International Terrorism


Structural and Organizational Components of Terrorist Groups

Terrorist groups often have a well structured and well-defined leadership structure that is hierarchical in nature responsible for the controlling, commanding and carrying out the responsibilities of the terror group. Terrorist groups often form and develop ideologies that ensure justification of the horrific activities they undertake. For example, the radical religious forms usually offer a fertile ground for the formation of terrorist ideologies (Manning, 2006). This utilization of religion as a founding base gives the terrorists respect and legitimacy amongst their fellows. Moreover, terrorist organizations hierarchy is somewhat rigid in structure. The groups are headed by a senior leader and a small cadre of main leaders. These leaders seem to be in power for several years and thus enhance continuity to their cause. Therefore, those individuals that fight terrorists should focus on how to disintegrate and disrupt the top leadership chain in these groups (White, 2016). Common members of these terrorist organizations are often sacrificed since the top leaders are not expendable.

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Terrorist organizations usually have a central leader, middle-level cadres and other recruits that are constantly involved in training. For the prosperity of any terror group, it needs to be supported by an ethnic, political or religious base which is sympathetic to its cause. In other scenarios, terror groups don’t seek to woo the people’s hearts and mind but instead, they demand their support (McFadden, Lyon & Pinsker, 2008). These organizations have two wings that are operational; the overt/semi-covert political wing and the secret military wing. The military wing is supported by the political wing through the provision of cover and enabling them to gain access to resources. The political wing can also involve and participate in public relations efforts. At times, the political wing of these groups is registered legally as non-profit organizations which are capable of raising the needed capital for the military wing to achieve and fulfill their missions and mandates (White, 2016). The military wing of these terror groups often carries out the terrorist activities.

They also ensure the completion of planning, surveillance, and preparation that is necessary for attacking their target. This wing is, however, organized in various cells in order to focus on the activities that will ensure maximum destruction and loss of life so as to initiate and create chaos and terror amongst people. They also engage in bombings and assassinations as well as ambushes. The network structural elements, however, seem to be the most challenging for group leadership as they face severe challenges in expanding and increasing their military wings in various places across the world that responsible for conducting their activities (White, 2016). This poses great challenges since the majority of the governments have joined hands in an effort to ensure they eradicate these terrorist groups through massive destruction of their training grounds as well as destroying their top leadership and freezing their financiers.

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How Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies Exploit Terrorist Structural Impediments

Enforcement of laws that aim at destroying and interfering with the activities of the terrorist groups as well as the intelligence agencies can help in exploiting the structural impediments of these terror groups as well ensuring that they do not successful continue with their normal routine in conducting of their duties (Hoffman, 1999). For instance, the intelligence agencies are capable of detecting and preventing their efforts through the gathering intelligence, protecting facilities and individuals in the country, improving the capabilities of the other nations in fighting terrorism and also preventing the entrance of terrorists and their materials from gaining access to their target locations. Besides, the intelligence agencies and law enforcement will disrupt and destroy terrorist groups through diplomacy, enforcing laws that aim at investigating arresting and prosecuting terrorists, eliminating terrorist support through freezing financial support and also taking military action to destroy terrorists and regions that accommodate them and also coveting their operations through intelligence agencies (White, 2016).

Challenges Facing Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies

The law enforcement and intelligence agencies are faced with a number of challenges thus hindering their effectiveness and efficiency in tackling and dealing with terrorism and other related crimes. For example, the emerging and increased crime through technology such as cyber terrorism has made it difficult for the intelligence agencies to curb and prevent terrorism and other crimes (Manning, 2006). Besides, lack of proper and up to date technological equipment for monitoring the activities of the terror groups as well the criminals has been a great challenge for the law enforcers and intelligence agencies. The law enforcers and intelligence are also faced with other duties in the society such as responding to social problems and anti-social behavior. This makes it hard for them to entirely focus their mandate on preventing terrorism (McFadden, Lyon & Pinsker, 2008).

