Research Paper on Terrorism and Its Causes

2021-07-16 10:30:12
7 pages
1795 words
University/College: 
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Terrorism is the worst threat to global security currently. Since the September 9/11 event in the USA, there has been an upsurge of terrorism cases in different cases. Generally, people understand terrorism as the invasion of foreign people or militia with an attempt to disrupt the government and peace and security of a country. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), terrorism refers to the unlawful use of violence or force against property or a person with an aim to coerce or intimidate the civilian population or the government. The coercion or intimidation is aimed at any other special group for social or political objectives.

Left Extremism

Left-wing extremism often has developed from working-class movements seeking in theory to eliminate, not preserve, class distinctions. Communism evolved from left-wing extremism. The threat from left-wing extremists did not die with the collapse of the Soviet Union, however. Domestic groups and state-sponsored cells and individuals have continued their espionage activities and the planning of terrorist actions against the U.S. government. Leftist extremists were responsible for three-fourths of the officially designated acts of terrorism in America in the 1980s (Bandura, 2016).

Although the current domestic terrorist threat within the United States is focused on right-wing extremists and white supremacists, left-wing extremists are alive and well and have several objectives. Some of these groups want to replace the government with a Marxist-Leninist system. According to Turker (2013), others want to carve out a new nation in the southeastern United States where the national territory of Kush would be established. Some of the leaders of these movements are currently political exiles living in Cuba, but new leaders are emerging within the United States as well.

Leftist extremists also pose an espionage threat to U.S. interests. Within the past several years, a cell of three Americans who started spying for East Germany during the 1970sand a group of 12 people spying for the Cuban government have been arrested. The three Americans, all committed to communism, have proudly spent their lives betraying Americas secrets. The Cubans were ordered to collect information on U.S. military activities in Florida. Between 1988 and 1998, 13, 858 people died in attacks committed by the 10 most active terrorist organizations in the world. The most violent of these was the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which was responsible for 3,575 deaths. When all of the deaths attributed to these groups are compared, leftist organizations were responsible for 10,198 or 74% of all people killed by the ten major terrorist groups during this time period. From an international perspective, leftist terrorism is alive and well (Akhmat, Zaman, Shukui & Sajjad, 2014).

At present, the black liberation movements in the United States are following a political and community-based agenda, unlike the 1970s when the agenda also included terrorist activities. However, the nationalist movement of the 1970s, which initially had the same agenda, resulted in extremists within the movement forming several terrorist groups including the Black Liberation Army and the Republic of New Africa. Some of the members of those groups are still incarcerated or living in Cuba.

More recently, there has been a similar emergence of terrorist organizations from extremists among right-wing groups. The Brotherhood of Silence, a terrorist group most active in 1984 and 1985, emerged from the Aryan Nationa right-wing, white supremacist organization that advocates a white supremacist nation in North America. Citizens in the United States have a right to their beliefs and to express those beliefs even if they advocate creating a new nation within the boundaries of the United States.

However, recent history proves there is always a possibility that a few extremists may be attracted to these causes, left and right, who decide to use terrorist tactics to achieve their goals. The challenge to law enforcement and security is not to interfere with the rights of individuals to express their beliefs while also providing a means for the early identification of extremists who are planning criminal actions.

The threat to the United States government from leftist extremists has decreased considerably in the past decade, but it has not disappeared. There are individuals and organizations within the United States who maintain the same ideology that resulted in the growth of left-wing terrorism in this country in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the leaders from that era are still communicating from Cuba with their followers in the United States, and new leaders and groups are emerging.

As stated, the challenge is to ensure that the rights of U.S. citizens who express these beliefs and who work through lawful institutions to express them are maintained. At the same time, all security professionals must be alert to the potential threats presented by these ideologies. The lessons of the 1960s and 1970s should not have to be relearned in the next century.

Those who think Marxist-Leninist ideology died with the Soviet Union should listen to the words of Fidel Castro as he concluded his speech on the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution in January 1999, Socialism or death! Venceremos!. Left-wing extremism continues, indeed, to be a potential threat to U.S. government agencies. The challenge in responding to this threat is to ensure that the rights of individuals to form and express their own beliefs are balanced with the need to provide security and protection against terrorism and espionage that may be committed by the most extreme members of these movements.

