Terrorism: Defined• Terrorism has existed for almost aslong as humans have existed.Terrorism is defined as the use ofviolence and threats to intimidate orcoerce someone or a group forpolitical reasons.• Historically terrorism has been usedby groups that did not have thetraditional resources to achieve theirpolitical goals. Terrorists will secretlyattack either a government institutionor civilian target that they feel willcause pain for their enemy. Theattacks that bring the most attentionto their cause are viewed as the mostsuccessful.• While they are viewed as terrorists tomost, others may view them asfreedom fighters.The Zealots were terrorists of theRoman empire in 100 AD. Theyattacked Roman government buildingsto try to force the Romans out ofJudea. The term “Zealot” today isapplied to any religious extremist.
Causes for Terrorism• Typically those thatresort to terrorism arethose who are facinginequitieseconomically, sociallyor culturally.• A major cause ofterrorism over timeand today is religiousextremism. These arepeople that haveextreme views onreligion and are nottolerant to otherfaiths.The “intifada” was an uprising by mainly poorand young Palestinians living in Israel. They leadriots against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Examples of Terrorism: MunichOlympic kidnapping• During the 1972 Olympics inMunich Germany, Islamicreligious extremists kidnappedand held 11 hostages from theIsraeli Olympic team as aprotest against Israel.• An attempt was made to rescuethe hostages, but it wasunsuccessful and all 11 weremurdered. This was the earliesthigh profile example of Islamicterrorism.• Israel’s government underGolda Meir would later respondwith Operation Wrath ofGod, creating an assassinationsquad that hunted down andkilled anyone responsible forplanning the attack.
Airline Hijackings• A common recent use ofterrorism has beenhijacking or attackingairlines, as they leave manycivilians vulnerable to beused as hostages.• This method was extremelycommon in the 1960s-1980s.• This has caused manycountries to institute strictsecurity measures toprotect airports andairlines.
Car Bombings• Car bombings areanother commonly usedtactic by terrorists. Sinceit is easy to conceal abomb inside of a car, theyare often unexpectedattacks.• In 1993 the US WorldTrade Center in NYC wasattacked by a car bomb.• In 1995 the Federalbuilding in Oklahoma Citywas destroyed by a carbomb made by Americananti-governmentterrorists. 168 people (including 20 small children)were killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing
Suicide Attacks• Another common tacticof terrorists is the use ofsuicide bombings. Inthese attacks a terroristconceals a bomb underhis clothing andexplodes it, usually in acrowded area, killinghimself in the process.• These are extremelyhard to guard againstand are commonly usedagainst civilians.
Afghanistan and the Taliban• In 1979 the USSR invaded Afghanistan.Keeping with the Cold War policy ofcontainment the US and CIA helpedsupply the Mujahideen, a group ofMuslims that the US viewed then asfreedom fighters resisting thecommunists.• However after the fall of the USSR, theMujahideen helped the Taliban, a groupof extreme Muslims take control ofAfghanistan and institute law based onthe Qu’ran.• The Taliban created a safe haven forterrorists in Afghanistan to trainterrorists and plan attacks.Muhajideen in Afghanistan 1984.They helped drive USSR forcesour of Afghanistan
Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda• Osama Bin Laden, a wealthy heirof a Saudi Arabian businessmanhelped the Mujahideen inAfghanistan. He organized the AlQaeda (“the base”) terroristorganization which has called for a“jihad” (holy war, struggle) againstthe world. Afghanistan under theTaliban was a major base for hisorganization.• Al Qaeda views the US, Europeand Israel as trying to eliminateIslam, and often targets theseareas.• Al Qaeda first garnered attentionin the 1990s leading attacksagainst the US embassies in Kenyaand Tanzania and the USS Cole.
September 11, 2001• On September 11, 2001, AlQaeda initiated a majorterrorist attack against theUS by hijacking 4 airlinersand crashing them into theWorld Trade center inNY, the Pentagon inWashington DC, and anempty field inPennsylvania.• The US responded the nextmonth by invadingAfghanistan to disrupt AlQaeda’s activities anddeclaring to work againstany country that harboredterrorists.
The War on Terror in Afghanistan andIraq• The Taliban was removedfrom holding official power inAfghanistan but continues tooperate and attacks the UStroops that remain in thecountry today.• In 2003, the US also invadedIraq, and removed SaddamHussein from power toprevent him from sponsoringfuture terrorist attacks.• Osama bin Laden waseventually killed by a NavySeal team on May 2, 2011.
Security measures• Countries have respondedto terrorism in a numberof ways trying to protecttheir citizens.• The US has increased itssurveillance to try tocombat terrorism, but thishas left many concernedover their privacy rightsbeing violated.• Extra security measureshave been taken at portsand airports like full bodyscanners.• Travel and access to certainlocations now oftenrequire photoidentification.