This post was first published in my other blog , masterMAD. This is an ADOPTED article. This may or mayn’t contain my own views/opinions. I will not be responsible for any wrong/misleading information contained in this post.
KEEP A SMILE AND LET OTHERS SMILE 😉
- o Definition of Terrorism
- o History of Terrorism
- o Terrorist Behavior
- o Terrorism vs Insurgency
- o State Sponsored Terrorism
- o Goals & Motivation
- o Terrorist Incidents
- o Terrorist Groups
- o Evolution of Terrorism
- o Future of Terrorism
- o Terrorism Glossary
What is Terrorism?
Terrorism is not new, and even though it has been used since the beginning of recorded history it can be relatively hard to define. Terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. Obviously, a lot depends on whose point of view is being represented. Terrorism has often been an effective tactic for the weaker side in a conflict. As an asymmetric form of conflict, it confers coercive power with many of the advantages of military force at a fraction of the cost. Due to the secretive nature and small size of terrorist organizations, they often offer opponents no clear organization to defend against or to deter.
That is why preemption is being considered to be so important. In some cases, terrorism has been a means to carry on a conflict without the adversary realizing the nature of the threat, mistaking terrorism for criminal activity. Because of these characteristics, terrorism has become increasingly common among those pursuing extreme goals throughout the world. But despite its popularity, terrorism can be a nebulous concept. Even within the U.S. Government, agencies responsible for different functions in the ongoing fight against terrorism use different definitions.
The United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” Within this definition, there are three key elements—violence, fear, and intimidation—and each element produces terror in its victims. The FBI uses this: “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” The U.S. Department of State defines “terrorism” to be “premeditated politically-motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
Outside the United States Government, there are greater variations in what features of terrorism are emphasized in definitions. The United Nations produced this definition in 1992; “An anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets.” The most commonly accepted academic definition starts with the U.N. definition quoted above, and adds two sentences totaling another 77 words on the end; containing such verbose concepts as “message generators” and ‘violence based communication processes.” Less specific and considerably less verbose, the British Government definition of 1974 is”…the use of violence for political ends, and includes any use of violence for the purpose of putting the public, or any section of the public, in fear.”
Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. The strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that .draws the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolize what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public’s or government’s reaction to the act. For example, in 1972 at the Munich Olympics, the Black September Organization killed 11 Israelis. The Israelis were the immediate victims. But the true target was the estimated 1 billion people watching the televised event.
The Black September Organization used the high visibility of the Olympics to publicize its views on the plight of the Palestinian refugees. Similarly, in October 1983, Middle Eastern terrorists bombed the Marine Battalion Landing Team Headquarters at Beirut International Airport. Their immediate victims were the 241 U.S. military personnel who were killed and over 100 others who were wounded. Their true target was the American people and the U.S. Congress. Their one act of violence influenced the United States’ decision to withdraw the Marines from Beirut and was therefore considered a terrorist success.
There are three perspectives of terrorism: the terrorist’s, the victim’s, and the general public’s. The phrase “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is a view terrorists themselves would accept. Terrorists do not see themselves as evil. They believe they are legitimate combatants, fighting for what they believe in, by whatever means possible. A victim of a terrorist act sees the terrorist as a criminal with no regard for human life. The general public’s view is the most unstable. The terrorists take great pains to foster a “Robin Hood” image in hope of swaying the general public’s point of view toward their cause. This sympathetic view of terrorism has become an integral part of their psychological warfare and needs to be countered vigorously
History of Terrorism
Terrorist acts or the threat of such action have been in existence for millennia. Despite having a history longer than the modern nation-state, the use of terror by governments and those that contest their power remains poorly understood. While the meaning of the word terror itself is clear, when it is applied to acts and actors in the real world it becomes confused. Part of this is due to the use of terror tactics by actors at all levels in the social and political environment. Is the Unabomber, with his solo campaign of terror, a criminal, terrorist, or revolutionary?
Can he be compared to the French revolutionary governments who coined the word terrorism by instituting systematic state terror against the population of France in the 1790s, killing thousands? Are either the same as revolutionary terrorist groups such as the Baader-Mienhof Gang of West Germany or the Weather Underground in the United States?
So we see that distinctions of size and political legitimacy of the actors using terror raise questions as to what is and is not terrorism. The concept of moral equivalency is frequently used as an argument to broaden and blur the definition of terrorism as well. This concept argues that the outcome of an action is what matters, not the intent. Collateral or unintended damage to civilians from an attack by uniformed military forces on a legitimate military target is the same as a terrorist bomb directed deliberately at the civilian target with the intent of creating that damage.
Simply put, a car bomb on a city street and a jet fighter dropping a bomb on a tank are both acts of violence that produce death and terror. Therefore (at the extreme end of this argument) any military action is simply terrorism by a different name. This is the reasoning behind the famous phrase “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. It is also a legacy of legitimizing the use of terror by successful revolutionary movements after the fact.
The very flexibility and adaptability of terror throughout the years has contributed to the confusion. Those seeking to disrupt, reorder or destroy the status quo have continuously sought new and creative ways to achieve their goals. Changes in the tactics and techniques of terrorists have been significant, but even more significant are the growth in the number of causes and social contexts where terrorism is used.
Over the past 20 years, terrorists have committed extremely violent acts for alleged political or religious reasons. Political ideology ranges from the far left to the far right. For example, the far left can consist of groups such as Marxists and Leninists who propose a revolution of workers led by a revolutionary elite. On the far right, we find dictatorships that typically believe in a merging of state and business leadership.
Nationalism is the devotion to the interests or culture of a group of people or a nation. Typically, nationalists share a common ethnic background and wish to establish or regain a homeland.
Religious extremists often reject the authority of secular governments and view legal systems that are not based on their religious beliefs as illegitimate. They often view modernization efforts as corrupting influences on traditional culture.
Special interest groups include people on the radical fringe of many legitimate causes; e.g., people who use terrorism to uphold antiabortion views, animal rights, radical environmentalism. These groups believe that violence is morally justifiable to achieve their goals.
