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Terrorism

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Submitted By jbates7
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According to Christopher Hitchens, “Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gun point,” of which is undeniably true. Terrorism is the extension of fear, trepidation and distress to project its views into the then current political spectrum, to alter the views, culture and ethos of the respective political power. Essentially, terrorism is about acquiring awareness in society for its cause, subsequently questioning the government’s stance or perspective.
In doing so terrorism, as this essay will discuss, creates reservations about the legitimacy of the current government, raises doubts surrounding the power of the state; a manoeuvre that demands concessions. Moreover, terrorism has taken on a pseudo religious-political form that has resulted in an involuntary knee-jerk reaction throughout the modern liberal democracies in the Western World.
Not many events, actions or ideologies have influenced politics as terrorism has done so consistently throughout history.
Terrorism and politics intertwine more than many understand. Terrorism is a catalyst for political interaction and development; as politics is seldom contained to one opinion, it is home to a myriad of diverse beliefs and judgements. It is about command and control and is not regulated to a sole individual, but the interconnections of various people from differing backgrounds and faiths, prompting revolution, oppression and liberalisation (Delaware Criminal Justice Council [DCJC] 2012, para. 1). It is this dynamic and multifaceted concept of politics that enables the rise of terrorism - in which individuals, groups and societies aim for change, as these factions challenge the ruling government or nation state in a David verse Goliath standoff in the struggle for survival, power and legitimacy (Encyclopædia Britannica 2013, para. 1). It is this that would be the most appropriate definition of politics for this essay.

Terrorism as a main function is to create terror amongst the masses by forcing sitting governments to take action or face certain destruction of their legitimacy. Carr (2007, para. 3) discusses the new strategy of ‘propaganda of the deed’ put forward by the turn of the 19th century terrorists, the

Anarchists. Developing the concept from a socialist follower of Italian Republican leader, Giuseppe
Mazzini, Anarchists strived to transmit their ideologies and ideals through political homicide.
Focusing on a political medium, particularly the most powerful representatives of the bourgeois state, they created vulnerability in the government and questioned the legitimacy of the state all through a transmission of political homicide in distinct correlation with an emerging mass media. As noted by Rapoprt (2004, pg. 49) Anarchism was so successful in the widespread notoriety of its intentions and ideologies during the 19th century as a result of the revolution of communication and transportation technologies that changed both sides of the Atlantic. The en-masse printing of daily newspapers, the application of the telegraph and the railroads that spread across Europe during the last quarter of the 19th century ushered in the beginnings of globalisation and soon events that occurred in one country were known elsewhere within a day or two.

Moreover, Carr (2007, para. 7) discusses that the benefit of propaganda by the deed that it did not need a vital central organisation and could be emulated by anyone. Conversely, governments investigated and hunted in vain for the ‘Black International,’ an international Anarchist organisation, which of course was only created through perpetual media fascination and governmental fear. As
Anarchism grew bolder, they claimed the lives of various leaders, assassinating President Carnot of
France in 1894, King Umberto of Italy in 1900 and US President McKinley in 1901. These acts noted as ‘Anarchist terror’ constituted the world’s first international terrorist emergency (Carr 2007, para.
2). These incidents alerted society and created an emergency for governments that they desperately needed to remedy. People ask questions and demanded answers. As the DCJC (2012, para. 13) notes that ‘when a bomb explodes, society asks why,’ essentially crippling the government’s power base and creates reservations about the government’s legitimacy to control the state. Seemingly, a struggle of political ideologies criss-crossed and the governments gave extra powers to law enforcement and the army to combat the rising terrorist threat and to quash hesitations regarding its legitimacy. Terrorism was not an end for Anarchists, but a strategy to voice their ideologies and to challenge the power of the state and the respective governments. This strategy undeniably shook the various governments on both sides of the Atlantic, as US President Theodore Roosevelt called for a crusade to exterminate terrorism everywhere. (Rapport 2004, pg. 46)

For terrorism to have significant political ramifications on a nation state, then it must be sustained over time, eventually breaking down the will of the targeted governments, forcing them or leading them towards seeking accommodation (DCJC 2012, para. 16). Interestingly, Rapoport (2004, pg. 50) examines that if society has substantial amounts of latent ambivalence and animosity , then the methods that society devised to muffle and disperse antagonism would generate guilt. This would enable the few martyrs to take arms against such a sea of troubles, creating tensions that often erupt into terrorism or civil war. This was first seen during and following the French Revolution, in which the term ‘terrorism’ was first coined, under the reign of terror instigated by Maxmilien
Robespierre to maintain state order (Zalman, 2011, para. 5).

