Terrorism has been in existence for quite a long time. There are different descriptions of terrorism using both tactics and strategies. Various parties have defined it as a crime, while others see it as a holy duty or as a justifiable reaction to oppressive forces, while others perceive it as an inexcusable abomination (White, 2012). In many instances, terrorism has been an effective tactic for a side that is weak in a conflict. As such, it enables the weak side of the conflict to have coercive power same as that of the military, but at a significantly reduced cost. According to the US Department of Defense, terrorism is the premeditated use of illegal force that aims of inflicting fear and intimidating authorities or people with a motive based on ideas or religion (White, 2012). The UN has also defined terrorism as the anxiety-inspiring approach of repetitive violence used by furtive individuals, groups or members of state pursuing criminal, political or ideological motives (White, 2012).
The History of Terrorism
Throughout history, many have construed a notion of terrorism that includes the usage of people seeking to cease their victimization and oppression, as well as freedom fighters (Law, 2014). During the American Revolution, the use of terroristic tactics to fight the British forces has increased, which was redefined as the revolutionary tactics (Law, 2014). However, they are only categorized as acts of terror by people who are within power, and are being targeted. During the American Revolution, the persons opposing the British acted in resistance and, in a way, to regain their freedom. From their perspective, they were freedom fighters. However, the British perceived them as terrorists. The organizations formed to oppose the leadership were classified as terror groups. For example, there were the Sons of Liberty in 1765 and the Gaspee Affair in 1772 (Law, 2014). Such acts of terror continued in the 20th century political revolutions and nationalism spread throughout the world. Countries seeking recognition and autonomy engaged in terror acts with the aim of toppling their oppressors (Law, 2014).
Since the end of the World War II, there has been massive acceleration of terrorism. It has become a massive component of modern day conflicts. After the World War II, the main use of terror acts was to fight against colonialism. Over time, it expanded beyond this role, and became a far-reaching weapon with global effects (Law, 2014). After the anti-colonial forces won their conflicts, there emerged new revolutionary wars due to nationalism and separatism. These are described as ethnic groups that aim at separating from their host country. For example, there is the Basque Homeland, Quebec and parts of Indonesia. Similar to the anticolonial revolutions, they use acts of terror to attract international sympathy and to have them perceived as fighting for freedom. The evolution of terrorism has morphed into a phase where most activities are based on religious beliefs (Law, 2014). It has seen the development of extremist Islamic groups that base their activities on their religion, which involves fighting for a person’s beliefs. The above mentioned has resulted to the development of modern-day terror groups that have regional and global impact, including the Al-Qaida, ISIS, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Muslim Brotherhood, Kataib Hezbollah, and Mujahideen among others (Law, 2014).
Effect of Terrorism
Terrorism has immense effects on different arms of the society. These effects are intertwined, making terrorism have far-reaching effects. Terrorist activities result in numerous deaths of people and destruction of property. As a result, governments are trying to find new measures of protecting their people, which inflates the budget. Consequently, people have to pay more in terms of taxes to fund these projects. Additionally, the areas that are hit by terrorists are deemed as insecure and unfit for business. Consequently, investors avoid these areas, which negatively impact on the economic-wellbeing of the area. It leads to increased poverty levels and the emotional torture for individuals (Martin & Kushner, 2011). Terrorism has, in the history, led to massive Lay-offs, and company losses. For example, after the September 11, 2001 attack in USA, more than 200,000 jobs were lost. They included about 40,000 people in the aerospace industry. In addition, it led to the losses in the global airline industry to the tune of more than USD 15 billion. At the same time, the insurance industry took a hit of about $50 billion (United States Department of State, 2002).
Impact of the Russian Revolution and Irish Republican Army on Terrorism
During the Russian revolution, ideologies of terrorism were developed and spread throughout the western hemisphere. Therefore, Western Europeans were able to become inoculated in the Russian revolutionaries’ ideology on terrorism or violence as a tool for changing the political situation in their countries. From England, France, Switzerland and even the USA, many of the main Russian revolutionaries for terrorism were able to foment revolutionary actions in these countries. Lenin, Bakunin, and Kropotkin were able to all collaborate with other radical ideologists in countries within the Western Hemisphere to change the course of history. The IRA was able to do the same thing in their revolutionary pursuits by collaborating with Palestinian revolutionaries, Latin American revolutionaries, and others throughout the Western hemisphere holding weapons training courses, tactical camps, and other support to produce the best revolutionary fighters or terrorists depending on how you view the issue. In any regard, the ability of the IRA and those within the Russian Revolution to provide a sense of unity for movements that personally did not affect their individual pursuits was their main contribution toward terrorism or freedom fighters in the Western hemisphere.