There is clearly a wide choice of definitions for terrorism. Despite this, there are elements in common among the majority of useful definitions. Common threads of the various definitions identify terrorism as:
A terrorist act is a political act or is committed with the intention to cause a political effect. Clausewitz’ statement that “war is a continuation of policy by other means” is taken as a truism by terrorists. They merely eliminate the intermediate step of armies and warfare, and apply violence directly to the political contest.
The intended results of terrorist acts cause a psychological effect (“terror”). They are aimed at a target audience other than the actual victims of the act. The intended target audience of the terrorist act may be the population as a whole, some specific portion of a society (an ethnic minority, for example), or decision-making elites in the society’s political, social, or military populace.
Violence and destruction are used in the commission of the act to produce the desired effect. Even if casualties or destruction are not the result of a terrorist operation, the threat or potential of violence is what produces the intended effect. For example, a successful hostage taking operation may result in all hostages being freed unharmed after negotiations and bargaining. Regardless of the outcome, the terrorist bargaining chips were nothing less than the raw threat of applying violence to maim or kill some or all of the hostages. When the threat of violence is not credible, or the terrorists are unable to implement violence effectively, terrorism fails.
Terrorist groups demand change, revolution, or political movement. The radical worldview that justifies terrorism mandates drastic action to destroy or alter the status quo. Even if the goals of a movement are reactionary in nature, they require action to “turn back the clock” or restore some cherished value system that is extinct. Nobody commits violent attacks on strangers or innocents to keep things “just the way they are.”
Terrorism is an activity planned and intended to achieve particular goals. It is a rationally employed, specifically selected tactic, and is not a random act. Since the victims of terrorist violence are often of little import, with one being as good for the terrorists’ purposes as another, victim or target selection can appear random or unprovoked. But the target will contain symbolic value or be capable of eliciting emotional response according to the terrorists’ goals. Remember that the actual target of terrorism is not the victim of the violence, but the psychological balance
Terrorism’s effects are not necessarily aimed at the victims of terrorist violence. Victims are usually objects to be exploited by the terrorists for their effect on a third party. In order to produce this effect, information of the attack must reach the target audience. So any terrorist organization plans for exploitation of available media to get the message to the right audiences. Victims are simply the first medium that transmits the psychological impact to the larger target audience. The next step in transmission will depend on what media is available, but it will be planned, and it will frequently be the responsibility of a specific organization within the terrorist group to do nothing else but exploit and control the news cycle.
Some organizations can rely on friendly or sympathetic news outlets, but this is not necessary. News media can be manipulated by planning around the demands of the “news cycle”, and the advantage that control of the initiative gives the terrorist. Pressures to report quickly, to “scoop” competitors, allow terrorists to present claims or make statements that might be refuted or critically commented on if time were available. Terrorists often provide names and details of individual victims to control the news media through its desire to humanize or personalize a story. For the victims of a terrorist attack, it is a certainty that the impact on the survivors (if there are any) is of minimal importance to the terrorists. What is important is the intended psychological impact that the news of their death or suffering will cause in a wider audience.
Operations in Permissive Societies
Terrorists conduct more operations in societies where individual rights and civil legal protections prevail. While terrorists may base themselves in repressive regimes that are sympathetic to them, they usually avoid repressive governments when conducting operations wherever possible. An exception to this case is a repressive regime that does not have the means to enforce security measures. Governments with effective security forces and few guaranteed civil liberties have typically suffered much less from terrorism than liberal states with excellent security forces. Al Qaeda has shown, however, that they will conduct operations anywhere.
Illegality of Methods
Terrorism is a criminal act. Whether the terrorist chooses to identify himself with military terminology (as discussed under insurgencies below), or with civilian imagery (“brotherhood”, “committee”, etc.), he is a criminal in both spheres. The violations of civil criminal laws are self-evident in activities such as murder, arson, and kidnapping regardless of the legitimacy of the government enforcing the laws. Victimizing the innocent is criminal injustice under a dictatorship or a democracy. If the terrorist claims that he is justified in using such violence as a military combatant, he is a de facto war criminal under international law and the military justice systems of most nations.
Preparation and Support
It’s important to understand that actual terrorist operations are the result of extensive preparation and support operations. Media reporting and academic study have mainly focused on the terrorists’ goals and actions, which is precisely what the terrorist intends. This neglects the vital but less exciting topic of preparation and support operations. Significant effort and coordination is required to finance group operations, procure or manufacture weapons, conduct target surveillance and analysis, and deliver trained terrorists to the operational area. While the time and effort expended by the terrorists may be a drop in the bucket compared to the amounts spent to defend against them, terrorist operations can still involve large amounts of money and groups of people. The need for dedicated support activities and resources on simple operations are significant, and get larger the greater the sophistication of the plan and the complexity of the target.
Differences between Terrorism and Insurgency
If no single definition of terrorism produces a precise, unambiguous description, we can approach the question by eliminating similar activities that are not terrorism, but that appear to overlap. For the U.S. military, two such related concepts probably lead to more confusion than others. Guerilla warfare and insurgencies are often assumed to be synonymous with terrorism. One reason for this is that insurgencies and terrorism often have similar goals. However, if we examine insurgency and guerilla warfare, specific differences emerge.
A key difference is that an insurgency is a movement – a political effort with a specific aim. This sets it apart from both guerilla warfare and terrorism, as they are both methods available to pursue the goals of the political movement.
Another difference is the intent of the component activities and operations of insurgencies versus terrorism. There is nothing inherent in either insurgency or guerilla warfare that requires the use of terror. While some of the more successful insurgencies and guerilla campaigns employed terrorism and terror tactics, and some developed into conflicts where terror tactics and terrorism became predominant; there have been others that effectively renounced the use of terrorism. The deliberate choice to use terrorism considers its effectiveness in inspiring further resistance, destroying government efficiency, and mobilizing support. Although there are places where terrorism, guerilla warfare, and criminal behavior all overlap, groups that are exclusively terrorist, or subordinate “wings” of insurgencies formed to specifically employ terror tactics, demonstrate clear differences in their objectives and operations. Disagreement on the costs of using terror tactics, or whether terror operations are to be given primacy within the insurgency campaign, have frequently led to the “urban guerilla” or terrorist wings of an insurgency splintering off to pursue the revolutionary goal by their own methods.
