What is international terrorism? Part II

By | October 21, 2021

If the terrorists do not get media attention, it is difficult to achieve the goal of spreading fear . Terrorist groups often operate with several attacks in series and with a short time between them. Through such series of attacks, they spread fear and create unrest in the population for new and deadly attacks. This was the case in London in the summer of 2005 where there were attacks every fortnight. The feeling of facing a campaign was strong, although no special links between the various attacks have yet been proven.

Furthermore, the attacks were clearly placed in al-Qaeda’s violent global jihad when al-Qaida’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri praised the attacks on London and promised more attacks. Such threats and campaigns are nothing new in the British Isles. During periods when the Irish terrorist group IRA was active, Britain experienced the strain of “terrorist campaigns”. The same applies to many other countries – the Philippines, Sri Lanka, France, Egypt, Israel, Peru, Spain and others.

6: Fight for power

According to theinternetfaqs, an act of terrorism is meant to affect others in addition to those who are directly attacked in the action. The political leadership in the country the attack is aimed at is the most common target of the action. These will be influenced to change their policies. Terrorists often also attack an innocent third party or a deputy for the one they really want to influence. The idea is that a troubled population will influence its own government to change political direction.

What does it mean to exercise power over someone? A terrorist group has power over a government if it causes the government to do something it otherwise would not have done. If a government does something it would have done anyway, it is not a matter of exercising power. Those who use force must have the ability to change the behavior of those against whom they use force.

Governments will often try to hide the fact that they are giving in to the demands of terrorist groups and that they are negotiating with terrorists at all. They will often pretend that they intended to do what they do anyway. Actions must appear as a result of one’s own choices and not as a result of the terrorists’ influence and attacks. Otherwise, they can be perceived as weak and easily influenced. The Philippine authorities were criticized when, in the summer of 2004, they gave in to the terrorists’ demand for a faster withdrawal from Iraq. They did this to save the hostage Angelo de la Cruz.

As mentioned earlier, there is no definitive answer to the question of what terrorism is. But so far we can suggest the following definition of terrorism:

Definition: Terrorism is a non-state actor’s systematic use of violence and destruction – or threats of this – against non-combatants with the aim of creating a state of fear, gaining attention on a political issue and influencing the behavior of others than the direct victims of the terrorist attack.

7: International terrorism

Apparently, it should be easy to make up for the differences between international terrorism and national terrorism. International terrorism is when the territory of at least two different countries or citizens are involved in a terrorist action – whether the involvement is as a perpetrator, victim, arena or planning base for the action. In the age of globalization, these differences become less clear. The German sociologist Ulrich Beck has very aptly pointed out that “the boundaries that separate the national from the international, the police from the military, crime from war and war from peace are being abolished”.

Ulrich Beck’s statement is relevant to the attacks in London in 2005. The terrorists were British citizens who attacked British citizens. It has not yet been proven that several nationalities were involved in the planning. London sometimes appeared almost like a war zone with a state of emergency, and the police shot down and killed a completely innocent Brazilian citizen. Jean Charles de Menezes literally fell victim to murder on the open street. This happened in a democratic society based on the rule of law in “peacetime”.

We will have a lack of understanding of the London attacks if we do not place them in an international context. The terrorists all had ethnic backgrounds from non-European countries, and the attacks were taken straight from the “textbook” of al-Qaeda. The pattern was simultaneous bomb blasts against the transport system in a capital city, with the aim of killing many Western civilians. Whether the al-Qaeda network was involved in the planning or not, the terrorists undoubtedly drew inspiration from the international terrorist network al-Qaeda.

Today, terrorism is increasingly characterized by large-scale actions that lead to mass murder. Actions in Amman, Bali, Madrid, Riyadh, New York and Delhi are tragic examples. Despite this, we must keep in mind that not all terrorist groups want to kill as many people as possible. An example is the Basque terrorist group ETA, which very often warns of deployed bombs before they go off.

8: Terrorism in Norway?

In this article, a definition of terrorism has been drawn up. At the same time, one of the most important things is to take with us the understanding that the differences between different types of political violence are not crystal clear. A group that engages in politically motivated violence does not necessarily just stick to one of the different types of violent struggle we are looking at here. The definition of terrorism can therefore be used as a starting point for further discussions about the forms of political violence.

It is natural to return to the question many Norwegians asked themselves right after the attacks on London in the summer of 2005; will we see international terrorist acts in Norway as well ? Unfortunately, we cannot rule out that international terrorist groups will choose Norway or Norwegian interests as their targets. But terrorist acts against Norway can just as easily be ten years as one year ahead. What does it take for the dangerous trends in terrorism we register around us in the world to involve Norway to a greater extent than has been the case so far? This is a very complex question that must be followed carefully. Norway is an oil-producing NATO country that participates in potentially controversial peace mediation and international military missions. We can never become invisible in a globalized world.

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