Defining the term terrorism is quite controversial for there is no universally agreed and law binding definition of terrorism. But we can refer to terrorism as the use of terror that is intended to create fear and helps to perpetuate a particular ideology which can be religious or political, most of the victims of terrorism are civilians and the act is committed by non-governmental agencies. In United Nations, due to the differences in definition it has been impossible to give to give a definition of terrorism that will singly, and encompass all, legally binding and will have a criminal aspect to terrorism. The united Nations General Assembly has defined continually defined terrorism as “…Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them…” (Goodin, 48). There are Key characteristics of Terrorism which include use of violence, target of the civilians and the weak, the ideology, a group that perpetuates the acts and it organizational structure.
There are various types of terrorism that include anarchist terrorism, state sponsored tourism- this is where the government aids some terrorist groups either militarily or can allow the group to perpetrate their acts with impunity. Example of state sponsored tourism is In Darfur Sudan, where the government of Sudan is accused in aiding the Jajaweed group, which is a terror organization. There is also the right wing and the left wing terrorism activities which are least organized and the levels of violence are limited. There is also religious terrorism where people attack others due to the different religious belief the others hold. Cyber terrorism is where computers are failed. This is where the computer securities are failed by a terrorist organization. This can lead to the terrorist groups taking control of important facilities e.g dams even though they are very far from the actual facility e.g. a power plant. There is also the use of Narcoterrorism which is drug related terrorism; this is most common in Mexico and Colombia.
Terrorism in America has been motivated by some people distrusting and detesting the Ideology of democracy as is spread by America. Many people have hated democracy and often accused democracy of a lot of ills in the society. Some groups have been formed to attack America who it accuses to be the biggest crusader of democracy in the world. The biggest terrorist attack in America was the September 11th 2001 attack on the Twin Trade Towers, Pentagon and in rural Pa where airplanes were driven by terrorists to kill hundreds of civilians.
The American department of has made a list of 42 foreign terrorist organizations it calls “Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (State Department) among the terrorist organization is the Al Qaeda Terrorist group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Taliban.
Al Qaeda is a radical Sunni Muslim group that was formed in 1988. The group leader is Osama Bin Laden who was born in Saudi Arabia but is currently believed to be living in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. The group has attacked American Embassy as was the scene in 1997 in Kenya and Tanzania, American Military Location as it has repeatedly done in Iraq it has also attacked American citizen as it did in September 11, 2001. The group is notorious of suicide bombings and also simultaneous bombing in different targets it has set. Members of the group pledge their loyalty to Osama bin Laden and are ready to do any task that may be assigned to them by him or the leadership. It is believed to have training grounds in Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia. Al Qaeda ideology is non influence policy in Muslim countries by western countries. It also beliefs that the alliance of Jews and Christian is after destruction of Islam this it claims is well manifested by the Israel and United States Alliance. Therefore it justifies its actions of Killing American civilians as an act of jihad or holy war in protection of Islam from the destruction by Jews and Christians.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is a terrorist organization in Colombia. It is currently engaged in war with the government of Colombia and the United States has provided a lot of resources to the government of Colombia so that they can defeat the group. Claims it struggles for the poor Colombians against the rich Colombians who it claims oppress the poor. It is estimated to have about 5000 to 10000 guerilla fighters. The group is involved in guerilla warfare with the government of Colombia in the south Eastern parts of Colombia. The group is involved in drug trade, trafficking and production and also taxing those who produce drugs within its territory. The guerilla group uses the sales of cocaine produced and sold in America and other countries to finance its terrorist activities. The group is also involved in kidnapping and uses them to ask for finances so that it can release the prisoners. The group also has thousands of child soldiers it uses to fight its wars.
The Taliban is a Hanafi Islamic Terrorist group it once governed Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. It is currently involved in fighting guerilla warfare with NATO forces in Afghanistan. The leader of the Taliban is Mullah Mohammed Omar from Afghanistan. The groups goal is for formation of a pure Islamic state in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s are believed to be in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, their warfare tactics are kidnapping of American and western citizens, Sabotage of American interest as is now burning American supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan, Suicide missions, simultaneous car bombs and guerilla warfare in the difficult terrain of Afghanistan.
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Terrorist choose target to attack based on factors such as the number of people that are bound to be affected by their attack. These locations must have high traffic of people or be gatherings of large crowds. The regions to be attacked should have less security as in high security area the terrorist will be quickly identified and their activities thwarted. These places will include train stations and trains, airplanes as was the case with the Nigerian al Qaeda terrorist with the Delta Airlines in Detroit, Tunnels and bridges and also Hotels
In the past terrorist activities were rare and their effects were not massively destructive as they are today. Also there is increased and sophistication in the way their activities are planned and executed. The improvement in technology has also been aided and used by terrorist to inflict pain and fear, the terrorist use internet sites to pass their messages and also post dangerous activities they have involved themselves e.g. beheading of kidnaps. Also today the number of suicide attacks have increased and the number of tourist organizations grown.
In the large cities of America such as New York, the most likely method of attack are the high jacking of airplanes as was experienced in 9 11. There is also an increased threat in Mumbai version terrorist attack where terrorist attack major hotels and kill Americans. Also biological warfare is possible e.g. the use of Anthrax to kill the masses.