Disaffection: The Prerequisite for Terrorism and How to Exploit It

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Having had weapons of mass destruction WMD training, anti-abortion clinic bombings are considered by the government to be a form of terrorism and they are associated with the Christian religious right. The opening section is extremely obtuse IMO. I'd never heard this term before and the definition doesn't help me very much. The whole opening section could do with a severe rewrite. Exile , 22 August UTC. At the very least that section is disputed and should be cleaned up to accurately relflect the opposing view.

Concern for , civilians killed should have included the possibility of not invading. Would bombing a hospital or arresting doctors count as terrorism? Here is the problematic section from the "No concern for civilian life or safety" sub section:. The article as it stands now takes a strong and, in my opinion, a biased stance, in trying to define "terrorism".

In spite of its several and varied qualifications to the definition -- that the term is "controversial", that it has "multiple definitions", providing various conflicting examples, and so on -- the fact that any definition of "it" as a "term" even is offered, here, immediately involves an inescapable contradiction. This may be linguistic and logical nonsense, but nowadays it is political fact. A good illustration of the contradiction can be found in the definition in fact offered here. The article starts out saying the term has multiple definitions, but then says, "Intentional violence against civilians noncombatants is the type of action most widely condemned as 'terrorism' Problems then arise with every word in that definition.

And "civilians" is even more problematic, as the article recognizes: it makes very little sense, in fact, in the modern war-making world -- even as supposedly-qualified by the other vague term "non-combatants" -- civilians have been participants in warfare at least since Napoleon's "massed armies" -- and since the Fall of the Wall, and the end of the bi-polar Cold War, any armed resistance to forces-in-power has been "not in uniform". So the "terrorism" definition offered here, even couched and qualified as carefully as it is, simply defines any armed resistance to established authority as "terrorism".

If they're not "civilians or non-combatants", then what else would they be? But that's not linguistics, or logic, it's a political position. The article needs to step back from even saying that "terrorism" is a "term" amenable to "definition" nowadays, then. See George Lakoff and Hannah Arendt and Harold Lasswell, among many others, on the appropriation of previously-neutral terminology for political purposes. The problem, simply-stated, is the old one of, "one person's 'terrorist' is another person's 'freedom fighter'".

By offering current "War on Terrorism" efforts the possibility of a neutral or even value-free definition, for their favorite term, the article lumps together all armed resistance to established authority as "terrorism": Nelson Mandela, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Gandhi George Washington That is why we don't have an accepted international law definition of "terrorism" now, and are unlikely ever to have one. I would hate to think that we now have become so settled, and so sclerotic, that we really do want to accept the current established systems of all of us everywhere as "the end of history", so that we simply can lump together all who now and will oppose and call that "terrorism".

But that is what the article's "definitional" approach here does. It would be naive at best, I believe, and pretty smug -- also unrealistic, and not historically accurate, as change will be coming again just as it always has. So in the lead article here I would say terrorism is not "a controversial term" but "a current political issue" -- i. Otherwise the article runs afoul of a fundamental linguistic and philosophical problem: that there is nothing simply "definitional" about terrorism, nowadays, even though some would like to sidestep complex and difficult issues by hiding behind definitions -- category mistake, at the very least Having been part of the debate for this article for a long time, it was pleasantly surprising to see it at this level of clarity and completeness.

Nice work all. However the "No concern for civilian life or safety" reads like an apologism for state violence. This could be corrected with some pointed clarification and distance from accepting terms like "collateral damage" and "precision guided munitions. Any evidence or links for this nonsense? Genetic disposition to violence? Unquestioning acceptance of authority? Dehumanizing other people? Sounds a lot like a description of Americans. However this is very unencyclopedic way to say the less to define terrorism as an alternative to a declaration of war Terrorism is using means that are intended to cause Terror to achieve political purposes.

Ericd , 25 Jun UTC. I agree that the word is now so loaded that attempts to provide any kind of objective definition are doomed. I would even go so far as to say that Wikipedia should not, under any circumstances, call anyone a terrorist, even when guarded by weasel phrases like "the following are viewed by most people However, the fact that the word is still used by prominent people people in politics and the media as if it had an objective definition, means that we should discuss the criteria that they tend to use.

As the definition of this word is so controversial, I suggest that the Definitions article be reincorporated into this one. The article as it stands contains a great deal of unfocused and vague wandering around the definition see the introduction, pretty much all of "Overview", and "Definition" but nowhere is it so clear and precise as the list mentioned above. Furthermore, the article should begin, as it used to do, with a clear division between the objective and the subjective uses. Edits like [1] are in good faith, but we cannot escape the fact that this word is now used primarily in a perjorative sense, and that should be explicit from the start.

