Objectives of Terrorism

د. عبد الرزاق علي Ýí 2015-02-12

                                                          Terrorism 4                                        
                                             Objectives of Terrorism
                                               Abdelrazak M Ali          
         Terrorism is a special type of violence. It is a tactic used in peace, conflict, and war. The threat of terrorism is ever present, and an attack is likely to occur when least expected. A terrorist attack may be the event that marks the transition from peace to conflict or war. Combatting terrorism is a factor to consider in all military plans and operations. Combatting terrorism requires a continuous state of awareness and careful attention; it is a necessary practice rather than a type of military operation. Terrorism, may be said - is a coward's method to keep you in a state of fear, of what else, what next may come. Terrorism is a criminal offense under nearly every national or international legal code. With few exceptions, acts of terrorism are forbidden in war as they are in times of peace. See, for example, the Hague Regulation of 1907 and the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
Terrorists are inspired by many different motives. They are classified into three categories: rational, psychological, and cultural. A terrorist may be shaped by combinations of these categories. Ideology and motivation will influence the objectives of terrorist operations, especially regarding the casualty rate. Groups with secular ideologies and non-religious goals will often attempt highly selective and discriminate acts of violence to achieve a specific political aim. This often requires them to keep casualties at the minimum amount necessary to attain the objective. By limiting their attacks they reduce the risk of undermining external political and economic support. Groups that comprise a "wing" of an insurgency, or are affiliated with aboveground, sometimes legitimate, political organizations often operate under these constraints. The tensions caused by balancing these considerations are often a prime factor in the development of splinter groups and internal factions within these organizations. 
In contrast, religiously oriented and millenarian groups typically attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible. Because of the apocalyptic frame of reference they use, loss of life is irrelevant, and more casualties are better. Losses among their co-religionists are of little account, because such casualties will reap the benefits of the afterlife. Likewise, non-believers, whether they are the intended target or collateral damage, deserve death, and killing them may be considered a moral duty. The Kenyan bombing against the U.S. Embassy in 1998 inflicted casualties on the local inhabitants in proportion to U.S. personnel of over twenty to one killed, and an even greater disparity in the proportion of wounded (over 5000 Kenyans were wounded by the blast; 95% of total casualties were non-American ). Fear of backlash rarely concerns these groups, as it is often one of their goals to provoke overreaction by their enemies, and hopefully widen the conflict.
 A. Symbolic Aim 
The type of target selected will often reflect motivations and ideologies. For groups professing secular political or social motivations, their targets are highly symbolic of authority; government offices, banks, national airlines, and multinational corporations with direct relation to the established order. Likewise, they conduct attacks on representative individuals whom they associate with economic exploitation, social injustice, or political repression. While religious groups also use much of this symbolism, there is a trend to connect it to greater physical devastation. There also is a tendency to add religiously affiliated individuals, such as missionaries, and religious activities, such as worship services, to the targeting equation. 
Another common form of symbolism utilized in terrorist targeting is striking on particular anniversaries or commemorative dates. Nationalist groups may strike to commemorate battles won or lost during a conventional struggle, whereas religious groups may strike to mark particularly appropriate observances. Many groups will attempt to commemorate anniversaries of successful operations, or the executions or deaths of notable individuals related to their particular conflict. Likewise, striking on days of particular significance to the enemy can also provide the required impact. 
The symbolic concept of terrorism provides two crucial distinctions between terrorism and revolution and between terrorism and other forms of violence. If the objective of violence is the acquisition of useful objects (money, weapons, etc.) or the denial of such resources from the enemy, this action is robbery, assassination, sabotage, etc., "if, on the other hand, the objective is symbolic expression, we are dealing with terror" (Thornton). this highlights the distinction between terrorism and revolution, for symbolic violence can be used not only to propagandize the overthrow of a system, but also as a means of interest articulation to effect the system's output. When the "establishment" is unwilling to listen to nonviolent protest, terrorism permits the frustrated communicator, as staged by one terrorist, "to maximize significance and minimize getting caught."29
Through information warfare attacks, cyberterrorists can utilize non-physical symbolic violence to articulate their message. Cyberterrorists can now manipulate a mass communication medium to convey a message directly, rather than relying on potentially incorrect or "slanted" reporting of an act of symbolic violence. The increasing ability to reach millions of individuals directly on the Internet or via a Direct Broadcast Satellite system offers "frustrated communicators" a non-violent alternative route to publicity..