Religious Extremism

At first glance, the link between religious extremism and terrorism seems obvious. Religious extremists are willing to murder because they embrace theologies that sanction violence in the service of God. They have no sympathy for their victims, because they view those victims as enemies of God. And they readily sacrifice their own lives because they expect huge and immediate afterlife rewards in return form martyrdom. But upon closer examination, theological explanations raise more questions than they answer. If theology is so important, why are most terrorist organizations not religious? And if afterlife rewards are key, why has a nonreligious group the LTTE Tamil Tigers been responsible for more suicide attacks than another other organization? Why is suicide bombing associated with all sorts of theologies but just one style of religious organization (best described as sectarian)? And why do most militant sects devote much of their energy to benign and noble activities, such as running schools, health clinics, and social services agencies? To answer those questions, we propose an approach grounded in economics and informed by scholarship on the internal organization of religious sects. This approach reflects our conviction that one cannot comprehend the suicide al zealot apart from the self- sacrificing saint not because the two share a moral equivalence, but rather because the internal logic and social foundations of religious extremism are much the same, whether the extremists goals are good, bad, or deadly (Richardson, 2013).

Among the policy-relevant themes, two merit special note: First, academics, journalists, and governing officials can best understand religious commitment even its more extreme manifestations by viewing it as rational (normal, reasonable) behavior. And second, the effects of government intervention are, if anything, more pernicious in the realm of religion than in the realm of commerce. To label religious extremism the product of ignorance, coercion, or psychopathology is to foster misunderstanding. To combat extremism with the powers of the state is to invite conflict if that extremism represents a widespread unmet demand for some set of services. To support good religion while repressing bad religion is to invite violence.

The problem of religious extremism and terrorism in Central Asia has been associated with activities of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hizb ut-Tahrir, and a number of less known radical Islamic movements, such as Akramiya, Hizb an-Nusra, and Tablighi Jamaat among others. The IMU is a terrorist organization infamous for a series of terrorist attacks and raids in the Central Asian states, and implicated in ties with the Taliban and al-Qaeda networks. It was established with the aim of toppling President Karimovs secular regime in Uzbekistan, but later expanded its goals in an attempt to create a region-wide Islamic caliphate in Central Asia (Naumkin, 2003).

Ideologically speaking, the IMU is a jihadist movement that is not truly Islamist. Its followers have no interest in the transformation of society or converting people to their beliefs. The organization has no political program beyond the conquest of power and the subsequent imposition of their vision of Islam upon people (Khalid, 2007: 16). Another group that has been increasingly active in Central Asia is the Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (The Party of Islamic Liberation). It pursues the same goals as the IMU, but officially eschews violence.

All Central Asian states adopted restrictive religious policies and measures in an attempt to control and manipulate Islam. The bans on unregistered Islamic organizations and persecution of the thousands of Muslims suspected in collaboration with Islamists drove radical Islamic groups underground making their membership numbers and popularity difficult to estimate. The authoritarian nature of Central Asian governments, which often strategically manipulate the discourse on Islamic radicalization, also complicates scholars efforts at data collection.

Although, some studies, news articles, and governmental reports assert that radical Islam has made a forceful comeback in the last decade in Central Asia, and its threat to regional security is growing, the reality is more complex. Central Asian states are bastions of moderate and traditional Islam and the rise of its radical and militant forms have been exaggerated by both the governments and the Islamists. Concerns about the radical Islamic movements persist, however, for a reason, as a number of reputable analyses recorded some growth in the rank-and-file members of radical Islamic groups (see, for example, reports of the International Crisis Group (ICG), a leading non-partisan organization with established presence in Central Asia.

The overthrow of the Taliban regime and the destruction of Al-Qaeda strongholds in Afghanistan severely weakened the IMU. The remnants of this militant organization created a number of splinter groups, such as the Islamic Movement of Turkistan and the Islamic Jihad Union, affiliated to, but not controlled by, the IMU. The former IMU fighters continue to recruit and train volunteers in parts of Central Asia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, but the numbers of militant Islamists are probably much smaller than figures declared by the governments of Central Asian states. After the last wave of terrorist violence in March 2004 in Uzbekistan, the focus of international attention has shifted to nonmilitant Islamic groups, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose public support has been rapidly spreading across the region.

The first records of Hizb ut-Tahrirs activities in Uzbekistan appeared in the mid-1990s. By 1999, the movement attracted between 6,500 and 7,000 followers, and the membership increased to 15,000 by 2003 according to the estimate of a well-informed Tashkent scholar). In Kyrgyzstan, where the group appeared in 1997, the membership was between 1,000 and 2,000 in early 2000s, and reached as many as 7,000 to 8,000 member by 2009.In Tajikistan, Hizb ut-Tahrir recruit...

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