Terrorism Problem


Terrorism can be defined as a systematic way of using violence in order to create an environment of fear to a certain population to bring in a political objective. In history, terrorism has been used by the political organizations of both right and left, by the ethnic groups, nationalists and the revolutionaries (Merriam Webster 2013). Organizations like Al Qaeda, Tamil Tigers and the Hamas engaging themselves in the terrorist activities just because it brings about a response they desire. The impact of terrorism is magnified by the deadliness as well as sophistication of the weapons in the modern day. It is also magnified by the ability of the media to be able to disseminate the news about the attacks instantaneously in the whole world. One of the deadliest attacks were in the U.S. in September 2001. This happened when the Al-Qaeda network of terrorists hijacked 4 commercial airplanes, and then crashed two in the twin towers in New York Trade Centre. United States removed its soldiers from Saudi Arabia 2 years later even though the soldiers were building up forces in there for a decade (Natta 2003).

Other terror groups in stead of using sophisticated weapons use kidnapping in order to intimidate people. Philippines recalled their troops in Iraq one month after the extremists from Iraq kidnapped a truck driver and hence succeed in the using terror to force the release withdrawal of troops. Terrorism has been very successful between the years 1980 to 2003 where half of the suicide terrorists got followed by concessions of target governments. The kidnapping of people, hijacking of planes and buses may seem to be incoherent and irrational to the observers, although very effective in the achievement of the aims of the terrorist groups.

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Policy makers as well as the scholars have begun to understand how terrorism works. A lot has been written about the terror origin, their motivations, and responses of the counter terror but very little information given about the strategies of their organizations, as well as the conditions unto which the strategies fail or succeed. Some scholars like David Laitin, Alan Krueger, Alberto Abadie and Jikta Maleckova have been able to identify the effects of education, poverty as well as political freedom in the recruitment of terrorists (Krueger & Maleckova 2003).

Causes of Terrorism

The main causes of terrorism are the political and social injustices as well as believe by some groups that only violence can bring in the aspect of change.

In the social and the political injustice when people feel that their social and political rights have been denied, they end up choosing terrorism as a way of making a right in the perceived political or social wrong. In 1930, a Zionist bombed a British target, which he believed he had done to create the Jewish state. In 1980, the IRA bombed the English target in order to point out that had a feeling their land was being colonized by the British imperialists.

The other cause of terrorism is the belief that threats or violence is an effective way to bring about a change. Most of the terrorists have confessed that they decided to use violence after lengthy discussions because there was no other choice (Zarman 2013). Such groups and individuals use terrorism as a result of frustration after having used all the available means of airing their grievances.

The declaration by Osama bin Laden on the American war in 1990 came as a result of the belief that the troops in United States which were stationed in Arabia were a representation of the abomination to Islamic state; furthermore, he believed they were supposed to be in the Arabian Peninsula. In other cases, people will choose the terrorist tactics, which are based on whose righteousness they actually believe in, and exclude almost all others. The bombers of abortion clinics and the Animal Liberation Front had a zealously believe in whatever they did (Hutchinson 2013).

Other causes include following social reasons, for example in areas with minority groups, incidences of terrorism are more evident because these groups may not be given adequate rights, moreover their culture might have been destroyed and others. Like in Sri Lanka, The Tamil Tigers were fighting in order to get independent nation to be occupied by them.

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Nevertheless, nationalism is another cause. There have been cases of terrorism by the nationalist groups trying hard to obtain their rights and independence. For example, the Romans viewed Boudicca as terrorists and Archduke Franz being assassinated by an organization of Black Hand in 1914.

If the religious freedom is violated, groups can come up with the idea to use terror to come up with a solution of addressing the issue. For example, the movement of Uyghur Separatist launched a campaign of bombing as a way of responding to their religion suppression by Chinese authorities.

The main goals that terrorists have vary from different periods. However, five goals are very important to the terrorists. These are policy change, regime change, territorial change, maintenance of the status quo and social control (Hutchinson).

Just War Tradition/ Theory

The theory entails justification of the way wars take place and the reason for them. This can be done either historical or theoretical. The historical or tradition just war theory is the one that talks about the historical body of agreements or rules, which have applied in many wars. For example, the international agreements in Hague and Geneva are historical and are aimed at reducing certain types of warfare that the lawyers could refer to when they are prosecuting the transgressors. However, it is the work of ethics to look keenly at the institutional agreements to have philosophical coherence and inquire the convention aspects that can be changed. It could also look into thoughts of lawyers and philosophers through ages and look at their philosophical vision of ethical limits in war; moreover, whether these thoughts have led to the body of the conventions which evolved to warfare and war guide.

The just war theory is much concerned with justifying war as well as the forms which the warfare and war can or cannot take.

The theory could be used in the study of the responses of terrorism. For example, in the response of attrition, the government targeted may concede issues that are inessential to exchange with peace. The just cause of using military force in the instance like the one of September 11 is never interstate aggression. No one can question the justification in the use of military force to respond and eliminate agents capable of launching such attacks in the future. The moral concern of protecting innocent human life is not overridden in the face of violence like the one that happened on that day. This explains that a morally appropriate response of the military should continue to address issues of just war theory like reasonable success hope and proportionality  (Cook 2012).

This strategy is believed to be persuaded frequently even if it is rarely admitted. Sometimes terrorists will genuinely care about the disputed issues more and have the will to outlast their target (Sederberg 1995). In a case like this, the best response for the state could be concessions. When the issue being disputed is more important to the state targeted and it does not want to give concessions, the government could engage in target retaliations that would target the terrorist group’s leadership, followers, their assets and valuable objects that they may possess. The state could also harden the likely targets to reduce the cost that can be inflicted by the organization.

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Therefore, terrorism is evil and countries such as the United States have the responsibility of doing away with it. The people who seek justice instead of revenge is the ones who can be said to promote doing away with the vise.


Terrorism is a costly form of signaling where the terrorists try to influence their enemy’s beliefs and the population, which they represent or want to control. Violence is used to signal their resolve and strength in efforts to come up with the concessions from the enemy as well as support and obedience from those that follow them. It was identified that organizations such as Al Qaeda, Tamil Tigers and the Hamas will engage themselves in the terrorist activities just because it brings about a response that they desire. Impact of terrorism is magnified by the deadliness and sophistication of the weapons in the modern day. It can also be magnified by the ability of the media to be able to disseminate the news of the attacks instantaneously in the entire world.

In this paper, I have looked at the main causes of terrorism where I have also highlighted the main goals of terrorists. I have also looked at the just war theory and how it can be used to study the response of terrorism.

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