Terrorism is a way of using intentional violence strategies to create fear and to achieve the ideological, political or financial aim. On the other hand, to prevent or demolish terrorism, the government makes certain strategies to fight against those forces who intentionally creates violence. Many types of research have been conducted and scholars have said that to terrorism is an effective way of coercive strategy but no study has been conducted on a broader level to show that whether it is a coercive strategy or not. The article was written by Max Abraham on “Why Terrorism Does Not Work” tried to explain the above-stated question. In his study, he took twenty-eight most important terrorist organizations from the US Department of securities. Abraham found that the most important element of the success of terrorist activities done by these organizations is based on the selection of the target. Terrorist attacks made on military and the attacks made on civilians, some case studies showed that attacking civilians increases the chances of whatever the terrorists are demanding from the government. The notion that terrorism is an effective coercive strategy is backed by some case studies and small articles but never were coercive in a broader way. There has been evidence that proved that to gain political objectives terrorism is one of the most effective strategies. In the article, it has been analyzed that activities done by terrorist for forcing the government to change its policies or for money or for releasing prisoners who are valuable to terrorist are the most effective strategies. The effectiveness of terrorism can be measured by comparing their objectives with the outcomes they achieved from their policies. Anti-terrorism activities have been performed on a higher page after the 9/11 terrorist activity in the USA.
In my views, terrorist activities can be curtailed. However, it is not possible that terrorist activities be stopped fully. All those countries who are experiencing major terrorist activities are trying to cut these activities. Although they are not doing this on their own, they are doing it with the collaboration of USA mostly. Most of the people working in terrorist organizations have some believe that is the implementation of Islamic laws and rules in Islamic countries plus other purposes related to things that are not according to the terrorist organizations in the world. Terrorist organizations like Al Qaida and ISIS, their operations around the world especially in Pakistan, had the same purpose to let the world know about them, they fear them. They take responsibilities for whatever violent activities going on in the country. The study revealed that target selection is the key element for a terrorist to meet their goals, sometimes the goals of terrorist cannot be coded. It has also been shown that attacking civilians outnumbered the attacks on the military.
There are two type of groups in terrorism, first are that terrorist who only targets the civilians, second are those who target the military but eventually attacks civilians. Some of the major terrorist activities done in past include the attack of 9 September 2011, 1999 apartment bombing in Russia and First Intifada in Israel. All of the above-stated activities are major terrorist activities which have changed the course of the world. It has been said that to achieve political and financial gains violence is one of the key elements that can help achieve those aims. All of these attacks involved civilians which are most valuable to the country. Many fractions of popular support they experience inside a populace they declare to symbolize (Bueno & Dickson, 2007). The campaign of terrorism can either rise or fall in this level of support. Empirically it has been evident that counter-terrorism activities enabling people to stay positive and motivated that the government is really do taking care of the terrorists. The United States Armed forces help countries to reduce the terrorist activities going on in their respective countries (Arce M & Sandler, 2005).
After 9/11, US establishment worried about the national security. Al Qaida was one of the most brutal terrorist organization at that time, the attack on world trade center has changed the course of the world (Cronin, 2015). For years, the government of Iraq has been telling the world that they are taking control over the terrorist organizations, but nothing was changing until the USA sent its troops inside Iraq (Kilcullen, 2016). Thousands of documents published by Eden Snowden in 2013 revealed that America was spying on its own people by keeping a record of the phone calls they make, the emails they send and conversations they make with everyone. This happened after the 9/11 attacks on World Trade Center. The main purpose of doing this was to know who’s responsible for carrying out the terrorist activities in America so that they could overcome it. Many countries are trying the same ways to prevent terrorism in their respective countries.
