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Global Terrorism

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Global Terrorism

One of the main problems of the present is the global terrorism. Terrorism unfortunately became an integral part of the political and economic processes in the world thus making a threat for the entire mankind.     There are a lot of discussions on defining the terrorism. Sometimes the acts of terror are called the “revolutionary struggle”, sometimes the terrorists are called “the rebels”, and sometimes they define themselves as the fighters for some high ideals.

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            The most appropriate definition of the terrorists is something like “small armed groups using the threat of violence against the large groups of non-combatants to gain their political aims”.

The most important is that the threat or the violence is applied against the non-combatants, i.e. peaceful people. The terror is a prerogative of the weak, those who can not or do not want to gain their political aims by the conventional, accepted by the civilized world procedures. Unfortunately the definition of the terrorists is highly dependable upon the political views of these or those politicians.

The same groups or armed combatants attacking the civilians are called by the various politicians “the terrorists” and “the freedom fighters”, “fighters for justice” etc. These definitions explain the different attitudes of political leaders towards the terrorists, i.e. the moral aspect of the problem is intervened with political and the latter dominates over the moral one.

            The war with the terrorism became the crucial security factor for the modern world. The struggle with the terrorism turned to become the real war aimed to defend the civilization’s values. The terrorists are well trained, they know their aims and they are free from the bureaucracy. Those who the terror acts are aimed to should understand that this war is the mortal combat. From the point of view of the terrorists their main victorious factor is the fear of death. According to them there should not be any exceptions even if the objects of the attacks are the children and women. As it was mentioned above the terror war is the war aimed to demolish the human dignity by means of fear.

            The definition of the terrorism might be explained as following. The word “terror” came to English from the Latin language meaning “fear”. When the group of terrorists take the hostages, explode a bomb in a crowdie place, direct the aircraft to the houses of the civilians or the police tortures the arrested people they realize they will not get the resistance. The main feature of the terrorism is that it is aimed from the terrorist towards the object (civilian citizen) only unlike that of war where the violence is directed to both sides of the conflict.

            Thus during the war action the subject of the violence is an object of the same violence as well. Terror act may be defined as the act of violence where the subject can not become the object of the violence because victims can not respond in an adequate manner.

It is worth noting that while committing the terror acts the terrorists may follow their aims either connected with their victims or not. So we may define two notions of “the terror” and “the terrorism”. The terror is the method of influence by committing the terror acts. The victim in this case is the object of such influence. The terrorism is the method of influence by committing the terror acts as well but the victim in this case is not an object of such influence.

The terror as well as the terrorism has three subjects, a single individual, a group (it may be either small or a big one) and a state. Each subject uses the terror or the terrorism in various degrees.

A single individual
Is used very seldom
Is used very seldom
A group
Trend to be widely used
Is used very seldom
A state
Trend to be widely used
Trend to be widely used

            The terrorism may be defined both as international and the domestic one. It is very difficult to differentiate the forms of the terrorism according to the criterions indicated above. Domestic terrorism trends to find support outside the country and thus spreading beyond the borders.

            According to the aims of the terrorism we may distinguish the nationalists’ terrorists. These are the groups seeking the self determination. These groups can operate both within the country and outside. They have a certain ideological “coverage”, “the struggle for the independence” or something else. They are the most dangerous because they never stop their activities. The examples of such movements are IRA (Irish Republican Army) and ETA (Basque Homeland and Liberty).

            Another terrorism movement may be defined as the ideological terrorism. The aims of such groups are to change the political, social and economic system. They may be extreme left or extreme right. Their ideologies are based on the philosophic doctrines, such as Marxism, Maoism, and Neo Nazism etc.

            One of the most dangerous terrorism movements is the religious-political terrorism. Hezbollah and Hamas are the typical representatives of such terrorism. Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network is a clearly religious-political movement. The danger of such groups is very high which was shown by the 9/11 Laden’s attacks.