I have now done this, and tried to excise from other sections all ramblings about the definition, of which there was a great deal. I have left the POV tag on for now, but I will take it off in a few days unless there is any evidence of a dispute. I'm more of a synthesizer than a writer; I don't tend to add large amounts of new material to articles but to condense and rationalize what's already there.

There is no text in Groups section because there was no corresponding text in the old version, presumably because people thought that because most terrorism is carried out by groups, there was no need for any particular discussion of them. I thought this seemed strange, and added the stub section to invite people to fill it in. But perhaps it would be better to introduce Perpetrators with something simple, like:. As for Noam Chomsky, he does perhaps seem overly stressed, but he's actually only mentioned in two contexts.

I included his quote in the intro because it seems to sum the issue up better than any other text that was already there or that I could write myself, but if there was some other person who could be mentioned instead in, say, the Causes section, that would help prevent the article from seeming like it was all from his POV. From User talk:Guy Montag , who reverted Smyth's version :. Could you explain why you thought my revision was so worthless?

I also notice that you threw away the changes of four other people, none of which were remotely controversial. I will watch this page. First, thank you for restoring the edits of the four other people which you reverted. If you examine the talk page history you will see that I proposed my changes several days ago along with my reasons and got no response. I agree that the article is not recognizably the same as it was before, but I believe that this is no bad thing as it was rather poor before.

You seem to think I have added things to the article, but apart from the Legitimacy paragraph and a comparison of "terrorist"'s connotations to "rebel" and "guerilla", I added virtually no new material. Everything else that was in my revision, was in the previous revision of either Terrorism or Definition of terrorism. I don't know what "controversial claims" you could be referring to. I did remove a great deal of text. As I explained on the talk page both before and after my revision, this is because there was a huge amount of redundant discussion of "terrorism"'s definition spread throughout the article.

Presumably this was added a sentence at a time by well-meaning editors, but its effect was both to obscure the other sections and to confuse the question of what terrorism actually is. In some places it is said that terrorism has some objective definition, in others it is stated that it is merely a value judgement.

One adult man said, "The relationship [End Page ] between the police and the people is not good. The poor people are not getting their rights. In addition, the police … still take advantage of the people and the problem of corruption still exists. A striking difference between "vulnerable" young males and all other FGD participants was the males' heightened willingness to find justifications for violence within Islam.

While some "vulnerable" young men disagreed with religious justifications for violence, the tendency to voice them was more prevalent among younger males who reported sympathy for foreign fighters than among any other group. Views about Islam and violence among "vulnerable" young men were more mixed, however.

Inside Kenya’s war on terror: the case of Lamu - Saferworld

When asked if Islam justifies violence, several participants answered with conditional affirmatives: "within limits"; "'use the stick on the disobeyers [those who worship other gods] as the saying goes"; and "Islam forbids violence in cases and allows it in other cases. Likewise, [Syrian dictator] Bashar [al-Assad] shouldn't be obeyed because he is disobeying God.

Another young man said that he would join ISIS for entirely economic reasons. Allah Akbar,'" said a young man named Wael. What matters is that I would get something in return for fighting. Give me a financial reward and I will go with you anywhere. This would help us to confirm or deny the claim often advanced as an argument against the notion of grievances fueling actual radicalization that the grievances of actual fighters and the grievances of those who stopped at sympathizing with those fighters might be fundamentally different.

These interviews revealed dynamics similar to those displayed by FGD participants who felt sympathetic toward ISIS: The revolution had come and gone but opportunities for bettering one's situation had remained scarce, and despair had risen. Beja's FTFs were often described by their relative or friend as having seemed increasingly listless and hopeless prior to radicalization. There are no opportunities for youth to work.

Research Paper No. 12 2001-2002

My kids are lost. There are no employment opportunities here.


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Tales about dropping out of school—or of suffering underemployment even after completing higher education—mark the lives of Beja's FTFs. One woman left high school, found no opportunities, and married a man who took her to Syria. Another woman, according to her cousin, was raped, beaten by disbelieving police, and became "psychologically ill. The friend of an FTF said, "The state has to help its citizens, and reduce unemployment.

The interviews also illuminated the conjunction of poor governance and sudden radicalization—circumstantial evidence for our thesis that the democratic transition's deficiencies have been contributing to violent extremism in Tunisia. They made promises, but as you can see none were fulfilled. You can see, there is nothing but unemployment. The police are always unfair and harsh. I know some people who were victims and now hold a grudge and hate the country and even living here.

