Theories Of Terrorism

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Radical groups generally use terrorism in order to delegitimize an oppressive institution in power and simultaneously gain support for an alternative system. Terrorists utilize two key strategies to meet this end. First, there is the theory of provocation, terrorists believe that violent acts can cause the state to respond by expanding its already repressive regime. Intensified oppressive measures will affect the entire population, subsequently causing citizens to turn against the state and support the terrorist groups. This tactic, along with external influences like the First World War, allowed Russian revolutionist groups to overthrow the tsarist regime and assume power. A second key tactic is the “strategy of chaos.” This method is primarily …show more content…
Its perpetrators have engaged in philosophical debates over who constitutes as an acceptable target. Although there is a diverse spectrum of theories regarding this subject, the two main competing ideologies deserve special attention. The first theory suggests that anyone who is part of or associated with an oppressive institution can legitimately be targeted. The anarchist Emile Henry was among the first modern terrorists to actively promote and practice this form of mass terrorism. During the late nineteenth century, Henry planted a bomb in the Carmaux mining company’s offices. Understanding that the bomb could potentially harm passers-by, he legitimized his actions by stating that “the building was inhabited only by the bourgeoisie; hence there would be no innocent victims.” This already flexible perception has since been expanded to include a more arbitrary definition of legitimate targets. In the early 2000’s Al Qaeda identified their target oppressive institution as “western forces that are hostile to Islam.” They also enumerated the different tools these forces utilized against Muslim people including “the United Nations, multinational corporations, international news agencies...” etc. This broad framework of perceived enemies explains why radical Islamic fundamentalists have targeted civilians from UN participating countries, journalists …show more content…
As previously mentioned, modernization has made it possible for the state to increase its scope of violence, but this is also applicable to terrorist’s destructive capacity. The invention of nitroglycerine allowed Russian revolutionists and anarchists to construct bombs that could effectively have a more dramatic and deadly effect on terrorists acts. The continuing invention of new technologies has had similar effects for contemporary terrorists. In 2001, Al Qaeda utilized a commercial airplane to conduct the deadliest terrorist attack in history. Although modernization has effected terrorism and state terror similarly, it is important to note that there is a clear distinction between the violent capacities of both groups. Governments continue to have a monopoly on publically sanctioned violence and sophisticated weaponry, while terrorists continue to act in the periphery of public approval and utilize cruder form of

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