            There is also the state supported terrorism. This is the most dangerous one. States use this type of the terrorism as their political doctrine. Such terrorism is difficult to fight first of all because it is supported by the state policy. It is very difficult to define “the level of criminality” of such form, because it is supported by the domestic legal base. Iraq is the typical example of such terrorism. The defense from such kind of terrorism is a matter of the anti-terror       international coalition. Some of the countries involved into the state terrorism try to distance themselves from the active actions, e.g. Libya. The war with such terrorism requires serious internationally accepted legal base otherwise such war may be defined as an aggression.

The modern terrorism obtained some peculiar features. The terrorist groups cooperate very closely and even have special coordination centers.

Nowadays the threat of the terrorism becomes crucial because the terrorism is developing itself and uses the new forms and means. One of such cruel forms was demonstrated by Al Qaeda during the attack on the World Trade Center. There were a lot of publications analyzing that attack. The mankind faced the principally new criminal form of the terrorism. There was no any formulated ultimatum, just cruel senseless action of intimidation. That was the landmark in the global war with the terrorism. The world has understood that the war with the terrorism is a matter of the world community and the terrorism needs to be combated by the coalition which was created after the attacks.

The terrorism is developing its weapons permanently. The development of the science and the technology provides opportunities for the terrorists groups to update the new forms and the weapons of the terror.

After the collapse of the USSR and the formation of a number of independent states a certain danger of spreading the nuclear materials appeared. The Russia – Chechnya conflict and the close relations of Chechnya rebels with the international terrorists made it possible to spread the nuclear materials beyond Russia.

If we study the terrorism we see some principles any terrorist activity is based on. First of all it is the financial support. Terrorism needs the permanent modernization of the weapons. Such modernization attracts considerable finance. Secondly, the terrorists need the place to develop their bases and the training fields. As a rule such bases are located around the objects of the terror attacks. The terrorists need the external support. It is obviously they can not make all the preparations in the country their activity is aimed to. As we noted above the main weapon of the terrorists is the fear. Their actions are useless if they are not publicized properly.1

 The terrorism is the political struggle. The counter-terrorism should also include the political aspect. The political resistance to the terrorism is aimed to the isolation of it in order to eliminate it physically.2

The September attacks showed that the national security system of the United States needs some different approach. In July, 2002 President Bush presented the National Strategy for Homeland Security. The National Strategy for Homeland Security pointed out three main objectives for the homeland security. They are to prevent the terrorist attacks within the USA, to reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur3. The strategy focuses into three critical mission areas regarding the terrorism. They are intelligence and warning, border and transportation security and domestic counterterrorism 4.

The terror act is effective if the object is not prepared for it. The intelligence and warning system should be able to prevent the terror act before it manifests itself 5. Comparing the modern counterterrorism and the cold war confrontation, it is worth mentioning that the counter terror warning system is much more complicated than that used for the strategic weapon. The terrorists may move freely within the democratic countries and their movement monitoring may violate the basic human rights.

The terrorists are normally provided with the appropriate ID documents and this raises the role of the intelligence and the border control. Another question is what should be done once the information on the potential terrorists is provided. The Strategy reflects the concept that the information and the intelligence activity is an integral part of the National Strategy.

The FBI plays a key role in the counter terror activities. First of all the FBI should refocus its mission on preventing the terrorist attacks.

The federal information sharing is the important part of the counter terrorism domestic procedures. The National Strategy for Homeland Security identifies five major initiatives in the federal information sharing and systems: (1) Integrate information sharing across the federal government; (2) Integrate information sharing across state and local governments, private industry and citizens; (3) Adopt common “meta-data” standards for electronic information relevant to homeland security; (4) Improve public safety emergency communications; (5) Ensure reliable public health information.6

The measures aimed to degrade the financial base of the terrorists’ organizations are of the great importance. Since the terrorism became the international threat it is common practice to freeze the accounts of such organizations worldwide according to the international agreements. The terrorists’ organizations need the territories to train. Since the war with the terrorism becomes common concern it is obviously that the international agreements regarding the global anti terrorism operations should be concluded.

