State-sponsored terrorism is a term loosely used to describe terrorism sponsored by nation-states. As with terrorism, the precise definitions, and the identification of particular examples, are subjects of heated political dispute. In general state-sponsored terrorism is associated with Para-militaries. It is also frequently used in conjunction with state terrorism, which is terrorism committed by nation-states.
Terrorism, as defined by Title 22 of the United States code, section 2656f (d), is the “pre-meditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence and audience. ” Islamic terrorism is a serious problem for the United States because of the threat to national security, innocent civilians, and the foundations of democratic societies throughout the world. State sponsored terrorism has changed in structure and design over the centuries.
Jewish zealots conducted campaigns against the Romans in the first century AD, and the Hashshashin, a Shi’ah Muslim group who gave us the word assassin, systematically murdered those in positions and leadership during the 19th century. (White, p131) The modern age of terrorism began in the 1960’s. State sponsored terrorism in its current form began in 1968. As the 1970’s passed by, the explosion of extremist groups and related incidents sparked a new awareness of the dangers of terrorism.
In the 1980’s, Canada was the victim of several terrorist attacks carried out by Armenian and Sikh extremists, including a bombing of an Air India flight originating in Toronto, which exploded off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people (White, p123) The 1995 Sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo Cult in a Tokyo subway marked a new threshold in international terrorism. For the first time, people began to realize that similar groups could use weapons of mass destruction or plan attacks to inflict maximum casualties.
The long-term effects of exposure are yet to be determined, but preliminary tests of eighteen victims conducted in January 1998 showed that their sense of balance was affected by the nerve gas (White, p37) State sponsored terrorism in comparison to domestic terrorism which most of the Islamic world view the West, especially the United States, as the foremost corrupting influence on the Islamic world today. The Hezbollah, an Iranian terrorist group, have labeled the United States as “the Great Satan” (White, p136).
This growing animosity that Islamic nations feel toward the Western world has been continually demonstrated by the increase in state sponsored terrorism. However, Muslims view their actions as acts of self-defense and religious duty and not as terrorism. The Islamic radical movement’s main success has been their ability to gain legitimacy from the general public. During the past two decades, they have had enormous success with their ability to present themselves to the Arab and Muslim world as the true bearers of Islam.
They appeal to the lower class due to the shared resentment of wealthy westerners while the middle class and intellectuals are drawn toward these radical groups in order to expel imported ideologies and forms of government. Radical Islamic organizations have declared a holy war, Jihad, in order to bring the Arab world together and take their place as a world power. In order to accomplish these goals, Islamic radicals have mainly used terrorism as their main instrument of persuasion.
The statutory definition of domestic terrorism in the United States has changed many times over the years; also, it can be argued that acts of domestic terrorism have been occurring since long before any legal definition was set forth. According to a memo produced by the FBI’s Terrorist Research and Analytical Center in 1994, domestic terrorism was defined as “the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. Under current United States law, set forth in the USA PATRIOT Act, acts of domestic terrorism are those which: “(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. National terrorism has been the focus of attention since September 11. But now domestic terrorism is becoming increasingly common among hate groups across the nation. Domestic terrorism can also be defined as visible crime, or “street crime. ” These acts would consist of violent crimes, (acts against people in which injury or death results) property crimes (acts that threaten property held by individuals or the state) and public order crimes. acts that threaten the general well-being of society and challenger accepted moral principles) It can also however be described as political crime, (criminal acts by or against the government for ideological purposes) which would include the 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing. The hypothesis would be that domestic terrorist people in domestic terrorist groups are more likely to plan and/or commit crimes than domestic terrorist people who are not in domestic terrorist groups. The dependent variable is planned and/or committed crimes.
The independent variable is whether they are in a domestic terrorist group or not. To study the dependent variable a survey could be used in which local, state, or federal law enforcement organizations would be contacted to find out how many people were arrested over a certain amount of time, and how many of those arrested planned and/or committed crimes that were labeled as domestic terrorism. This study would have more general questions. How many arrests were made? Of the arrests how many crimes were planned? How many committed? Would this crime qualify as domestic terrorism?
