Terrorism has no unanimously accepted definition. The difficulty of defining comes both from its complexity and from a wide divergence of positions of individuals, organizations, or states involved in anti-terrorist struggle.
Simply, terrorism is an unconventional battle tactic used to achieve political goals. It is based on acts of spectacular violence against populations not directly involved in conflict but with potential for pressure on leadership, sometimes leading terrorist acts on the population (state, organizations, social categories, or against a group of civilians) in the intended sense of terrorism – the production of a generalized psychological effect of panic and intimidation, augmented by the manipulative use of the media, in order to achieve a difficult objective to be achieved by democratic or conventional means.
Types of terrorism groups
It is a very rare case in which isolated individuals commit acts of terrorism.
In general, the number of victims and material damage produced by these terrorists are reduced but the effect of fear and psychosis produced may be serious.
Individual terrorism is the most difficult to combat.
Often, individual terrorism is committed by psychotic individuals. A famous individual terrorist is Theodore Kaczynski, surnamed in ‘Unabomber’, a graduate of Harvard University, Ph.D. in Mathematics and former professor at the University of California Berkeley.
Suffering from schizophrenia, he committed 23 attacks in 18 years, killing 3 people and injuring 18 others. He was captured only because his brother recognized his writing in a press release and announced the police.
Terrorist isolated groups
Generally it consists of a small group of people who are relatives or friends, personally knowing each other before the start of terrorist activities and spontaneously deciding to go to terrorism.
It is a rare and difficult case to detect, combat, and annihilate.
An example is the case of terrorists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who are responsible for the bombing of the FBI building in Oklahoma.
There are sources who doubt that the two were an isolated group and say that Terry Nichols actually collaborated with Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, during his military service at a military base in the town of Cebu, in the Philippines.
Terrorist franchise groups
Initially, this organizational concept belonged to anarchist cells from the beginning of the century but returned to the present days due to the actions of the Al Qaeda terrorist group.
Essentially, it is about trying to provide a common ideological, political and religious umbrella to foster the spontaneous occurrence of a large number of isolated terrorist groups that act to achieve similar goals without having clear command, control and support logistics.
This method of organization is considered to be of low efficiency, compensated by the formation of a large number of cells.
Al Qaeda’s novelty elements in franchising terrorism are:
- Developing a complex extremist ideology based on the idea of a Christian-Jewish conspiracy (“Crusaders and Zionists”) that is about to completely subjugate the Islamic world and destroy Muslim religion.
- Unlike anarchy, Al Qaeda maintains a total ideological monopoly on franchise ideological content with obvious branding features.
- The intensive use of the internet to spread the franchise, attract new adherents, and drive the propaganda campaign of its own audience.
- Developing a complete franchise package, Al Qaeda provides not only the ideological base but also complete instruction manuals (from action and organization to manual craft bombs), and provides on-demand financial support and technical assistance from instructors, terrorists, and weapons.
Al Qaeda is the first case of a terrorist group, which maintains its conventional way of organizing, but at the same time encourages a group-based franchise. For this reason, some analysts believe the franchise is used only to create diversions or as a source of cannery.
The number of members of franchise terrorist organizations, depending on the number of isolated groups taking over the franchise, may range from tens to thousands, most of which are directly involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts.
Terrorist groups with external support
In general, any terrorist group has received or will receive, during its existence, support from an interested state.
Since the “Cold War” there have been terrorist groups that did not have their own support base, being terrorist groups organized and dependent on a state or a group of states.
Generally, foreign-supported terrorist groups are composed of up to 20 members who are all directly involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts (the support, command and logistical tasks being provided by one or more state secret services).
Examples of terrorism with external support were the terrorist group led by Carlos ‘The Jackal’ (Carlos Ramirez), the Palestinian terrorist group September-Black (initially created against Jordan, with bases and support in Syria and Lebanon), or Abu-Nidal group which organized the terrorist attack against Israeli athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics (the ammunition and weapons being carried in the baggage of Bulgarian diplomats).
Causes of terrorism
The specific motives of terrorism can be very diverse, but the most common are:
- Getting money and benefits
- The desire to spread a message
- Terrorism as ‘justice’ – has at target and pretext the revenge and punishment of actions considered as unfair by the terrorists
- Religious fanaticism
- Undermining the state authority
- Fight for liberation, emancipation, and political power
After Terrorist Attack, Too Much TV Can Be Harmful
It is normal for the news corporations and television networks to present all the information regarding a terrorist attack and it’s only up to them how much they debate the subject of a terrorist attack. But the problem is how much are you watching the news on the subject.
If you’re too involved into watching all the news and talk-shows on a terrorist attack you’ll feel the negative impact of this subject on a psychological level.
A terrorist attack is about suffering, pain, deaths, and all the other negative emotions. And these are why terrorists are producing terrorist attacks: to create a state of fear and negative emotions even for the people who haven’t been directly involved in the terrorist attack.
After terrorist attack, too much TV can be harmful because it can raise lots of negative emotions on a psychological level. The news corporations and the television networks are analyzing a terrorist attack from A to Z knowing that people are usually attracted to watch such sad events.
Not only the terrorist attacks have this impact. Also, the news and talk-shows about murders, accidents, or sex. People are attracted by these types of events feeling the need to be involved and to suffer along with the subjects of such events. On a psychological level these kinds of events, which are drastically debated by television networks, offer a very negative vibe, thus you’re only increasing the level of stress and fear.
After terrorist attack, too much TV can be harmful!