The ultimate goal of an insurgency is to challenge the existing government for control of all or a portion of its territory, or force political concessions in sharing political power. Insurgencies require the active or tacit support of some portion of the population involved. External support, recognition or approval from other countries or political entities can be useful to insurgents, but is not required. A terror group does not require and rarely has the active support or even the sympathy of a large fraction of the population. While insurgents will frequently describe themselves as “insurgents” or “guerillas”, terrorists will not refer to themselves as “terrorists” but describe themselves using military or political terminology (“freedom fighters”, “soldiers”, “activists”). Terrorism relies on public impact, and is therefore conscious of the advantage of avoiding the negative connotations of the term “terrorists” in identifying themselves.
Terrorism does not attempt to challenge government forces directly, but acts to change perceptions as to the effectiveness or legitimacy of the government itself. This is done by ensuring the widest possible knowledge of the acts of terrorist violence among the target audience. Rarely will terrorists attempt to “control” terrain, as it ties them to identifiable locations and reduces their mobility and security. Terrorists as a rule avoid direct confrontations with government forces. A guerilla force may have something to gain from a clash with a government combat force, such as proving that they can effectively challenge the military effectiveness of the government. A terrorist group has nothing to gain from such a clash. This is not to say that they do not target military or security forces, but that they will not engage in anything resembling a “fair fight”, or even a “fight” at all. Terrorists use methods that neutralize the strengths of conventional forces. Bombings and mortar attacks on civilian targets where military or security personnel spend off-duty time, ambushes of undefended convoys, and assassinations of poorly protected individuals are common tactics.
Insurgency need not require the targeting of non-combatants, although many insurgencies expand the accepted legal definition of combatants to include police and security personnel in addition to the military. Terrorists do not discriminate between combatants and non-combatants, or if they do, they broaden the category of “combatants” so much as to render it meaningless. Defining all members of a nation or ethnic group, plus any citizen of any nation that supports that nation as “combatants” is simply a justification for frightfulness. Deliberate de-humanization and criminalization of the enemy in the terrorists’ mind justifies extreme measures against anyone identified as hostile. Terrorists often expand their groups of acceptable targets, and conduct operations against new targets without any warning or notice of hostilities.
Ultimately, the difference between insurgency and terrorism comes down to the intent of the actor. Insurgency movements and guerilla forces can adhere to international norms regarding the law of war in achieving their goals, but terrorists are by definition conducting crimes under both civil and military legal codes. Terrorists routinely claim that were they to adhere to any “law of war” or accept any constraints on the scope of their violence, it would place them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the establishment. Since the nature of the terrorist mindset is absolutist, their goals are of paramount importance, and any limitations on a terrorist’s means to prosecute the struggle are unacceptable.
State Sponsored Terrorism
Is there a difference between terrorism and the use of specific tactics that exploit fear and terror by authorities normally considered “legitimate”? Nations and states often resort to violence to influence segments of their population, or rely on coercive aspects of state institutions. Just like the idea of equating any act of military force with terrorism described above, there are those who equate any use of government power or authority versus any part of the population as terrorism. This view also blurs the lines of what is and is not terrorism, as it elevates outcomes over intentions. Suppression of a riot by law enforcement personnel may in fact expose some of the population (the rioters) to violence and fear, but with the intent to protect the larger civil order. On the other hand, abuse of the prerogative of legitimized violence by the authorities is a crime.
But there are times when national governments will become involved in terrorism, or utilize terror to accomplish the objectives of governments or individual rulers. Most often, terrorism is equated with “non-state actors”, or groups that are not responsible to a sovereign government. However, internal security forces can use terror to aid in repressing dissent, and intelligence or military organizations perform acts of terror designed to further a state’s policy or diplomatic efforts abroad.
A government that is an adversary of the United States may apply terror tactics and terrorism in an effort to add depth to their engagement of U.S. forces. Repression through terror of the indigenous population would take place to prevent internal dissent and insurrection that the U.S. might exploit. Military special operations assets and state intelligence operatives could conduct terrorist operations against U.S. interests both in theater and as far abroad as their capabilities allow. Finally, attacks against the U.S. homeland could be executed by state sponsored terrorist organizations or by paid domestic proxies. Three different ways that states can engage in the use of terror are:
• Governmental or “State” terror
• State involvement in terror
• State sponsorship of terrorism
Governmental or “State” terror: Sometimes referred to as “terror from above”, where a government terrorizes its own population to control or repress them. These actions usually constitute the acknowledged policy of the government, and make use of official institutions such as the judiciary, police, military, and other government agencies. Changes to legal codes permit or encourage torture, killing, or property destruction in pursuit of government policy. After assuming power, official Nazi policy was aimed at the deliberate destruction of “state enemies” and the resulting intimidation of the rest of the population. Stalin’s “purges” of the 1930s are examples of using the machinery of the state to terrorize a population. The methods he used included such actions as rigged show trials of opponents, punishing family or friends of suspected enemies of the regime, and extra-legal use of police or military force against the population.
Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on his own Kurdish population without any particular change or expansion of policies regarding the use of force on his own citizens. They were simply used in an act of governmental terror believed to be expedient in accomplishing his goals.
State involvement in terror: These are activities where government personnel carry out operations using terror tactics. These activities may be directed against other nations’ interests, its own population, or private groups or individuals viewed as dangerous to the state. In many cases, these activities are terrorism under official sanction, although such authorization is rarely acknowledged openly. Historical examples include the Soviet and Iranian assassination campaigns against dissidents who had fled abroad, and Libyan and North Korean intelligence operatives downing airliners on international flights.
Another type of these activities is “death squads” or “war veterans”: unofficial actions taken by officials or functionaries of a regime (such as members of police or intelligence organizations) against their own population to repress or intimidate. While these officials will not claim such activities, and disguise their participation, it is often made clear that they are acting for the state. Keeping such activities “unofficial” permits the authorities deniability and avoids the necessity of changing legal and judicial processes to justify oppression. This is different than “pro-state” terror, which is conducted by groups or persons with no official standing and without official encouragement. While pro-state terror may result in positive outcomes for the authorities, their employment of criminal methods and lack of official standing can result in disavowal and punishment of the terrorists, depending on the morality of the regime in question.