The countries supporting the terrorists’ movements should be considered as the terrorism supporting countries making the threat to the entire world community. The economic, military and political sanctions should be imposed towards such countries.

The terror acts are useless if they do not get certain publicity. The terrorists should not be glamorized.

One of the important factors in the international war with the terrorism is the international informational cooperation. The terrorists’ leaders should be persecuted disregarding their location. The role of intelligence is very high. The intelligence services of the various countries should coordinate their activities when it concerns the terrorism.

The countries should work out common policies and the procedures regarding the terrorism. Since the threat of the terrorism became global such procedures need to be worked out disregarding political, ethnical, geographic and other peculiarities of the countries. The global system of the terrorism resistance should be harmonized including the information databank, unified security measures at the airports, mutual understanding regarding the coalition operations.

The EU plays the great role in the anti terrorists war due to the unification and harmonization of its police, information, financial and other common systems. After the September attacks the EU countries have frozen $35m of terrorists’ assets7.

An EU-US agreement was signed on 6 December 2001 to improve cooperation between the American authorities and Europol, Europe’s coordinating body for law enforcement regarding the war with the terrorism.8

The role of the OSCE is invaluable in the matter of combating the global terrorism. OSCE expands its current activities and proficiency in policing, legislative and judicial reform to contribute to combating terrorism.9

There are several types of measures to reduce the global threat of the terrorism

First of all it is a political one. World community should agree that the terror actions are the crimes against the mankind, no matter what aims they pursue. The world community should accept common definition of the terrorism. The concept of terrorism should not be tight with the aims but with the methods. The world community should accept the common approach towards the terrorism, namely the terrorism is the crime and no negotiations acceptable with the terrorists. The terrorism should be treated as a crime all over the world and the members of the terrorists’ organizations should be prosecuted all over the world disregarding the country they are based in. Severe international sanctions should be imposed towards the countries and regimes supporting the terrorism.

The matter of intelligence is the very specific subject; still countries should work out the common principles of the intelligence cooperation in the terrorism combat.

Countries should work out the common positions regarding the weapon control as well. The uncontrolled arms spread should be considered as the support of the terrorism.

Common data bank of the terrorists’ organization should be developed. The international legal norms should be adopted according to which the country, citizens of which became the hostages of the terrorists on the territory of the other country will be able to participate in the police/military rescue operations.

The international anti terrorism court should be established to prosecute the terrorists.

The special international committee authorized to plan the anti terror operations should be established. Such committee may be established under the aegis of the NATO, EU or UNO. Countries should agree that they accept any anti terror intelligence operations on their territories.

The terrorism became the real disaster for the world community comparable with the big catastrophes and the world community should apply their utmost support to defend the world against the terrorism.

The issue of the terrorism is of great importance of the present. First of all it is interesting as a phenomenon. Their main tool and the instrument of the IRA activity was fear. IRA was fighting for their political recognition and after they got it all their political programs failed. That means their main objective as well as main method was the terror, i.e. terror exists without its final aim, it is just a criminal movement committing crimes for the sake of crimes.

The issue of the counterterrorism is very important because the 9/11 catastrophe showed that the free society has not yet been ready to oppose the terror attacks. The US – USSR confrontation during the Cold War shaped the concept of the national security of both USA and post – Soviet countries. That concept was built on the assumption that there were two hostile blocks which acted as the legal international activity participants. Accordingly the political basis of the confrontation was formed assuming that the outer threat was a threat of the hostile actions of some country or some political alliance of the countries.

Former opponents became the allies in their struggle with terrorism, but they happened to be unprepared to the full scale counter terror operation.

