Terrorism Summary

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terrorism

Terrorism and the International Court of Justice

I. History of International Terrorism

II. State Sponsored Terrorism
A. Iran
B. Sudan

III. Benefits Derived From Terrorism
A. Inexpensive and ability to advance ideologies
B. Fear
C. Publicity
D. Minimal risk
E. Lack of public defeat

IV. Aspects of Terrorism
A. Technological advances
B. Weapons of mass destruction
C. Cyber terrorism
D. Suicide bombing

V. Islamic Terrorist Organizations
A. Islamic Jihad
B. Al-Gama'a ai-Islamiyyah
C. Hamas
D. Hizballah
E. Usamah Bin-Laden
1. Status of Bin-Laden
2. Applicability of International Law
3. International Court of Justice Ruling
4. Discussion of Ruling

VI. United States' Terrorism Policy
A. Make no deals
B. Must be held accountable in a court of law
C. Isolate and apply pressure to states that sponsor terrorism

VII. Conclusion










Terrorism, as defined by Title 22 of the United States code, section 2656f(d), is the
"pre-meditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by
sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence and audience."
Islamic terrorism is a serious problem for the United States because of the threat to
national security, innocent civilians, and the foundations of democratic societies
throughout the world (1997 Global Terrorism: NP).

International terrorism has changed in structure and design over the centuries. Jewish
zealots conducted campaigns against the Romans in the first century AD, and the
Hashshashin, a Shi'ah Muslim group who gave us the word assassin, systematically murdered
those in positions and leadership during the 19th century (CSIS, July 1999). The modern
age of terrorism began in the 1960's. International terrorism in its current form began in
1968. As the 1970's passed by, the explosion of extremist groups and related incidents
sparked a new awareness of the dangers of terrorism. In the 1980's, Canada was the victim
of several terrorist attacks carried out by Armenian and Sikh extremists, including a
bombing of an Air India flight originating in Toronto, which exploded off the coast of
Ireland, killing 329 people (CSIS, July 1999).

The 1995 Sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo Cult in a Tokyo subway marked a new
threshold in international terrorism. For the first time, people began to realize that
similar groups could use weapons of mass destruction or plan attacks to inflict maximum
casualties. The long-term effects of exposure are yet to be determined, but preliminary
tests of eighteen victims conducted in January 1998 showed that their sense of balance was
affected by the nerve gas (ACOEM, January 1998).

Most of the Islamic world view the West, especially the United States, as the foremost
corrupting influence on the Islamic world today. The Hizballah, an Iranian terrorist
group, have labeled the United States as "the Great Satan" (Sinha. "Pakistan-The Chief
Patron-Promoter of Islamic Militancy and Terrorism": NP). This growing animosity that
Islamic nations feel toward the Western world has been continually demonstrated by the
increase in international terrorism. However, Muslims view their actions as acts of
self-defense and religious duty and not as terrorism. The Islamic radical movements main
success has been their ability to gain legitimacy from the general public (Paz 1998: NP).
During the past two decades, they have had enormous success with their ability to present
themselves to the Arab and Muslim world as the true bearers of Islam. They appeal to the
lower class due to the shared resentment of wealthy westerners while the middle class and
intellectuals are drawn toward these radical groups in order to expel imported ideologies
and forms of government (State Department. "Anti-US Attacks" 1997: NP). Radical Islamic
organizations have declared a holy war, Jihad, in order to bring the Arab world together
and take their place as a world power. In order to accomplish these goals, Islamic
radicals have mainly used terrorism as their main instrument of persuasion.

The largest and most active terrorist organizations are those which are state funded.
These organizations act as both an overt and covert way of spreading the sponsor countries
ideologies. The U.S. Secretary of State has designated seven governments as state sponsors
of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria (State Department.
"Over of State-Sponsored Terrrorism" 1997: NP). These governments support international
terrorism either by engaging in terrorist activity themselves or by providing arms,
training, safe haven, diplomatic facilities, financial backing, logistic and/or support to
terrorists ("Over of State-Sponsored Terrorism" 1997: NP).


Iran is one of the most active state sponsors of terrorism, involving themselves in the
planning and execution of terrorist acts by its own agents and by surrogates such as the
Hizballah. Tehran conducted 13 assassinations in 1997, the majority of which were carried
out in northern Iraq against the regime's main opposition groups. In January of 1997,
Iranian agents tried to attack the Baghdad headquarters of Mujahedin-e Khalq using a
supermortar. However, despite sanctions and foreign political pressure, Iran continues to
provide support in the form of training, money, and weapons to a variety of terrorist
groups, such as Hizballah, HAMAS, and the PIJ (State Department "Over of State-Sponsored
Terrorism" 1997:NP).

Sudan is another large supporter of terrorist organizations. The Sudanese Government
supports terrorists by providing paramilitary training, indoctrinization, money, travel
documents, safe passage, and refuge. They also condone many of the objectionable
activities of Iran, such as funneling assistance to terrorist and radical Islamic groups
operating in and transiting through Sudan. Since Sudan was placed on the United States'
list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993, the Sudanese Government still harbors members
of the most violent international terrorists and radical Islamic groups (State Department
"Over of State-Sponsored Terrorism" 1997: NP).