State sponsorship of terrorism: Also known as “state supported” terrorism, when governments provide supplies, training, and other forms of support to non-state terrorist organizations. One of the most valuable types of this support is the provision of safe haven or physical basing for the terrorists’ organization. Another crucial service a state sponsor can provide is false documentation, not only for personal identification (passports, internal identification documents), but also for financial transactions and weapons purchases. Other means of support are access to training facilities and expertise not readily available to groups without extensive resources. Finally, the extension of diplomatic protections and services, such as immunity from extradition, diplomatic passports, use of embassies and other protected grounds, and diplomatic pouches to transport weapons or explosives have been significant to some groups.
An example of state sponsorship is the Syrian government’s support of Hamas and Hizballah in Lebanon. Syrian resources and protection enable the huge training establishments in the Bek’aa Valley. On a smaller, more discreet scale, the East German Stasi provided support and safe-haven to members of the Red Army Faction (RAF or Baader Meinhof Gang) and neo-fascist groups that operated in West Germany. Wanted members of the RAF were found resident in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Goals and Motivations of Terrorists
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. This is both to avoid a backlash that might severely damage the organization, and also maintain the appearance of a rational group that has legitimate grievances. 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.
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. Since there are more events than operations, assessment of the likelihood of an attack on a commemorative date is only useful when analyzed against the operational pattern of a particular group or specific members of a group’s leadership cadre.
The Intent of Terrorist Groups
A terrorist group commits acts of violence to –
- · Produce widesrpead fear
- · Obtain worldwide, national, or local recognition for their cause by attracting the attention of the media
- · Harass, weaken, or embarrass government security forces so that the the government overreacts and appears repressive
- · Steal or extort money and equipment, especially weapons and ammunition vital to the operation of their group
- · Destroy facilities or disrupt lines of communication in order to create doubt that the government can provide for and protect its citizens
- · Discourage foreign investments, tourism, or assistance programs that can affect the target country’s economy and support of the government in power
- · Influence government decisions, legislation, or other critical decisions
- · Free prisoners
- · Satisfy vengeance
- · Turn the tide in a guerrilla war by forcing government security forces to concentrate their efforts in urban areas. This allows the terrorist group to establish itself among the local populace in rural areas
Types of Terrorist Incidents
The most common types of terrorist incidents include:
Bombings are the most common type of terrorist act. Typically, improvised explosive devices are inexpensive and easy to make. Modern devices are smaller and are harder to detect. They contain very destructive capabilities; for example, on August 7, 1998, two American embassies in Africa were bombed. The bombings claimed the lives of over 200 people, including 12 innocent American citizens, and injured over 5,000 civilians. Terrorists can also use materials that are readily available to the average consumer to construct a bomb.
Kidnappings and Hostage-Takings
Terrorists use kidnapping and hostage-taking to establish a bargaining position and to elicit publicity. Kidnapping is one of the most difficult acts for a terrorist group to accomplish, but, if a kidnapping is successful, it can gain terrorists money, release of jailed comrades, and publicity for an extended period. Hostage-taking involves the seizure of a facility or location and the taking of hostages. Unlike a kidnapping, hostage-taking provokes a confrontation with authorities. It forces authorities to either make dramatic decisions or to comply with the terrorist’s de- mands. It is overt and designed to attract and hold media attention. The terrorists’ intended target is the audience affected by the hostage’s confinement, not the hostage.
Armed Attacks and Assassinations
Armed attacks include raids and ambushes. Assassinations are the killing of a selected victim,usually by bombings or small arms.Drive-by shootings is a common technique employed by unsophisticated or loosely organized terrorist groups. Historically, terrorists have assassinated specific individuals for psychological effect.
Arsons and Firebombings
Incendiary devices are cheap and easy to hide. Arson and firebombings are easily conducted by terrorist groups that may not be as well-organized, equipped, or trained as a major terrorist organization. An arson or firebombing against a utility, hotel, government building, or industrial center portrays an image that the ruling government is incapable of maintaining order.
Hijackings and Skyjackings
Hijacking is the seizure by force of a surface vehicle, its passengers, and/or its cargo. Skyjacking is the taking of an aircraft, which creates a mobile, hostage barricade situation. It provides terrorists with hostages from many nations and draws heavy media attention. Skyjacking also provides mobility for the terrorists to relocate the aircraft to a country that supports their cause and provides them with a human shield, making retaliation difficult.
Other Types of Terrorist Incidents
In addition to the acts of violence discussed above, there are also numerous other types of violence that can exist under the framework of terrorism. Terrorist groups conduct maimings against their own people as a form of punishment for security violations, defections, or informing. Terrorist organizations also conduct robberies and extortion when they need to finance their acts and they don’t have sponsorship from sympathetic nations. Cyberterrorism is a new form of terrorism that is everincreasing as we rely on computer networks to relay information and provide connectivity to today’s modern and fast-paced world. Cyberterrorism allows terrorists to conduct their operations with little or no risk to themselves. It also provides terrorists an opportunity to disrupt or destroy networks and computers. The result is interruption of key government or business-related activities. This type of terrorism isn’t as high profile as other types of terrorist attacks, but its impact is just as destructive.
Historically, terrorist attacks using nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons have been rare. Due the extremely high number of casualties that NBC weapons produce, they are also referred to as weapons of mass destruction (WMD). However, a number of nations are involved in arms races with neighboring countries be- cause they view the development of WMD as a key de- terrent of attack by hostile neighbors. The increased development of WMD also increases the potential for terrorist groups to gain access to WMD. It is believed that in the future terrorists will have greater access to WMD because unstable nations or states may fail to safeguard their stockpiles of WMD from accidental losses, illicit sales, or outright theft or seizure. Determined terrorist groups can also gain access to WMD through covert independent research efforts or by hiring technically skilled professionals to construct the WMD.
The organizational structure of a group determines its strengths and weaknesses. A general knowledge of the prevalent models of terrorist organizations leads to a better understanding of their capabilities. Knowledge of the different labels and systems of classification that have been applied to groups and individuals aid us in discarding useless or irrelevant terms, and in understanding the purposes and usefulness of different terminologies.