Nationalist and Separatist Movements in the 20th Century

During the 20th century after the World War II, several separatist movements were formed that were against the harsh rulings from the western countries that had colonized the other parts of the world.  For instance, these movements were against the colonial rule and the oppression objected to them the European countries. Some of these movements were formed in the Asian continent, the American and African continents as well (Hoffman, 1999). The decolonization process that adamant in the Northeast Asia despite being a little bit smaller as compared to that was experienced in South Asia where Japan maintained that its colonies in Korea, Taiwan and Manchuria were under maintenance. For example, the Indonesian nationalist movement that was fighting for independence from the Netherlands was among the toughest and strongest and most sustained during the colonial period close to that of India.

Moreover, the Indian Liberation movement that was led by Mahatma Gandhi was the strongest nationalist movement during the colonial that fought for the independence of the Indian country from the British. The Indonesian movement, however, pressured the Dutch until the Japanese were forced to pass over power to the Indonesian nationalist as they watched their power slip away (White, 2016). After four years of warfare, the Dutch were forced to withdraw and allow the Indonesians to achieve their independence. Similarly, in the Indian nation, the liberation movement fought for their rights from the British colonial government.

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In India, the British East Indies offered a promise to end their colonial ruling and hand independence to the nation by 1949 but yet extended their rule for eight more years. After independence, the crisis that was left in the Indian country after separation into two forming Pakistan and Indian has had several terrorist attacks on both sides of the two countries (Hoffman, 1999). Recently, Pakistan is among the few countries that are adversely affected by terrorism. The Kashmir conflict between the two countries has in the past led to a series of wars and engagements between the two countries. Moreover, the Vietnamese Communist faction was against the Japanese domination during the colonial period. They never allied themselves with the Japanese. The separation of India and Pakistan in southern Asia did not lead to an end of the separatists but instead led to the triggering of a number of activities that threatened the territorial unity of the two countries (White, 2016). India’s traditional ruling leader Maharajah Hari Singh led to the threatening of the Jammu and Kashmir conflict which mostly belonged to the Indians. Pakistan being the defender of the South Asia’s Muslims populations also proclaims the area to belong to Pakistan. This battle between the two countries has led to three wrangles and fights between the countries. To date, the battle for and terror between the two countries still exists.

This battle still exists and in 1984, the terror between the two groups was evident after the assassination of the radical separatist militant Jarnail Singh over the division of Punjab into multiple states whose followers had attacked the Indian troops in 1984 June (White, 2016). Despite the passing and implementing of a number of laws by various leaders in the two countries, there still exist the threat f eruption of a battle between them and often the people living in these areas are in tension.

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Differences between Long-term Separatist terrorism and Nationalistic and Endemic Terrorism

Nationalist terrorism is also known as ideological terrorism is a form terrorism that is practiced by an organization that is identifiable politically, socially and economically and also has a well-defined command and control structures that have an ideology that is comprehensible (Hoffman, 1999). The main target for this group is usually selective and they mostly target and discriminate ambassadors, bankers, and dignitaries as they blame them for economic and political repression. The driving force behind the nationalist terrorism is the love for their country and the willing to alter or overthrow a corrupt government that is oppressive.

On the other hand, separatist terrorism is aimed at securing the self-determination of a certain community or state. The terrorist groups aim at attaining home/self-rule particularly from a certain power such as colonial power. The separatist terrorists often use terror actions to ensure that they force the creation and formation of a new state or joining of the existing state which is supported or aligned closely with the separatist community (White, 2016). Many of the groups engaged in separatist terrorism often claim to be freedom fighters.

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Did you like this sample?
  1. Hoffman, B. (1999). Terrorism trends and prospects. Countering the new terrorism7, 13.
  2. Manning, P. (2006). Two case studies of American anti-terrorism. Democracy, society and the governance of security, 52-85.
  3. McFadden, M., Lyon, R., & Pinsker, R. (2008). Uncertainty, terrorism and law enforcement. Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 261.
  4. “Introduction to Separatist Terrorism.” Terrorism: Essential Primary Sources. . Retrieved January 26, 2017 from
  5. White, J. R. (2016). Terrorism and homeland security. Cengage Learning.
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