The Nature of Terrorism

1793 Words8 Pages
Given the growing global threats of terrorism, it is significant that an understanding of the history, nature and mechanism-premises under which terror operates is obtained. This is significant as it would shape the perspective of policy makers when addressing issues of this nature. Terrorism, as it is understood is the action of none-state weak actors, individual or groups, who for some reasons feels suppressed, marginalized and, or denied what they may view as the basic human right. All terrorism has political objectives, even though the perpetrators may use religious relics to appeal to a wider existing audience, and invoke a response through violent act to prove or propagate their point. Yoram Schweitzer in "Suicide Terrorism Development & Characteristics," Mark Sedgwick in "Al-Qaeda and the "Nature of Religious Terrorism," and Dr. James Armstrong, all demonstrates that suicide terror attacks are politically motivated even though the perpetrator may use religious symbolism to justifies their acts. Observing areas in the world where terrorism is frequent, especially in the Middle East, it can be argued that groups that engaged in terrorists' activities are those that feel suppressed and taken advantage of by a much greater power. Thus, terrorism, particularly suicide terror is prevalent in areas where systems of gross injustice seem to exist. Therefore, the actual use of terrorism by non-state actors is a tactic aimed at polarizing the population in their favor. By killing people in mass number, they are attempting to take away the view that only the state can legitimately kill – thus undermining the state authority. As Armstrong, Sedgwick and Schweitzer exemplify, suicide terrorism is not a new happening, but an old historical phenomenon. And that just as modern day terror organizations, particularly Al-Qaeda, uses religious concepts to motivate its actions (though their immediate goal is political), various old terrorist groups have used similar approached to achieve their political end. To understand the history of suicide terrorism and how terrorist groups in the past have used religious tone to propagate their political course, Armstrong pointed out the Zealots-an extremist Jewish sect that opposed Jesus. The Zealots engaged in political assassinations of their political foe, knowing that they would be killed in the process. Even though their ultimate goal might have been religious, the Zealots immediate aim was political. In the same way, during the third century, the Assassins- a notorious terrorist wing (similar in nature to Al-Qaeda) in modern day Syria, assassinated many of their political opponents in order to establish their own form of Islam.
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