In recent times, the popular image of a terrorist group operating according to a specific political agenda and motivated by ideology or the desire for ethnic or national liberation dominated our understanding of terrorism. While still true of some terrorist organizations, this image is no longer universally valid. Also, a generational change in leadership of established groups is in many cases ushering in a more a destructive and relentless type of organization.
There are two general categories of organization; hierarchical and networked. The age of an organization is one of the determinants of whether it is likely to adopt a network or hierarchical structure. Newer groups tend towards organizing or adapting to the possibilities inherent in the network model. Ideology can have an effect on internal organization, with strict Leninist or Maoist groups tending towards centralized control and hierarchical structure. Within the larger structure, virtually all groups use variants of cellular organizations at the tactical level to enhance security and to task organize for operations.
Terrorist groups that are associated with a political activity or organization will often require a more hierarchical structure, in order to coordinate terrorist violence with political action. It also can be necessary for a politically affiliated group to observe “cease-fires” or avoid particular targets in support of political objectives. This can be difficult to enforce in networked organizations.
Terrorist groups can be at various stages of development in terms of capabilities and sophistication. Newer groups with fewer resources will usually be less capable, and operate in permissive areas or under the tutelage of more proficient organizations to develop proficiency. Also, groups professing or associated with ethnic or nationalist agendas and limiting their operations to one country or a localized region tend to require fewer capabilities. Groups can coalesce from smaller organizations, or splinter off from larger ones.
The smallest elements of terrorist organizations are the cells that serve as building blocks for the terrorist organization. One of the primary reasons for a cellular or compartmentalized structure is security. The compromise or loss of one cell should not compromise the identity, location, or actions of other cells. A cellular organizational structure makes it difficult for an adversary to penetrate the entire organization. Personnel within one cell are often unaware of the existence of other cells and, therefore, cannot divulge sensitive information to infiltrators.
Terrorists may organize cells based on family or employment relationships, on a geographic basis, or by specific functions such as direct action and intelligence. The terrorist group may also form multifunctional cells. The terrorist group uses the cells to control its members. Cell members remain in close contact with each other to provide emotional support and to prevent desertion or breach of security procedures. The cell leader is normally the only person who communicates and coordinates with higher levels and other cells.
A terrorist group may form only one cell or may form many cells that operate locally or internationally. The number of cells and their composition depend on the size of the terrorist group. A terrorist group operating within one country frequently has fewer cells and specialized teams than does an international terrorist group that may operate in several countries.
The Evolution of Terrorism
Terrorism is continually changing. While at the surface it remains “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear…” it is rapidly becoming the predominant strategic tool of our adversaries. As terrorism evolves into the principal irregular warfare strategy of the 21st century, it is adapting to changes in the world socio-political environment. Some of these changes facilitate the abilities of terrorists to operate, procure funding, and develop new capabilities. Other changes are gradually moving terrorism into a different relationship with the world at large.
In order to put these changes into context, it will be necessary to look at the historical evolution of terrorism, with each succeeding evolution building upon techniques pioneered by others. This evolution is driven by ongoing developments in the nature of conflict and international relations. It is also necessary to consider some of the possible causes of future conflicts, in order to understand the actors and their motivations. Finally, we examine how terrorism will be integrated into this evolution of conflict, and what that will mean for U.S. military forces.
When describing the evolution of terrorism and the use of terror through history, it is essential to remember that forms of society and government in the past were significantly different than they are today. Modern nation-states did not exist in their present form until 1648 (Treaty of Westphalia), and the state’s monopoly on warfare, or inter-state violence, is even more recent. The lack of central governments made it impossible to use terror as a method of affecting a political change, as there was no single dominant political authority. Also, the absence of central authority meant that the game of warfare was open to many more players. Instead of national armies, a variety of non-sovereign nobility, mercenaries, leaders of religious factions, or mercantile companies participated in warfare. Their involvement in warfare was considered to be perfectly legitimate. This is in contrast to the modern era, where nations go to war, but private participation is actually illegal.
Early Theories of Terrorism
Early practitioners of terrorism, such as the Zealots and the Assassins did not leave any particular philosophy or doctrine on their use of terrorism. With the exception of spectacular failures such as Guy Fawkes’ religiously inspired attempt to assassinate King James I and both Houses of Parliament in England, terrorism did not separate itself or progress beyond the normal practices of warfare at that time. As political systems became more sophisticated, and political authority was viewed as less of a divine gift and more as a social construct, new ideas about political conflict developed.
The period of warfare and political conflict that embroiled Europe after the French Revolution provided inspiration for political theorists during the early 1800s. Several important theories of social revolution developed during this time (see text box on the next page for summaries of the key revolutionary thinkers). The link between revolutionary violence and terror was developed early on. Revolutionary theories rejected the possibility of reforming the system and demanded its destruction. This extremism laid the groundwork for the use of unconstrained violence for political ends.
Two ideologies that embraced violent social change were Marxism, which evolved into communism, and anarchism. Both were utopian; they held that putting their theories into practice could produce ideal societies. Both advocated the complete destruction of the existing system. Both acknowledged that violence outside the accepted bounds of warfare and rebellion would be necessary. Communism focused on economic class warfare, and assumed seizure of state power by the working class (proletariat) until the state was no longer needed, and eventually disposed of. Anarchism advocated more or less immediate rejection of all forms of governance. The anarchist’s belief was that after the state is completely destroyed, nothing will be required to replace it, and people could live and interact without governmental coercion. In the short term, communism’s acceptance of the need for organization and an interim coercive state made it the more successful of the two ideologies. Anarchism survived into the modern era and retains attraction for violent extremists to this day.
20th Century Evolution of Terrorism
In the early years of the 20th Century nationalism and revolutionary political ideologies were the principal developmental forces acting upon terrorism. When the Treaty of Versailles redrew the map of Europe after World War I by breaking up the Austro-Hungarian Empire and creating new nations, it acknowledged the principle of self-determination for nationalities and ethnic groups. This encouraged minorities and ethnicities not receiving recognition to campaign for independence or autonomy. However, in many cases self-determination was limited to European nations and ethnic groups and denied others, especially the colonial possessions of the major European powers, creating bitterness and setting the stage for the long conflicts of the anti-colonial period.
