with terrorist act but like its opposite number it besides comes in different signifiers such as Legal attacks, diplomatic negotiations and intergovernmental cooperation.

Legalistic options: these are legal steps created by States to help in their traffics with terrorist act from a condemnable position. Examples of these steps are as follows:

Forbiding rank of certain organisations: this literally means criminalizing rank of sensed terrorist group. In the 1970s the Government of United Kingdom made it a punishable discourtesy to be a member of the IRA. This step led to the creative activity of a legal political arm of IRA known as the Sinn Fein ( Hough 2008:82 ) .

Test without jury: in the 1970s United Kingdom waved the jury system of test and instituted a system known as the Diplock tribunals to avoid the turning job of jury members being intimidated against happening members of the IRA guilty ( ibid ) .

Emergency statute laws: in the aftermath of serious terrorist act jobs authoritiess might be forced to ordain statute laws that empower them to short-circuit the normal legal norms. On the 26th of October 2001 President George Bush signed the PATRIOT ACT into jurisprudence. Some of the commissariats of this act enabled the United States authorities to confine terrorist suspects for longer periods of clip without charge and hedge the privateness of both US citizens and aliens in the US through “ wire lights-outs ” and “ email lights-outs ” ( Martin 2006: 514 ) .

Diplomatic options: these options seek to procure antagonistic terrorist purposes by usage of what Martin describes as “ channels of communicating ” . These channels can differ from direct negotiations with sensed terrorist organisations to diplomatic moves that aim to act upon States that can consequence alteration with respects to the peculiar terrorist job being tackled. The Israeli – Palestinian peace procedure of President Clinton ‘s disposals and the Northern Ireland Peace Process are typical illustrations.

Compromise: as the word implies this is a diplomatic state of affairs of “ give and take ” . It is usually more convenient for States to show a public character that does non under any circumstance negotiate with terrorist as professing to the demands of terrorists is believed to cheer instead discourage them from more terrorist action. History has shown that this difficult line non negotiable stance is non ever true as States do negotiate via medias with terrorist organisations. The surety instance of TWA flight 847 in June 1985 is a good illustration as the surety state of affairs ended when the United States was able to carry the Israeli authorities to let go of about 700 hundred Shi’a captives ( ibid: 501-505 ) .

Intergovernmental cooperation: provinces frequently cooperate with the purpose of cut downing the flagellum of terrorist act. In the sixtiess and 1970s the United Nations conventions criminalizing skyjacking and surety pickings was ratified as a consequence of intergovernmental cooperation. In 1993 declaration 864 of the security council of the United Nations was instrumental to conveying UNITA to the dialogue tabular array through concerted travel prohibitions, weaponries trade stoppage and fiscal limitations. Even in the face of these successes intergovernmental cooperation still suffers enlistments for case the success of countenance against UNITA influenced the countenances placed against Al-Qa’ida but this can be argued non to be hold been every bit successful as the former. Extradition of political felons is still debatable and Interpol probes are difficult to accomplish because provinces differ on who is a terrorist and who is non. The failure of the United Nations Madrid acme to convey approximately and agreed definition of terrorist act explains that intergovernmental cooperation on the issue of terrorist act leaves more to be desired ( Hough 2008: 85-86 ) .

Is direct military action the best manner to cover with the job of terrorist act?

The nature of terrorist act makes it hard to reply the above inquiry. The usage of military force as an option against terrorist act has recorded successes like in the instance of the United States war against Afghanistan in 2002. The usage of force in this instance was able to take cardinal support for the Al-Qa’ida web and besides extinguish some members of the web. Although the military action was deemed successful it did non wholly pass over out Al-Qa’ida neither did it halt them from transporting out terrorist activities ( ibid: 86-87 ) . “ Operation Peace for Galilee ” might hold been seen as a success since it achieved its chief aim at the clip nevertheless it contributed more jobs by cheering the Hezbollah ; the “ Wrath of God ” has it one successes and contentions.

In seeking to make up one’s mind the best class of action when covering with terrorist act, it is of import to cognize that while military action might enter success in some instances. Is might non discourage determined, self-destructive terrorists. The recent bombardment that occurred on the 27th of December in the Anbar state of Iraq killing at least nine people and injuring 40 others stands as a testament that military action might non ever extinguish terrorist act. Bearing that in head it might be right to presume that a instance by instance footing for analysing and make up one’s minding the best classs of counter terrorist act might be of more value as against the premise that military action would work out all instances.


Chaliand.G and Blin.A. ( editors ) ( 2007 ) . The History of Terrorism from Antiquity to Al Qaeda, University of California Press: London

Hough P ( 2008 ) . Understanding Global Security ( 2nd edition ) , Routledge: Oxon

Lutz J.M, Lutz B.J ( 2008 ) . Global Terrorism ( 2nd edition ) , Routledge: Oxon

Martin G ( 2006 ) . Understanding Terrorism ( 2nd edition ) , Sage publications: London.

Sterba J ( 2003 ) . Terrorism and International Justice, Oxford University Press: New York

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