B.  political Influence  
The second element of Thornton's definition is that terror is an "act designed to influence political behavior." This portion of the definition focuses on political terrorism vice other forms, such as criminal or pathological terrorism. While no universally accepted definition for terrorism exists in the literature, political terrorism is concerned with changing the actions of either the incumbent regime (insurgent terrorism), other groups (vigilante terrorism), or the population at large (regime or state terrorism).31 The introduction of information warfare techniques will affect the conduct of all three types of terrorism but not the terrorist's intention to influence political behavior.
C. Extranormality
The extranormality of terrorist means and targets is critical to understanding the effectiveness of terrorist violence. Schmid states that, "normal occurrences lead to standardized responses and coping mechanisms. Terrorist violence breaks the pattern of normal human actions."32 It is precisely because terrorist actions fall so far outside the "norm" of violence accepted in society that they generate such an extraordinary reaction. Schmid identifies five elements of extranormality: the weapon, the act, the time and place, covert and clandestine nature, and violation of rules of conduct.
(1) The Weapon. Terrorists have a long history of utilizing "common" weapons such as knives, guns, and bombs to commit acts that exist outside the realm of accepted behavior (murder, assassination, airline and embassy bombings). These weapons take on new dimensions in the minds of the victims and target audience. The fear of the unknown and the increasing potential of terrorists utilizing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), as evidenced by the sarin gas attacks in Tokyo, produces terror as a result of such powerful weapons being controlled by a sub-state, non-sanctioned actor. As the information age arrives, the possession of information warfare skills by smaller and smaller groups of individuals may signal the arrival of a new WMD, a Weapon of Mass Disruption, in which bother the state and sub-state actors are equally equipped to inflict this disruption.
(2) The Act. While the use of chemical weapons and the destruction of buildings has been commonplace in the "normal" realm of state on state warfare, gassing civilians in a subway and the destruction of an embassy, airplane, or federal building with a bomb clearly lies outside the bounds of accepted, and even criminal, behavior. Since a cyberterrorist act has yet to be committed, the first act will, by definition, be outside the bounds of the normal. At the very least, it will be unique.
(3) The Time and Place. The third extranormal element is the time and place of the attack. In terrorism, there is no "declaration of war" between two states that prepares the population for violence between the state and an enemy. Thus, a terrorist attack is usually a "bolt from the blue," designed to create terror in the target audience due, in part, to its unexpectedness. As Schmid states:
The place of the terrorist act is also unpredictable. There are no frontlines, there is no battlefield. The sudden outbreak of violence can occur at home, during a sportive event or in a cinema, in a barroom or on the marketplace-places which have the character of zones of peace. The contrast between the familiar surroundings and the violent disruption enhances the fear. Their is a sporadic, irregular pattern to the violence, whereby no one can be really certain that he is not facing imminent danger the very next moment. The thought where and when the next attack will take place and who will be the victim is on everybody's mind of those who belong to the targets of terror.33
(4) Covert and Clandestine Nature. This applies equally to insurgent and state terrorism. An insurgent terrorist group must, be design, remain covert and clandestine to continue to operate. The dawn of the information age presents new tools for a terrorist organization to communicate securely with its members while simultaneously enhancing the clandestine nature of the group. Additionally, the information age provides another set of tools to the anti-terrorist forces for use against the terrorist.
(5) Violation of rules of conduct. Couples with the lack of a battlefield or front line is the lack of any rules of engagement or laws of war. The Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists or their victims. Schmid again highlights the effect this has on individuals.
The adherence to social norms in human interactions makes behavior predictable and thereby contributes to a sense of security. Whenever manmade violence occurs we look for a reason and generally find it in a breakdown of the actor-victim relationship. the terrorist, however, has generally not had such a relationship at all. The victim is often not his real opponent, he is only an object to activate a relationship with his opponent. The instrumentalization of human beings for a cause of which they are not part in a conflict in which they are often not active participants strikes many observers as extranormal.
The victims in cyberspace will never "see" their attacker, nor are they likely to have any relationship with their attackers in the "real" world. Rather, the interaction will occur exclusively in the anonymous realm of cyberspace.
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