Similarities and Differences between the Left-Wing, Guerilla Ideological Terrorism and the Right-Wing Religiously Motivated Terrorism
Those who believe in left-wing terroristic ideologies such as the Weather Underground operating in the 1970s attempted to change the government to represent a more equal and just society. Guerilla terrorists are more synonymous with the tactics employed by fighters such as the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka ideology based upon using guerilla tactics to beat a far superior state apparatus. The right-wing religious terrorists believe in bringing religion at all costs to those who are infidels. Any one of these groups has many things in common beginning with their willingness to employ weapons for their cause. The differences emerge for why acts of violence or destruction are carried out. Left-wing terrorists such as the Weather Underground attempted to take many precautions to inform the police well before bombing a location because their main intent was to destroy what they felt represented government largesse and inequality. Therefore, the structures themselves were sought to be obliterated but not any lives of people.
Guerilla terrorists focus primarily on ambushing the state or national armies that are opposing their vision. These armies have far superior manpower and weaponry; therefore, the guerilla tactics level the playing field by giving them the advantage of surprise by ambushing the enemy in small engagements rather than conventional war. This same tactic was used by American revolutionaries during the Revolutionary War as well as in many other conflicts that saw small forces fighting for their freedom or vision who faced astronomical obstacles in regard to manpower and weaponry. They may sometime loot and steal from citizens, but the main reason for their violence is to kill or send a message toward the government through the use of violence against its army.
Right-wing terrorists who commit violence in the name of their deity, have the goal of inflicting as much deaths and destruction upon innocent civilians as possible. Their intentions are to ensure that the world media and others who may not be aware of their struggle or purpose become aware. This is accomplished by mass media, resting assured to cover any act of violence on a mass scale against seemingly innocent civilians. Therefore, suicide bombings and other acts that can randomly occur at places that anyone could frequent serve as a useful tool to cause hysteria amidst the masses and bring attention to their cause.
Impact of the Introduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) on the Methodologies of Preventing and Detecting Terrorism
The WMDs have not had any impact on terrorism, largely because most organizations considered terrorists by the United States and other governments do not have the capacity to make or obtain these weapons. As the debacle in Iraq illustrated, only so called state sponsors of terrorism are considered to be able to use the WMDs. It was the precipice for the Iraq war, even though there were no WMDs in Iraq. The purpose of the statement is that weapons of mass destruction have the ability to start wars if a state that has been dubbed a terroristic nation is purported to have them. The ideology does not prevent terrorism but it does provide incentives for freedom fighters to take up arms against invaders into their country, such as was the case in Iraq.
Modern Terrorism’s Influence in the Mission of the DHS
The development of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was conceived as a way of fighting terrorism. It was a response to the September 11, 2001 terror attack on the USA. It shows the magnitude of the modern terrorism. It evolves rapidly, which has promoted the development of State Department, focused on combating terrorism. Terrorism has evolved to include the use of modern technology, such as, the cyber space to recruit and radicalize unsuspecting youths. Consequently, the DHS has to keep reinventing and redefining its missions in order to encompass any developments among the terrorists.
Impact of Modern Terrorism on the Relationships between Federal, State and Local Government Agencies and Private Corporations
The Department of Homeland Security was created because of the 9/11 attacks, and its approach to terrorism has been the incorporation of federal, state, and private organizations to collaborate together on fighting terrorism. The use of collaboration is a change that occurred because of the perceived failures that some believe resulted in the 9/11 attacks, wherein the CIA and FBI did not share vital information that may have been able to prevent the attacks. The DHS provides networking and funding for state and federal programs that ensure that law enforcement agencies can effectively work together for the purpose of preventing terrorist attacks in their cities, as well as in the country.
Terror activities have existed for a long time. Significant evolution was seen as the motives for terror also change from the traditional guerilla tactics, to include religious ideologies. In addition, the approaches taken and motives for the terror activities have also changed. Terror activities also involve the technology where cyber-attacks have been launched against unsuspecting parties. In addition, there has been development of terror groups in almost every region with their motive being either reiterating after being attacked, or attempting to get overthrow governments or taking control of states or political regions. Additionally, terror links have moved with major terror groups, such as, the Al-Qaida, having affiliate terror groups in other regions, such as, the Al-Shabaab. Consequently, the terror threat has massively increased, and, as such, it requires advanced counter-terrorism tactics.