The FTFs had often been nonpracticing Muslims who smoked, drank, and wore Western clothes before either embracing radicalism on their own or falling under the sway of Islamist recruiters. In sum, the interviews provide evidence that postrevolutionary disillusionment with the socioeconomic situation and with the political system's lack of responsiveness has fed violent extremism. While FTFs' relatives and friends cannot provide the exact mental state of these fighters, those personally close to FTFs are a useful source of information—and [End Page ] may be the best one readily available to researchers seeking insight into the true grievances of violent extremists.

Tellingly, the FTF grievances that these relatives and friends recounted and the grievances that were aired in our focus groups of "vulnerables" were remarkably similar. Moreover, the timing of these FTFs' radicalization also constitutes important evidence. Had the radicalization process begun before the revolution, that would undercut our thesis.

Instead, it began after, which is consistent with our argument. Why have instances of terrorism in Tunisia spiked since the country's democratic transition? Tunisia's revolution raised expectations for better governance that neither national nor local officials even took steps to manage, much less meet. Although Tunisia undoubtedly has a more representative and accountable government than it had before , officials elected since that revolutionary year have failed to provide adequate services and opportunities for many of their constituents.

Disillusionment with democratic performance exists elsewhere, but Tunisia's situation is unique. In the wake of a democratic revolution, expectations regarding what the state could deliver rose dramatically, only to be met with crushing disappointment. Longstanding discontents continued to simmer.

Extremist ideologies began spreading throughout the broader Middle East, including among Tunisia's neighbors. This perfect storm of domestic and regional factors created conditions conducive to extremist recruitment. The data collected in this study validate this argument. Our survey data show growing dissatisfaction among Tunisians with their country's overall direction, with the state of economic opportunity, and with the government's performance.

Meanwhile, key indicators of democratic quality are declining. Data from other surveys reinforce this picture: The dispiriting realities contrast harshly with Tunisians' high expectations of the state. Our focus groups explored the implications of these attitudes for violent extremism. These discussions revealed important variations between those who sympathized with foreign fighters "vulnerable" groups and those who did not "resilient" groups.

The former reported stronger and more frequent feelings of discontent and even despair. Finally, interviews with family members and friends of FTFs furnished evidence confirming that our "vulnerable" discussants and actual FTFs had life experiences and grievances in common. Terrorist attacks have slowed in Tunisia during the past year, but this cannot be ascribed to improved governance, for both outside experts and Tunisians themselves continue to give poor marks on that score.

Instead, the decline in terror assaults has probably been due to increased security [End Page ] assistance from the West.

You know climate change is bad when even terrorists are doing their bit - The Russell Howard Hour

If weak governmental performance persists and radical ideologies continue to flourish in the region, then Tunisia will remain under the shadow of violent extremism. The evidence suggests that mismanaged democratization has been one of the things making Tunisia vulnerable to such extremism. Of course, the Tunisians who feel disaffected far exceed in number those who have actually joined ISIS or committed terrorist acts.

When polls have been taken, only a sliver of the populace has been willing to express support for ISIS, al-Qaeda, or terrorism. Everyone's story is different, and factors operating at the level of the individual surely matter.

II. Tinderbox of grievances: inequality and politics in Lamu

But within the limits of our data, consistent trends are evident. The findings from Beja comport with national-level survey data, and Beja's socioeconomic and governance conditions are common throughout the country. It is therefore reasonable to assume that our argument regarding the governance-related drivers of violent extremism may hold across large parts of Tunisia. The policy implications are clear: The authority gained from winning a free and fair election is not enough to sustain popular support.

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In fledgling democracies especially, where institutions are raw and unproven, citizens will weigh the state's performance constantly as they ponder whether and when to give or withhold their consent. When the democratic state falters, some subset of citizens will look for alternatives, including extremist ideologies. This raises the stakes for good governance in Tunisia and other democratizing societies. For new states, responsive, representative, and effective governance is a matter of survival.

For international actors involved in democracy assistance, Tunisia confirms the oft-heard insight that democracy is more than just elections. The exuberance surrounding Tunisia's flawed but successful political transition has obscured persistent state corruption and poor performance. The belief that democracy by itself could address longstanding grievances has been belied by the lived reality of many Tunisians. Their festering disappointment has fed a growing embrace of radical Islamism. The lesson of Tunisia is not that democratization necessarily involves the risk of terrorism, but that it could under certain conditions.

If local and national governments fail to manage effectively the democratization process, they risk feeding grievances that can help to drive some toward violent extremism. Democratic leaders must take the lesson to heart. They need to pay careful attention to redressing grievances and injustices, and must do all they can to keep expectations and reality at least within hailing distance of each other.

Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Cambodia

Geoffrey Macdonald , the principal researcher for democracy and governance at the International Republican Institute IRI , lectures on political science at George Washington University. Alan B. This research was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy and implemented by the International Republican Institute. Madeleine Albright et al. For a recent overview of the evidence and theories regarding democracy and terrorism, see Erica Chenoweth, "Terrorism and Democracy," Annual Review of Political Science 16 : — Robin Wright et al.

Grievances against security actors, as well as politicians, are particularly marked, with an average of 78 percent rating low levels of trust in the police, politicians and military. Those most susceptible to recruitment express a significantly lower degree of confidence in the potential for democratic institutions to deliver progress or meaningful change.

For example, a strong correlation can exist between "political violence and experiences or perceptions of injustice, corruption and systematic discrimination" UNDP, , p. This correlation can be stronger than that of socio-economic issues of poverty, in that "[p]eople do not take up guns because they are poor, but because they are angry and frustrated" UNDP, , p. Wentling wrote persuasively that, "as long as political elites and the wealthy can do as they please without fearing any kind of legal sanctions, the huge and growing gap between the great mass of people who have little and the small percentage of the population who possess much will grow" Wentling, , p.

Therefore, it is understandable why corruption may increase perceptions of injustice that, in turn, contribute to collective grievances. This is further compounded in situations when impunity for injustice, corruption and mistreatment is commonplace. In turn, this can fuel sentiments that violent action is justified when it aims to rectify the inequalities and injustice that result from it. Other contributing factors can be "insensitive policing or profiling in public locations and at security checkpoints and lack of awareness of social or cultural particularities of minority groups can add up to a sense of persecution" UNDP, , p.

On such issues, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has advocated that "States should ensure that any measures taken in the fight against terrorism do not discriminate, in purpose or effect, on the grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin and that non-citizens are not subjected to racial or ethnic profiling or stereotyping" , para. Certainly, any governmental policies which result in the profiling of selected targeted groups of society can result in feelings of increased alienation which, in turn, may further fuel discontent and terrorist recruitment agendas see e.

Aziz, , p.


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  • A fourth primary driver identified by the Secretary-General relates to prolonged and unresolved conflicts, with the promotion of peace being an integral aspect of SDG It is immediately apparent that these forms of conflicts are interlinked with the other drivers, mentioned above. For example, as was recognized within the Sustainable Development Agenda, "[s]ustainable development cannot be realised without peace and security".

    Therefore, it is apparent that the resolution of conflicts is essential for, e. Furthermore, this driver is of broader significance in that these forms of conflicts can be the cause of not only human suffering and poor governance, but also facilitate the agendas of violent extremist organizations. For instance, in conflicts whereby the machinery of the State has been debilitated, the void of effective State control can provide the space for violent extremist organizations to function, enabling them to promote their extremist narratives and activities in a largely unchecked fashion USAID, , p.

    Such situations can also be exploited by these groups to further their agendas, commonly through such activities as the taking over of territory, resources and control. It should also be recognized that armed conflicts can act as a motivational factor, inspiring others to follow a violent extremist path USAID, , p. The other key driver which is central to the VE Action Plan concerns the impact of radicalization in prisons in terms of furthering violent extremist agendas.

    Two factors are at play: firstly, prisons provide a unique environment within which individuals can spread extreme and violent ideologies Speckhard, Shajkovci and Esngul, ; and, secondly, the conditions inside prisons can act to create, or inflame already present, animosity. Factors such as poor prison conditions, the ill-treatment of prisoners, institutional corruption and criminal activity can all serve as motivators for detained persons to seek the assistance and protection of violent extremist groups. Synergies may be found behind the drivers of violent extremism and the provisions of the SDGs.

    For instance, in addition to such moves acting to reduce the 'push' factors of those susceptible to undertaking violent activities, implementing these would go some way towards fulfilling the requirements of the SDGs. Though the Sustainable Development Agenda does not specifically reference the treatment of prisoners, one of its overarching principles is the importance of equality for all, with SDG 16 seeking reductions in all forms of violence accompanied by augmentation in upholding and strengthening the rule of law.

    The most powerful weapon in the fight against radicalization in prisons is without a doubt a humane detention policy that respects the fundamental rights of the detainees and focuses indefatigably on rehabilitation and reintegration. Therefore, a custodial sentence or measure has to be executed under psychosocial, physical and material conditions that respect the dignity of the human person, has to render the preservation or growth of the self-respect of the detainee possible and has to appeal to their individual and social responsibility. Belgium Federal Public Service-Justice, , pp.

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