It is paradoxically but former opponents in the Cold War acquired the common enemy named terrorism. Most of the modern terrorist movements were supported by the superpowers during the Cold War. The confrontation doctrines of both USA and USSR during the Cold war were based on the principle “my enemy’s opponent is at least my ally”. The damaging consequences of these doctrines are displayed now.

During the Soviet – Afghan conflict the United States supported anti-Soviet movements including Taliban which is closely connected with modern Al-Qaeda responsible for the meaningless inhuman 9/11 attacks. On the other hand Soviet Union supported all movements which were opposed to the US influence including North Korea, Libya and Iraq. Now these regimes are recognized as those based on the state terrorism. What is more, Chechen rebels fighting against the Russian regime on its territory using terror methods are supported by the Arabian Muslim fundamentalists.

The terrorism made what other threats failed to do; it has united countries of the world community by the common aim to resist the new global threat. The success in the global war with terrorism became the factor of survival for the civilization.

The number of victims of the global terrorism is enormous. This number indicates that the confrontation of the terrorists with the civilization is a full scale war. Thus in 2004 total number of victims of the global terrorism was 9321; 1907 were killed, 6704 were wounded and 710 were taken as hostages.10

Worst of all is that terrorism as political means unfortunately brings certain results.  If any oppressed minority does not employ terrorism it will never gain any political results. The terrorism made Israel start the peaceful process with PLO; The British Government would never pay any attention to IRA if it did not use the terror methods. The terrorism unfortunately can not be eliminated completely since it is the most effective way to expose the political pressure. It is sad to say but sometimes the minorities does not have the alternatives to the terrorism.

The terrorism could be suppressed; it can be reduced but it may hardly be eliminated completely.  The history of the mankind proves this statement. The terrorism emerged and was “formalized” during the French Revolution. Any revolutionary movement employs terrorism as a method of struggle.

The best explanation of the terrorism was given by Lenin, Russia. He said, “The main purpose of terrorism is to terrorize”. Lenin himself was an expert in terrorism who succeeded to dethrone the Russian Tsar.

No doubt the complicated issue of terrorism is very interesting to study from the point of view of political science and the strategy of the national security. The world community allowed terrorism spread all over the globe by not paying the appropriate attention to danger of such a spread. Now it is time to stop or at least to limit considerably the terrorism expansion.


1.         Major R. Cole,

2.         Z.Brzhezinsky


4.         Ibid

5.         Ibid

6.         Ibid

7.         Col Robert J. Berens,  Major E. J. Robeson

8.         “International Response: US and Europe Disagree Over

Terrorist Funds”
9.         Drago, Tito

10.     National Counterterrorism Centre


·         Z.Brzhezinsky A Plan for Political Warfare, “The Wall Street Journal”, 25, September, 2001.

·         Wilkinson, P., Terrorism versus Democracy: The Liberal State Response, Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2001

·         Major R. Cole,  United States Marine Corps, March

  29, 1984, Terrorism: A Frightening Problem with an

Intuitive Solution, available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1984/CR.htm, retrieved 07.12.2006

·         THE NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY, Office of the Homeland Security, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/homeland/book/nat_strat_hls.pdf, retrieved  07.12.2006

·         Drago, Tito, “EU-US: Cooperation Must Also Focus on Roots of Terrorism,” Inter Press Service English News   Wire; 2/16/2002;   2002.

·         “International Response: US and Europe Disagree Over
Terrorist Funds,” NTI, 11 April 2002, available at http://www.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/qehwp/qehwps96.pdf , retrieved 07.12.2006
·         Col Robert J. Berens, Major E. J. Robeson, COUNTER-TERRORISM–HOW FAR CAN WE MORALLY GO?, available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1984/REJ.htm, retrieved 07.12.2006

·         A Chronology of Significant International Terrorism for 2004, National Counterterrorism Centre, 25.04.2005. Available at http://www.tkb.org/documents/Downloads/NCTC_Report.pdf, retrieved 07.12.2006


Cite this Global Terrorism

Global Terrorism. (2017, Jan 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/global-terrorism/

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