In particular, Arab nationalists felt that they had been betrayed. Believing they were promised post-war independence, they were doubly disappointed; first when the French and British were given authority over their lands; and then especially when the British allowed Zionist immigration into Palestine in keeping with a promise contained in the Balfour Declaration.
Since the end of World War II, terrorism has accelerated its development into a major component of contemporary conflict. Primarily in use immediately after the war as a subordinate element of anti-colonial insurgencies, it expanded beyond that role. In the service of various ideologies and aspirations, terrorism sometimes supplanted other forms of conflict completely. It also became a far-reaching weapon capable of effects no less global than the intercontinental bomber or missile. It has also proven to be a significant tool of diplomacy and international power for states inclined to use it.
The seemingly quick results and shocking immediacy of terrorism made some consider it as a short cut to victory. Small revolutionary groups not willing to invest the time and resources to organize political activity would rely on the “propaganda of the deed” to energize mass action. This suggested that a tiny core of activists could topple any government through the use of terror alone. The result of this belief by revolutionaries in developed countries was the isolation of the terrorists from the population they claimed to represent, and the adoption of the Leninist concept of the “vanguard of revolution” by tiny groups of disaffected revolutionaries. In less developed countries small groups of foreign revolutionaries such as Che Guevara arrived from outside the country, expecting to immediately energize revolutionary action by their presence.
Future Trends in Terrorism
As a conflict method that has survived and evolved through several millennia to flourish in the modern information age, terrorism continues to adapt to meet the challenges of emerging forms of conflict, and exploit developments in technology and society. Terrorism has demonstrated increasing abilities to adapt to counter-terrorism measures and political failure. Terrorists are developing new capabilities of attack and improving the efficiency of existing methods. Additionally, terrorist groups have shown significant progress in escaping from a subordinate role in nation-state conflicts, and becoming prominent as international influences in their own right. They are becoming more integrated with other sub-state entities, such as criminal organizations and legitimately chartered corporations, and are gradually assuming a measure of control and identity with national governments.
Adaptive Capabilities of Terror Groups
Terrorists have shown the ability to adapt to the techniques and methods of counter-terror agencies and intelligence organizations over the long term. The decentralization of the network form of organization is an example of this. Adopted to reduce the disruption caused by the loss of key links in a chain of command, a network organization also complicates the tasks of security forces, and reduces predictability of operations.
Terrorists have also been quick to use new technologies, and adapt existing ones to their uses. The debate over privacy of computer data was largely spurred by the specter of terrorists planning and communicating with encrypted data beyond law enforcement’s ability to intercept or decode this data. To exchange information, terrorists have exploited disposable cellular phones, over the counter long-distance calling cards, Internet cafes, and other means of anonymous communications. Embedding information in digital pictures and graphics is another innovation employed to enable the clandestine global communication that modern terrorists require.
Terrorists have also demonstrated significant resiliency after disruption by counter-terrorist action. Some groups have redefined themselves after being defeated or being forced into dormancy. The Shining Path of Peru (Sendero Luminosa) lost its leadership cadre and founding leader to counter-terrorism efforts by the Peruvian government in 1993. The immediate result was severe degradation in the operational capabilities of the group. However, the Shining Path has returned to rural operations and organization in order to reconstitute itself. Although not the threat that it was, the group remains in being, and could exploit further unrest or governmental weakness in Peru to continue its renewal.
In Italy, the Red Brigades (Brigate Rossi) gradually lapsed into inactivity due to governmental action and a changing political situation. However, a decade after the supposed demise of the Red Brigades, a new group called the Anti-Capitalist Nuclei emerged exhibiting a continuity of symbols, styles of communiqués, and potentially some personnel from the original Red Brigade organization. This ability to perpetuate ideology and symbology during a significant period of dormancy, and re-emerge under favorable conditions demonstrates the durability of terrorism as a threat to modern societies.
Increasing Capabilities of Terrorists
Terrorists are improving their sophistication and abilities in virtually all aspects of their operations and support. The aggressive use of modern technology for information management, communication and intelligence has increased the efficiency of these activities. Weapons technology has become more increasingly available, and the purchasing power of terrorist organizations is on the rise. The ready availability of both technology and trained personnel to operate it for any client with sufficient cash allows the well-funded terrorist to equal or exceed the sophistication of governmental counter-measures.
Likewise, due to the increase in information outlets, and competition with increasing numbers of other messages, terrorism now requires a greatly increased amount of violence or novelty to attract the attention it requires. The tendency of major media to compete for ratings and the subsequent revenue realized from increases in their audience size and share produces pressures on terrorists to increase the impact and violence of their actions to take advantage of this sensationalism.
Today, most experts believe that certain parts of the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan are turning out to be the main power centers for terrorism. Decades of lawlessness and corruption have seen Islamic terrorist groups fill the power vaccum in this region and continue to turn out an alarming number of religiously motivated terrorists.
Definitions of some common terrorist and counter-terrorism terms (A-B):
AAIA: Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, a.k.a. Islamic Army of Aden based in Yemen
ABB: Alex Boncayao Brigade based in the Philippines
ADF: Allied Democratic Forces based in Uganda and the Congo
AI: Ansar al-Islam, a.k.a. Partisans of Islam, Helpers of Islam, Supporters of Islam based in Iraq
AIAI: Al-Ittihad al-Islami, a.k.a. Islamic Union based in Somalia
Al-Badhr: Al-Badhr Mujahidin based in Pakistan
ALF: Animal Liberation Front
ALIR: Army of the Liberation of Rwanda
anarchism: A political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups (Websters).
ANO: Abu Nidal Organization, a.k.a. Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, and Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims based in Iraq
anti-terrorism: (AT) (JP 1-02) – Defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts, to include limited response and containment by local military forces. See FMs 31-20 and 100-20.
ASG: Abu Sayyaf Group based in the Philippines
asset (terrorist): A resource – person, group, relationship, instrument, installation, or supply – at the disposition of an terrorist organization for use in an operational or support role. Often used with a qualifying term such as suicide asset or surveillance asset. Based upon JP 1-02 asset (intelligence).
