Essay: Terrorism Is a Weapon of the Weak Global Jihad a Myth or Reality

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Terrorism is a "Weapon of the Weak -- / Global Jihad, a Myth or Reality

Terrorism is a weapon of the weak

Terrorism has become one of the most discussed subjects in terms of international security and in the foreign affairs offices throughout the world. Especially after the 9/11 events in the United States, terrorism has received the label of the most important threat to national security (Townshend, 2007). Both domestic and international terrorism are phenomena that can hardly be tackled with instruments that have been used traditionally during the Cold War in particular when security was established as a special area of expertise. This is largely due to the fact that this threat is an unconventional one and requires unconventional means to counter.

Terrorism is by no means a weapon of the weak. Although there is no generally accepted definition of terrorism, one that would encompass the complexity of the phenomenon, it is rather clear that terrorism represents a sum of causes and effects that can hardly be labeled in one way or another. Yet, terrorism is a means of applying pressure on the decision making bodies and to create a certain image and reaction at the level of the public opinion or the targeted audience.

It is rather difficult to asses weather terrorism is used only by the weak groups, largely because, as previous history has pointed out, terrorist groups have become more and more elaborated in their techniques of operation and act now at the global level (Kaplan, 2006). Of course, one of the most well-known terrorist groups is the Al Qaeda that is known to have ties and connections throughout the world. The 9/11 events proved precisely the magnitude of their influence at that time. Although at this point the organization is no longer as powerful as it was a decade ago largely due to the fact that its head, Osama bin Laden was killed by the American led interventions in the Middle East, the group still represents, at least in the mentality of the public opinion, the most representative terrorist group.

This notoriety is extremely benefic for terrorist groups and may make the difference between a weak or powerful terrorist movement. This is due to the fact that, as mentioned above, one of the main targets of the terrorist attacks is the creation of an impression over the public opinion, especially one of fear (Wilkinson, 2000). This connection is made considering in particular the effect the public opinion has on the elected decision making bodies. Public opinion can provide legitimacy to state actions or can condemn state actions. To point out an example, the American public for various reasons did not support the war in Vietnam; however, one of it was the belief that the threats in Indochina were not direct threats to the security of the American public. By comparison, when the 9/11 attacks were directly pointed at the safety of the American people, there was a massive domestic support for the American led intervention in Afghanistan, even if that meant adventuring in a guerrilla war like that would have resulted in substantial loss of human life. Therefore, terrorism is not necessarily a tool for the weak, but rather it represents a distinct means of drawing the attention on certain issues.

There are labeled terrorist groups that have managed to achieve part of their goals, despite the fact that they have done so by means of violence. One example is ETA, the Basque terrorist group that aimed at creating the Basque region a distinct structure from the rest of Spain. Although such a drastic approach was not accepted, through actions that have been accredited to this terrorist group, currently the Basque region is enjoying a somewhat different regime than the rest of Spain, with official Catalan language and administration. This is most visible in Barcelona, where the distinctions from the rest of Spain are clear from the architecture to the political organization. Therefore, again, terrorism is not a weapon of the weak,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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