International Terrorism - Defining Terrorism, Motivations And Trends, International Terrorism Statistics, State-sponsored Terrorism, Substate Terror Groups
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On September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the al Qaeda terrorist group hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners and flew two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. More than three thousand people were killed
and thousands more injured as a result of these devastating attacks, which caught the United States and the rest of the world by surprise. After spending years on the back burner, the term "terrorism" captured the world's attention. It caused a media frenzy and spread fear and insecurity among the American public at a rate unparalleled since the early days of the cold war. Before this attack on
U.S. territory, Osama bin Laden and the organization he led, "al Qaeda," were little known outside of terrorism experts. Afterward these names, and many other terms associated with terrorism, were omnipresent in the media and in politics.
As with "national security," "terrorism" is a difficult term to define, particularly because it involves subjective social issues and relies on the unique perceptions of the definer. The saying "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" illustrates this difficulty. Most analysts find it much easier to define
whether a specific act…
Intelligence specialists call terrorism a "transnational" threat because the people who make up terrorist groups may not come from, represent, or be sponsored by a particular country. Instead, they can operate across international boundaries and against any number of countries to further their cause or objectives. Though
sometimes state sponsored, it is rare for terrorists to be what…
The average number of international terrorist attacks from 1982 to 2003 was about 430 per year. (See Figure 6.1.) The mid-1980s saw a peak in terrorist attacks, averaging more than six hundred per year from 1985 to 1988. The number of terrorist attacks was generally lower after 1988, with the exception of 1991, and was
especially low between 1996 and 1998. They rose slightly in 1999 through 2001. …
Characterizing state-sponsored terrorism briefly is almost as difficult as coming up with a succinct definition for the term "terrorism" itself. Nevertheless, a crucial part of the concept is a sovereign government's involvement (at varying levels) with individual actors or organizations that carry out acts of terror. Boaz
Ganor, an expert at the International Policy Institute…
Beyond the countries named on the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, a variety of terrorist groups are essentially transnational (beyond national boundaries) and substate (under a state level) in nature. The U.S. Secretary of State designates thirty-seven groups as "foreign terrorist organizations."
These designations are made pursuant to section 219 …
Terrorist attacks sometimes stem from specific regional conflicts. One example of this type of conflict is in Northern Ireland, where the Irish Republican Army has launched terrorist acts against the British government and Irish Protestants in an attempt to gain independence for Northern Ireland. Another is in the Basque
region of northern Spain and southern France, where the Basque separatist gro…
In 1993 the World Trade Center in New York City, a symbol of American financial wealth and power, was the target of international terrorists, who detonated a bomb in the underground parking garage, killing six people and injuring a thousand. On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center once again became the target of a Muslim
extremist terrorist group, along with other symbolic American targets s…
Any terrorist organization, no matter its size or type, requires substantial amounts of money and resources to be able to carry out attacks and maintain some form of cohesion. Funding for such organizations can come from state sponsors, individual contributors, seemingly legitimate "front" organizations, and criminal
activities: TABLE 6.1 Domestic monitoring of possibl…
As authors Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry observe in their book Preventive Defense: A New Security Strategy for America (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1999), "Catastrophic terrorism is a militaryscale threat divorced from the traditional context of foreign military conflict. This is entirely new in the
American experience. Catastrophic terrorism challenges the U.S. gov…
Until the September 11, 2001, events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, America had FIGURE 6.9 suffered relatively few total terrorist acts, compared with all those committed against both developed and developing nations. Indeed, in the preceding decades, terrorism had become a weapon of choice in domestic,
regional, and international disputes. Despite their prevalence in o…
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