AUC: Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, a.k.a. United Self-Defense Forces/Group of Colombia
AUM: Aum Supreme Truth, a.k.a. Aum Shinrikyo and Aleph based in Japan
biological agent: (JP 1-02) – A microorganism that causes disease in personnel, plants, or animals or causes the deterioration of materiel.
biological weapon: (JP 1-02) – An item of materiel, which projects, disperses, or disseminates a biological agent including arthropod vectors.
bioregulators: (CBRN Handbook) Biochemicals that regulate bodily functions. Bioregulators that are produced by the body are termed “endogenous.” Some of these same bioregulators can be chemically synthesized.
blister agents: (CBRN Handbook) Substances that cause blistering of the skin. Exposure is through liquid or vapor contact with any exposed tissue (eyes, skin, lungs).
blood agents: (CBRN Handbook) Substances that injure a person by interfering with cell respiration (the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between blood and tissues).
BR/PCC: New Red Brigades/Communist Combatant Party, a.k.a. Brigate Rosse/Partito Comunista Combattente based in Italy
CFF: Cambodian Freedom Fighters, a.k.a. Cholana Kantoap Serei Cheat Kampouchea based in Cambodia
chemical weapon: (JP 1-02) – Together or separately, (a) a toxic chemical and its precursors, except when intended for a purpose not prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention; (b) a munition or device, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through toxic properties of those chemicals specified in (a), above, which would be released as a result of the employment of such munition or device; (c) any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions or devices specified in (b), above.
chemical agent: (CBRN Handbook) A chemical substance that is intended for use in military operations to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate people through its physiological effects. Excluded from consideration are riot control agents, and smoke and flame materials. The agent may appear as a vapor, aerosol, or liquid; it can be either a casualty/toxic agent or an incapacitating agent.
choking agents: (CBRN Handbook) Substances that cause physical injury to the lungs. Exposure is through inhalation. In extreme cases, membranes swell and lungs become filled with liquid. Death results from lack of oxygen; hence, the victim is “choked”.
CIRA: Continuity Irish Republican Army based in Northern Ireland
conflict: (Army) – A political-military situation between peace and war, distinguished from peace by the introduction of organized political violence and from war by its reliance on political methods. It shares many of the goals and characteristics of war, including the destruction of governments and the control of territory. See FM 100-20.
CONUS: Continental United States
counter-terrorism: (CT) (JP 1-02) – Offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism. See FMs 19-1, 34-1, and 100-20.
Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (DFTO); A political designation determined by the U.S. Department of State. Listing as a DFTO imposes legal penalties for membership, prevents travel into the U.S., and proscribes assistance and funding activities within the U.S. or by U.S. citizens. From Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, U.S. Department of State
DFLP: Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine based in the Occupied Territories
DHKP/C: Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, a.k.a. Devrimci Sol or Dev Sol based in Turkey
Dirty Bomb: A dirty bomb, or Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) uses conventional explosive to disperse radioactive material like that used in the medical arena over a given area. Though a dirty bomb may not cause immediate physical damage, the spread of radioactive material can render an area uninhabitable and cause cancers and other illness to those that are exposed.
dysfunctional state: Used in this circular to mean a nation or state whose declared government cannot fulfill one or more of the core functions of governance, such as defense, internal security, revenue collection, resource allocation, etc. Examples are
ELA: Revolutionary People’s Struggle based in Greece
ELF: Earth Liberation Front
ELN: National Liberation Army based in Colombia
ETA: Basque Fatherland and Liberty based in Spain
ETIM: Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement based in China
failed state: A dysfunctional state which also has multiple competing political factions in conflict within its borders, or has no functioning governance above the local level. This does not imply that a central government facing an insurgency is automatically a failed state. If essential functions of government continue in areas controlled by the central authority, it has not “failed”. Examples of failed states are Somalia and
FALN: Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional Puertorriquena, a.k.a. Armed Forces for Puerto Rican National Liberation
FARC: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
FPM: Morzanist Patriotic Front based in Honduras
FPMR: Manuel Rodriquez Patriotic Front based in Chile
GIA: Armed Islamic Group based in Algeria
GICM: Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group based in Western Europe
GRAPO: Grupo de Resistencia Anti-Fascista Premero de Octubre, a.k.a. First of October Antifascist Resistance Group based in Spain
GSPC: The Salafist Group for Call and Combat based in Algeria
guerilla warfare: (JP 1-02, NATO) – Military and paramilitary operations conducted in enemy-held or hostile territory by irregular, predominantly indigenous forces. (See also unconventional warfare (UW). See FMs 90-8, 100-12, and 100-20.
HIG: Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin based in Afghanistan and Pakistan
HM: Hizb ul-Mujahidin based in Kashmir, India
HUA: Harakat ul-Ansar based in Pakistan
HUJI: Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami, a.k.a. Movement of Islamic Holy War based in Pakistan
HUJI-B: Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami/Bangladesh, a.k.a. Movement of Islamic Holy War based in Bangladesh
HUM: Harakat ul-Mujahidin, a.k.a. Movement of Holy Warriors based in Pakistan
IAA: Islamic Army of Aden, a.k.a. Aden-Abyan Islamic Army based in Yemen
IED: Improvised Explosive Device. Devices that have been fabricated in an improvised manner and that incorporate explosives or destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic, or incendiary chemicals in their design.
IG: Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, a.k.a. Islamic Group based in Egypt.
IIPB: Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade based in Chechnya
incapacitating agent: (CBRN Handbook) Produce temporary physiological and/or mental effects via action on the central nervous system. Effects may persist for hours or days, but victims usually do not require medical treatment. However, such treatment speeds recovery.
industrial agent: (CBRN Handbook) Chemicals developed or manufactured for use in industrial operations or research by industry, government, or academia. These chemicals are not primarily manufactured for the specific purpose of producing human casualties or rendering equipment, facilities, or areas dangerous for use by man. Hydrogen cyanide, cyanogen chloride, phosgene, chloropicrin and many herbicides and pesticides are industrial chemicals that also can be chemical agents.
insurgency: (JP 1-02, NATO) – An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict. See FMs 90-8 and 100-20.
international: of, relating to, or affecting two or more nations (Webster’s). For our purposes, affecting two or more nations.