The attack on Margaret Thatcher by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at the Brighton Grand Hotel in
1984, killing five people (including an MP) and seriously injuring other high profile members of the conservative cabinet created an air of disillusion and exemplified the rising tensions against the government. Although Thatcher escaped injury, a note was left by the IRA stating that: “Today we were unlucky, but remember, we only have to be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always.”
Following this Thatcher insisted that she give her conservative party speech, expressing that: “This attack had failed. All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.” Her stern and concrete resolve strengthened British resistance to the IRA’s demands. (BBC, 1984)

The strategic logic and focal point of terrorism against a government is to coerce them to make significant economic, territorial and political concessions as well as to national self-determination. In the case of the IRA’s attempts to drive a truce from the United Kingdom, of which was granted in the
Good Friday (O’Conner, 2007). Seemingly the Unionists and the Nationalists seemed to agree on the fact that Northern Ireland should be able to decide its own political independence and the way in which it would remain or possibly form a union with the Republic of Ireland. Marking 2013 as its 15th anniversary, 71 precent of people of living in northern Ireland recorded in a survey believe that it is a
‘slightly to much better’ place to live in then before the agreement was made (BBC, 2013). This deal granted some semblance of a political peace in the region and highlights that a prolonged campaign and strategy of terrorist activity can drive democracies and nation states towards political concessions, whether it be of economic or territorial value or to self-determination.

Since September 11, the connotation of terrorism has changed and morphed around the world. It is no longer viewed as a form of simple communication, as terrorism for the first time ever targeted non-combatants on a massive scale. Unlike the Anarchists of the early 20th century or the IRA who both primarily targeted political members of society, to destabilise the government or challenge the legitimacy of the government, late 20th century and early 21st century pseudo religious-terrorism has ushered in a new form of behaviour. However, the aims of these groups such as Al-Qaida are virtually the same as those of past terrorists organisations; self-determination for the Middle East.
Rapport (2004, pg. 63-64) discusses that the United States became the primary antagonist after the fall of the Soviet Union, although this was not widely accepted until after September 11. Rapoport
(as cited Cass, 2002) also notes that many have come to believe that September 11 was primarily a means of injecting candidature and rejuvenation into a failing cause, to realign Islamic interests back towards Bin Laden’s Jihad on the West. Consequently, the September 11 attacks resolved Western views and the concept that democracies do not negotiate with terrorists emerged. The response to the attacks was also unprecedented as over 100 nations joined the attack on Afghanistan and in the larger campaign on the ‘War on Terror’ in various ways, as an emerging consensus for political and religious peace was demanded. Yet no one expected that the Western Coalition’s intervention would occur so quickly and precisely, especially considering that Al-Qaida fell so quickly within Afghanistan.
History often notes that antiterrorist forces often struggle for control when targeting terrorists in their homeland, however, Al-Qaida operated in secrecy and it needed this undisclosed notoriety to survive and it consequently fell, retreating back to its confidential prudence (Rapport 2004, pg. 64-65). Al-Qaida’s attacks against the Western World have led to massive shifts in political freedoms
Governments often quote that the attacks were a strike at liberties, freedoms and the free-world and these values and ‘her’ citizens need to be protected. Hypocritically though these laws instigated to combat a rise in terrorism, have been viewed as draconian and excessive (Civil Liberties Australia
[CVA] 2005, para. 3). These rash and spontaneous laws known in Australia as the Australian Anti-
Terrorism Act 2005 (Cth), the Patriot Act in the United States and the Prevention of Terrorism Act
2005 in the United Kingdom have all been hailed as massive strikes to political and civil freedoms.
The Australian Anti-terror laws enable the arrest, detaining of a suspected terrorist without a warrant and legal repercussions for up to 14 days. (Pelly et al. 2005) It has been viewed that these laws are erroneous in nature to the rising challenge of terrorists activities, as Elizabeth Evatt, former
Chief Justice of the Family court stated: "These laws are striking at the most fundamental freedoms in our democracy in a most draconian way." (Pelly et al. 2005) Although the new pseudo religious terrorist groups target non-combatants, the laws enforced by various Western governments are amiss in their challenge of terrorist organisations within the country. The consequences on political and civil freedoms are catastrophic and highlight the desire for governments to legitimise their control over the situation and in all reality emphasise their negligent petition for survival in a changing political climate.
Politics is a multi-faceted world that continually changes. It is constant state of dynamic equilibrium and flux. The governments of the modern era have faced many challenges internally and externally against their power, legitimacy and their ability to survive. However, since the beginning of governmental rule there has always been those who disagree with the politics of the state, these individuals have collectively been noted as ‘terrorists.’ As a faction they strive for comprises against a ruling government through means of political homicide or in the 21st century targeting civilians coercing governments to relinquish economic, political and territorial concessions or to self-

determination. Indeed, terrorism over the last century has involved various groups and different demands to dismantling government legitimacy and rule, to fighting for freedom and territory and lastly demanding that self-determination be granted to the Middle East.…...

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