PRISM is one of the surveillance programs used by America to have a check and balance on the chat histories, phone calls, and data mining etc. to prevent terrorist activities. It was proved efficient when it really stopped one of the major terrorist incidents that were about to be executed shortly. This program was introduced after the 9/11 activity because at that time surveillance was inefficient and ineffective (Houston, 2017). From the article, I have observed that terrorist organizations always targets those where the target audience is in mass numbers, by targeting those areas they know that the government of that particular country will accept the terms they want to be accepted. In Islamic countries, the purpose of terrorist organizations is the implementation of Islamic rules and regulations. In other countries, the purpose of terrorist organizations is to get their demand s fulfilled by the government. From the article, terrorism cannot be stopped fully but can be reduced to a lower level by establishing significant strategies, by having meetings with terrorists to see if their demands can be fulfilled so that they all would come to the same page.
Terrorist Groups, Objectives, and Outcomes
By looking at the twenty-eight most wanted terrorist organizations in the world issued by the United States. It seems that some of them have some success over their objectives but most of them failed in fulfilling their main objectives. Al Qaida, Hamas, Islami Jihad and Tamil Tigers have some success in achieving the objectives they established for their organizations. If we look at the stats given in the article, one can clearly see that on a broader way terrorism has not impacted highly on the world but some of them did affect in a smaller way like Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist organization who had the main objective of expelling peacekeepers and Israel. Its target was not civilians but the military and outcome were remarkable as it had a huge success in fulfilling its objective. This organization abandoned Israeli’s and cut off all those who were in favor of peace. A study has shown that the ultimate goals of the terrorist groups must be distinguished from their other goals that are strategic ones. In order for the government to take serious counter actions against terrorism, it must find out the pattern from their strategic goals (Plumper & Neumayer, 2014).
Organizations like Hamas, Al Qaida and Tamil tigers all of them, they had the same target that is civilians, all of them had some success over their objectives. From the twenty-eight terrorist organizations, few of them have succeeded. 14% of the total twenty-eight organizations have succeeded while remaining did not. I agree with the validity and successfulness of terror attacks on civilians. Civilians are the main concern for any government. The government would do anything to protect its civilians and its prestige. Terrorist knew this weakness of the government so they target these civilians to achieve their ultimate objectives. Mostly by targeting civilians, terrorist wants to fear the government so that terrorist could get whatever they want, it could be the releasing of a prisoner, money etc. Few of my father’s friends were working in World trade center when it got attacked, I know how it feels to be scared to death. In the time of attack nothing matters, the thing that only matters is saving one’s own life. After the attack, there has been a fear among people going to their offices. This happened to me as well while going for my classes that it could be possible that the next target for Al Qaida is my school. The government can do anything and I mean anything to protect their civilians. Most of the supporters of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Kashmiri Harakat ul-Mujahidin claimed that they have served efficiently in US-Israel relations.
Most of the studies conducted on terrorism failed to answer a question of Is Terrorism effective? It has been found evident that civil wars long laster than wars. For larger political objectives, terrorist rebel groups are more likely to other known terrorist groups. In the context of democracy, terrorism is ineffective and will not win ever (Fortna, 2015). Researchers have shown that limited issues can be resolved than high complex issues. Issues like Kashmir between Pakistan and India cannot be resolved. The main purpose behind terrorist groups can be either they want a control over the country or they want to expel the country from occupying another country. In the maximalist approach, the demands of a terrorist group can be either to attack a country to transform its political system or to destroy the country against its values. So far I do not completely agree with the author for attacking civilians is not effective. Countries like America, Canada, Australia and Russia, they take high care of their civilians they can do anything to protect their civilians. From all of that I have learned from the case study and my research on various topics related to terrorism, I’m totally agreed with the Abraham’s saying that terrorism in ineffective if they target civilians.