IRA: Irish Republican Army based in Northern Ireland
IMU: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
JEM: Jaish-e-Mohammed, a.k.a. Army of Mohammed based in Pakistan
JI: Jemaah Islamiya based in Malaysia and Singapore
JRA: Japanese Red Army based in Lebanon and Japan
JUM: Jamiat ul-Mujahidin based in Kashmir, India
KMM: Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia based in Malaysia
LJ: Lashkar I Jhangvi, a.k.a. Army of Jhangvi based in Pakistan
LRA: Lord’s Resistance Army based in Uganda
LT: Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a.k.a. Army of the Righteous based in Pakistan
LTTE: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a.k.a. World Tamil Association, World Tamil Movement, Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils, Ellalan Force, and Sangilian Force based in Sri Lanka
LVF: Loyalist Volunteer Force based in Northern Ireland
MEK: Mujahidin-e Khalq Organization, a.k.a. Holy Warriors of the People, National Liberation Army of Iran, Peoples Mujahidin of Iran, National Council of Resistance, and Muslim Iranian Student’s Society based in Iraq
millenarian: Apocalyptic; forecasting the ultimate destiny of the world; foreboding imminent disaster or final doom; wildly unrestrained; ultimately decisive. From Merriam -Webster’s
MRTA: Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement based in Peru.
narco-terrorism: (JP 3-07.4) Terrorism conducted to further the aims of drug traffickers. It may include assassinations, extortion, hijackings, bombings, and kidnappings directed against judges, prosecutors, elected officials, or law enforcement agents, and general disruption of a legitimate government to divert attention from drug operations.
nation: A community of people composed of one or more nationalities and possessing a more or less defined territory and government or a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status.
nation-state: A form of political organization under which a relatively homogeneous people inhabits a sovereign state; especially a state containing one as opposed to several nationalities.
nerve agents: (CBRN Handbook) Substances that interfere with the central nervous system. Exposure is primarily through contact with the liquid (skin and eyes) and secondarily through inhalation of the vapor. Three distinct symptoms associated with nerve agents are: pin-point pupils, an extreme headache, and severe tightness in the chest.
NIPR: Revolutionary Proletarian Initiative Nuclei based in Italy
NPA: New People’s Army based in the Philippines
NTA: Anti-Imperialist Territorial Nuclei based in Italy
nuclear weapon: (JP 1-02) – A complete assembly (i.e., implosion type, gun type, or thermonuclear type), in its intended ultimate configuration which, upon completion of the prescribed arming, fusing, and firing sequence, is capable of producing the intended nuclear reaction and release of energy.
OV: Orange Volunteers based in Northern Ireland
PAGAD: People Against Gangsterism and Drugs based in South Africa
Pathogen: (CBRN Handbook) Any organism (usually living) capable of producing serious disease or death, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
PFLP: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine based in Syria
PFLP-GC: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command based in Syria
PIJ: The Palestine Islamic Jihad based in Syria
PIRA: Provisional Irish Republican Army based in Northern Ireland
PKK: Kurdistan Workers’ Party based in Turkey
PLF: Palestine Liberation Front based in Iraq
radiological dispersal device: (RDD) (CBRN Handbook) A device (weapon or equipment), other than a nuclear explosive device, designed to disseminate radioactive material in order to cause destruction, damage, or injury by means of the radiation produced by the decay of such material.
radiological operation: (JP 1-02) – The employment of radioactive materials or radiation producing devices to cause casualties or restrict the use of terrain. It includes the intentional employment of fallout from nuclear weapons.
RIRA: Real IRA based in Northern Ireland
RHD: Red Hand Defenders based in Northern Ireland
RN: Revolutionary Nuclei based in Greece
RSRSBCM: Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs based in Chechnya
RUF: Revolutionary Untied Front based in Sierra Leone
setback: Distance between outer perimeter and nearest point of buildings or structures within. Generally referred to in terms of explosive blast mitigation.
SL: Sendero Luminoso, a.k.a. Shining Path based in Peru
SPIR: Special Purpose Islamic Regiment based in Chechnya
SSP: Sipah-I-Sahaba/Pakistan based in Pakistan
state: A politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially one that is sovereign.
TACON: Tactical control
TCG: The Tunisian Combatant Group, a.k.a. The Tunisian Islamic Fighting Group
terror tactics: Given that the Army defines Tactics as “the art and science of employing available means to win battles and engagements”, then terror tactics should be considered “the art and science of employing violence, terror and intimidation to inculcate fear in the pursuit of political, religious, or ideological goals”.
terrorism: (JP 1-02) – The calculated use of violence or threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological. See FM 100-20.
terrorist: (JP 1-02) – An individual who uses violence, terror, and intimidation to achieve a result. See FM 100-20.
terrorist goals: The term goals will refer to the strategic end or end state that the terrorist objectives are intended to obtain. Terrorist organization goals equate to the strategic level of war as described in FM 101-5-1.
terrorist group: Any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism (U.S. Dept of State).
terrorist objectives: The standard definition of objective is – “The clearly defined, decisive, and attainable aims which every military operation should be directed towards” (JP 1-02). For the purposes of this work, terrorist objectives will refer to the intended outcome or result of one or a series of terrorist operations or actions. It is analogous to the tactical or operational levels of war as described in FM 101-5-1.
toxic chemical agent: (CBRN Handbook) Produce incapacitation, serious injury, or death. They can be used to incapacitate or kill victims. These agents are the choking, blister, nerve, and blood agents.
toxin agent: (JP 1-02) – A poison formed as a specific secretion product in the metabolism of a vegetable or animal organism, as distinguished from inorganic poisons. Such poisons can also be manufactured by synthetic processes.
transnational: Extending or going beyond national boundaries (Websters). In this context, not limited to or centered within a single nation.
underground: A covert unconventional warfare organization established to operate in areas denied to the guerrilla forces or conduct operations not suitable for guerrilla forces.
UXO: Unexploded ordnance
VBIED: Vehicle borne improvised explosive devices.
WCOTC: World Church of the Creator
WEG: Worldwide Equipment Guide. A document produced by the TRADOC ADCSINT – Threats that provides the basic characteristics of selected equipment and weapons systems readily available for use by the OPFOR.
WMD: (JP 1-02) – Weapons of Mass Destruction. Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or propelling the weapon where such means is a separable and divisible part of the weapon