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The Nature Of Terrorism Essay

1842 words - 8 pages

Given the growing global threats of terrorism, it is significant that an understanding of the history, nature and mechanism-premises under which terror operates is obtained. This is significant as it would shape the perspective of policy makers when addressing issues of this nature. Terrorism, as it is understood is the action of none-state weak actors, individual or groups, who for some reasons feels suppressed, marginalized and, or denied what they may view as the basic human right. All terrorism has political objectives, even though the perpetrators may use religious relics to appeal to a wider existing audience, and invoke a response through violent act to prove or propagate their point. ...view middle of the document...

To understand the history of suicide terrorism and how terrorist groups in the past have used religious tone to propagate their political course, Armstrong pointed out the Zealots-an extremist Jewish sect that opposed Jesus. The Zealots engaged in political assassinations of their political foe, knowing that they would be killed in the process. Even though their ultimate goal might have been religious, the Zealots immediate aim was political. In the same way, during the third century, the Assassins- a notorious terrorist wing (similar in nature to Al-Qaeda) in modern day Syria, assassinated many of their political opponents in order to establish their own form of Islam. In this case, although their ultimate goal was religious, their immediate objective was political. They wanted to institute a government that would represent their view. According to Armstrong, these were the first sets of suicide terrorism. Besides their used of terror, these two groups share other things in common. They both resorted to suicide terrorism based on the situations they find themselves. As indicated, they both feel suppressed or taken advantage of, and consequently wanted to turn their situation around through the use of suicide terror.
Armstrong cited that the first wave of modern day suicide terror occurred in Lebanon at an American embassy in Beirut 1983, and was carried by Hezbollah (meaning the army of God). The formation of Hezbollah and its used of suicide terrorism came about as a result of Lebanon being under foreign occupational forces from Israel, France and the United States. The second suicide terror attack by Hezbollah was against the U.S. Marines headquarter, which was followed by an attack on the French multinational force. The last two, as Schweitzer's (2000: 2) implies, resulted in the death of 300 personals and dozens injured. These events led to the departure of Western forces from Lebanon. Having two more enemies to face, Hezbollah redirected its suicide terror attacks against South Lebanese Army and Israeli military positions. Hezbollah suicide terror attacks forced the Israeli army to pullout from their heartland of central Lebanon, and caused the UN peacekeeping force to withdraw completely. Observing such occurrence, one could notice that Hezbollah's actions were mainly political. Even though they may glorify and promote martyrdom to achieve their course.

Also Schweitzer's demonstrates that Hezbollah tends to use suicide terror against Israel as a deterrent and retaliatory apparatus. He exemplify for instance, that after an Israeli air force assassinated Abas Musavi, secretary general of Hezbollah in February 1992, Hezbollah retaliated by carrying out suicide bombing against Israeli embassy in Buenos Ares, in March 1992 injuring 250 people and killing 29. In addition, Armstrong forwarded that, terrorist organizations tend to decrease their terror activities whenever they seem to achieve a political objective. For instance, he...

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