Russia’s Response to the 1999 Apartment Bombings
Apartment bombing in Russia killed 300 people and wounded hundreds of others. Author of the article said that attacking civilians is strategically ineffective and I agree with him. Before the news to be separated all over Russia, agreement widespread that Chechen objectives were only limited to making up an independent Chechen state. After the bombing, people of Russia started cutting from the Chechen people because of the fact that Russia did not let them create their own independent state, they started destroying Russia by doing terrorist activities. The first Chechen war started in 1994 and ended in 1996, during this war Russians recognized that objectives of Chechen were only limited to self-determination. These objectives were named territorial by the Russian government. The second Chechen war started out in 1999 until present. Russians ignored the policy demands by Chechen against the response to the terrorist attacks.
A significant poll has been conducted which resulted that they believed only 15% of Chechen people were fighting for their independence rest of 85% believed they wanted to destroy Russia. Russians after the bombing concluded that objectives of Chechen had become maximalist and the poll indicated that Chechen’s main motive now is to kill Russians. In the public opinion foundation, about 71% of the Russians were in favor of trading a land for peace but they do consider Chechen people not trustworthy. In the first war, Russians were in favor of giving out a land for creating a peace but this reversed after the apartment bombings. After six months of bombings, about 73% of Russians wanted Russian forces to invade Chechen. When the Soviet Union got separated in late 1980’s the objectives of Chechen remained the same as they were for establishing a separate independent state. The war won against Chechen, Russians impacted highly on the daily lives of Chechen people (Dube, 2016).
The US response to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks
I agree with Max Abraham that attacking civilians is strategically ineffective. One of the biggest activities done by Al Qaida was the attack on World Trade Center that changed the course of the world. After this terrorist attack America did not put its focus on Al Qaida, rather focused on the aftermath of the attack. This changed the course of Al Qaida and they changed their violence into policies. The main motive behind Al Qaida for the attack was to let America know about the effects of the unpopular foreign policies it makes on the Muslim world. Bin Laden said that human rights and policies of America are likely to have an unfortunate and inescapable outcome. In 1985 when bin Laden declares war against America, main motive behind this war to abandon the troops of America present in Saudi Arabia. The military interventions that kill Muslims around the world, bin Laden wants to destroy that too. After 9/11 a poll was conducted which showed that most of the Americans believe that Al Qaida was not responding to unpopular foreign policies.
There has been this one in five respondents who said that America’s favoring policies to the Muslim world led terrorists to do violent activities like they did in 9/11. In another poll, only 15% of the Americans believed that this attack was mainly due to the American policies. In response to 9/11 attack, America took different steps like it increased the troops over Gulf, strengthen military relation with Muslim rulers, supported the counterterrorism acts in different countries and became a partial mediator between the conflicts in Israel and Palestine. After 9/11, Americans declared a social war over Muslims residing in America. They started attacking people wearing hijab or had a beard. Even the Muslims who were born there, because of their names Americans believed that every Muslim is a terrorist (Lichtblau, 2016).
Israel’s Response to the First Intifada
I agree with Abraham that attacking civilians is strategically ineffective. In the history of modern terrorism, the mass uprising of West Bank and Gaza was a moderate period. The main purpose behind first Intifada was to end the terrorist’s occupations from the territories. In the first intifada, 15% of the demonstrations were cruel, although 80% of Israeli’s believed that the men employed by Palestinians to destroy Israel are mainly violent. One of the mainly violent act was throwing big rocks over the defense forces in military territories. Another consensus of Israeli’s resulted that 93% of them believed that first Intifada was directed towards the army and towards the civilian. 85% of the respondents believed the purpose of initial Intifada was to cause injury and damage. Although the rest of 15% believed that it was for protest. The study found that the corrosive influence of terrorism on political tolerance is much extra powerful amongst Israelis who discover with the right, who’ve additionally grown to be an awful lot more touchy to terrorism over the years (Peffely et al., 2015).
Terrorism has changed the course of the world. Every major country’s efforts towards the elimination of terrorism is creating a solid impact on it. All the countries that are the most targeted countries for terrorism, collaboration with the United States have taken serious steps in eliminating terrorism. They have created strategies, formed military alliances with other countries, working collaboratively with other countries so that world will get rid of this disease which breaking its bones.
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