According to Borun (2004), terrorism can be defined as any act of violence that is deliberately committed on civilian non-combatants with the aim of furthering some religious, political or ideological objectives while a terrorist is someone who takes part in terrorism and they usually bear strong negative intensions. There are different types of terrorists and each type may have differing targets, goals, and motivating factors (Naamen, 2007). It has also been found that factors leading to the development of different terrorists may not be the same (Nass, 2005). It is true that that there is a variety of factors that may enhance the development of terrorists. Two different terrorists are going to be discussed with regard to targets, goals, and tactics, as well as the factors that may have enhanced their transmutation into terrorists.
As discussed by Woolf (2004), Osama Bin Laden is one of the famous terrorists in the world. He was born in 1957 as a member of the prominent family of Saudi bin Laden and was the founder of al-Qaeda the Islamic extremist organization that is the most widely known for the attacks in September 11th 2001on the United States and many other attacks against military and civilian targets. Due to his dealings in violent, radical jihad, Osama Bin Laden lost his citizenship in Saudi Arabia and was disowned by Saudi Arabian family in which he belonged. The Saudi Arabian family in which Osama Bin Laden belongs was a wealthy and prominent family.
Osama Bin Laden was listed among other terrorists on the list of FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives as a result of several US bombings in 1998. In 1992 Osama Bin Laden targeted at bombing the U.S. soldiers in Yemen and in 1993 he attempted to attack the U.S. troops in Somalia. Bin Laden wanted to destroy the Israel, the U.S. and the Saudi monarch they were seen obstacles to the liberation of the Medina, Mecca, and Jerusalem as the Islam’s Holiest sites. Bombing was one of the tactics Osama Bin Laden used to terrorize.
Osama Bin Laden believed that restoration of Sharia law was among the ways to set things right within the Muslim world. He also supposed that, the ideologies such as communism, socialism, democracy, and pan-Arabism, must be opposed. These issues propelled Bin Laden to consistently dwell on the need for the violent jihad to correct them including the injustice he supposed were perpetrated against the Muslim by the United States and other non-Muslim states like Israel. Bin Laden also wanted the Americans to decline immoral acts of homosexuality, gambling, usury, and intoxicants as was seen in the October 2002 letter. Civilians, including children and women, are jihad’s legitimate targets, and this was the most infamous section of Osama Bin Laden’s ideology. Bin Laden’s methods and viewpoints of achieving all these have made him to be named a terrorist by scholars (Woolf, 2004).
Another well known terrorist to be considered is Mohammed Atef who was suspected al-Qaeda’s military chief, even if the part in which he played within the organization was not identified by intelligence agencies for many years. Mohammed Atef was recruited in an Egyptian Air Force where he served for two years. This must have given Atef a good experience on how to use deadly weapons like bombs to terrorize civilian non-combatants as opposed to Osama Bin Laden. Atef was a police officer as well as a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, and this is the time he moved to Afghanistan to drive back the Soviet invasion. He was introduced to Osama Bin Laden by Ayman al-Zawahiri who he met at Afghan training camp.
Together with Osama Bin Laden Atef started to discuss the beginning of al-Qaeda as they attended two meetings from eleventh to twentieth of August 1998 along with other terrorists such as al-Zawahiri, Jamal al-Fadl, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, Mohammed Loay Bayazid, and Wael Hamza Julaidan (Ensalaco, 2008). He was found to be among the conspirators who were involved in the bombings of the U.S. embassy in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. So, like Osama Bin Laden, he used bombings as one of the tactics to terrorize the civilians. Among the tactics used by Atef was training militants. He was sent to Somalia two times to train the Somali fighters which made the United States to charge him as their troops were attacked in the Battle of Mogadishu that took place in 1993 (Ensalaco, 2008). Like Bin Laden, Atef wanted to destroy the Israel, the U.S. and the Saudi monarch they were seen obstacles to the liberation of the Medina, Mecca, and Jerusalem as the Islam’s Holiest sites (Woolf, 2004).