To study the independent variable, another, more specific survey could be conducted in which the crimes labeled as domestic terrorism would be looked over more specifically to see if the crimes were planned and/or committed by people in a domestic terrorist group or not. Furthermore, we could see if the possibility of the person being in a domestic terrorist group was even considered by the law enforcement organization that apprehended them. This study would show more specific questions. Of the arrests made how many of the domestic terrorist crimes were group related?
Of the arrests made how many were there in which a group not mentioned/considered by police or the arrested person? Of the arrests made how many people openly admitted to being in a domestic terrorist group? The most beneficial way to research this topic would be a survey. This is the most appropriate research method for this area because it could be conducted nationally, through a countless number or law enforcement organizations. To offer a suggestion, the first thing that could be done is a mailing list. This would include each organization being sent a packet including the survey, and a letter requesting their participation.
Then, over a period of time monitor which organizations respond and which do not. Of the ones that don’t respond, a letter of reminder or even another packet could be sent back to the organization. After that, another letter could be sent but it should probably stop at that point, as the organizations probably don’t want to respond. Domestic terrorism is recognized by all law enforcement agencies as a “problem. ” They all agree that this issue needs to be deeply looked at and that efforts to counter domestic terrorism must develop quickly.
Although, in the article “police say the number of people arrested for plotting domestic terrorist acts is greater than the number of people arrested for actually carrying out the terrorist acts,” there is still lots of work to be done on the issue. There should be an equal amount of focus on national and domestic terrorism in our country. The largest and most active terrorist organizations are those which are state funded. These organizations act as both an overt and covert way of spreading the sponsor countries ideologies. The U. S.
Secretary of State has designated seven governments as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. These governments support international terrorism either by engaging in terrorist activity themselves or by providing arms, training, safe haven, diplomatic facilities, financial backing, logistic and/or support to terrorists. Iran is one of the most active state sponsors of terrorism, involving themselves in the planning and execution of terrorist acts by its own agents and by surrogates such as the Hezbollah.
Tehran conducted 13 assassinations in 1997, the majority of which were carried out in northern Iraq against the regime’s main opposition groups. In January of 1997, Iranian agents tried to attack the Baghdad headquarters of Mujahedin-e Khalq using a super mortar. However, despite sanctions and foreign political pressure, Iran continues to provide support in the form of training, money, and weapons to a variety of terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and HAMAS. (White, p154) Sudan is another large supporter of terrorist organizations.
The Sudanese Government supports terrorists by providing paramilitary training, indoctrinization, money, travel documents, safe passage, and refuge. They also condone many of the objectionable activities of Iran, such as funneling assistance to terrorist and radical Islamic groups operating in and transiting through Sudan. Since Sudan was placed on the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993, the Sudanese Government still harbors members of the most violent international terrorists and radical Islamic groups. (White, p111)
Middle-Eastern countries have found terrorism beneficial for many reasons. First, terrorism is an inexpensive alternative to fighting a war, while still spreading their ideology and advancing their political agenda. Alternately, defending against terrorism is very expensive; the United States spends approximately five billion dollars annually to guard against terrorism. Even though terrorism kills relatively few people, the random nature by which innocent civilian are killed evokes a deep fear and insecurity upon the population.
This form of terrorism was successfully used to target tourism and damage Egypt’s economy in 1997. Publicity is another benefit of terrorism. By involving acts which are designed to attract maximum publicity, terrorism can bring the smallest group to the forefront of attention. All this is done while exposing the terrorist to minimal risk when compared to war. By secretly funding terrorist organization, the patron state avoids the possibility of defeat and does not appear to be the aggressor.
Modern technology has now made terrorism an efficient, convenient, and general discrete weapon for attacking state interests in the international realm. Furthermore, the fear evoked by terrorism creates an ideal setting to launch propaganda, which enables patron states to organize revolts, coups, and even civil war. This is the comparison the between the two types of discussed terrorism in this essay. Work Cited – White. Terrorism and Homeland Security: Thompson Wadsworth Higher Education; Belmont, CA, 94002; © 2006.