Term Paper: National Religious and Ideological Terrorism

Pages: 6 (2130 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Terrorism

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International Terrorism

Terrorism is the notion of inflicting violence or terror on a

population to further some kind of agenda without adhering to the rules

regulating combat by the Geneva Convention. This is because terrorists

often have specific aims, whether political, ideological, or religious in

furthering their goals for which are often excluded from the institutions

governing politics and society. Terrorists exist, even with often with

popular support, as an outsider trying to make their voices heard and their

desired outcomes a reality. Considering three distinct forms of terrorism-

ideological, nationalist, and religious and case samples exemplifying each

group, one can come to conclusions about terrorists. Terrorists act out of

necessity, or desperation, and they see terrorism as the last option in

competing in a battle in which they are the heavy underdog. While

terrorist groups have different aims, courses of actions, and final goals,

they share the feeling that they have been repressed by existing

institutions and are forced to fight back with terrorism being the next

best available option. Additionally, terrorist groups often respond with

violence to incidents in which they feel they have been wronged. This is

because there are positive expectations, but when not meant, the groups

that feel themselves to be oppressed or not benefiting are marginalized and

resort to terrorism to achieve their goals.

An example of ideological terrorism, the Baader-Meinhof group in

Germany became a leading left wing group in West Germany. As West Germany

was dominated by United States notions of democracy, the left wing Red Army

Faction was thus going against the grain of society. Described by

government forces as a terrorist group, it saw itself a military group who

was forced to rely on urban guerilla tactics to achieve their aim. The

roots of the organization were those who were originally students, but the

opposition grew as Communism was outlawed and many ex-Nazi right-wingers

came to assume political office. This growing threat of right wing

influences in the government motivated the youth as did a series of

inciting events including a death of a student, shot by a member of the

military. The rising tension led to a strong left opposition and a right

counter-response which led to the formation of the Red Army Faction. After

training with the PLO, the Red Army Faction returned to stop the urban

imperialistic course of Germany instigating a series of bank robberies and

arson attacks. The actions of the Red Army faction culminated in the

German Autumn in 1977 in which there were substantial amounts of deaths, an

important hi-jacking with Arab ties, and the ultimately resulted in the

death of many of the key members of the Baader-Meinhof Group. This time

was a time of fear among Germans after World War II. The objectives were

never clear, but the group was in opposition to the right wing tendencies

of West German and was in support of a more leftist government. Thus it

was an ideological war being fought that resulted in failure as there was

fear, but not substantial gains made by the Red Army Faction.

An organization fighting for political gains is that of the

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam in Sri Lanka who seek an independent state

within Sri Lanka that is inhabited by Tamils. Sri Lanka is a cleavaged

society, and in this case the ethnic cleavage has created a powerful

nationalist movement and one in which the terrorist group seeks to achieve.

The Liberation tigers are a highly militaristic group whose members are

willing to commit suicide attacks and commit suicide if captured. It is a

military group, who also maintains administrative control over certain

areas of the country. It is thus now its own opposition government one

backed with military aims which perhaps help to influence and strengthen

its position as a legitimate government. But the Liberation Tigers are

considered a terrorist organization as they resort to violence, even

against civilians in an attempt to further their goal of independence.

They have a record of major attacks against civilians and successful

assassinations against political rivals and enemies. Thus it is much more

than a separatist movement, but a war against the government of Sri Lanka.

But it is not a traditional war, but one encompassed by terrorist notions

intended to incite fear and act outside the traditional notions of military

action. Furthermore, the group uses child soldiers, tries to rid its areas

of those ethnicities which are not Tamil, and has a record of killing

prisoners of war. Because of its complete inability to achieve its goal of

an independent state, it is forced to resort to even the cruelest and most

disdained terrorist activities which have resulted in a failure. Other

forms of stealing, extortion, bribery, and illegal activity were conducted

by the group. Ultimately, the primary goal failed resulted in a 2001 cease

fire in which intermediaries were brought in to broker an agreement for

regional autonomy. While is this may seem a step towards the Tamil goal,

it has not been fully realized and because terrorism has failed, it will

take only an all-out war to gain a Tamil State, and therefore terrorism can

be seen as a desperate act that resulted in failure.

State terrorism differs from the aforementioned terrorist groups in

that state terrorism is that in which a state sponsors or helps a terrorist

group to achieve its intentions of violence against civilians. An example

of a country that engages in state sponsored terrorism is Iran, whose be

classified by the Untied States governments as one of the few in the world

to be a contributor to terrorism by a sovereign state (Global Patterns

1996). In fact, Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the

world and its agents help to plan and execute the activities of terrorists

such as the Lebanese Hezbollah. The state government funds and trains

terrorist organizations. Furthermore, Iran has engaged in direct terrorist

acts by murdering government officials in foreign states that may have

possibly posed a threat to Iran. Those who speak out against the clerical

regime of the Shah's government are thus at risk for attack by the

encouragement of state sponsored terrorism by Iran. State sponsored

terrorism is also characteristic of providing help through weapons, money,

and training to terrorist groups and even encourage violence in a violence

prone area. The anti-Israeli policy has only further encouraged terrorist

groups against Israel by knowing that they have the support of a sovereign

state. Iran is thus a continually player in state sponsored terrorism as

the leaders of the government have approved terrorist actions and often

allow their borders to be a safe house for suspected terrorists. State

sponsored terrorism, in Iran, for instance is noteworthy in that the state

is a respected entity and can often deny involvement with terrorists.

State sponsored terror is thus a small way for a state to encourage its

policy and to show resistance to existing conditions. For example, by

supporting Hezbollah, the Iranian government can show its dislike for

Israel and encourage action against Israel without becoming too heavily

involved in an international situation. Thus state sponsored terrorism

does not necessarily have winners, but it is a slow process of leading

towards a state's foreign policy. But the negative responses can be

overwhelming a state is a more susceptible and easier target to hit than an

underground terrorist organization and states who sponsor terrorism are

therefore put their regime at risk. This is the case with Iran who has

drawn increased scrutiny that may threaten its political presence within

Iran because of policies that are supporting of terrorists.

According to the assumption that terrorism is a last ditch effort to

defy the existing conditions in which a group feels they have no impact or

expect better, these three groups and therefore the three types of

terrorism fit within this model. The Red Faction Army, for instance, in

fighting an ideological leftist battle against what they fear to the be

right-wing takeover of Germany they are a group that is on the margins and

feels that a violent course of action is the only option in realizing their

goals. Similarly, The Liberation Tigers have unable to succeed in their

goal of creating a sovereign state for the Tamils and thus are forced to

radical and irrational acts to bring harm to their opponents and let their

voice be heard at any cost. Without the power to fight a traditional war

against Sri Lanka, they resort to terrorism in order have a chance that

their voice be heard and their goals realized. Iran, when faced with

increased international pressure and opposition to its extreme government

can only further its international policy by reacting strongly against the

established Western influence in international organizations and in their

regions. Their only course of action is to fight back, but fighting back a

sovereign state will lead to retaliation. Therefore they allow the

terrorist organizations to do the fighting while provided support.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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National Religious and Ideological Terrorism.  (2007, April 24).  Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/national-religious-ideological-terrorism/138680

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"National Religious and Ideological Terrorism."  24 April 2007.  Web.  6 December 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/national-religious-ideological-terrorism/138680>.

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"National Religious and Ideological Terrorism."  Essaytown.com.  April 24, 2007.  Accessed December 6, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/national-religious-ideological-terrorism/138680.