Middle-Eastern countries have found terrorism beneficial for many reasons. First,
terrorism is an inexpensive alternative to fighting a war, while still spreading their
ideology and advancing their political agenda. Alternately, defending against terrorism is
very expensive; the United States spends approximately five billion dollars annually to
guard against terrorism (Wilcox 1996: NP). Even though terrorism kills relatively few
people, the random nature by which innocent civilian are killed evokes a deep fear and
insecurity upon the population. This form of terrorism was successfully used to target
tourism and damage Egypt's economy in 1997. Publicity is another benefit of terrorism. By
involving acts which are designed to attract maximum publicity, terrorism can bring the
smallest group to the forefront of attention (Rajeswari NP). All this is done while
exposing the terrorist to minimal risk when compared to war.

By secretly funding terrorist organization, the patron state avoids the possibility of
defeat and does not appear to be the aggressor. Modern technology has now made terrorism
an efficient, convenient, and general discrete weapon for attacking state interests in the
international realm. Furthermore, the fear evoked by terrorism creates an ideal setting to
launch propaganda, which enables patron states to organize revolts, coups, and even civil
war.

History shows that terrorism has only been successful in prolonging conflicts, as in
Ireland. However, technology is constantly changing the nature of life-threatening
hostilities by delivering more sophisticated devices that cause greater damage. No longer
are terrorists restrained to simple car bombs and explosives; now nuclear, biological, and
chemical weapons are becoming more readily available. The terrorist attack in Tokyo that
injured 5,000 people is an example of this kind of terrorism. The latest threat is the
cyber terrorist, who can corrupt a governments computer system, steal money, and/or
classified information while never leaving his house. Changing methods and techniques that
terrorists employ today make threat of attack worse than ever. First, terrorists operate
at an international level, no longer concentrating on a particular region or a country.
The dawn of the modern age of terrorism dates back to September 5, 1972, when the
Palestinian terrorists attacked the Israeli Olympic team in Munich. Following this, there
has been a period of hijacking of commercial airlines, which culminated in the destruction
of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (Rajeswari: NP).

Another new aspect of terrorism is the growing possibility of terrorists making use of
weapons of mass destruction—nuclear, biological and chemical. Also, the governments have
to think seriously about the threat of chemical weapons and biological toxins. Both these
types of weapons are easy to manufacture but have horrifying after-effects on the civilian
population. The Sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995 by Aum Shinrikyo showed that
the threat of chemical terrorism is now a reality (Sinha "Threat of Islamic Terrorism":
NP).

For many years, it had been thought that weapons of mass destruction did not serve the
purpose of terrorists, and it was not mass murder they wanted. But in the modern age of
terrorism, one sees a wider use of powerful explosives that attack mostly the civilian
population, and availability is the only thing that prevents the use of larger weapons.
This trend towards larger attacks is represented by a 25-year low in international
terrorism in 1996, with reported incidents down from a peak of 665 in 1987 to 296 in 1996.
At the same time, the number of casualties rose dramatically (1997 Global Terrorism: NP).

The third aspect of terrorism that is new is cyber terror. It has become very easy to
penetrate the telecommunications and computer systems of nations as well as private
organizations, and enter new computer codes that cause the system to shutdown or to make
it accessible only to the intruder. Terrorists use computers, cellular phones, and
encryption software to evade detection and they also have sophisticated means of forging
passports and valuable documents. Similarly, they could even introduce "morphed" images
and messages into a country's radio and television network, and spread lies that could
incite violence. Technology advancement has made it possible to carry powerful explosive
devices in a purse and explode these at the right place and at the right time.

Another recent trend in terrorism is suicide bombing. Suicide bombings have emerged as a
tactic used particularly by radical Islamic terrorists. Even though Islam prohibits
suicide, these suicide bombers believe that death in a holy struggle assures them a
faithful place in heaven; thus, by committing this act of war, they feel they are
guaranteed to go to heaven. This method of terrorism is almost impossible to defend
against and the reason why terrorists must be prevented, not only deterred.



Many radical Islamic terrorist organizations have developed in recent years, but the
biggest organizations are the Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Al-Gama'a ai-Islamiyyah, and the
Hizballah. These organizations all seek the elimination of western and Jewish influence,
and will not hesitate to go to any length to prevent foreign influence (State Department
"Armed Islamic Group, IG: NP).

The Islamic Jihad Group , in Egypt, has been active since the late 70's, and currently
includes two factions. The goal of these factions is to overthrow the Egyptian government
and replace it with an Islamic state. To accomplish this, the Jihad operates in small
underground cells and attacks elite government officials. Their most notorious acts of
terrorism have been the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat and the 1993 attempted
assassination of Prime Minister Atef Sedky (Jihad Group:NP).

Al-Gama'a ai-Islamiyyah, The Islamic Group, or IG, evolved from a group of Islamic
prisoners in Egypt. After being released from prison in 1971, they began forming militant
groups that operated separately but were loosely organized. These groups target police
officers, liberal intellectuals, Coptic Christians, and tourism in order to hurt the
economy and rid Egypt of Western influence. The IG's most recent attack was November 17,
1997, when 58 tourists were killed; this severely impacted Egyptian tourism for several
months (The Islamic Group: NP).

Hamas is the Arab acronym for, "The Islamic Resistance Movement," and means courage and
bravery (Al-Islamiyya: NP). This organization has evolved from the Muslim Brotherhood and
was active in the early stages of Intifada, operating in the Gaza strip and the West bank.
The main objective of the Hamas is a "Holy War" for the liberation of Palestine and the
establishment of an Islamic Palestine. A variety of non-governmental charitable
organizations in the Gulf States, four central charity funds throughout the world, and
Iran have enabled Hamas to become the second most powerful terrorist organization. During
Intifada, Hamas claimed responsibility for 43 attacks that killed 46 Palestinians, and is
believed to be responsible for another 40 deaths (Al-Islamiyya: NP).

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